Before this word became the popular cliché that it seems to be today, it was a definition without a label. It was a feeling that burned in the flames of my soul since childhood (and many of us alike). It was something my spirit was aligned with and was lured by.
Once I became a teenager I did all I could possibly do to let my wings soar free. I even attempted to graduate high school early, and consequently, the same night of graduation I boarded a one-way flight to Hawaii. . .the place that captured my heart (infinitely).
These islands with their beautiful landscapes, sublime people, diverse culture, and just straight-up amazing vibes, brought me to a higher level of happiness that I never experienced before.
I made new friends daily: people from all over the world, locals, and Americans alike. I adopted new norms and caught on to different lingo, but most profoundly was the ‘Aloha Spirit’ – something you don’t need to be born in Hawaii to possess. Everyone was ALIVE, fun, free, and wild. Paychecks were used for surfboards and plane tickets to anywhere with a promising adventure.
During these carefree years, free-time consisted of pulling chairs around a circle, or piling up towels at the beach, and inevitably hours would pass by in minutes. Everyone would hug & welcome newcomers. We would barbecue, jam (reggae + Bob Marley), watch sunsets, drink cheap beer, jump in and out of the serene Hawaiian waters, eat Pokē, & talk about life.
By now, most of the group I spent majority of that time with, have grown older, moved away to their next destination, even got married/had kids, and inevitably there is a whole new generation of “us”.
But that is the great thing. We didn’t see that the future would entail of our ohana-group being ‘replaced’ or ever being without each other. . . we just lived PRESENT within every day, to the absolute fullest!
Those memories, the vibes, that profound lifestyle, will forever be encrypted within my soul. We all influenced each other; we simultaneously changed views and opinions from the old places we originally came from. But most importantly, we learned the purpose of our lives and the importance of spreading and leaving only aloha everywhere that we go.
Hawaii is where I found myself. It is where I swam free, with wild dolphins, just a few miles offshore of the world-famous Waikiki beach. It’s where I met the love of my life, and gave birth to our blessing of a daughter. It’s where life as I know it – began.
The islands are forever tattooed on my hip, and aloha engraved on my heart.