Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seattle to Orcas Island

San Juan Island

I am on the ferry that will take me to Orcas Island, part of the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington - my next stop.  It is much colder than I am used to now after having been in Hawaii for 6 months. I am sitting with my hot coffee mesmerized by the water.  I look out at the islands - there is something magical and healing for me in this environment.  I am an islander at heart.

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Monhegan Island
Many years ago, I island-hopped up the coast of Maine, and fell in love with Monhegan Island.  I stayed at this wonderful B&B that had limited electricity.  The rooms were lit by oil lamps and I fell into the rhythm of the day and night, without the use of clocks.  I met a very special friend while there who remains with me in spirit, always.  I am so grateful for you Jericho, and, after all these years, I realize you have always been a part of my life.

Orcas of Orcas Island
I am transported back to that experience since the feel of the air and the scenery of the landscape is similar.  There are Pine trees and a freshness in the air that matches Maine.  The water is that perfect deep shade of blue gray that is typical for this time of year, so far north.  I breathe.  It is such a different experience than the Hawaiian Islands.  And, I am appreciative of the disparity.  I look for the whales, the orcas, but I know that they are not there.  I had seen whales in Hawai’i – they have migrated for the winter.  

Orcas Island
I am excited for this transition, to meet the owner of the B&B, Donna, who will pick me up at the dock.  She asked me how she would recognize me, this being before I had a digital camera and laptop where I could send her a photo.  I wasn’t worried…we would find each other.  As she sees me get off the ferry, she realizes that I am the only one with a tan who looks as though I came from Hawai’i.  No worries, indeed.  She has brought me a coat…thankfully.

Orcas Island
(from Trip Advisor)

Donna, a wonderful and generous woman who is running the B&B with her husband, takes me to my room, small but homey, with a fireplace and heated floors.  I can see the water from my room and I let this gift of being here wash over me.  I breathe it in.

After getting settled in, I take a walk with the intention to  find the local thrift shop so that I can get clothes for this adventure.  I don't need many - I won't be here long, and I am trying to maintain my traveling lightly mode.  I don’t have access to a car, but the walking is therapeutic.  

I spend many of my days at rest, after a daily walk to the town or around the island.  It is cool and brisk, but I love that I can walk without the sweat and humidity.  The weather is mild during winter, so the adjustment really is minor.  The water calls me even though it is winter.  I take off my sneakers and socks and wade in the ocean.  Cold!  Wonderfully so...healing.  I like being able to say that I actually got in, (albeit only to my ankles), no matter where I am.  The shore is quite rocky, with limited sandy areas, but it is perfect for this visit. 

A full moon rises over the water while I am there, and Donna lights a fire in the fire pit near the coast.  It is cold, but I send out my gratitude and open myself up to reap what I desire.  I am learning to trust that the Universe is providing for me, not only what I need but what I desire as well.  I was given these two weeks of rest with ease.  The money that I had earned at Kalani easily paid for these two weeks including my travel expenses.  Money flows in, and out.  In and out...

I didn’t meet many people, although everyone with whom I chatted with was nice.  This really was a time of respite.  I am reminded that this is a solo journey for I am still burnt out and I have nothing left to give, except to myself.  I deal with those ingrained feelings, those that say this is selfish.  I have heard this throughout my life.  However, I am coming to know - in my being (not just intellectually) that this is not so.  Taking care of yourself and putting yourself first is only an act of love, for everyone.   We can certainly be thoughtful, compassionate and caring, but not at our own expense.  I feel like the balance has been tipped way too long.  I settle into the rhythm of this island that is different yet similar...I take care of myself and let others give to me.  I am grateful for Donna, who recognizes that I am in need of nurturing.

As my time starts to draw near, I begin thinking of my next stop which is Vancouver, BC, where I will meet up with Randy, from Hawai’i, to do a Vipassana – a ten day silent retreat.  I am anxious and excited, and I think the gift of this will definitely be a reconnection with my self, my spirit, and to make a shift from being burnt out.  I am hoping this is so.  

San Juan Ferry
The two weeks go by quickly and I find myself back on the ferry heading to Seattle, where I will meet Randy to take the bus up to Vancouver.   I am grateful to be heading towards a friend, it makes the next step for me not so scary.  However, I am learning to walk through the fears that arise at each transition.  Change has always been difficult for me – a challenge.  I am seeking to be in a place where I don’t have to go through this process while making a change - where I will be confident and secure with each decision and transition.  It is a process and I am heading there.  

I am on the ferry with a sense of excitement bubbling within me.  I am heading in the right direction for me.  I breathe in gratitude. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

My last days at Kalani...moving on.

There is something about the Big Island of Hawaii...some say it is the energy of Pele, who is the goddess associated with the island.  Claims have been made that Pele's energy can stir up emotions that can be quite intense and cause some internal discord.  The other islands don't seem to have this energetic component on this level anyway.  Or, maybe it is just the energy of the active volcano.

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Whether you believe in the legend of Pele or the possibility that energetically something may have been an impact, for me, all I know is that after 6 months I was soooo ready and anxious to leave that those last days of Kalani dragged on and became a bit frustrating to me.  I was restless, intensely so.  Leaving couldn't happen fast enough and it really didn't.  There were glitches with each step of the process and I had to learn to be patient with how this transition was unfolding.

Pele link:

However, there were moments of fun, like my last full moon at the point overlooking the ocean and New Year's Eve where I spent my time with Randy, party hopping at Kalani.  I hadn't really done any partying which was surprising to most when I showed up at each party.  But, it was my last night there and I wanted to be a part of the group and what they were doing...which was partying.  Randy (who also wasn't a party go-er normally) was a great party partner so he made it easy to move from place to place.  I really am not all that comfortable in groups or in party situations - maybe too many bad experiences in my early years where I felt rejected or felt socially inept due to my insecurities and shyness.  Whatever the case, it is what it is and I had a good time.

A week before, I had finished up at housekeeping and was taking my vacation days as my last few days there.  It was nice to not have to do anything besides have fun and say my good-byes.  As the final day approached, I packed up my things, cleaned my A-frame, and said my good-byes to living in the ghetto.  It was bittersweet saying good-bye to my home of three months and to the people, yet as I said, the energy was moving me forward. I was still inspired to explore and travel and it was time.

The morning of, Randy was going to be our driver to Hilo to get a rental car, which we would take to get to Kailua-Kona, the other side of the island.  We could barely get everyone's stuff into the van that we were using.  Luckily, I had purged, letting go of more stuff as I packed, and was traveling much more lightly than the others.  I had left all my 'extras' that I had acquired for the next resident of A-frame #27.  We were slow to leave due to others who weren't that organized, and the time it took to maneuver the abundance of their things around to get them into the van.  I was at my A-frame waiting, restless and a bit hungover, and, wishing that people had been traveling lightly.   I was the last to be picked up and my stuff just fit into the van. We were off...and we saw rainbows as we departed.
A good omen.

Randy presented us with a gift as we parted (we, being myself, Jan, Liz and Riana).  We opened his gift while sitting at a local restaurant for breakfast and we were touched by his generosity.  His gift was money for us to have a celebratory dinner when we got to Kailua-Kona.  We did, overlooking the ocean, watching the sunset.  Breathtaking.  We toasted our gratitude to Randy, our friend, our chauffeur, and our like-minded traveler who was and still is an inspiration.

The plan was that I would take a flight out the night that I got to Kona, but I was flying with a buddy pass.  A buddy pass means you fly standby and are not guaranteed a seat. After being dropped off, I went through security, which is a bit ridiculous to do since someone could easily hop over the wall into the airport - it is an open to the environment kind of airport.

I waited in a very long line until past midnight when I found myself standing alone, being the last person at the airport with no flight options available to me.   It was the holiday week and things were booked.  What was I thinking???  I called Liz to come back to get me.

 I stayed in Kona for several nights longer and spent time with Liz and Riana.  My delay, a glitch, but it didn't need to be...we headed to a white sands beach...ahh...peace and I could let go of my frustration about not leaving easily.  After a few days in Kona, I had begun to think that I may have been able to stay longer if I had had access to the white sandy beaches, but I didn't since Kalani is on the jungle side of the island with volcanic rock and black sand beaches - not to say it wasn't beautiful, I just resonate more with the white sandy beaches.
Hapuna Beach, Kona
I eventually had to say good-bye to my friends and was left alone in Kona for a night or two.  I wish I had been able to enjoy it more, but I was not being patient and was anxious to leave.  When I finally got on a flight with some paperwork problems around my buddy pass, I was on a plane to Seattle, Washington.  Excitement grew.  I was transitioning to the unknown.  I had no idea what I was going to do there or where I was going to stay...but I was heading there.
See full size imageUpon arrival in Seattle, I was so overwhelmed.  I had been in the remote jungle area for most of my stay on Hawaii and the city life of Seattle was way too much.  I knew immediately that I wasn't meant to stay there even though I had been there before and loved it.

I was staying in a cheap hotel, seeking out a computer when I asked someone about a possible location.  The guy said, Orcas Island.  A day later, after a few calls and getting a good deal with the owner of a B&B, I was off to Orcas island which is a part of the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington.
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I was on my a new experience....and loving the freedom.