Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our 4 Year Plan.

We recently visited the Island of Kaua'i.  I thought about this trip more than I should have and resented the fact my mom was forcing us all to go as one big family.  I love to travel but the thought of being a tourist in a formerly native island really bothered me.  I want to love the land and the people who know it, not go gift shopping in a beach front shoppe.  So after much resistance we committed to going.  My mom paid for our flights and hotel {more like a condo} and a few touristy activities as our family's Christmas presents.

After the 7 hour flight, I was unimpressed with what I saw.  I didn't understand why everyone loved this place.  I saw the airport, a car dealership and a strip mall on the way to our condo.  I saw tropical plants that I've seen in places like Florida or San Diego {both shorter distances to travel} and I felt humid, not something I enjoy as someone who is well acclimated to the desert.  My husband and I both kept exchanging looks, like what is the big deal?  Why do people fly all the way over here, there's nothing really *special* about it.

Then, we ate lunch at a burger hut, and headed to the top of the hut where there was an ocean view.  That was part one of my acknowledgement of the space.  I was enjoying a fish sandwich {as a vegetarian I allow myself, wild caught fish when in coastal areas, which is really a post in itself, but basically I'm against factory production of meat not the actual consumption of it}, and looking out into the ocean.  I really appreciated that experience!  The food I was consuming was mostly local and healthy and delicious, and the view was nice too.

After checking in to our hotel we headed to a luau, which was really just a Disneyland-esque interpretation of native celebrations and rituals.  The food was amazing and the drinks, even better.  I think in that event, I was most appreciative of the food as well.  I was trying new foods and the foods I like but usually feel guilty for purchasing because of transportation and shipping impacts on the environment.  That was another acceptance point for me.  I appreciated the local food.

My mom told me to pack some favorite foods because it is so expensive to go grocery shopping. But we did go to Safeway while there and actually spent less there than at our normal Whole Foods for the same organic or name brand items. I think a big misconception about Hawaii is that it's expensive because everything has to be imported. But everything is imported everywhere. Hardly anything I buy at the grocery store is from Arizona let alone Phoenix. I mean we buy a lot of food from the farmers market every week but we also usually spend another hundred a week at the store for items I can't get locally. And on such a small island we could walk or bike almost everywhere reducing the use of gasoline, another huge import to both the mainland and the islands. So, as a consumer I was feeling very comfortable with my purchasing options. We even went to the local farmers market and bought some tropical fruit.

After a few days, it started to grow on me.  It was never hot, although humid.  Never cold, yet breezy.  The stores and restaurants were not many, but enough to feel comfortable, not culture shocked.  The island is isolated but touristy enough to feel connected.

After our hike in the rain forest and the drive to Waimea Canyon, I think is when we both decided.  This is where we could live.  And not just hypothetically, like really live.  Everything there is still natural enough we could live off the land.  There is clean water, air and land, unlike the place we live now.  I love the desert and like a long relationship the thought of breaking up or saying goodbye is painful, but the thought of starting a life with land I can love is inspiring and full of hope.  I think 4 years should be enough time.  Enough time to prepare myself for the split.  To learn about the land I want to live on.  To convince my close family and friends to join us.  To maybe have another baby with the midwife I know and love.  To sell almost everything I have.  To get my Yoga certification and for Husband to continue his education so he can do what he loves in a place he loves.  To leave.  We'll see what happens in the next four years.  That's a long time, but I think moving to Kaua'i just became our 4 year plan.

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