Part 1: Adventure prep.
Once upon a time I wanted to get better at surfing.
"Hmm," I thought, "if I'm going to learn how to not suck at surfing, I should probably start kinda small and work my way up to the harder waves. There's no sense in going straight to Costa Rica or anywhere else with world-famous waves if I don't even know how to stand up! Nah, I need to practice keeping my balance and staying up for longer than half a second." So I looked up "best places to surf for beginners", which led me to the legendary beach of Waikiki, Hawaii!
...so I went to Hawaii! (^that's a photo of Waikiki beach and the crater which I will mention^)
My plan was to leave on Sunday morning, which landed me on Oahu in the late afternoon, and come back on either Tuesday or Wednesday (depending on how flights looked). I spent a few hours the week before going over the logistics of the trip, and I discovered something pretty fr*ckin' neato: I can go surfing in Hawaii for ~$80 a day.
Check this out:
1. Travel - flights: free, public transport: $2.50 to anywhere on the island
2. Lodging - Hostel: $36 a night, two blocks from the beach
3. Food - Street food/grocery store food: ~$20 a day
4. Surfing - Moku boards: $20 for a half day (which is plenty), one block from the beach
...and that's pretty much all you need!!!
I couldn't believe how cheaply I could do something like this, sooooooo I'll probably (*cough*definitely*cough*) be doing this again before my free flights dry up.
Part 2. The Trip.
I left on Sunday afternoon and was the last person to get on the flight, which was pretty scary.. if one other passenger or someone with a higher flying priority than me decided to come... yeah.
I made it to LAX, had a layover for a few hours (not long enough to grab In-n-Out, tragically). Then I made it onto the Hawaii flight as the second to last person. Once again... scary, lol.
I rode the bus from the airport to the hostel, where I procured rations for my stay. After asking the hostel manager about good places to sleep in a hammock, I decided getting mugged by one of the 200 local homeless people wasn't worth $36 for an extra night at the hostel. The manager agree with my decision.
I picked up Hawaiian sweet rolls and P.O.G. juice from the store, then saw a girl with a glowing hula hoop and we talked as we walked toward the beach. I sat on the beach and inhaled my rolls (not a drug reference, btw) and watched the waves. As I was throwing away my empty P.O.G cans I saw Grace (hula hoop girl) walking back along the promenade. I hailed her, attempted (unsuccessfully) to peer pressure her into drinking "2X Your Recommended Daily Amount of Vitamin C!" and chatted about life on Hawaii.
We ended up hanging out the rest of the night as she tried to teach me some hula hoop tricks which I gracefully proceeded to fail miserably at. We met a guy who was walking along the beach juggling for exercise who lived on a sailboat with his wife. They had spent over 60 days at sea traveling from some place near New Zealand to Hawaii where they now lived (apparently port fees are cheaper than rent).
Grace became my official guide of the island. I went surfing in the morning for a solid 4 hours while she was at yoga. Then we met up at a FREE LEI MAKING CLASS which really brought out my inner thug:
T H U G L I F E , I N D E E D .
Afterward, we hiked to the top of the crater nearby. It was supposed to be a 45 minute hike, but we ended up getting up in a solid 24 minutes. I blame it on the fact that my body was still acclimated to the thinner air of mountainous Utah.
We finished off the night by eating street tacos, watching a lady dance the hula at a nice resort (which I had to smuggle my street tacos into, btw).
Grace was pretty cool, and I definitely felt like we were supposed to meet and become friends. I think it's funny how I can end up in a totally strange place, by an awfully improbable sequence of events and happen to be in just the right place to meet a cool person. There was literally a 10 second window where I just happened to cross the street to find myself walking behind some girl with a glowing hula hoop... I almost didn't talk to her, cuz she had her headphones in... I almost didn't see her again as she walked past me on the beach.... It's crazy how little coincidences like this happen. It's times like this, when something nice happens by a sequence of unlikely coincidences, that I can see God's hand in my life. It really strengthens my faith.
WHICH REMINDS ME OF A STORY.
Part 3. A Story I Didn't Plan on Telling
Once upon a time I was going to New York by myself for the first time.
I wanted to go somewhere before I started school again, so I decided to catch a late night, red-eye flight to New York and go hang out there for a day. Now, naturally, I was nervous. Not only was I going to a hᴜցе, Ꮷаｎg℮rංuѕ ϲɪtｙ ... I was going complｅt℮lｙ ɑlonｅ! Yeah, I was freaked out a little. BUT! I was going on an adventure, and nothing was going to stop me! So as I was driving to the airport I said a quick prayer and asked God if he would protect me and help me overcome my anxiety.
I made it on the flight, and as I was walking down the plane, trying to find my seat, I saw this lady that look remarkably like my mother's best friend, a wonderful lady who we loving call "Aunt Diana".
Here's what happened:
Me: hmm. That lady looks a lot like a wonderful lady who we loving call "Aunt Diana"
Me: oh, here's my seat
Me: shoot, wait, this isn't my seat! I'm one row in front!
Me: omg, I'm never traveling alone again
Aunt Diana: ...ben?
Me: ....diana? Wait...auNT DIANA???
A list of facts:
1. Diana was traveling to meet her son in New York
2. Neither of us had any idea the other was going to that same weekend.
3. We just happened to leave on the same night.
4. We just happened to be on the same flight.
5. We just happened to be sitting next to each other.
6. SHE JUST HAPPENED TO BE AN EXPERT AT VISITING NEW YORK
(seriously, she showed me an app I can download that show me all the free bathrooms nearby)
I was so over my anxiety by the end of that flight, I frickin' talked to so many strangers that trip. I stopped off at a Starbucks near Times Square to charge my phone and became friends with two girls from Chicago, I somehow became friends with two other random ladies who were there too. To this day I'm facebook friends with 4 random people I met in New York. They occasionally like my posts, and Nedin has an adorable cat.
Moral of the story:
God is aware of our fears and anxieties, and He wants to help us get over them.
Flights looked better getting home on Tuesday, so I left in the morning and ended up getting stranded in LAX. I decided I'd rather sleep in the Seattle airport (plus flights looked better from Seattle to SLC in the morning), so I jumped on a flight to SEA and slept on the floor (on my travel blow up mattress that I always pack). I got back to Salt Lake and discovered that my car (which I had parked in a sketchy part of town in the parking lot of a hardware store next to a Taco bell just to avoid paying for parking) was completely fine and not broken into. yay.