Aloha from Hawaii! As you can see from the slight tweak in my logo, this born and bred New Yorker has flown west for the winter. I moved here a few months ago and have been living and working on an organic farm out here on the Big Island as its newest Communications Coordinator.
You may be wondering why I decided to make such a move (especially considering that my blog is called Born and Bred in Brooklyn), but what it came down to is that I was craving a change and desperately seeking something new, so when I came across this job listing in a part of the world I had never been to before, I knew that I had to apply.
Living here has been as amazing as it has been challenging. At first, the homesickness for both my family and for New York was quite strong, and, admittedly, almost every day I still crave the comforts of the city, but then a beautiful butterfly will lazily float by, or I’ll see a breathtaking sunset, or a rainbow will appear after a light rainfall and those are the moments when I remember why I came here.
Where I live is on a farm in North Kohala, known as the Hawai’i Institute of Pacific Agriculture aka HIP Ag. It was founded back in 2011 and has continued to grow ever since. They host interns and apprentices, teach workshops on Hawaiian culture, mentor children on farming, and provide fresh fruits and veggies to the local schools. They are hoping to create the next generation of farmers and ultimately lead the Hawaiian food sovereignty movement because, as of right now, up to 85% of food is still imported here (hence the enormous price tag on a lot of food). Just the other day I saw a bag of bagels for over $7, which was truly a sad moment for this New Yorker.
With all that said, I still don’t think it’s quite hit me that I live where I do. Had you asked me a year ago if I’d be living in Hawaii, I’d probably have scoffed, but now I’m here and every day I am testing my limits, pushing my boundaries, and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Already I’ve been lost in the woods at night alone, solicited for a blow job while trying to hitch a ride (hitchhiking is apparently fine out here), and peeing outside has become quite the norm. I’ve also met some pretty cool peeps, swam is amazing beaches, and have seen sea turtles sunbathing on the sand, so I think it’s all about perspective. I never want to tell anyone how to live their lives, but I truly do believe that we grow by doing things that make us just a little uncomfortable because what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, right?
I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but I’ll stay for as long as my heart says and not a moment longer. Coming here is something that I am proud of and something I’ll be able to look back on when I’m old and wrinkly (which will hopefully not be for a long, LONG time) and say that I did. So if you’ve been wanting to take that leap but have been too afraid, now may just be the time. I was super hesitant to do so, but the thought of asking myself for the rest of my life, “what if?” was too much to bear. Ultimately, what I’ve come to realize is that Hawaii is awesome, Hawaii is amazing, and Hawaii is my home (for right now, at least), so let’s do, see, and eat everything. Who’s with me??