From the first pages I loved it. Well, the first pages were all about how great she is and how many people she helped, and I didn't love the self-promo (common, if the book sells, it means it works, I bought it/borrowed it, lets move on), but then it was great. Right from the start the first suggestion was to start writing "morning pages". You know, diary type of thing, 3 pages at the minimum. Somehow this spoke to me loudly. I have to admit, I am far from a diary sort of girl. I never had one as a teenager, or a young adult. All my life I preferred to do things, not day-dream on the paper, and I was way too busy working a bunch of jobs since I remember I could, and my creativity in writing went onto paper assays Soviet school system had us do a lot of. Straight "A's" and pages written on all kinds of topics later, this, of course, also brought me to blogging. But diary - never. The only things I did put down in my life were quotes - I love writing quotes from books I read into journals, and I have two of those, one from Russia written in Russian, from my early days, and one in English, written in my first decade here. With blogging I sort of dropped it and put quotes into my posts (and I am sad about that as now I don't have a "one place for all", because I could follow my life's interests and thoughts by what I read and what I chose to put down for memories).
Well, "never" a diary will be lying. I did start writing in January of 2014, exactly in this journal I have now - one I gave Larry for his first birthday of our dating life. I forgot about that since it went for about 2 months, sparse and short, and felt forced. Then last year, 2016, I wrote 3 daily gratitude notes in it for 9 months and 9 days - I stopped on my birthday. That was fun and helpful, but some life's events made me more aware of "wrongness" of during that period. I needed time to process without squeezing cute affirmations.
Still, this time this diary idea, the morning 3 pages, felt natural, and I pulled the very same journal right away, as soon as I read the suggestion. And I wrote. And wrote. 3 pages were easy, it went 5, 6 in a morning, and the only reason it wasn't even more was time strain and my hand and arm would be getting so tired I even managed to get a serious muscle knots in the forearm! Handwriting is a task long forgotten...It helped with the thought flow that from day 3 the pages were written while in the dark, with a sound of crushing ocean waves below from the window...
Oh, the sound of the ocean. Welcome to Hawaii, island of Kauai. Aloha to us. At the end of last year Larry's younger sister got engaged, and as her husband-to-be grew up in Kauai and still has family here, this is where the wedding spot was picked. After a little hesitation (it is a crazy expensive trip after all, and a long flight, not to mention Larry and I never had an urge to go to Hawaii - I know, shocking), we decided that a) we can't miss such an event when Stephanie's already not going to have much family besides mom and dad, and b) we'll use an opportunity to actually make a visit, form our own opinion, and check it off the state's list. But besides being thrilled for the bride, we weren't really thrilled for the rest of it - and when we voiced it, people scolded us. Common, folks, don't get defensive! Some people are just not into water/ocean/swimming and/or humid/muddy/populated/short trails. But we were totally up for an adventure with an open mind.
And the moment we stepped off the plane, inhaled the ocean air and saw palm trees - we were smiling. Vacation time, and we are on Hawaii!!!
Then, a shore drive from the bottom (south) end of the island where Lahui airport is to the north-east end where we were to stay (and where Napali coast trail begins). The views were great, the wind blew the humidity away, chickens roamed freely (Kauai has a thing with wild chickens - and wild cats, as in cats and chickens running wild and multiplying on their own) and the mountains shot straight up. Gorgeous scenery!
Napali coast trail. Since we didn't have a permit for the whole 22 mile out-n-back, and the first 2 miles are "for all", we did that plus another 2 miles to the tallest waterfall on Hawaii - Hanakapai Falls, some 300 feet tall. The hike went straight up without hesitation, steep steps, rock, roots, mud and all - and those first 2 miles provided for beautiful coastal views for sure. We even ran some!
But the Hanalei coffee shop was THE best with 3 shots of mighty awesome espresso per cup of anything (Mocha for Larry and Americano for me), and relaxing was good for a change. In the evening, we had a pre-wedding dinner with family and friends of the bride (pretty much just us and parents) and groom (about 30 people total). It was at another beach house catered with Hawaiian food, and we got to meet our new family extension.
My day 4 had me sleep in until 4:30 am! The morning pages felt rushed, and the sunrise walk didn't happen, as we were in a hurry to drive over 2 hrs around the island to a north-west shore to beat the tourists - that's the other end of Napali coast, but the road doesn't connect on the north end. That West shore is drier and somewhat different, and we played vacationers ourselves, stopping at the view points, doing only 2 miles out-back hike (on the muddiest ugliest trail, may I add!) and admiring the views of sharp knife-edge mountains splitting into the ocean, and the ocean merging into horizon with the sky. We even saw another island! But by 11 am the people came in drove, buses, cars parked everywhere, elbowing each other to take a picture - and we ran away as fast as we could. If that's the "shoulder of the season", what is the season then??!!
And a second stop was by a real coffee plantation - a LARGEST in US, with 4 million trees (they counted!). We learned how the coffee trees grow (and get trimmed), how the beans get collected and dry (and roast eventually), and which ones have more flavor versus more caffeine. We got to try different varieties, and of course I bought a bag for myself! Drinking it as I type:)
Larry and I are both creatures of the routine. I love traveling a whole lot, and do it often, but every one of those trips, even a tiny 2-day-away, takes me out of my comfort zone. I want to eat my vegetables that I cooked myself (I always fall prey to eat whatever when travel and don't even try hard enough) , I want my routine of exercise, sleep pattern and wake up calls, my work not to be strained (around every trip I work more hours as an hourly employee without vacation time to make up the money lost when not working), and I definitely want my "back room" as I call it, my creative room with lots of yarn in the baskets, cross-stitch framed pictures on the wall, needles in a glass, my laptop (I don't really like using my smartphone that much), my books, and a pile of ready-for-hiking stuff.
"The morning pages are both our wilderness and our trail". Gosh, how did she write THAT in her book? My wilderness and my trails are my soul, and they are in my daily work. I do what I have to do, and the inspiration comes, and if I enjoy the journey - the outcome is already spectacular.