11.03.2012

What I did with a $1000...


 When I studied in Thailand a special phrase was permanently embedded in my genes... 'Ko Dee', which means 'good island'. Ko Dee is my name sound and my mantra. Where is the garden of Eden today? In university I used my brain skills to map out islands where the people practice sustainable living and came across a few that stood out in relation to strong positive environmental ethics in Costa Rica, New Zealand and Hawai'i. That was four years ago. Since then I've traveled to many tropical islands and many non-tropical islands, like Ross Island in Antarctica. I went to the all the islands I studied. There's one island that I keep coming back to. It's a heart and spiritual calling. I be putting the intellectual inquires, the bites of the omniscient apple, aside, and time to live. Time to turn wisdom into action. This is now my fourth time in a year and half to Kauai, and I think I'm here to lay my roots down.

Here's to a new beginning. Last week I faced a world of opportunities. My kitchen knives and favorite cookbooks were packed, guitar in hand and I could technically work and live anywhere that needs a cook, baker, artist, gardener, healer, fisherman, etc. The list of attributes of the human potential is eternal. I jumped on Craigslist and began outsourcing my intentions and resume to hundreds of employers and housing hosts in Kauai. With only $1000 to kick start a new chapter on the island I can't afford to spend money on rental cars, vacation housing and fancy foods. So, I then began looking for my own truck or van that I could also use a bed if need be. Wasn't look for anything really attractive, just something that can get me from beach to job to farmers market and get me out of the rain. For food... if I hit up one of the many farmers markets every few days, get a fishing pole and perhaps a job in the food and/or farming industry then I should be well off. And for housing... well, last night I slept in my tent on the beach under the stars and it was... the best sleep I've had in months.

 After 18 hours of flying from Lima to Miami to Dallas to San Jose to Lihue, I arrived at noon and picked up a rent-a-wreck car just so I could get to WiFi and to a beach to continue my job search. I went through my emails and received many responses from room rentals and a few employers. A few of the job opportunities working with farms and the farmers markets stood out, but as of now, I have not said yes to anything. I'm looking for something organic and exciting... something I wake up to each morning and get dressed and be super happy to be going to work. An organic bakery, local foods and health shop, maybe a kona coffee joint, maybe a farm... who knows? Health and happiness are the top of my list right now, because let me tell you, after getting a glance of Lima and Miami and Dallas, I don't think I will be happy in or anywhere near a urbanopolis. I'm not happy in a physical environment that is cancerous. If there's smog, there's cancer in the air. Noise pollution, light pollution, air and water pollution - these things are not natural and not good for human development! In the city I face nature deprivation, I'm ill, help me Mother Earth! What if we took those space wannabe metallic $450,000 per 1 bed room/1bath residences in the sky rises and instead put that money into local farms, sustainable suburbs and conservation?What if we invested more into bike paths and public transit instead of highways built for private vehicles? Maybe we would then have a more harmoniously relationship with the Earth, eh?

The earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, bush fires and such will all do the talking. I am just a man. I can only chose what's good for me and those around me.

Spent yesterday cruising the north shore and chilling in the sun on the beach. Every few hours I returned to a WiFi hub to check on the email replies. At sunset I took a nap on the beach and felt grounded. This is where I am meant to be. Welcome home. It feels like I am back in the garden of Eden where it's okay to be 'naked' and eat from the trees. There is no guilt in being open here. Nothing to hide. I watched the surfers in Hanalei and dreamt of the day I get my own long board. It will take me a couple years to build a relationship here to catch the hale waves, but until I will get to know the sea and the locals on a very personal level. Looking at all the healthy, tan bodies and laughing faces gave me an extra kick to go for a run and do some yoga.

When night arrived my eyes were getting very droopy for I had been up for 48 hours with all the traveling. I drove to Haena beach and pulled out my tent. This beach will be home my for the next little while I thought. I picked a spot next the beach where I could hear the stream and echoes of the waves against the cliffs behind me. The stars shined brilliantly. I put the tent up in about 10 minutes and right when I finished a man with a flashlight came up to me, it was the park ranger. Oh geeze, what have I done? He asked if I had a permit. Nope, didn't know anything about it. "No worries, it will just be $5 and I will write you one up.", he said. Wow, really? Back in Ohio it costs like twenty five bucks to camp next to a man-made lake. $5 x 30 = $150 = one month of camping on one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawai'i. Check it out here.

Next morning I woke to roosters and a pink sky. I stretched my limbs and brushed my teeth next to the beach. While watching the waves I thought how easily amused I am. The sea is timeless and always fluid. It's like a conversation with Mother Earth that never ends. I jumped in the little car and drove to Hanalei to get a cup of 100% kona coffee. I received an email from a guy who had a Isuzu Ranger 4x4 for sale for $650. He said that the back could be transformed into a bed and had a good sound system. There were a number of fixer upper things, but it runs. Memories of the '89 Ford Bronco and black Astro van my dad had came to mind, as did the infamous Love van my grandparents had, which I turned into a bedroom towards the end of it's life. When I actually saw the truck the first thing I noticed was the ceiling falling down, and my dad's little red Pontiac Fiero came to mind. I took it for a test drive... needs break fluid, right window doesn't work, battery is rigged, the audio is worth more than the car itself, windshield leaks, gotta put water in it every day... like watering a garden I guess... I'll take it! It's going to be fun to learn how to do some SUV fixins over the next little while. Good thing the speed limit on the island is like 40 mph and there's not a whole lot of driving one can do. It takes an hour and half to drive around the entire island.

On Monday I am going to the DMV to register my very first vehicle.

Next stop was to a camera store to buy the cheapest camera that fits all the pieces from my drowned camera I used in Peru. The camera from Machu Picchu does turn on and take pics, but none of the buttons work and the lense has a mind of it's own. A new one is in order for the sake of the folks who look at this blog. I'm doing this for you. After buying the truck and a camera I had $250 left. I then went to the Hanalei farmers market to buy some veggies and star fruit to last me a couple days. I forgot about the big bag of quinoa and maca I bought in Peru. Mmm... maca chocolate. After the market I went to the thrift shop and bought a $6 foam to pad to use in both the tent and car for sleeping. In the near future I will find a sublet or apartment, but the location of that will depend on where I work. I'm keeping fluid like the ocean. Baby steps.

I am sitting now in Starbucks with about $200 bucks left. I figure it's worth a $2 cup of coffee for the barter of unlimited internet. Not sure what's next except to keep looking for jobs. I doubt I will get back to the mainland US any soon. Life is good here and the hot, sunny season has just arrived... and I don't think it ever leaves. The island will get busier during the holidays and I think it be a good time to work then. I have enough air miles to either fly back to the States to start over with something (?) or to fly Jessica here for free and get married on the island. I love the second option.

At the start of this year I was working and living in the middle of no-mans-land Antarctica, and from there... Christchurch, New Zealand to Kauai, Hawai'i to Cincinnati, Ohio to Toronto, Ontario, vacationed at Owen Sound, Ontario for a week, then back to Cincinnati, Ohio then cheffed in Bristol Bay, Alaska and then cheffed for three months at Nondalton, Alaska for a fly fishing lodge and back to Cincinnati, Ohio.... then went on a spiritual journey to the Amazon Jungle and Machu Pacchu in Peru and now have landed back on the island in Hawai'i. I'm pulling my wings in. Enough carbon. Enough flying around the world learning about sustainable living when it's right here in front me. This is it.

It's my time to start giving back to Earth. First step for me, buy my organics locally. Then, volunteer with a beach clean-up with the Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club.

Mahalo to all that have helped me over the last couple days!