I’m hungry. All I’ve eaten today is a tortilla with black beans which was very bland and disgusting, but sometimes it feels good to “rough it” for a while when the past two weeks you’ve been wining and dining in Napa Valley’s Michelin star restaurants and Southern California’s trendiest brunch spots by the ocean.
I’ve been awake since 2:30 am. It’s 9:50 pm east coast time. Only 3:50 pm Hawaiian time. I’m hungry and exhausted, but I’m in that mood where I can’t really eat because I’m heartsick.
I feel a tightness in my chest. A tightness in my throat. Tears are welling up in my eyes. I want to numb and distract and cling to anything that feels familiar. Boyfriend? Netflix? Books? Writing? Facebook and Insta scrolling?
I know this feeling. I’ve experienced it many times before. It’s the feeling when I arrive some place new, the feeling of the unknown. The feeling of leaving behind my safety net and my comfort zone and risking it all by leaping into the great wide unknown.
I could list the number of times and the places I’ve been where I’ve felt this way. Where I’ve felt lonely, alone, sad, nostalgic, heartsick, overwhelmed. The ache of missing home. I’ve felt it on a busy night out on the town in Dublin. I’ve felt it in an airport lounge in the Ukraine. I’ve felt it on a beach in Portugal. I’ve felt it watching the sunset with strangers in Bali. I felt it (for the first time) as a teenager somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles. I’ve felt it on the streets of New York City.
The thoughts come – what am I doing here? Why did I think this was a good idea? Should I just buy the first flight I find back? You don’t have to do this, you know. Why do I do this to myself?
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I knowingly put myself through this heart torture of missing the people and places that I love in new and unfamiliar territory?
I look around me and can’t help but laugh. I’m surrounded by the prettiest green foliage and the sun is hitting it just right where it’s bathed in this lemony glow. I got woken up by roosters this morning and got startled by a loud thunk and realized it was a fresh coconut falling off a palm tree. After I ate my bland black bean and tortilla I went for a walk in the garden and discovered gauva and starfruit trees.
Following your heart and taking a risk isn’t easy. This is the hard part. But where there’s risk, there’s hopefully reward. I remember those sweet moments of reward. Of how every risk was actually leading me closer and closer to my heart and my soul. How every risk led to something bigger and greater and better than if I had stayed “safe” and “small” in my comfort zone.
The night in Dublin led to watching a piece of Irish theater I will never forget. The airport lounge in the Ukraine led to me spending a month in India and having the most life giving, soul transforming time of my life. The beach in Portugal led to new seashells and treasures I still carry with me on my altar. The sunset in Bali led to learning how to surf and how to truly follow my desire and intuition. The hills in Los Angeles led me to life long friends and the first time I believed in myself as an artist. The streets of NYC led me to a new job and new experiences and eventually, a new home.
I followed my heart to Hawaii. More specifically, to the island of Kauai. I had a flight booked home to CT after a two week stint visiting family and friends in California but instead I saw someone posting on Instagram about a room available in their Kauai home for the month of October and I thought “fuck it”.
I knowingly signed up for a mandatory 2 week quarantine for a chance to be by myself, commune with pachamama and my body and my soul, and spend the last two weeks of my time on the island sleeping on the ocean. I was so anxious before I got here. I thought – won’t it be torturous to be by the ocean but not be able to go? Hawaii is lifting the mandatory quarantine on Oct. 15th and I was arriving on Oct 4th. Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait and go when I can actually enjoy the island?
Sense or no sense, I went. My mind said what? But my heart said yes. And I’ve learned to listen to my heart. Because even though right now she feels tender, small, and needs to be taken care of (facetime calls with your loved ones, writing out your feelings, and yoga help) I know that where there is risk, there is reward.
To getting out of your comfort zone and eating tropical fruit along the way. Mahalo.