Why do you travel?

People travel all across to globe to see loved ones, to experience new cultures, learn history and so much more. One motivation that I hadn’t fully considered, was traveling to push my limits and test myself. What about a traveling experience that strips you of material items and leaves you with a whole new mindset?

Bucket List

Wanderlust has been part of me for as long as I can remember. As soon as I got my first job, I noticed that all my paychecks were going directly into my traveling funds. I’ve always gotten a kick out of leaving behind my world for a few days/weeks/months. Putting all the worries of reality behind me just for a moment as I enjoy something new.

I get anxious when I am stuck in the same city for too long. Now that being said, I do think that Austin, TX will always be my home base, but I cannot stay in the same location for too long without going stir crazy. I think a lot of people can relate to this.

Like most people, I have a bucket list of places I really want to explore. Despite all my traveling I have never gone to Hawaii and I wanted to make it part of my 2020 plan. Luckily, Texas State University offers adventure trips and programs and for the first time, they are hosting one in Hawaii.

MIND

I knew this was going to be an intense and new adventure for me. I consider myself an outdoorsy person. I love to hike and swim and test my limits, but in a very low-key casual way. This trip was going to be completely out of my comfort zone. However, I really needed it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn't pass up.

BODY

When we had our first pre-trip meeting, I was so nervous. We went over a “loose” itinerary of what to expect during the trip. In order for this to be a great and safe experience for everyone, it is extremely important that we understand all the procedures put in place. Going over certain things that you wouldn’t expect, such as “not getting sunburned” stuck out to me. Obviously, you don’t want to get sunburned, but we went over how impactful it is to the group if you are unable to move on.

SPIRIT

Through the whole journey, I was testing my limits and my mind. I remember multiple times at night thinking to myself, “what on earth have you gotten yourself into?” But every morning I woke up, packed up my tent with my friends, and kept moving. My inner saboteur would try to knock me off my tracks. Something I learned from one of my friends on this trip, is how to fully clear your mind with peaceful meditation.

Journal Entries

Sometimes when I’m going through a lot, I need to write things down. I decided to share with you the few journal entries I made while on my Hawaiian journey.

January 9th, 2020

Right now, I am currently in my bunkbed at a hotel in Kona. It has been a long and emotionally draining day. I had Kimi, Maggi and Mary over last night to ease my anxieties about the trip. Kimi is so stinking’ sweet! She helped me fold everything properly and helped me decide what to bring and what to keep at home.

I called a lyft and left my house at 5:45 AM. I cried leaving Ruby Toots. She is my everything. I know that is so cheesy but like… this hoe is my home-girl. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about her. She eases my anxieties with her sweet little nose boops.

Anyways... I do love traveling and the buzz of airports. However, the past couple of times have been So melancholy and I think it's because I'm without Ruby. Anyways, I left Austin and flew to DFW. The flight was slightly delayed and so I barely had enough time to grab a sandwich to go before my flight to Kona. Side note: I rock at airports. I am always one of the few that is actually prepared at the TSA check. Also, I got my second bad checked for free and got moved to a window seat.

The guy I sat next to on the plane was super sweet. But he kept asking to share an Uber and go get drinks once we landed. It could have been totally innocent, but I've seen enough dateline to know not to go there.

When I arrived, I felt the sense of, “OMG am I really here?” Not going to lie, I cried because of the excitement and anxiety. My anxiety has been through the fucking roof lately. This trip will definitely help me get away from the buzz of the city. And hopefully fully reconnect myself with nature and reacquaintance myself with stepping outside of my comfort zone. It has been a long time since I took a trip like this.

I got to the hostel and washed my face just to feel somewhat refreshed after a long day of travel period I brought food with me to make because I'm broke AF. One of the girls who joined the hiking trip is staying at the same hostel, so I walked with her to get some food and we had a lovely conversation. I ended up crying twice. I'm so embarrassed but honestly, I needed a good cry.

I watched the sunset with this older woman from California named Kristen. It was so lovely and peaceful. This trip will definitely be a life changing experience. I'm so thankful for my parents who helped me get where I need to be.

January 10th, 2020

Good morning! I had the most wonderful and peaceful sleep last night. I woke up around 7:00 AM feeling amazing. One of my bunkmates was this lovely woman named Joanne. She lives in Victoria Canada! I was so shocked, and we instantly connected because of my family's presence in Victoria Canada. She has such a calming presence about her.

right now, I am sitting in a really comfy chair at the entrance to the hostel I tried to take a cute selfie, but my face just isn't cooperating right now lol.

January 11th, 2020

yesterday was fun Susie olive I went swimming in a lagoon and wow! I loved every second period the ocean wasn't terrifying to me. I saw little Nemo fishies and found a few sea urchins and a sea snake. The ocean felt absolutely amazing.

We met up with the rest of the group around 5:00 PM and drove about an hour and a half. We stayed at a hostel in Hilo called Arnott's lodge. It was so lovely. It poured all night, but I was cozy and safe in my tent. Not gonna lie, the rain here is no f*****g joke. It has rained literally all day I feel really annoyed because everything is so wet, and I hate it. But unfortunately, there is nothing I can do. We are all in this together. All I hope for is everyone to be super safe.

Today I woke up at 5:00 AM and took a hot shower while watching the rain pour it was really lovely and serene.

map

January 14th, 2020

OK so I haven't taken the time I wanted to and sit down and write. Every day has been absolutely exhausting but totally worth it. Mentally, the first part of the trip made me want to cry. Rain is this super huge bummer when all you do is hike. We drove to volcano National Park and set up our campsite right outside of it in a really cool area.

Pulling in, the smell of eucalyptus hits you instantly. We camped under beautiful eucalyptus trees but unfortunately it was on-and-off pouring all day (again). After setting up camp we went into the park and did a few different hiking trails. We went to crater rim and walked inside an actual huge crater . Besides being absolutely soaked from head to toe it was really cool to see the steam and sulfur fields.

The day took a Huge toll on me emotionally and physically. Being soaked like that all day to come back to a damp sleeping bag isn't fun. On top of that, it was windy and freezing. Morale was very low in the group for sure. I was lowkey hoping Andrew and Lexie would decide to cancel our next big hike for the next day, but we decided to not skip out.

We woke up early, divided the food in tent weight amongst ourselves and headed out to our big big hike. Holy s**t it was hard. My shoulders and neck were killing me on top of my insane. Cramps. About 1/4 into the 9.5-mile hike down this volcano comma the soles on both of my shoes ripped off completely. I honestly couldn't believe it. I decided that now I can do absolutely everything I set my mind to. I mean… I knew that before , but now hiking 9 1/2 miles down a volcano on my period in the pouring rain with both soles ripped off my hiking boots and with a 50-pound hiking backpack on my back… holy s**t I am so strong. It was insane because as soon as we got to camp comma the rain stopped.

The campsite we stayed out was insane!! it was a completely secluded Cove (because you have to hide down a f*****g volcano to get there). it was like something out of a movie. We hung out for a day exploring more coves cracking open coconuts playing in the sand etc. etc. . The water was crystal clear. You could see right through the water and touch beautiful coral and fish swam between my legs it was magical.

LNT

As a group, we practiced a LNT lifestyle. LNT stand for, Leave No Trace. I honestly had no clue how big of an impact us as individuals can make on Earth even if you already think you’re doing great! I was the type of person who actively recycles and composts. I like to think I’m doing my fair share for mother earth, but it is never too late to learn some new and useful tips.

There are seven principles that we learned and actively were mindful of while on our journey. I’m only going to review the first three because we used them the most. The LNT center put these principles in use so they can be adapted and applied anywhere- whether you are in a remote wilderness area, to local parks. These apply to almost every recreational activity.

lnt baby

Principles

Principle 1: Plan ahead and prepare

This is so important, especially when you are planning a big backcountry expedition like we were. Planning is crucial because it helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals. By early planning, it helps you understand what is and what isn’t needed for the trip and reduced your resource damage.

Principle 2: Travel and Camp of Durable Surfaces

Travel on trails!! This is so important. Trails were made to protect as much nature as possible. When we go off the path, not only is it potentially very dangerous to you, but you are destroying plants and habitats without even knowing it.

Principle 3: Dispose of Waste Properly

This is a no-brainer! DO NOT LITTER. When you are backcountry hiking, there usually isn’t a place to throw away your trash… and your poop!! We were lucky to have a “compost pooping” place set up on one of our trails. Also, making scat holes is a great alternative too. But seriously, you should always bring extra Ziploc bags with you for wipes and things that aren’t biodegradable. I was on my period and I had to carry around my used tampons for three days until I came to a proper waste bin.

What is next?

The impact this trip has had on me is unreal. Whether it is a mental or physical challenge, I am so ready to take it on. Before signing up for this trip, my friends and I would joke around about how I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone. Boy were we all wrong. I found myself at the front of the line with our group leader almost every hike. I took each challenge with a grain of salt and rose beyond what I could imagine. I was inspired by my friends on this journey with me, and by mother nature. I know it is so cheesy, but I have a real thing for her. Never fear, I am encouraging my friends to all go camping with me once we are able to go out and socialize again. Life is so short, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to spend the majority of my time with mother nature. Traveling has always impacted me in a positive way and now I am so excited to continue to explore this new side of adventure.

babykaty

Please enjoy this video montage of my Hawaiin Adventure