Raro-where-a?

Respect the world as your self:

The world can be your lodging.

Love the world as your self:

The world can be your trust.

—Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching


Wikipedia’s Rarotonga: The Cook Islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. Rarotonga is the largest of fifteen major islands, with a population of 14,153. Surrounded entirely by a lagoon, the island has a circumference of 20 miles, an area of 26 square miles, and houses Te Manga, a volcano with a 31-mile diameter.

Lindsey’s Rarotonga: A kick-ass tiny little Polynesian jewel with glassy, turquoise water, no stoplights, beautiful beaming brown boys, and a heavenly fruit called “star apple” with a taste I can only describe as pure love.

For the first official blog off U.S. soil, I wanted to make sure and convey how absolutely in tune with the universe I am at this particular moment in time. After three arduous, chaotic months of preparation characterized by a mix of excitement and a fear of the unknown, I can finally exhale.

I allowed myself a few tears when I hugged my sis and headed from CO to NE, then a few more when I hugged my mom goodbye … but even then it was still just a concept, a future goal from which I was distracted by the million and one details that needed to be taken care of. Even at all these milestones — the simplification process which took months and included packing and repacking, giving things away, selling stuff on craigslist, and leaving behind goods at sis and mom’s; the going away party at the Ballhouse, the goodbye/birthday dinner in Omaha — it just didn’t seem real yet. Plus there was still 11 hours in the air to get through, which, if you know me, was like facing a 50-foot brick wall and being told to  scale it with no gear. But 3 movies, about 14 different positional attempts at sleeping, a few repetitions of a buddhist meditation mantra during the brief turbulence, and a supper and a breakfast later, the Air New Zealand pilot announced the descent to Rarotonga. This is when the tidal wave hit me. Every little thought I’d had since making this decision culminated in a blissful rush of reality and actualization. The ever-looming feelings of failure for of the millions of ideas I’d never followed through on ceased to matter.  My destiny, my happiness was unfolding before my eyes and I made a promise to myself to love and appreciate every single thing that happened to me from this point forward.

Day 1 was an incredible discovery process — from the moment I stepped off the plane at 7 am until I closed my eyes that night, I was in a state of awe. Eating my first fleshy purple star apple at breakfast was a sensory, almost transcendent experience I cannot even put into words. And jumping into the most perfect, temperate, beautiful ocean water I’ve ever imagined was equally as pleasurable. I fell asleep with a feeling of sheer contentment, gratitude and protection. Leaving all the trappings of my structured life seemed to thrust me out into an unsafe spot, and I incorrectly assumed it would take me months, even years to feel “safe” and “secure” out here. I was wrong.

I was awoken at around 2 a.m. by an aggressive, relentless storm that went on until morning. I was simultaneously amused and frightened by the fast and hard rain, especially after such a serene sunny day  — and it seemed that this was Jah’s way of reminding me to never get too comfortable, to remain humble and aware of my own impermanence, and to remember that fear is a necessary balancing agent of inner contentment and confidence.

I’m smack dab in the middle of Day 2 and I have already developed a strong, affectionate attitude towards this island. I got up at 6:30 today, stretched, ate 3 apple stars and worked for a few hours, then headed to the pool, then the lagoon, then the free SCUBA lesson in the pool. Beach volleyball happens in 10 minutes, and I’m excited to go night snorkeling at 9.

There’s this light brown puppy doggy that has taken a liking to me – so much so that he followed me around the beach last night, hung out while I watched the crab races under tiki torches, and walked me home along the shore. I call him Fish. Making friends with locals and getting to the heart of the cultural oddities is fun, and I can’t wait to go into town. This one Kiwi asked me what the U.S. is like and said he always wanted to go there. He is an ex-pro rugby player with 4 houses who just moved here to work on the resort just because he loves the ocean and wants to be here. People seemed shocked when I say that I am traveling alone and that I am staying for so long. Resort life is enjoyable, but everyone around me has a script for life after their “holiday.” I am reminded how lucky I am. This new lifestyle I’ve adopted is definitely an anomaly, and I feel so blessed to be doing what I’m doing. I look forward to the next hour and the next day in a way I never have before. This elevated attitude of gratitude and curiosity is exactly what I set out to find. Ironically by choosing to become homeless, I have found a definition of “home” I never even knew existed. Mom says “Home is where they understand you.” I’d like to take it one step beyond to express that HOME is where you can better understand yourself, where you can become intimately acquainted with your own soul and access those distinctive powers that make you amazing. Out here, there’s no hiding from yourself, and I’m liking what I see.

Two things I’ve learned so far: 1) I will spend as much lifetime as possible on islands and 2) I brought too much stuff. Big Love –  more to come. 🙂

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sissy
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 08:45:15

    Wowswers! I am so freaking jealous right now, there was FROST on my car when I came out of work tonight! I am so proud of you, Sissy. I don’t believe I could ever pull off what you’ve done, and have yet to do in this world. You are glowing in your pictures, the feeling you have on the inside is on your outside too. You have been good to your body & mind, and they’re treating you right in return. Don’t lose focus, always remember the feeling you had when you walked into the ocean for the first time over there.
    I pictured you doing that with a big fat smile on your beak. Keep up the blog, I will deal with this whole thing much easier that way. I will make it a routine for Ky and I (and B-Rad!) to read them and look at pics. I want a pic of your new dog. Keep up on Facebook too. I love you, Sissy, be safe.

    Reply

  2. Ali
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 15:10:26

    Girl! I’m sooo proud of you and all that you have done to get where you are! Your inner child is getting to explore and I’m so happy for you! Thanks for sharing your moments! I can’t wait to read more! Love you!!!

    Reply

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