Maui I’m Coming Home

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“Why did you leave Hawai’i?!”
I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count.
But the truth is, stagnation.
My life became stagnant.
Though my social life was good, and nature was always comforting.
The rest of my life felt…like it wasn’t going anywhere.
It was my own personal Hell in Paradise.
I worked several jobs living  paycheck to paycheck.
I was merely surviving – definitely not thriving.

My dreams of world travel felt almost impossible due to finances,
Some of my family felt like strangers, especially my 5 younger siblings.
And I was doing the same damn thing, everyday, my light was dimming.

Maui was the first place that felt like home.
Between two families, one of which is military, I lived a nomadic life.
But Maui was different.
Maui comforted me and took care of me, in sickness and health.
It was comfortable.

But like any relationship, when the intrigue and exploration stops- the fire slowly smoulders until there’s nothing but embers left. 

And just like a pile of embers in the ashes, my life became stagnant.

I needed a shift.
An adventure would surely spark my fire.
Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable,
Navigating through new places
Experiencing new land, culture, language and cuisine.
But, I needed the funds…
Internally I began to wonder:
“So… how can I legally make a large sum of money, and quickly?”

A friend told me that cocktail waitressing in Las Vegas for the summer could make me bank.
With little convincing, “I’ll do it!”
So I did, I applied to various cocktail waitressing positions, locked down several interviews, tied up my loose ends in Maui, put my stuff in storage and jetset to Las Vegas, NV.

I arrived in Vegas, eagerly ambitious to begin this new adventure in a city I’ve never been to, where I knew no one.
Maybe not my smartest decision, but do I get points for gumption?!

The ‘interviews’ for the cocktail waitressing were more like ‘auditions.’
Which sometimes could be up to 8 ‘auditions’ per job.
…To serve drinks by a pool.
And let’s get real, Vegas is very superficial, and I do not look like a model.

I quickly learned that Vegas and I were not going to get along.
Coming from a lush tropical landscape to an artificial oasis in the middle of the desert was more than a shock to the system.
What felt like 6 months of heartache and hustling to make ends meet…
Was actually only 3 weeks.
And yes, I cried everyday.
“Why did I leave Hawai’i Nei?” I would repeat to myself.
I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone right?

I had to continue forward, though the comforting shores of Maui lulled me back, I knew I needed to keep moving on with my adventure.

My mom finally got sick of hearing me cry so she told me to come stay with her.
After googling El Paso, TX I see I could make it there in 11hrs.
“I’ll see you in two days”
And off I went, on a roadtrip through the desert.

After 3 super fun months in El Paso, my mom and I made a roadtrip to FL.
My sweet Mama (maternal grandma) had passed over, ending her long battle with Parkinson’s.
I was able to help prepare and be present for her funeral and for my Papa and Mother.
That itself was a blessing.

I then made a family “pitstop” in St. Simons Island, GA.
I quickly realized that my need for an adventure wasn’t about making a bunch of money and traveling the world solo, it was reconnecting with family and honestly myself.

It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve been back in Georgia.
What a journey it has been!
I’ve strengthened my bonds with family and friends.
I’ve dealt with the healing of underlying PTSD, trauma, and depression that I didn’t realize was ultimately affecting my life and my relations.
I obtained a full time job that gives me freedom to work remotely – allowing me to prosper both internally – and finally financially.
I’ve redone my website for my art and started this blog.
I even got to travel!
I took a 6 week trip travelling through Europe and the Middle East as well as numerous trips around the US.
The tables have finally begun to turn in my favor. Is this what adulting feels like?!

I knew St. Simons wasn’t the place for me long-term, but I’m grateful it’s where I landed during this time.
And once again it is time for me to continue my journey, home is calling me back.
Maui, I cannot wait to hug you.
I cannot wait to be immersed in the aloha culture and community again.
When I look back at what I’ve accomplished in the last 3 years, I am so thankful.
I’m not coming back empty handed, I simply added more tools in my tool belt.

During this transition I am having a huge moving sale for all my artwork.
I want to get my art into peoples homes and business’ instead of them collecting dust in a closet.
Liven up your space and help me lighten my load.

A portion of all proceeds will be donated between the NAACP of Georgia and the GVB Foundation which provides necessary resources to individuals and organizations helping women and children recover from trauma.*

Onward and Upward, My Friends.

Stay in touch <3

*If you have a charity of choice, I will gladly donate your proceeds there.