I recently journeyed to a land I call my happy place! It was an incredible time away and symbolic of many things for me.

I have held back from many things in my life thus far, simply because of fear. It’s been my goal to continually stretch myself to grow and venture out of my comfort zone, and to be very intentional throughout 2013 and on. So far some of those things have included going to a movie by myself (people ask what movie every time, so I’ll tell you too; Les Miserables), writing in ways I’ve not written, such as in the form of lyrics and short stories, illustrating, creating my own home gym, work out schedule, and following through with consistent workouts, changing the way I eat to feel better, slowly parting with things in my home to simplify, eating out at restaurants by myself, and there’s more. The most recent is going on a solo trek to Kona, Hawaii. I’ve traveled heaps in my lifetime… always with or to be with others, but never anywhere to be by myself. It’s sort of intimidating to think about doing so, but I spontaneously did it.

My first adventure by myself to be with me, myself, and I… and my Heavenly Father.

It was… absolutely incredible. It was purely empowering. It was excitingly liberating.

I gained more independence, in a good way. The lie that I needed to have at least one person by my side in order to enjoy myself or feel secure and valuable was… crushed! I believe courage is always gained when we stand up to our fears and triumph over them; something else I believe I gained a bit more of.

An observation I had on this expedition was that, generally speaking, when anyone is with someone else or a group, they tend be more focused on who they are with and less approachable (not always though)… Many people approached me and I approached many people everywhere I went, and I had really great, extraordinary, and fulfilling conversations with heaps of interesting characters. Every morning I would pray that God would sew His light, love, hope, & truth into the land I walked and whomever I encountered, and so I was eager for each day, wondering who I would chance upon. I do have a story to follow this post about a particular man I was blessed to spend time with.

Another precious attribute I found and gained was joy; something dear to me that has, in recent months, gone astray due to a period of grieving and letting go of losses. One of my intentions of this trip was to go away and refresh, because I am soon starting something new and good. To return with joy is something I did not anticipate, and I well up with tears of gladness and gratitude as I write this.

People questioned me with disbelief, “You’re here all by yourself?!?!” My light-hearted reply, “Yeah!! Why not?! It’s awesome!” Followed by, “Wow! That’s really neat; good on ya!!… I don’t know if I could ever do that.” Folks, I highly encourage doing something like this… So much to gain and learn about yourself and your surrounding brothers & sisters. You’ve heard what it’s been for me… I would love to hear what it’s been or is for you once you do so. Truly each day was the best day of my life. Cheers! (photos & captions below)

kona_hawaii_2013-1got my cuppa, now off I go, where I fall is where I land… let’s see where I land!

kona_hawaii_2013-2very first stop; Hayashi’s You Make the Roll Sushi… this has been my absolute favorite sushi place for 5 years now, and if you ever go to Kona, be sure to eat here! Lots of warm memories with this place and friends…

kona_hawaii_2013-3sushi + seaside = BEST!

kona_hawaii_2013-4THIS, Kua Bay, is one small square of my most happy & favorite place ever.

kona_hawaii_2013-5…and then this happened.

kona_hawaii_2013-13look in the ‘A’!!!! there were so many whales leaping out of the water… incredible sight.

kona_hawaii_2013-7underwater ocean adventures!

kona_hawaii_2013-8Mahai’ula Beach

kona_hawaii_2013-9Otis, the crab

kona_hawaii_2013-10watch out… the coral bites!

kona_hawaii_2013-6got to sunbath & chill with this stud, my new friend, Charlie!

kona_hawaii_2013-12and this is his cousin, Babes.

kona_hawaii_2013-11Mahai’ula Beach…mmm yes.

kona_hawaii_2013-14underwater selfie

kona_hawaii_2013-15Kahalu’u Beach… so in love

kona_hawaii_2013-16Kailua-Kona signage

kona_hawaii_2013-19purrrrdy

kona_hawaii_2013-18CHEERS EVERYONE!!!

kona_hawaii_2013-17best hawaiian ice cream flavor… mmm it’s best to say it in an Aussie accent 😉

kona_hawaii_2013-20I hung out & talked with this guy for quite a while. I’ve always known him as Old Man Ocean… five years ago he let me take his portrait. Today I was around town taking photos and happened upon him. I asked him what his actual name was, his response, “I have many names.” I asked him which he preferred, and he told me that he doesn’t like any of them because they put a label on him. So I will continue to know & label him as Old Man Ocean. We walked and talked around town for about an hour and a half, and then he generously allowed me to capture additional photos… his eyes; they are such a crystal clear blue, and when he smiles they twinkle. Although I wasn’t able to capture him in his element of smiling, I am thankful to have been able to focus in on his amazing eyes. More of the story and photos coming in next post!

kona_hawaii_2013-24the wave exclaimed to me, “this is how I roll!”, as it captured me in its fierce strength and pinned me down into the sand until I cried, “Mercy! Mercy!”

kona_hawaii_2013-26so I was kneeling down to get a photo of the sun going down, and this sweet lady asked, “would you like for me to take your photo?”, and I replied, “sure!” I wanted to pose as I did here, squeezing the sun, and the sweet lady was maneuvering around like a true photographer, and even got down on her knees on the pavement! truly brightened my day

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kona_hawaii_2013-27…oh how I’ve missed this place & such authentic worship… (University of the Nations YWAM)

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kona_hawaii_2013-28before I left, the ocean reached over and gave me a gentle scratch & rub on the back and affirmed, “you’ve got this Linds…”

kona_hawaii_2013-29then I had to kiss the ocean & tropical sunshine g’bye for just a bit… I’m forever & always a beach girl to the core.