Lucky to live Hawaii
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
"A Place where growth, gratitude and guardian angels thrive"
Lucky we live Hawaii, the classic hashtag on instagram for those of us lucky enough to have landed out on the beautiful Islands in the Pacific Ocean. This phrase may be seen as thrown around at times...yet, I am here to share my story of why I genuinely feel SO LUCKY TO LIVE IN HAWAII.
Hawaii is more than just palm trees hanging over the oceans edge, views for miles of lush green mountains and tropical flowers all around you... WOW is right.. Hawaii's energy and cultural roots are what truly makes Hawaii a magical place. Now, they say when you move to Hawaii "You either get spit out and sent right back to the mainland or absorbed and drawn to the culture and the beauty of the island"... I must say when I moved out here I was not sure how I was going to feel... how the island was going to react to an activity seeking, social butterfly, cheerleader smiley type like myself... Phew, rest assured from day 1 I have fully been absorbed by the island of Maui and drawn to the abundant positive energy that the surrounding nature provides.
As I first walked up the stairs to my new apartment I was greeted by my first Hawaiian Rainbow right from my front porch. The butterflies were real inside me and I was excited for this awesome journey to begin thinking in my head wow," I am lucky to live in Hawaii."
My first cultural experience took place short there after my arrival on Maui. I went out for my first outrigger canoe club practice and boy I tell you... the butterflies were real in my tummy once again.. yet this time they were butterflies of nervousness. I had never paddled an outrigger canoe before or better yet had no idea what an "ama" was or that the word "Lava" meant STOP! Yet, I trusted in the process and linked up with a new friend (Amy B) that my boyfriend whom I had moved out to Maui to be with introduced me too, so little to say I was nervous to show up alone to my first outrigger cane club practice on my second day on island. (Backtracking to the fact that my other half is a professional stand-up paddle boarder and was traveling in Europe the first 10 days that I arrived on Maui; This led me to fully invest in this adventure and just go for it!) As I jumped into my first 6-man outrigger canoe I knew right at that moment this Hawaiian adventure would be more than just that.. it would become my home and place of refuge. With big shoes to fill being the "SUP Racers girlfriend" I paddled my heart out that first canoe practice... driving my paddle into the water, changing sides every "Hut", "Hoo" that was called and just keeping quiet on the boat, showing my respect for the paddle coaches and gratitude to be included in such an amazing experience.
Gliding across the water with 4 other outrigger canoes and seeing a span of 24 people all out on the water together enjoying the blessings of the Pacific Ocean, WOW. After the 2 hour paddling practice, we all gather in a circle to say one positive word about our paddle experience and as a yogi, I must say I love this part as we all state our positive intentions we received from the Ocean. Without going into more amazing details of the awesome experiences with the Napili Canoe Club I just have to add the expression that we all think in our heads with every stroke we take "Lucky we live Hawaii".
Time has now since passed and I have been lucky enough to be a part of the Napili Canoe club for the past two years now and love every race, event and practice I have the opportunity to be a part of; always remembering how grateful I felt that first practice being welcomed in with open arms by the Napili Canoe club filled with dozens of other people who also shared my love and passion for the ocean.
Now to this day, I have been living on Maui for 2 years and 1 month. SO many amazing experiences that I still can not seem to fathom. My connection with the ocean is more to me than just getting a sun tan or being that cool surfer girl chick. I believe in the connection with your legacy within nature and must I say MAUI IS THE PLACE. An example would be the amazing encounters I have been able to experience with the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles; these beautiful creatures for Hawaiians stand as "a symbol of good luck in the form of a guardian spirit, or Amakua."
When a sea turtle makes his way over to me, whether I am on my standup paddle board, the outrigger canoe or diving deep with my mask on I am almost brought to tears seeing these amazing creatures.
(Back tracking here....as devastation hit in 2017 where I grew up in Florida; I was heart broken- just before I made the move out to Hawaii my father whom was my best friend, adventure buddy and all-time waterman passed away from fighting a hard battle to stage 4 cancer. Time was frozen and a blur... during this time I was blessed beyond belief to have received a message from Josh Riccio stating that he was sorry about my fathers passing and if I ever needed a place to escape that I had a friend in Maui... A few weeks past by and Josh had made it home to the town we both grew up in where he was visiting his family on Anna Maria Island.. HERE is where I meet my other half Josh Riccio out in the ocean back in Florida surfing waves that were brought to us by Hurricane IRMA in 2017... here is where I completely feel in love ...where I soon after I followed him out to his home in Maui, Hawaii which would now become my refuge, my escape and happiest place on earth.- Cont. Love Story Blog post to come later-)
Being present here on this island with things I have recently endured I am here writing about this connection I have with the ocean that is felt deep into my soul in Maui. I am living on an Island surrounded by the ocean and get to experience "water-time" EVERY SINGLE DAY. The fact of being so close to the ocean is truly what makes me sincerely feel "Lucky to Live in Hawaii." I am grateful for every drop of this magical ocean as my dad taught me everything I know about the water; everything from the tides, to currents, to fishing spots, understanding weather conditions, how to stay calm in dangerous situations, how to respect the ocean and so so so much more!
The knowledge my father taught me about the ocean as he shared his passions with me, has truly made every glance I take out to the ocean think of him. I am lucky to feel my fathers presence every time a sea turtle swims up to me, lucky to hear my dads words as I remember to never turn my back to the ocean, lucky to reel in colorful & beautiful fish on the fishing poles he had given me. Enjoying these new fishing memories standing on lava rock walls as I remember all the epic days fishing offshore with my dad!
So with only a blog post to share my life experience thus far out here in Maui; I just have to say that gratitude has flooded my heart and being out here so close to the ocean everyday has truly helped the healing of loosing my best friend, hero, supporter, teacher and father. I think, dream and talk about my dad everyday, he was the man in town who knew all the good fishing spots, the man in town that you could call to help you with your boat trailer, the guy in town that was friends with everyone and always extended out a positive greeting if you were meeting for the first time. My father was one who got things done.... a very successful business man... yet would come home just about everyday after work and take out the boat to go "scouting" for fish, catch bait for the next days fishing adventure or come back from just a quick trip with dinner for my whole family. My father's ways really remind me of the Hawaiian way of life out here; with the mellow vibes, the no rush mentality mixed with those who truly are accomplishing goals and still heading out for sunset surf sessions...The spread of Aloha out here once again brings me back to say "Lucky I live Hawaii"
"Back tracking one more time... Coming from a career in the corporate world, I worked as a Recreation manager for Marriott Hotels and the Ritz Carlton, Sarasota Florida. Working 50+ hours a week, wearing a suit to work everyday and leading successful teams. I must say my dad said several times how proud he was of me for my roles in the Hospitality world after earning my degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. After my dad got sick, unfortunately I was not able to maintain my position as the leader of the department, as my heart was breaking, so I was granted a leave of absence. This leave of absence was needed to take quality care and time with my father which I will always cherish. Briefly,my dreams of working my way up the Recreational and Hospitality corporate latter to one day own my own business was put on hold."
Skipping past the next few months out surfing the beaches of Anna Maria Island during a hurricane swell...I was in my happy place of the ocean, it was here where I believe my guardian angel guided the ocean to allow me to meet the love of my life.Short there after I was granted the opportunity to move to Maui, Hawaii the MECCA of Resort, Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Heaven for someone like myself.
After just a few short weeks on Maui I was able to land several Resort Yoga teaching roles, working at a Local Gym as a group fitness instructor, taught Sup Yoga and Paddling lessons and also working part time for the epic Maui Surfer Girls as a surf instructor. Wow, life was good. Living the dream in Hawaii, keeping my mind busy and allowing myself to drift away on this beautiful island of Maui, embracing all that nature has to provide for healing, growth and connections out here. 2 Years later and 6 part time jobs later I have now landed MY DREAM JOB, owning my own Recreation and Activity business to share my passion for an active lifestyle, yoga and the power of teamwork through recreational activities. I am now the owner of "In-House Retreats LLC" Providing this amazing Maui community with Yoga classes for corporate businesses to provide gratitude for team members and connections within the workplace, Fitness classes for locally owned Resort Properties such as Napili Surf Beach Resort ,offering Retreat-like experiences from the comfort of your own home with Virtual Fitness Training programs and my at home Yoga Youtube Channel in addition to operating my very own Yoga Studio Space within The Block Napili located in Napili Plaza (Schedule hoping to resume June 2020). My business officially opened in January 2020 and I am grateful for all of the connections and opportunities I have had thus far; without speaking much to the virus pandemic that has now put my business on hold... I am still so very excited to make my dad proud again by following my dreams of being a successful business owner just like him!
As I sit here writing this blog on a Friday afternoon in April 2020; there is in fact a "stay at home order" to protect us from the spread of the Virus. YET the amazing Mayor of our state has indeed allowed essential activities which in Hawaii include, ocean time, running on the beach, diving, fishing and best of all Surfing! So with times being tough as the world fights this war against the virus, my new operating business will become virtual..STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES... I am happy, delighted and grateful to say that I have my swimsuit on and ready to jump into the ocean for an afternoon surf session, connecting with nature, embracing fresh air and best of all absorbing all of my fathers love that I feel as I touch into the Pacific Ocean surrounding this beautiful island of Maui. Once again I must say it here, now and present I am "Lucky to live in Hawaii"
Thank you for taking the time to read this story, if you want to know more or dive deeper into any of these thoughts above feel free to comment below! I hope we all get to experience a life of Aloha wherever you may go and I would love to continue to share my journey with you and my business "In-House Retreats LLC" so stay tuned for more to come.
Namaste and Aloha