Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first overseas trip: a year on- Hawaii and final thoughts.

Hawaii  13/07/2010 and final thoughts

I started my stay in Hawaii with a few days at a retreat on the Big Island. The ocean is across the road from the retreat and it is so quiet and peaceful. At night you can hear frogs and insects sing. I go to sleep with natures own symphony. The meals have Vegan and Gluten free options!!. On my first night here I went to a healing circle. The next day I had a Lomi Lomi Massage from a Hawaiian Shaman!! It was so relaxing.. This was the best idea after my hectic travel across the western globe... I also did something that I never thought I would do! I walked to a beach that had black sand and was 'clothing optional' beach.. I arrived and as I was the only one there that had swimming trunks on... I stripped off and swam naked in the ocean!!! WOW !!! I was a bit scared, but thought.. I will do something that I would not normally do... and it was liberating....  The surf was rough and a few times waves washed me under... but I was ok... I went back to my towel and lay naked in the sun and dried off... who would have ever thought!? (Fear not dear friends, it won’t be repeated).

Despite napping that afternoon, I went to slept early that evening! This time here has been about me catching my breath and catching up on the sleep I have missed. In essence this has been about me re-energising. Saturday morning I went on a tour to 2 places that are culturally significant here. One place was called ‘green lake’ and another I cannot recall but both places were so beautiful. I have thought about C in New York a few times and how lovely it would have been to not only get to know him more, but to also have him here in Hawaii. I am doing a little meditation here and feeling more centered. I walked out into nature and had a realisation that I was kind of wrong in thinking I would find something on my trip. It was never about finding any ‘thing’, instead it was about self-discovery. I feel empowered in the knowledge of who I am and what I am capable of. I feel strong and free and able to achieve anything. This was what was awaiting me.

Soon comes the time to leave the retreat and I spend my final night in Hawaii in Honolulu. Because it is quiet season I have a great hotel room for a very cheap price. I walked the streets of Honolulu in the evening, wearing my linen pants, campers and polo. I saw the tourist mecca that is Honolulu, all bright lights and crowds. I walked along the beach and did some shopping. I then ate at a 24 hour diner kind of place which had a karaoke bar next door. I was drawn in, so brought a beer and listened. The karaoke man was a hoot and liked to join in and badly sing back up from time to time. Two single singers teamed up on the spur of the moment and dueted on 'Suddenly, it was great!! Another highlight was this large, boring looking middle aged man singing some song that went- “I just came here to chill....there are no VIP's just you and me”... it was fantastic in its cheesy-ness !!! Talk about land of the free and home of the brave!!!
Pictorial intermission:

Green Lake, including rain and algae:

Black sand beach- clothing optional... yes this is the place: 

Hilo airport and the very comfy (& large) seats:

Oh yeah... fun for the whole family! So wrong, for so many reasons:

Holiday time means- Mai Tai time!

Final thoughts:

One thing that struck me about Hawaii was the number of indigenous people here. It is beautiful and they seem proud. There is a movement towards sovereignty as well- I will definitely support them! I reflect with sadness how own indigenous people are hidden, and are now a tiny percentage of the population. They are the traditional owners but are now displaced and largely viewed negatively. It is terrible. I can't help but feel really sad, a sadness that takes over... we have displaced a whole race of people... for our office blocks, and brunches and cafe lattes.. for our fancy cars, bank accounts and for the shallowness of modern life.... transient relationships, shallowness abounds, but have no fear for we are the victors, displacing the uncivilized and converting them to a life of modernity.. but what does that mean?.. our  civility seems only to extend to our peers, not to those deemed to be ‘beneath us’... wog, fag, dole bludger, no hoper, darkie, drug fucked...all hate filled labels, which in our civility we fail to see past…So much for modern life! Our gift to the displaced is our condescension and arrogance… but for now I'll pause and collect myself.. for I am off again.. railing against all, including myself.. 

One a brighter note.... I have Simon and Garfunkles 'Homeward bound' in my head... switching occasionally to 'the only living boy in new york'... the songs fill me with warmth...I am off home...not to cart luggage about, make connecting flights nor to take my shoes off to go through security checks and scanners. I am off home to the 112 tram, my friends and family, that which is familiar  and to my own home and bed.... I think of NY and I think of Billy Bragg’s "the saturday boy".. which I played on my flight... 'in the end it took me a dictionary, to find out the meaning of unrequited...., I  never understand my failings then.. and I hide my humble hopes now.... ' Lovely things happened in NY and perhaps they were meant to be for but for that short time. After feeling ugly and unwanted for so long, my New York experience has left me feeling that I am desirable.  I move forward knowing this. Soon I will arrive home with the gifts from my travels,
the realisation that we are as similar to each other as we are different. Kindness and generosity abound, and in giving and assisting without expectation we all make the world a better place. I reflect upon my gift from Hawaii in particular, where the power of the land was tangible and cut through me. Allowing me to see what I always was, but which I never nurtured or realised till now. 

What a momentous, amazing and most beautiful six weeks!

Life is a series of adventures and misadventures, It is experience and learning,
a continual class room, where we are both teacher and student, where we seek and share. Life is complex and yet simply 'is'. It is around us and in us. It is us and them and that over there. Life is in the breath of the dying and in the newborns first inhalation... life never stops. It doesn’t judge or expect, it just is. Life is bigger than you and then it is you.

Life is magnificent.

Life is beautiful.

Thank you for sharing my journey.
matthew laurence schiavello.


  1. i thank you for sharing your travels with us. always so interesting. i especially like Hawaii. it sounds so picturesque and relaxing. all in all a wonderful read. so many adventures and your photos are fantastic. i've looked forward to the each post and am sad now that you've finished your trip. wonderful memories for you. thanks again for sharing. xxx

  2. Yevisha, as always I an grateful to you for reading the blog and your comments!!! I am also sad that the holiday is over... This year I went to Hobart.. but more of that later....