Craft the Travel, Leaving the Flock, Worldschooling

6 Weeks ’til Lift Off! Hawaii-Bound! Burn the Boat!

Well if you know me and have read this blog, then it will come as no great shock to you that we finally pulled the trigger and settled into an island life. We have been traveling heavily and worldschooling the last two years while keeping our base in Dallas, TX. We have considered many places and lifestyles, but ultimately we decided we wanted to remain in the United States and build a homestead focused on healthy living and re-connecting with nature. I am also excited to build a new community of holistic healers and learn all I can about their healing modalities.

Let’s take a few steps back and visit how this whole transition played out. We pulled our son from public school after first grade and sold our primary residence on Lake Texoma in 2018, so our transition away from living ‘in the box’ started years ago. I can actually thank the PANDEMIC for pushing my life in this direction sooner than we had planned. Every New Year’s day we make a family vision board focused on goals and dreams for the year complete with photos, magazine pictures and hand-drawn images. Our 2019 board came about 90-95% true within 12-14 months so we had big plans for 2020. 2020’s board was all about Hawaii. We really enjoyed our time in the Bahamas, BVI’s, Mexico and Costa Rica, but ultimately our trip to the Big Island was the one that won our hearts.

After the pandemic hit and all traveling ceased, we, like so many, were stuck in our home in Dallas. While we enjoyed our home, we never intended it to be a place we remained 100% of the time. By May we were heavily invested in finding a ‘new home’ and upon securing a rental home with a pool on 2 acres on the Big Island for less than what we paid to live in Dallas, no convincing was needed! Thankfully our work goes with us where we go, so the plan was in motion. In regards to looking for an out-of-state rental, I suggest browsing Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, Realtor.com, joining groups for the area of interest and looking at listings on VRBO/Homeaway (NOT Airbnb) for listings where the calendar isn’t very full and then contacting the owner directly. You NEVER know what you will find and the worst you can hear is NO, so ASK! I don’t recommend Craigslist. Of 7 or 8 listings, only 1 or 2 were legit so proceed there with an abundance of caution there. Additionally, when you find a place and have talked on the phone with the owner, BEFORE you send any funds, ask to see a copy of their insurance on the property OR a title/deed. SOMETHING that connects that person to the property!

Next on the list is to figure out your car situation. We had two vehicles. We traded one in for the vehicle we wanted to bring to Hawaii. The best cars to bring are ones with 4-wheel drive. Jeeps and trucks are very popular and will re-sell well in Hawaii. We sold our second vehicle as it was specialty and would have been costly to maintain on the Big Island. I used Carvana to sell it. I input my info for an offer on a Tuesday and by Friday, they were picking it up; I had my funds on Monday! Less than a week to sell a used car, NO hassles! Highly recommend! If you live near the West coast, then LAX is the hub to ship your car and will currently run you about $1500. If you live anywhere else in the USA then you will have to have it transported via truck to LAX. You can have it transported via COVERED or UNCOVERED truck. Being a brand new vehicle we wanted covered, but when our time-frame came for pick-up, due to the current nation-wide trucker shortage, we were not able to get a covered truck. We felt it was more important to stay on schedule and get our car to LAX, so we accepted uncovered transportation. We ended up going with Kona Container Guy and paying a total of $2800. It would have been $3200 for the covered truck and had I known about the truck issue, I would have likely booked with Hawaii Car Transport because their quote for uncovered transportation was a little less than Kona Container Guy. All-in-all Kona as been professional and excellent to deal with and I anticipate my car arriving in another week or so to be a flawless experience. (I will report back!) Allow 3 to 4 weeks from the time your vehicle leaves your mainland house to receipt on the Big Island with the exception of those that are able to personally deliver it to LAX (shave a week off).

What do you do with your stuff? We opted to go with PODS. After considering selling everything or going with Uhaul’s UBox; PODS offered the best solution for us. Ultimately, you should go around your house with a calculator and add up everything you would have to replace. If that totals more than POD’s moving costs then, keep your stuff and get a POD. PLUS you get to keep all the little irreplaceable items. We packed our 8’x8’x16′ POD to the brim and it will stay stored in Dallas until we move forward on the next part of our great Hawaiian journey! This is a great solution for all the things you can live AT LEAST 30 days without, but what about the more ‘short-term’ items? We ended up shipping 12 boxes about 25-35lbs each via USPS Priority Mail to our new mailing box in Hawaii. I was quite pleased to receive them quickly (about 5 business days) and in good condition. I only lost 2 glass items (a coffee decanter and my Himalayan pink salt grinder), but my glass electric kettle and giant mason jars for tea made it!! As for luggage we brought the items that were too valuable to leave to a shipping service, like my Rife machines and Electro-Dermal Screening equipment. Plus all our ‘important’ papers like birth certificates and such, ALL my *3000* essential oils, Sebastian’s XBox and a tiny suitcase for a few clothes. Total we traveled with 13 bags. We each had a backpack and carry-on size bag. We checked 7 pieces of luggage. I have to recommend the ‘hockey bag‘ if you don’t own all the luggage you need to travel. It was affordable, lightweight and spacious. Another ‘must’ were our vacuum bags. We were able to suck down all our ‘must have’ pillows and blankets to all fit in the hockey bag and it still came in well under our 50lb per bag limit. Vacuum bags saved us space in the short-term priority mail boxes and will keep our cloth items like clothes, bedding & towels nice in the long-term POD, too.

While I was nervous on our day of travel, in the end it went smooth as butter. We started the day at 4am with my sweet sister taking us and our trillion bags to the airport. We said our goodbyes and set-off on our first of three flights for the day. No issues with American Airlines or in the DFW airport, it was very quite there, screening proceeded like normal just without the lines and crowds. When we landed in LAX we had time to find lunch and for the first time in my traveling life, our connecting gate was NEXT DOOR to our gate of arrival. Miracle! Next was from LAX to HNL (Honolulu) where upon exiting the plane, they took our temperatures and we were guided to an area where they gathered our forms and checked our contact info. I did have to show my long-term lease, but otherwise didn’t have any issues. After passing through the screening, we collected our trillion bags and proceeded to check them in for our third flight. Aside from the physical nature of moving our trillion bags from the luggage carousels back up to the check-in desk, this was another smooth process. We did have our temperatures checked on more time and had to submit another government document to check into our flight to Hilo, but after security it was easy-breezy just waiting in the lounge for boarding time. The last flight on Hawaiian Airlines was lovely and by this point my nerves had finally calmed and I could see the prize in sight. We collected our bags for the final time, got a ride and made it to our ‘new home’….in paradise.

I have been asked things like ‘Why are you moving?’ ‘What prompted this?’ ‘Why now?’, so I will address those things here. The ‘why’ is simple, because we want a life filled with white, gold, green and black sand beaches, rainbows and waterfalls, mountains and trails, and gardens full of green. The ‘why now’ is because if I have to live ‘locked’ down, I damn well want to do it (in my version of) paradise! We have been maneuvering life, creating a plan, and making progress on that plan day-by-day. The reality is that what you want is obtainable if you make a plan and work everyday to get there. In the end (the final 6-weeks) it was like ripping off a band-aid that started with signing the lease. From that day and each day after that, life was filled with many logistical issues and every time, they moved in our favor. We created a resistance-free path that flowed under the hand of God through this beautiful, energetic universe. The past 6-weeks have deepened and broadened my spirituality and strengthened my resolve to live my life in faith and NOT from a place a fear. The BEST advice I can give to anyone looking to make any kind of BIG changes in their life is to stop operating from a place of fear. Every time you want to do something in life, ask yourself am I making choices to get to my goal from a place of fear or or faith that the divine universe and creator will take me in the right direction to manifest my dreams. Excuse the language, but if you want to get fired up about changing your life…..BURN THE F*&% BOAT!

I hope if you are still reading this that you hug yourself and remember that the universe is abundant and infinite. There is enough love, happiness and abundance for each and every one of us. Make your plan TODAY. Create that VISION BOARD now! Fill your eyes, ears and mind with pictures, videos and music of your dream(s). Stop allowing any and all negative people, situations, information to flood your psyche. YOU are your ultimate creator powered by the divine. Stand in your strength, raise your vibration and live your BEST LIFE. Aloha!

Craft the Travel

2018, A year’s reflection. Welcome, 2019!

January took us to Santa Fe, NM for skiing and to breath in the blissful aromas of pinon wood.

February and March were trip free, but we made a big decision to put our beloved lake house on Lake Texoma on the market.

218 Island View.

April, Sebastian and I took an educational trip to Washington DC …..

Washington DC, In front of the Portrait Gallery

…and later that month a friend and I got away to a women’s retreat in Hugo, OK.

Crescent Moon Lodge in Hugo, OK

May we went to Disney World in Orlando with my sister and nieces….

the Magic Kingdom shot

AND I joined a travel agency and started Craft the Travel.

June 23rd we closed on our lake house and shortly after left for Punta Cana, DR to celebrate our closing and the 4th of July.

the DR has some of the most pristine beaches I have found to date.

….and later that month I went with a friend to Riviera Maya, MX.

El Dorado Maroma by Karisma

At the tail end of July into August, we made a trip out to Vero Beach FL to see friends.

Nasa in Cape Canaveral

Later in August we did a few days of learning and exploring museums in Ft Worth, TX.

Exploring Downtown Ft Worth and Musesums

In September, over Cliff’s birthday we left for Abaco, Bahamas and lived on the catamaran known as Goya for a week. Then sailed down to Eluethera, BH and journeyed by car around the island for a few more days.

The Amazing Captain Keino on Piggeyville, Cay

In early October, I went to Charlotte, NC for the Dream Maker training with my travel agency.

Dream Maker Training

At the end of October into November, Sebastian and I went to Salem, MA for Halloween, and then made our way down to Plymouth, MA and the Cape.

Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass

We finished up the year, over my birthday on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Finally and sadly, right after Christmas and our 14th wedding anniversary, we lost my mother of 68 years to Cancer.

Me, my Mom & Dad…back in the 70’s.

2018 was bittersweet. We made some major life decisions, saw more of the world in one year than ever before and lost people that were close to our hearts. I am excited for where 2019 will take us….destinations, decisions and always striving to live our best lives. #12tripyear #10byAir #2byCar #500DaysSober #GoodbyeMom #GoodbyeChris #GoodbyePat #CatamaranCharterLife #2019Skiing #2019Miami #2019Exuma #2019England #2019Cuba

Worldschooling

Hawaii, The BIG Island!

This destination wasn’t one that had initially been floating around in my head, but when tickets came across my desk that I couldn’t pass up, the planning was on! We used United and had one connection in Denver going and one in LAX returning home. I have to say since I have been so devoted to Southwest Airlines, I haven’t considered anyone else, but I really enjoyed United and would fly them again. No complaints.

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We arrived in Kona Airport, which is on the West side of the Big Island. It was a lovely airport. Small & open air, but easy to navigate, gather luggage and find the car rental shuttles. I am a Hertz Gold member, so our car was waiting for us and all we had to do was walk out to it and get in. My boys were SO happy…exactly what they wanted a silver, 4×4 Jeep. I have a feeling our family may at some point acquiring a Jeep. (Again! Remember my Big Red one? ❤)

We made an easy drive up 19, North to the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. We walked into a beautiful open air, lobby with a direct 180-degree view of the pools and beach. Lovely!

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At check-in we were welcomed with passion fruit/orange juice and wet wash clothes for cleaning our hands. We were quickly assigned room 696 that had 2 queen beds, balcony, and ocean view. The room/space was very comfortable for our family of 3.  My son and I agree that our favorite and unexpected aspect to the room was the TOLIET! It was a bidet toilet seat (heated seat, various water temperature sprays, dryer, massage and of course night light). All I can say is see this link for every last AMAZING detail and that this little JEWEL will be delivered to my house in time for Christmas! Ok, I know that is a funny LOVE, but we also really enjoyed the balcony, comfortable, stylish seating areas, pools and beach access the resort offered us too! Ha!

They offered an adult-only infinity pool with hot tub and a second larger family pool with hot tub. The property included a gorgeous garden, fish/lily pond, and several restaurant options.

We were pleasantly surprised to receive a ‘welcome gift’ under our door for a $25 credit at one of the property restaurants as well as a discount card to area restaurants. The Westin does charge a $30/night resort fee, but it included our self-parking, bottled water, beach chair unlimited internet and shuttle service to the sister property next door, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

On day 2, we dressed in shorts and short sleeve shirts, but the drive in the open air jeep proved to be a chilly ride as we made our way from the Westin thru Waimea & Hamakua and on to Waipi’o Valley. I was happy to have left our vests and our travel blankets in the Jeep. Our first stop was in Waimea at the Parker Ranch. We enjoyed the history and learned about the deep and rich foundation the Ranch has on the Big Island and in their local community. Interestingly just being from Texas, gave me an affinity for the area’s roots in ranching and livestock. You would think you are on a ‘tropical island’ and while parts of it are…there are vast areas of grazing land for livestock. This is one of the trees on Parker Ranch and if you look closely you can see a tiny Sebastian at the base!

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On this tree right next to where Sebastian was standing he found this beautiful little fellow!

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Next, we stopped at a local health & organic foods store where we were able to stock up on some of our favorite foods. We continued on to Hamakua and made a short stop at Ahualoa Farms where we sampled various macadamia nut treats and took in the roadside flowers. Wild birds of paradise!

Our journey took us on to Waipi’o Valley. THIS is where it was REALLY valuable to have that 4×4 Jeep and BOY was it fun! “The road gains 800 vertical feet (243.84 m) in 0.6 miles (0.9 km) at a 25% average grade, with steeper grades in sections.” All traffic coming up the road has the right of way, so we had to be sure to watch the road ahead and pull over ahead of time or be forced to reverse! Thankfully, we weren’t in that situation as traffic was light. When we made it to the bottom, we found the most beautiful valley and black-sand beachfront. Further up the valley was Hi’ilawe Falls the tallest waterfall on the Big Island. SO GORGEOUS!

After we made the climb back up to the top of the valley, we started back to the Westin and made a brief stop at a roadside fruit stand. Coconut Mike cut us up fresh pineapple and coconut water/coconut meat. YUM! What a refreshing snack! We made the trip back in about an hour and enjoyed swimming and relaxing upon our return.

The next day started off easy. I knew it would be a late night, so we enjoyed the early morning in our room. Sebastian and I walked all over the property and grounds and did a mini photo shoot. After we worked up a sweat, we made our way to the pool to cool off and chill.

We set out just before 2pm for Mauna Kea. “Its peak is 13,802 ft above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Most of the mountain is under water, and when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea becomes the tallest mountain in the world[5] measuring over 10,000 m (33,000 ft). Mauna Kea is about a million years old, and has thus passed the most active shield stage of life hundreds of thousands of years ago.” We arrived at 3p and decided not to make the drive from the base at 9200 ft to the top. It requires 4-wheel drive, which we had, but the 40% reduction in oxygen at the top can cause nervous system damage in developing brains under 13yo. It is a 30-minute drive up to the summit and you will experience grades of 20-22%. At about 4pm we hiked up part of the mountain that overlooks sunset. I am very glad we went early because from about 4:45p to 5:20p we had beautiful, expansive views and then a large cloud came through and covered sunset. On my way up I had to stop 3 times and take several deep breaths and let my head acclimate. I am not fond of heights, so that plus the altitude was kicking in and making me feel dizzy. BUT it was well worth pushing through for these views!

Afterward, we warmed up in the car and waited for the sky to clear to take part in the star-gazing tour. I was doubtful that the sky and humidity would clear, but it did by 7p/7:30p. This was the second to last night that the star-gazing tour was held. After the 8th they are closing it down for 6 months to do some renovations. When it resumes I recommend adding it to your ‘to-do’ list while on the big island. You need to arrive early as parking is limited. You need to dress warmly or have blankets! We experienced temps down the 40’s. Take a red light or just let your eyes adjust…the white light flashlight and cell phone people were really annoying and constantly interrupting the experience. This will likely be the most stars you will ever see in one night. Absolutely gorgeous from horizon to horizon!

Day 4 started off my 43rd birthday! We started the morning off bright and early as it seems that my body’s wake-up time in Hawaii was 6a. I enjoyed chatting and messaging with many friends and family that reached out with well wishes for a happy day. Birds visited my lanai while I sipped my bday Kombucha and smelled the flowers my boys brought me.

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Lanai, Kombucha and Flowers

We started to make our way over to Hilo by 10a and arrived just after 11a. We parked and walked around the most delightful farmers market. We bought tea and fresh spring rolls, listened to a local ukuleleist, found Hawaiian clothes for the whole family and chatted with vendors. I would spend every Saturday in this type of environment; it was absolutely food for the soul.

We made a brief stop at local park with stunning views and then made our way to Hilo International Airport to meet our helicopter tour company, Safari.

This was Sebastian and I’s first time up in a helicopter and while a little intimidating, it was FUNtastic! We saw sights all over the Volcano Park and a brief drive-by of waterfalls. Mike, our pilot, and the land crew were all so helpful and friendly.

Once back on the ground, we made a quick stop at Saucy Dogs and Loved by the Sun for a snack and then headed back to the Kona side.

After changing to our Hawaiian clothes, we left for dinner at Manta on the Westin’s sister property, Mauna Kea, an Autograph Collection Resort. The property and restaurant were gorgeous and we finished the night off observing the natural Manta Rays that swim up near the restaurant’s edge.

Cliff, my husband, thought he was so funny in his Hawaiian shirt that he had me put together this mashup comparison of him and Russell Brand from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Ha!

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Day 5 we started with an early morning walk on the beach. The 4 hour time change backward has really worked in my favor as it has allowed me to enjoy several sunrises and early mornings. Times of the day I don’t typically encounter.

Later that day we checked out of the Westin and started to make our way South towards Kona. After brief stops in Kauila-Kona for provisions and lunch at Island Naturals Market & Deli, Kailua-Kona we arrived an hour or so later at the Sheraton Kona. While the accommodations here are a little more dated than at the Westin, the assortment of built-in activities and large family-friendly pool made the property a fun destination.

We enjoyed activities like lei making, a cultural tour of the property, early AM yoga, giant checker games, direct access to the Kona bay from small volcanic rocks and Ukulele lessons. The Sheraton Kona opened in 1970 making it the 2nd or 3rd oldest resort on the Kona side of the big island and farthest Southern resort on the Kona coast. The property itself has several archeological significant sites that have been preserved and maintained.

The large pool has tubes, slides, hot tubs, waterfall and even a ‘beach’ with sand and all.

The Sheraton features a small wedding chapel overlooking the bay and has several open lawns with beautiful scenic views.

Among all the daytime swimming and activities we also attended an evening luau and cookout at the Royal Kona. I got to wear the Lei Sebastian had made that day. ❤

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We were fortunate to witness the most beautiful pink sunset to backdrop the luau. Pork was cooked in a traditional Hawaiian sand oven and the buffet included other local Hawaiian specialties like Poi as well as other chicken & beef dishes with sides.

The dancers were talented and skilled. They performed 5 or 6 different Hulas and changed costumes with each performance. I recommend arriving early and upgrading to reserved seating. You get a closer view and first to the buffet line.

The next few days we enjoyed downtime at the pool and local excursions to various farms and factories. We visited Big Island Bee Farm and sampled Macadamia Nut Honey which is currently the blooms the bees are making the honey from. Another type is the raw Hawaiian honey made from the ohia lehua blossom. It known for being the first flowering plant to grow from new lava rocks. We also sampled the vanilla bean, cinnamon, and chili pepper infused honeys that they make.

There are several coffee farms in the area and just driving down the coast, windows down you can smell the beans being roasted…yum! At Royal Kona Coffee we sampled many flavors and various roasts of Kona coffee.

While at Royal Kona Coffee there was a jewelry vendor and she was selling oysters. You picked your oyster and she would open it for you to see if you were lucky enough to have pearls inside. Sebastian had two pink pearls in one oyster! Sounds like earrings for me! 😉

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Our last stop was at Donkey Balls, Chocolate Factory where they make many, many types of chocolate balls. White, dark, milk with various center fillings like dried fruit, malt balls, and macadamia nuts.

We ran into a few friends from Texas, Ziggy and Ally. Cliff and Sebastian had fun seeing their family’s beautiful property and swimming off the coast.

We finished our last evening with dinner at Rays on the Bay and another stunning sunset.

Our last morning we stumbled upon The Coffee Shack and their amazing 180-degree, Cliff-side view where we toasted our 100% Kona Coffee to our return to Hawaii.

Overall we, really enjoyed the diversity of the things to do, landscape and weather of the Big Island. We didn’t visit during a high tourist season and it did NOT feel ‘touristy’. I think it helped that we had our own vehicle to explore and leave resort grounds on our own time. I know I priced tours from the resorts and most all activities started at $100/person, so having our car was the more economical, private and enjoyable way to go. Navigation around the island was very simple and we had no issue with our American based, T-Mobile phone & data services all over the island.

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View of Rainbows from our room at the Sheraton Kona

In the future, I would stay a few nights in Hilo, visit Rainbow Falls, take a Helicopter tour of the Waterfalls, swim at green-sand & two-step beaches, have breakfast again at The Coffee Shack, hike down to Captain Cook’s monument, take surf lessons, and hike out some of Volcano Park.

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What’s at the end of the rainbow? Hawai’i!

Finally, I wrap up with a tip about booking a group event wedding or party outside on the big island. The island North of Kona Airport is windier than the South (and we experienced it!), the East ‘Hilo’ side of the Island is the wetter, rainier side of the island, therefore if you want to have the highest chance of perfect weather, I recommend booking somewhere South of the Kona Airport for your special outdoor event.

Are you interested in traveling to the Big Island of Hawai’i? Contact me to help plan the perfect trip! For all our day-by-day adventures while in Hawai’i, check out our Instagram stories found HERE. If you would like to see all the photos from Hawaii, check out my photography website, LoveCameraEarth.com. If you want a travel-along, family photographer, contact me! We travel!