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This is the first post of hopefully many posts focused solely on my travels. First stop, Hawaii.
When I was young, I loved to write- mainly stories, song lyrics, poetry and journals. I remember sitting in the woods on our 40 acres of property and writing to my little heart’s content, just listening to nature. I filled about 15-20 journals total and I still have all of them, ranging from 12 years old until 28 years old. Reading the thoughts of a 12 year old girl is absolutely hysterical (boys, friendships and insecurities mostly) but it’s also very enlightening to see how my personality was shaped all those years ago, and how far I’ve come.
Sadly, as I progressed through high school and into my early 20’s, my creativity was put on hold; I actually forgot it even existed. I stopped writing poetry and song lyrics, drawing, and my journal entries got less and less. The sad thing was I didn’t even think I was creative. That seems ridiculous now because I truly believe everyone has creativity inside of them somewhere.
When I moved to Hawaii, the transition was life changing for me. I started studying video production at age 23 and it started to spark something inside of me. But it wasn’t until I was around 26 years old that the passion (or maybe confidence) came back to me again. I remember it vividly while I was living in Hawaii, going through a really hard stage of my life. Friends forced me out of bed one night and everything changed when I discovered salsa dancing! It was the first time I’d felt joy in a long time and I finally started to feel that creativity kick back into gear. That’s me below, salsa dancing. A picture doesn’t really do this dance justice. =)
Shortly thereafter, it was reignited again when I started experimenting in the kitchen, and when I created this blog to share my recipe creations. I also recently began taking singing lessons which is the most frightening and liberating thing I’ve ever done. The point is, it took awhile, but I found my way back to my creativity, and it’s changed the course- and happiness- of my life forever. And the best part- I know it will just continue.
So that being said, I decided I would like to write a bit more about my experiences in the world, and not just have a blog focused entirely on recipes. Of course, I am a lover of food- especially from different cultures- so it’s inevitable I will talk about it. I just wish I would have started this travel section a few years ago, as I was recently in China, Austria and Germany. But you know what? I’ve learned it’s never too late to start anything you want to do.
Soooo….my first travel experience begins where else but my favorite place in the world, Hawaii. Now I should mention for those that don’t know that I lived in Hawaii for 6 years. I met my husband when I moved back to Michigan and coincidentally he has a lot of family in Hawaii. So we got married in Hawaii, bought a house there, sold the house there (long story) and we usually go back there every year or so. This year was no different, but the trip itself surpassed many others.
My husband and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary last week and we thought it was great idea to go where it all started- the island of Kauai. I was determined to do more than just lay on the beach and relax (although we did that too), so we went on an ATV ride in the mountains…
hiked to the top of this mountain…
took photographs at all hours…
explored a Eucalyptus Forest….
visited family and friends…
and had incredible food (and sometimes treats).
Then we took a quick flight to Oahu (where I used to live) and visited friends, spent Halloween in Waikiki (which was crazy!)…
and went on a boat/submarine tour off of Waikiki- way cool!
And oh the food….
Hawaii is not the most vegan friendly place in the world. The state of Hawaii is the leading seller of Spam for god’s sake. Their local specialties range from kahlua pork, loco moco (an egg covering hamburger over rice, covered in gravy), and much more. I’ve always had a hard time finding meatless dishes but it’s not impossible.
At the start of the trip, I found a new market called “Living Foods Market” in the city of Poipu. They had a ton of fresh, organic options and I ordered the Falafel Wrap. It said it had potatoes in it, which is usually not my favorite addition in wraps but I decided to give it a try. By potatoes, they meant actual french fries- added inside of the sandwich. I have to say it wasn’t the healthiest option I was looking for, but what the hell- I was on vacation and yum it was good.
Another favorite island meal of mine is the Acai bowl, which I enjoyed a couple times on this trip. I love it so much I actually made a recipe for it on my blog here. This is a super common breakfast/brunch item and you can find it at virtually every little food truck on the side of the road or a small cafe.
And speaking of cafes, I found the most adorable cafe in Kapaa town, called Java Kai (“kai” means ocean)- see below. This place has THE best coffee and a great variety of vegetarian breakfast options, as well as acai bowls. It got me seriously thinking of opening up my own coffee shop/cafe serving healthy vegetarian and vegan breakfast/brunch options. My mind has been spinning with ideas ever since. The notes section of my iPhone is full.=)
And last but not least, how could I not mention my favorite restaurant on the plant- Olive Tree, on Oahu. This place is to-die-for. It opens at 5pm and there’s always a line started before they even open their doors, and that tells you something. It’s amazing people. If you go to Hawaii, go there!
As I write this, I’m currently on the plane back from our 2 week vacation in Hawaii and I’m looking forward to a little more structure in my life. Well, for a few days anyway. And I terribly miss my cat Chloe. This next weekend I’m attending a food blogger’s conference in Chicago and the following week I’ll be in LA for a work conference (digital media related). Then, finally I’ll be home until we leave for Vegas in January. I’m thinking I’ll be writing up a few more travel-related posts. And as always, new recipes will be traveling your way soon. =)