“There’s no place like home.” Or at least that’s what I hear on a daily basis living on Kauai. Possibly because I’m from Kansas and anybody who hears this always finds it funny to make a Wizard of Oz joke. I actually find it quite amusing that that’s where the mind goes with the mention of Kansas. Hey, at least it’s recognized for something
other than wheat fields and flat land! But in case you were wondering, my name is Jessica, not Dorothy; although it’s a suiting name for my great grandmother. Also, my dogs name is Karma, not Toto.
“So why did you move from Kansas to Kauai?” Most new people I meet ask that question and it’s a damn good question. I still have a hard time answering it. Usually I say “Well, have you seen how freaking beautiful this place is? I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t want to move from the flatland, boring old Kansas to the luscious, tropical paradise of Kauai?”
All jokes aside though, I really feel that I came out here to find myself; to get away from the stress of living what society deems a ‘normal’ life and step out of my comfort zone into something completely different. And by completely different, I mean, what seems to be a totally different dimension of reality. Since I’ve been here (June 2013), I’ve been back home twice, both for a month or two at a time. What I have learned is that, when I get on that plane, it’s as if I am flying right through a vortex into an old dimension. When I’m back in Kansas, it’s as if my life on Kauai is so surreal that was merely a dream and nothing has changed. (Except in this dream, I never met any tin man, scare crows or cowardly lions, however I have met a few witches.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love Kansas, well, at least the people that reside there that I’ve spent 23 years of my life with. Every time I go back, I contemplate staying. Then I have to slap myself awake and remember why I left in the first place. I feel as If Kansas doesn’t feed my soul, it doesn’t help me grow to the lengths that I wish to grow, the opportunity there is minimal, especially for a young open-hearted, broad-minded individual such as myself. My friends and family do the same thing day in and day out, not quite satisfied with their day to day lives. Actually, many of my friends are ready to escape themselves. Even before I moved, all I heard was talk of how they were going to move to Colorado, California, Oregon…anywhere but here. Yet, I see that only a small handful of them have actually left. I do understand though. There’s a lot of fear that comes with leaving the confined, cozy spaces of your home town. The support of your friends and family, the comfort of your local bar and endless pitchers of beer, the community you’ve grown to accept as your own. But I wonder, are we all really that comfortable in our present way of living? Or do we long to get out, explore; expand our horizons?
On Kauai, I feel like I fit in; like I belong to something special. There is just this basic understanding here that life is good, even when the circumstances can be difficult and challenging. I mean, yea it’s hard not to feel that way when you’re surrounded by the big blue pacific ocean, many hues of greenery and unique tropical flowers, not to mention, abundance of coconuts and fresh fruits; however, living here definitely comes at a price. It is widely believed that Kauai will test your limits, will run you through the wringer. I sure as hell believe it and I’ve experienced it on many different levels since I’ve been here. I feel like this is a great place for personal growth for that reason, but only if you’re ready to take the dive. There have been many times that I’ve questioned being here, wondered if I should try click my non-existent heels (who needs heels when you can go barefoot?) and poof back home. When the going gets tough, and I feel like I can’t go on any longer, Kauai always reminds me that there’s a reason I’m doing this, a reason to stay. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, if I would just open my eyes to see it.
Kauai is special. So special that I recommend anybody looking for a new experience to come explore. Maybe not move here like I did, unless you feel it’s in alignment with your heart, but definitely come do some adventuring. I still have lots to explore and I plan to do as much as I can with the time I have left here. I am so blessed to be in such a loving community of people. What stood out to me most on my initial visit(May 2013) before my move was what the locals call the ‘Aloha Spirit’, which is just the loving, supportive and welcoming nature of individuals. I feel as if I held that within me before I even got here, and just being in the presence of others who have it has illuminated mine even more. I hope to carry that with me everywhere I go.
Just like Kansas is my home, Kauai is also my home. I wish to have many more experiences like Kauai in the blossoming future that lies ahead of me; to carry the essence of each destination everywhere I go. With an open heart, and an open mind, the Mother earth is my playground and I am ready for expansion and the broadening of horizons. All the while, I’m prepared to continue Wizard of Oz jokes since I’m sure Kansas is the only place I won’t be hearing them.