Oh man where do I even start. I honestly have no idea, let’s start from the beginning. So, hello, it’s been awhile since I last wrote. I was on a trip this summer, a teen tour. I thought I was going to continue writing during the trip but the action packed schedule kept me away from that. This summer I went to Hawaii, yes, again. I mean how would anyone not want to go there. This time was a bit different though, it was a teen tour, meaning that I traveled with a group of teenagers around my age with some trip directors instead of my family. That was a major plus for this vacation. This teen tour also included some community service activities, but mostly focused on having fun, traveling, and meeting new people. At very first I was pretty nervous about this trip, because I was supposed to be the only boy on the trip with 9 girls, which was pretty intimidating. I was totally wrong, I couldn’t have been happier with this decision I made, I love every single one of them. Plus our group combined with another group which was the 10 days trip (ours was 20 days) and there was another boy in that group, everything was perfect. Everybody got along really well in a short period of time. Like really really well, which was amazing, it just made all of us feel like one big family and we all found each other on this treasure island.
I honestly don’t know where to start, there’s so much to cover. I first flew from JFK airport to LA via Virgin America, it was the first time of me ever flying by myself. I gotta say I was a bit scared only because I didn’t want to lose anything important, I was also carrying my passport. After couple minutes I got used it all, I enjoyed every single second of it. There was no parent telling me where to go, when I have to be where, and blah blah blah. I had my own money, I could do my own things, no one’s there to control me, perfect. It felt a lot more responsibilities just crashed on my body but it was a good kind. I enjoyed those responsibilities, I felt I was more in control of myself. When I arrived in LA the feeling I felt was so exotic, I felt like I was on top of the world. I could do anything, go anywhere, no limits. Except I have to be back at the terminal in 3 hours for the flight go Hawaii. When I got to LA I ran into a bit issue, but nothing big. I was just suppose to stay in LA for one night and fly out with the group to Hawaii the next day, but I just took the flight that I was assigned on the day I arrived to LA. On the plane to Hawaii,I met this guy sitting right next to me, he was very interesting. He was born in Hawaii, and he’s flying home from California to his girlfriend. He was also in the military, which I don’t know if it connected to him having a blind eye. He was wearing sunglasses, I did not think anything about until he’d said something about his vision. But we talked, he showed me pictures of his girlfriend and he asked me if I could get out of the seat right away when the plane lands so he could get out as fast as possible to see his girlfriend. I said of course. The plane landed I got up and blocked the aisle of the plane so nobody could go in front of us, we were seated in front. I said my goodbye to the man and walked into the Hawaiian air.
It felt so good to be back. So good. The airport was just as I remembered, the air was fresh and warm. The air just had a different feeling than New York’s, it was easier to breath. I had this feeling of “I’m back to where I belong” even though I never thought of it. It just felt great and relieving. I walked to the baggage claim and I met Breisen, our trip director. Man, he’s great. He’s always about the good vibes and positive spirits, never a down moment with him. He greeted me with a smile and I got automatically comfortable with him. We got back to the hotel and just rested for the night. The next morning we took a walk, talked and I thought that was really the only thing we were going to do, since I was in Hawaii a day earlier than everyone else. But Breisen took me to the beach. I don’t know why but I was surprised. He even bought us pineapples to go with, I’m so glad he took me to the beach, the water was for real calling my name. I spent no time on beach and jumped right into the water. It was amazing, the water was pure fountain of youth. It was warm, crystal clear, perfectly comforting light blue. The view was incredible, Diamond Head mountain in the background and a rainbow to add on. “What could get better than this?” I thought to myself and honestly at that time and moment, really nothing I could think of that was better. Just that moment, right there. I could see nothing but joy and relaxation and adventure and excitement at the place. Pure of life. Although, I saw some homeless people and I have no idea how they feel. I know that everywhere there’s people going through hard lives but it was very interesting for me to think about that the ones in Hawaii feel, because I’m almost sure that it’s different to be homeless in Hawaii than in New York City. Anyway, we left the beach and picked up others that were coming in early, and later that night we picked up the rest of the group, and the trip begins.
The first day when everybody was there, we went surfing. One of the best things in the world. Not only we surfed in Waikiki beach, but we surfed with each other. I don’t think there’s anything more enjoyable. Apparently this friend of mine, Aedan, saw a sea turtle on the first day and by very shallow water so that was pretty cool. Everybody was on the water, sitting on the surfboard while the wind blows. There would be these moments when everything is calm, no good waves to ride, and everyone on the board are just waiting. Not a lot of talking usually, sometimes there’d be this couple or natives from Hawaii laughing and shouting, but it was quite nice, everyone was enjoying the moment, feeling the water, listening to the sound of waves and kids. I closed my eyes to feel the moment (pretty cliche) and I did. I felt relaxed and light. Then suddenly there’s a wave coming, it’s a good one; everyone started turning their boards around and some laid down the board and got ready; then we all started paddling, the adrenaline rush came in, the shoulders and the stomach tighten up, everybody together, we had one goal, catch that wave. As the wave sweep across the water it gets right up under the board; that’s when I put both my hands on the board, push myself up, jump straight up, feel the balance, feel the water, feel the air, and finally, catching that wave.
That day was incredible, and it could be said for the entire trip. We ate at these amazing taco trucks, oh man the foods were so great, I got to try “poke” for the first time and it has became my favorite food of all. The first day was also 4th of July. We spent that night on the beach and all watched the fireworks together. It gave me this feel good feeling that I honestly don’t know how to describe it, man I love fireworks by the beach. (If you were to go read my very first blog post you’ll know why) Every single day was memorable and amazingly unique in its own way. Always something new, always together with friends.
Some reason that period of time for me was a mix between “it flew” and “that was only yesterday?” It was weird. Reason why I think the days felt long was because that there was so much going on, every single day we have all kinds of different activities from surfing to hiking to shopping to eating to community service. It was a lot, but it felt good. It felt good to be doing so much and enjoying it at the same time. It really feels “a day well spent”. Most importantly I think it was because we were all there in the present. We focused on what was in front of us rather than what’s going on in our phones or school or some other places. It really carved a nice little memory in my head. After Ohau we went to Maui. Oh, Maui was absolutely stunning. We all lived in the airbnb condos and most times we would just sleep over in each others rooms. My friend Max, the boy I was in a room with, never slept in our room for one night; he stayed with the girls, I don’t blame him. Later on for the last 3 days that’s why I moved and stayed with these other girls in their room. Their room was a luxury beach house compared to mine. I bet some old man who vacationed in Hawaii owned my room. But it was really nice staying with the girls. It was a really nice apartment looking out to the beach (we were right on the beach) and it was like a nice family living together. Man, I love those people. One day on Maui we went up the Haleakala mountain, it was breathtaking. Haleakala also means house of the sun. We went up the mountain or volcano by bus and it was a nice dizzy ride up. We were up above the clouds overlooking the whole volcano and the temperature was pretty chilly, overall making it a super exotic experience. What made it so exotic was that we later had to bike down. Yep, bike down the whole volcano, all 23 miles. It was an easy bike ride since most of the time it was downhill but it was truly unique to see the views and experience the change in temperature. After you bike into a cloud you come out to a completely different world. It was wild. During the bike ride down we had a little accident thought. My friend Aedan flew off her bike, I think it was because of the cars coming up on the turn. Aedan handled it really well, she’s very strong. She hurt her shoulder but she was driven down safely. I felt bad because I felt this responsibility that I should’ve been there. I don’t know, I was mad at myself. But overall it was a good experience. We then ate really good food, another taco truck. For real, the taco trucks in Hawaii can top most of my favorite places to eat in NY. But then later that was when the 10 days trip group had to go. Their trip was up, and it was really devastating to see them leave. That’s when I looked back and thought “time really didn’t wait”, but also “we had a great time”. I miss those people a ton right now. Myka, who overall took care of me. Shana, she is the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Maria, she would make a kickass sister. Max, my man. And Chloe, Kara, Kate, whom I wished I would’ve got closer with because they were all amazing and one of a kind. Yeah… that’s another situation where I was put in to see how important time is and how precious it is. How important people around us are.
Later, the group was smaller. Nothing much changed though. I loved everybody there. Celeste, Emma S, Adean, Caroline, Morgan, and Maddie. I was really lucky that I had them. We then went on the island of Kauai. So beautiful. I wished we could’ve spent more time there because the food, the people, the view, it was just too much to take in. It was truly an isolated paradise. We literally had chickens just wandering around the streets. NaPali Coast, what can I even say about it. You’ve probably already heard of NaPali Coast, if you hadn’t, search it up, and plan a trip to go because you can NOT miss out. We were on a catamaran and it was something I’d never forget. The waves crashing in, dolphins along the side of the boat, hanging out under the sun in the middle of the ocean. I’ll just let you picture it. Sometimes there would be these huge waves that crash through, completely swallowing the front of the boat, and we’d have to hang on if we didn’t want to get hurt. It was fun, really fun. I turned and saw the smile on my friends’ face and I couldn’t have been more glad that they were enjoying the moment.
Lastly we went to the Big Island of Hawaii. This was probably the slowest part of the trip since it was the last couple of days. But the first night we arrived on the Big Island, we snorkeled with manta rays. You read that right. THEY WERE HUGE. 16 feet across and I don’t even know how heavy they weigh but they were so BIG! It was night time when we snorkeled and no other thing is like this. The people had to light up the entire ocean, or where we were, so that we could see the manta rays. It was really beautiful seeing the ocean at night and it makes a hell of a view. It would be this whole part just bright and lit up, then all of a sudden light stops, you couldn’t see anything, pure darkness. It was pretty intimidating to think that what if a shark just swims by. That was a true experience and I think Aedan’s quote sums it all up “I’ve never felt so awake”. After all the fun stuff, the trip came to an end. It was coming and we all knew it.
Very last day we enjoyed our last dinner together. A luau of love. The food was incredible, especially the chocolate fudge cakes. What beat everything then was the presence of everybody there. I don’t understand why but that Hawaiian music, man. When we sat down around the table with strangers and each other, listening to the Hawaiian music, feeling the wind, enjoying the afternoon. I think I’m really feeling homesick. There’s nothing else in this world like that feeling. It was a special moment. Then next day we went to the airport, saying goodbyes. I’m not joking when I say, I’m thinking that it might’ve been the hardest thing that I ever had to do. I can’t recall right now in my memory of what was the hardest thing in my life. I was just a kid and I guess I wasn’t really there. But I would do anything back then to make our time together last longer. Staying with them. I mean all good things must come to an end right. It was really the experience that I’ve encountered, the people I’ve met and the memories that’s carved in me, that made this time I had exotic, this best summer I’ve had yet.
If you made it this far, thank you. I hope It was entertaining for you as much as I was writing it. It was really special to me and that’s why I took so long writing this blog. I didn’t want to rush it. I wanted to make sure that I talk about everything I want to talk about. I hope that you can get to experience something just like this, even better. And treasure all the time you have right now.