Thursday, September 18, 2014

French Polynesia, New York, Molokai...


To travel is to be blessed, richly, more so than any dollar amount, blessed.  I consider time the most you can spend on someone and travel the most you can share with someone.  In 8th grade my aunt gave me an Australia travel book, I carried it everywhere, everyday, till I left it on the bus.  Heart broken to lose the little book I'd often get carried away in, I promised myself, "One day I'll just go there myself".  That began my lust for travel and collecting travel books.  34 years old, I am richer than the 8th grade me ever imagined I'd become.  15 years old was my first trip out of country and I've been to 14 others since that day.  Dear mom, thank you for letting me go...

I learned to give & share.  To appreciate differences in others.  To work hard, really hard.  To love.  To value.  To set goals & go after them till they become real.  To not depend on anyone out of laziness, to lean on others in times of need.  Many nights I still fall asleep with memories of stars above head in places I can't even speak the language.  I left my toothbrush to a little boy in Honduras who's only wish was to have a toothbrush of his own.  I helped build a school and painted a home for a town who had nothing they could offer me, yet gave me everything I needed at that time in my life.  I won an Ironman in another country with my mom & son at the finish line.  I broke my foot in Australia yet picked myself up and kept going on it, because the rest of me still worked.  In Nicaragua, the poorest town I've ever been in, I saw a man love a woman in a way that still brings me to tears, far beyond what movies can offer us in the way of romance.  I cut a chickens head off and went to bed hungry in Belize.  I danced.  I made friends. I made family.  I borrowed clothes from a boy in South Africa who only had one extra outfit but gave it to me since my luggage never showed up.  I learned so much...

And sometimes travel can even mean a road trip, an island hop, a trip to the country or city.  

Of all the places all over the world, without even knowing entirely why, just knowing it's safe to make dreams, I have always wanted to see NY, Molokai, and any of the islands in the French Polynesia.  In 11th grade my friend Claude from Tahitti told me all about his island life, boats, and culture.  I'm pretty sure I could have tagged along on a trip back home with him since my parents were so supportive of my travel passions, but I tucked it aside as a place I wanted to French kiss, surf pretty waves with my best friend, and hold hands on perhaps...a honey moon.  

NY was a place I put on my list later in life, in college days after the bombings.  I realized how amazing America really truly is and I've yet to really indulge in it.  I wanted to go there and get educated on history, run through the park, take a cab and eat pizza.  I wanted to share it of course, but not with just anyone, it would have to be with someone who doesn't know it either, because I want to explore and get lost and then find our way.  

And then there is Molokai.  In December of 2002 my college sent out my application to the little island for a teaching position.  I of course, dove into a travel book and fell in love.  Molokai had other plans for me, Big Island needs her more, Kona teacher I became.  But I still looked out over the ocean and dreamed of Molokai.  In 12 years I have never really had a "reason" to go.  Not that life must have a reason to live it, I always just thought perhaps no rush, let it be special when it finally happens for me...



Well, my friends, tomorrow I am going to Molokai.  To paddle.  With some of the strongest and most wonderful people I have met, we will paddle from Molokai to Oahu.  I can hardly believe this day is almost happening and depsite how I imagined a trip to Molokai would look, I am happy it is happening this way.  Yes, I know, 3wks before Ironman, that's okay.  Because life has taught me, we don't always have a say so when we get to live out a dream, they surprise us when they decide to happen for us.  Mine is going to happen, I get to paddle a channel...

Terrified?  Not at all, Ironman has given me all the courage I need to take on a big, big challenge.  But the waves?  I nearly lost my life surfing in Costa Rica in 12th grade, I know the strength of the ocean and give it the utmost respect.  And paddling?  That's okay too, the women's crew that I get to be part of are incredibly experienced, they would not have taken me as part of the crew if they didn't think I was capable.  Emotional?  Yes, very.  I have watched Youtube videos of the race over and over, to be part of something so amazing is sometimes a girls "once in a lifetime", but maybe not, however I am not going to live life letting opportunities pass me by with hopes they come around again.  So here we go...

Beautiful life, thank you that two dreams are colliding so gracefully in a single year.  Ironman, thank you for a nice week of hot miles, I'll be back to you Monday...

Bree xo


2 comments:

Dawn said...

Good luck paddling today! Pretty cool, Bree. :) *Way to inspire & keep dreaming*

Lucy Francis said...

Bree, i think you are trying to write a new edition of "500 places to see before you die" book :-)
so many beatifull and diverse places in this world