The moment I decided to leave everything that was familiar and over 5,000 miles away from New York City to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was the moment that has forever defined the rest of my life. The decision to move across the world was a conscience decision that forced me to stop existing in life, and truly start living life with purpose. On February 6, 2009 I took a risk on life, I stepped way out on faith, faced fear straight in the eye, and bought a one-way plane ticket to Honolulu. I was preparing to move from New York City to Hawaii knowing no one but myself, but also knowing that the life I was living was no longer working for me. A change had to be made, and I was finally ready to make it.
I remember the moment I knew I wanted to leave NYC. After 26 years of living in the city that never sleeps, I was more than ready to leave. New York had it good points, it was and will always be my home. Yet, I felt like everyday was a constant battle, and in the end I guess I lost because I decided that I did not want to fight to be happy anymore. How did I know I ready to leave? Well, for starters I hated my job. My life was a 10-12 hour workday, on call 24/7, taking a train 2.5 hours a day, and being severely unappreciated as an employee. The job anxiety prevented me from sleeping at night, and I woke up each morning with a painful stomach ache that was triggered by the thoughts of what I could expect during the day. Romantically, I was on a painful rollercoaster of a relationship with an ex-boyfriend. It was the type of relationship that needed to end, but since we both seemed to enjoy emotional torture there was no clear end in sight. Feelings of not being strong enough to let go kept us together, when in reality I knew how much I needed to just let go. Friends and family were available to give my mood a boost, however, in a city with over eight million people I still felt alone. I kept having the feeling of needing more, wanting more out of life, and if something was going to change then I had to be the one to go change it.
I made up my mind to move to Honolulu on a random state of impulse, and a will to free myself from feeling trapped in the New York City abyss. I contemplated endlessly over the many reasons I should stay where I was, truly I only needed one reason to leave; I wanted to live. Not just breathe air, but really experience all that life has to offer. The world was my sandbox, I needed to jump in and play. I was certain that this move was going to happen. I only needed two pieces of the puzzle to fall in place for me to be able to move, a job and an apartment. I told friends and family that I was preparing to move to Hawaii, of course no one actually believed me. Most people thought I was crazy, and I'm sure some other people thought, "yeah right she is never going anywhere". At first I questioned if I was actually being honest with myself or was this move all a dream. It was my dream, but I was sure with a little touch of faith that it would be my reality.
Now, I had never made a visit to Hawaii before I decided that this would be my new home. I had never even been to the west coast before, so to go over 5,000 miles and 10 hours away from home and the familiarity of NYC seemed slightly overwhelming at first. Honestly I really had no idea how I would make it work. Yet, I wasn't afraid, I was relived. I had an excitement towards life that I had not felt in a very long time. I could not wait for what was going to happen next. For the first time in my life, I was brave enough to move out of my own way and get the life I wanted. I prayed to God to ask for guidance, support, and a sign to tell me if I should really be moving. To my amazement God answered, and God answered big. I had faith that everything would work out exactly the way that it was meant to be. With the large amount of faith that I had, there was no room for fear. God said it would be ok, and most importantly he said, I got you, and we got this.
I spent the final weeks of 2008 goggling things I should know about living in Hawaii. In January of 2009 I was able to finalize an employment position, luckily via phone interview, began searching craigslist for apartments, and bought my one-way ticket. Suddenly my impulse that seemed like a huge dream was becoming a reality. I was saying goodbye to fear, self-doubt, and pity, and finally taking control over the only thing I really have control over, me.
I am grateful that my family and friends were supportive of my decision to move across the world to an island in the middle of pacific. With every sense of doubt that I felt from myself or that was spread by other people I felt's God's presence saying, I got you. That's when I knew; my journey was just beginning, and it was just going to be God and I on this one. I was confident that if I fell, I would be just fine. In New York I was safe, I finally cut my safety net and just like that, life felt good.
I lived in Hawaii for four years before moving back to the mainland and planting new roots in the DC metro area. People always ask me almost daily, "why did you move to Hawaii?" The real answer is because I wanted to finally start living. I wanted my life to be one of purpose. I took a risk and I won. Sure Hawaii is far from New York, sure it can be expensive, but so is living in New York. However, there is no price on the lessons I learned, the friendships that were made, and the experiences that I have gained. I gained confidence in my decisions and myself; I also learned how to make friends as an adult. I lived life outside of my comfort zone, I ran my first half marathon, I started hiking, I swam with sharks, skydived, found a true love in yoga, and even started stand up paddle boarding. My time living on an island will be a time that I will never forget, and my everlasting friendships will always give me a reason to return. Life is meant to be lived, choose now to stop existing and start living.