While organizing my suitcase, I found a key. It was the spare key from the Love Locked Bridge in Paris. Lauren and I had forgotten to toss it into the Mediterranean sea. Rightfully, Taryn drove us to a look out point and I threw it into the island’s waters. 

Most encounters with new places and people on vacations can end up rather pointless, like strangers and fleeting moments disappearing like water in sand. My erratic adventuring in Hawaii proved to have nothing of the sort. This was the trip of a lifetime and it awakened something inside of me. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but something within me was resurrected and I’ve never felt so alive.

And oddly enough, everything in the universe seemingly fell into a positive place before I left the island. Good news was coming at me left and right. Friends were landing jobs and dream internships. Text messages alerted me of happiness in various milestones. But most of all, a phone call reinforced my belief in magic if Hawaii wasn’t already doing it. Heather had told me a day ago that her father was dead. He had been in the hospital in a comma from a stroke. They were going to take him off life support as he was completely brain dead. But then I got the most stunning news. Something crazy happened. Her dad woke up. They pulled him off life support and said their goodbyes and the next day he woke up. As in he raised from the dead. Raised. From. The. Dead. The doctors were completely dumbfounded. They couldn’t call it anything less than a miracle. 

I couldn’t wrap my head around everything that was happening. This is the kind of thing that only happens in movies. Why was everything so surreal? And why was I so lucky to witness it all? 

At first I was celebrating my own figurative resurrection and then found myself celebrating someone’s real physical resurrection.

I mean, man, what a time to be alive. 

Imagine if I never impulsively purchased that plane ticket. I wouldn’t have found this bliss. 

We hiked to a secret spot with no marked trail. Taryn knew of some hidden tide pools and lead the way. Filip, who was studying abroad from Poland, carried around a boom box speaker so we always had a groove accompanying us. We came upon a giant tide pool - our own private swimming hole. I couldn’t be happier. It was like unlocking the door to nirvana. This place was so perfect and I was beyond ecstatic. Just over the rocks was the vast bright blue ocean. The water was insanely clear and warm. This was a utopian splendor. We swam for hours, blasting our music, basking in our dreamlike playground.

I will never apologize for my youth. Parker may have told me I’m an old soul, but I’m sure I’m still twelve sometimes. No matter how old, it still feels nice to stick your head out of a car window, to tend to an insatiable sweet tooth, and explore until you’re covered in dirt.

We had taro pancakes and a giant acai bowl for breakfast on this day. We  often picked tropical fruit off of neighborhood trees on our walks. A cute yellow house in Blake’s neighborhood prompted me to take some photos of Blake in front. 

We were on our way to the airport to send Jamie and Parker off. But we had to make one stop before these boys would leave for their new life on The Big Island. A tattoo shop. A simple zig zag on the inside of our fingers would connect us forever. Stacked on top one another, we make the Haiku Stairs. It was a tribute to the adventure- not just to the Stairway to Heaven hike, but our whole journey, the serendipity, the gratitude for the chances we took, and the notion that our parents were wrong when they told us to never talk to strangers.