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North America » United States
August 31st 2007
Published: September 8th 2007
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Replaying the past two months in my head like a motion picture film, I can’t believe that I am sitting here on my final flight from Europe returning to the United States. As I scroll through my digital photos, I remember each moment as if I am still there reliving the experience all over again. A part of me is definitely ready to return home to Hawaii and to start living my “normal” life again. But another part of me feels like leaving Europe is bittersweet. This trip has been more than I ever could have imagined it to be. Throughout my journey, mostly during those times when I was by myself in a foreign city, I was able to do quite a bit of soul-searching. Despite having just turned 33 years old at the start of this trip, I still felt that there were many aspects of my life that I needed to reevaluate and put into perspective. Taking three months off from work and traveling over 16,000 miles, I can honestly say that the time off and away from what has become my reality has given me some of the clarity that I was searching for. Many questions were answered, but at the same time, new questions have emerged. I have, however, learned that this is the reality of life: Despite my efforts, life is never going to end up exactly as I have planned.

This journey has taught me that ...

… even if things don’t work out as I hoped they would, there is always a silver lining
… “getting away from it all”, still means that it will all be there when I return
… life is too short to not live it doing what I love, surrounded by people who I love
… people come into my life for a specific reason, even if it may be just for a passing moment
… I want to make a positive difference in the lives of people who I am lucky enough to meet
… the pursuit of happiness is a universal quest
… I am happiest in the company of people, who I love and who love me
… a fulfilling life and lasting love are not easy to attain, both require effort and compromise
… love is a powerful force that can conquer all, if both parties are willing to let it
… I have to be true to myself, always
… my life’s journey is more meaningful when I have someone who loves me by my side
… with an open mind and heart, there is still so much I have yet to learn
… I am ready to return home

I want to thank all of you for your endless support, encouragement, and friendship. I have thoroughly enjoyed capturing each moment of my journey on film and in writing. Your countless blog comments and emails always made me feel as if I was not alone, even during those days when I was physically by myself. I would be remiss to not mention that this trip would not have been possible without sacrifices made by many important people in my life (hence the endless souvenir shopping towards the end of my trip!). I will not forget that and will truly be forever grateful.

As I rewind the film of my life in my head, the memories that stand out the most are the ones where I am with friends and family. This trip has been no different. Although I know many of you wanted to join me, but for whatever reasons, were not able to, I do want to say a special thank you to Alex, Kelli, Erik, Thao, and most of all Boyd for accompanying me at various cities along the way. I am confident that our experiences together in Italy, Greece, and Spain respectively would be featured in my life’s movie trailer. And after these 2-1/2 months, I can say with certainty that I am excited to make even more fulfilling memories in the future, but this time I will not be alone. My head and my heart have told me what I needed to know, and I look forward to watching the future scenes unfold, as I continue this journey together with Boyd by my side.


21st December 2008

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