Tag Archives: Island

I Think I’ve Made a Huge Mistake…

As I exhaustedly laid down in the sand on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic, I thought to myself, “I think I’ve made a huge mistake and bitten off more than I can chew.”  I had spent 4 days island hopping from island to island in the Bahamas.  That sounds like paradise, right?


Well as usual, I decided to take my trip to the extreme and kayak by myself from island to island.  No, I’m not a professional kayaker.  I did get my Eagle in Boy Scouts, but it wasn’t for my navigation skills!  And let’s just say more than 1 person told me I was crazy.  “A storm could capsize you!”  “You could get lost!”  ‘What if you get injured?”  “A shark could jump out of the water and bite your head off”…well no one said that one, but by the time I left for my trip every other scenario had been covered.

To put my friends, family, co-workers, and random people who heard about my trip minds at ease, I would tell them my training regiment.  I went kayaking everyday either on Lake Houston or Galveston.  Some days I went to my parents’ pool and would practice capsizing, flipping the kayak over, and getting back in.  Unfortunately, I must admit I didn’t think about how ridiculous I looked until the neighbors came over and started laughing.  And no, trying to explain to them what I was doing didn’t help.  But nothing prepared me more than trying to make a fire with two pieces of wood.  It’s a lot harder then I thought and a skill I never used.

Although practicing increased my confidence in my kayaking ability, I definitely underestimated the amount of energy this trip would require.  Everyday I had to take down camp, pack it in the kayak, kayak, set camp up, prepare meals, and get fires started.  By the fourth day I was exhausted and thought to myself, “I think I’ve made a huge mistake and bitten off more than I can chew.”  After passing out for probably an hour or two under a palm tree, I woke up and went swimming to cool off.  As I look around I was amazed.  There were no boats, people, or houses around.  It was just me and nature.  A huge smile came over my face.  This was a once in a lifetime experience.  To be alone on a beautiful island, swimming in crystal clear water with no one else around.


Right then I realized that although this trip was really crazy, I felt a great sense of accomplishment in having come up with a unique trip and following through with it.  It was incredible to kayak with dolphins or snorkel and see a small black tip reef shark or sleep on the beach under a palm tree.  I will admit, for some this trip may not seem that crazy or hard.  For me however, it is the craziest trip I have ever taken and the best huge mistake of my life.


Waiheke Island

In May of 2008 I was on my way to New Zealand.  Alone, with no plans or place to stay, I began wondering what I was doing.  The cute girl sitting next to me eased my anxiety about having no plans for New Zealand, but gave me a new reason to feel anxious.  Since my smoothness with the ladies is unparalleled, I turned to her, smiled, and then worked on a Sudoku puzzle in the airline magazine.  Nothing drives women more crazy than a man doing a Sudoku puzzle.
During the flight we began talking, probably because she saw me complete the Sudoku puzzle in record time.  Jessie was from New Zealand, so I took the opportunity to ask where I should stay and places I could visit.  After talking for a few hours, she invited me to stay with her and her family.
After a couple of days amongst the buildings, traffic, and noise of Auckland, I decided to go to Waiheke Island and stay with Jessie and her family.  Even though it was just a 35 minute boat ride from Auckland, it felt like I had entered a new world.  The island was very small.  It seemed like there were only a few people living on the island because it was so quiet.
At Jessie’s house, I met her dad and her brother.  Her dad had long grey hair tied in a pony tail, scruff on his face, and a very relaxed demeanor.  He told me his attitude towards life was “life’s a vacation.” The best description I can give of him is that he is a hippie.  His life goal was to go to Europe and pick grapes.  He told me this more than 100 times!
In keeping with the picking theme, the next day, her dad invited me to go with him and pick macadamia nuts.  I had to see what all the hype was surrounding the picking industry, so I agreed to go.
Picking macadamia nuts was a first for me, and it was probably the last.  We spread tarps below the trees and then hit the branches of the tree with rakes.  We collected all the nuts that had fallen on the ground and use the tarps to put all of the nuts in the back of a truck.  The entire day, Jessie’s dad had a huge smile on his face.  I was amazed that someone could get so excited over picking macadamia nuts.  Jessie’s dad taught me to find joy in everything you do, even if it is as small as picking some nuts.
See Travel Tips under the category section for today’s travel tip!