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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

Birthdays and holidays don’t mean very much to me; I like to think of every day as special. Age, too, isn’t that big of a deal to me. Maybe this will change when I’m older? I don’t feel profoundly different today than I did yesterday, or last year. That being said, 30 is kind of a milestone. Here are my thoughts on reaching an age many people consider makes you a grownup.

I’m (technically) unemployed and homeless. I’m single, never been married and have no children. I don’t own a car and have no savings. I’m in Tasmania. That’s right, I’m celebrating my 30th birthday in freaking Tasmania! I never thought I’d be saying that. There are a lot of things I’ve done, especially lately, that weren’t in my realm of possibilities even a few years ago.

While I’m woefully lacking in virtually every traditional measure of success or accomplishment, I’m happy and have no regrets. I’ve gone from being a troublemaker, an underachieving student with a disdain for authority and a penchant for doing extremely stupid things, to a reasonably decent member of society. I may have learned the hard way, but I found out who I am and what I’m passionate about. I’ve even found “home.”

Not that I have anything against Massachusetts or my family and friends there, but Hawai’i is home for me. The people, the community, and the culture of Hawai’i are truly special. Having the perfect climate and breathtaking scenery certainly don’t hurt, but my choosing Hawai’i had to do with a lot more than geography.

I may have come into existence in Boston 30 years ago, but I came into my own in Hawai’i. Agriculture, the environment, travel, and, of course, food have become my life. If there is a better home base for someone with these passions, I haven’t found it.

It seems that a movement of sorts began in Hawai’i around the same time this change began within me. The past 5 years have seen a renaissance in agriculture, environmental awareness, and cuisine in Hawai’i. It’s a very exciting place to be.

It may seem strange for someone who claims to love a place so much to spend so much time away from it. I know that the opportunity to travel for extended periods of time will not last forever. It may never happen for me again. The more experience, the more knowledge I gain abroad, the more of a contribution I can make to help shape Hawai’i’s future when I return.

This trip is far from over, but I’m already prepared to move on to the next phase of my life. I’m ready to build something, both personally and professionally. Don’t get me wrong. I love traveling and will be thoroughly enjoying the rest of this trip, but I’m ready for the next step when I get back.

My 20s were a time of transformation for me internally; I had entirely too much fun, but also learned a great deal in the process. I’m hoping for my next decade to be a time when I can help change things around me now that I’ve got myself figured out. I’m ready to make my mark on the world.

Thanks to all of the family and friends who have filled my 30 years on the planet with love, laughter, and learning. I love you all and am grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life.

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