Sadly, my time in Hawaii is coming to an end, soon I will be on a plane back home to Florida for the holidays. I am excited to see my family, this is the longest I have been away from them. While I truly settled into this place in Hawaii, my home will always be with my family.
However, the one thing that will be hard to get used to again is not having complete independence. While I have been here in Hawaii, apart from the five hours a day of farm work, I can spend my time however I want. Every day here I have been waking up at 5 am to work out and enjoy some quiet time by myself as the sun rises and then I am in bed by 8 pm, a schedule that I know will not be sustainable at home. It will also be weird not to be outside most of the day or being able to pick food from the garden to eat. Nothing beats fresh, organic veggies that you have planted from seed yourself! I have learned so much here and it is such useful knowledge that will be implemented into my life once I have space for my own garden.
Something that has surprised me about my gap year experience is that there are hundreds of other worlds out there that people do not know about. Not just in terms of different cultures or societies, but in ways of livelihood. I used to assume, and I believe most others do too, that the main structure of life proceeds as follows: birth, school, work, retirement, death, and you can sprinkle the fun things in as you go along. However, through this gap year, I have learned that there is no one structure to life and there shouldn’t be!
The most obvious deviation from the assumed norm for me this year was taking a gap year. I decided the best option for me was not to go right into more school after feeling burnt out from working so hard for 12 years. It was the best decision I think I could have made for myself.
I proceeded to research into different paths I could take for my gap year and once again there were so many other options than what most people would think. Volunteering programs are not the only way to help others or experiencing different cultures. There is a whole world of work-stay-trade. I chose to go through WWOOF, but many platforms connect people to those in need of helpers. WWOOF focuses on the organic, local food movement and combating the climate crisis through agricultural changes. The work-stay-trade world is available to anyone and there are hundreds of different things that you can do. It is a great way to travel, experience cultures, save money, help others, and learn new skills.
A third “world” that I have further explored during this gap year is that of certifications. I feel very empowered through certification processes. I already have two certifications for teaching yoga (100-hr and 200-hr), and now I am working towards my doula certification. Certifications allow you to truly dive into one thing and that thing only, I have gained so much knowledge about birth and pre-natal/post-natal health by reading all the required books and going through the classes, and already attending one birth. I have two more births lined up for the Spring and then I will be certified!
Finding these different paths you can take in life has made me think about other assumptions I have made about life. It has shown me that there are always options, options that you may have never known existed. It demonstrates the importance of research and meeting people. The more research you do and people you meet the more you learn about the alternative to the norm. I am very grateful that this experience has opened my eyes to more of the world and I can’t wait to continue to my next adventures and learn even more!