or Ha·wai’i (hə-wä′ē, -wī′ē)
coming from a common Polynesian root “Havaiki,” meaning simply “homeland.”
I am often asked if I am from Hawaii, to which I have to reply, “no.” I was born & raised in Utah, but my childhood was filled with stories of the islands. Of my mother’s competitive years rowing crew from island to island, of skiing Mauna Kea in the morning & heading to the beach in the evening, of second-degree burns soothed by wild aloe vera, of superstitious local encounters and of the ‘good ol’ days.’
These stories are not mine, but after growing up with them, I can’t help but feel as if they are apart of me. My own stories of Hawaii started when I was 18, when I touched down from the flight & the humidity & plumeria-filled air hit me. Ever since then, every trip down to the ‘Sandwich Isles’ captures a larger piece of my heart.
Before I was born, my mum lived on various islands of Hawaii for a span of almost a decade. She was a small-town girl from Indiana who’s heart settled on this volcanic cluster in the middle of the ocean. While I was growing up she always told me that she longed for her ‘home’ & that I too would fall in love with it. I did not understand how at peace she felt there until we traveled to the islands together for my first time. It was a new side of my mother; a more peaceful, happy, nostalgic side. She was able to show us the island like a local, despite all the years she had been away–it was like the back of her hand & it came flooding to her quickly.
This was the first thing that ever shook my idea of ‘home.’ My home was Utah & had always been, her home was Indiana or Utah (the two places she had spent most of her life), yet here we were–at home. Since this moment, I have allowed my heart to open up & try to find it’s resting place.
For now, I am trying my best to tune into where my soul finds home. Or contentment. Who knows where the next path will take me, but I sure hope it feels like home. I hope that I can make stories to instill in my kids one day.
Utah is filled with my friends, my memories–all that I know. But I can’t deny the calm that washes over me when I am down in the islands. & who knows, I could find this same feeling elsewhere, but I think it’s deep in me, the stories I was told as a child have helped me form a bond to this magical, enchanting place.
So here’s to HOME. Wherever that may be & whatever that may mean.
These captures are from my most recent travels down to the Big Island. When I was able to meet up with fellow creatives Kylie Martin & Kylie Swanson to shoot a film editorial. It was quite the epic adventure. We kicked the truck into four wheel drive, headed down what felt like a 90º angle road & then spent our afternoon on to the most enchanting beach I had ever laid eyes on–a charming mix of Irish looking cliffs & dark mesmerizing sand. Waipio Valley, I leave a piece of my heart with you.
Photos | Kylie Martin