Jonny, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Ten years ago I thought I was living the American dream in Spokane, Washington, with a successful business and a beautiful home. I had all of life’s accessories but I was spiritually stagnant. So I took off for the islands, camped on the beach for four months, and when I returned I realized that all I really had was just “stuff.” I put everything up for sale, and I’ve been having the time of my life ever since. I moved to Hawaii’s Big Island and lived in a geodesic dome in the rain forest for a while. I had an amazing seventy foot waterfall for my shower, a twelve-volt battery for my power, and life was great. I did some humpback whale research; there is nothing like looking at a fifty-foot gentle giant eye to eye. I made some dolphin buddies that I swam with on a regular basis. I played with octopuses and watched lava flow before my feet. I eventually got my captain’s license and have sailed most of the Big Island’s coastline. I’ve always been clear to my crew and my friends about who I am, and even though I do not wear my “gayness” on my shirtsleeve, I know it is important to be a good man and break the stereotypes that are pretty rampant here in Hawaii, especially within the boating industry. I live a very simple life. I have no debt, no credit cards, and for the most part live in my travel van and just see where the road takes me. I never get island fever, but when that wanderlust kicks in and the “travel account” is flush, I’ll take off on a new adventure. I’ve hiked the desert in Palm Springs, sailed the Sea of Cortez, and enjoyed the people of Puerto Vallarta. I can truly say that the phrase “I wish I had done that” is not part of my thoughts anymore.