Yes, I Live in Paradise


No, I’m not trying to rub it in. It’s just something that friends, visitors or people I’ve spoken to here or on trips have mentioned to me time and again, many after seeing my coveted rainbow-adorned drivers license. 

I don’t deny it. I think it’s more that: 1) I don’t spend enough time in the places where I could enjoy it more, and 2) having lived here all my life, I’m more blown away by mountain ranges, gurgling streams and redwoods. I guess you could say it’s something I’ve somewhat taken for granted.

wave crashing at sunset

As with most of the 9-to-5 crowd who work in Honolulu and commute from outlying areas, the scenery consists of freeway traffic and, for me, the industrial area where I work. The commute home is the same, but longer (by the way, if someone can explain why it is that when school is out, the morning traffic greatly improves while the afternoon traffic remains the same, I would be very interested in hearing it). I do, however, get to catch some awesome sunsets on the drive home.

As for my “grass is greener” mentality, I don’t think it’ll ever change until I get a taste of living outside the Aloha State. I’ve been on numerous road trips and am always amazed by the beauty that can’t be found in Hawaii—well, the exceptions being Kauai’s Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast. Plus I’ve found friendly people most everywhere except in one state, which will go unnamed. 

plant backlit by sunset

Recently, I’ve been trying to get out more to improve my photography and videography. So I drove to Sand Island Beach Park located down the road just 5 minutes from work.

My focus was on getting good shots and videos—framing the sunset with tree branches, catching leaves backlit by the waning rays of the sun, capturing waves crashing on the rocks.

It wasn’t until my third visit that I realized just how much I was missing Being in the Moment; you know, the stuff that self help gurus always remind us to do. While waiting for the setting sun to cast its orange warmth onto the clouds, ocean and beach for that perfect shot, I scrutinized my surroundings and finally figured it out.


Just a few feet away, kids played along the shoreline with their parents, a couple relaxed in chairs looking out toward Diamond Head and a man relaxed on the sand watching the waves roll in. It was the feel of the waves covering my feet that brought me back to happy memories of being carefree at the beach. At that moment, I realized I actually hadn’t been in the ocean for, at the very least, six months. 


Those gurus are right. There are times when we—I—need to just…be. Embrace the feel of the breeze blow around me, hear the birds making their dinner rounds and taking in the beauty of a setting sun—not with a camera—but with my own eyes while basking in moments of peace and solitude. Let go of work stress, stressful relationships, negativity and just be in the moment. It helps to build a stronger sense of self, positive outlook and general good health.

But just as importantly, it's also about appreciating where you live and taking the time to enjoy your surroundings. Regardless of where we are in the world, there is always a light that shines through the smallest crack. It's just up to us to find it.

Happy travels, and remember, just be…Sarah : )

solitude at the beach

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