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to travel is to live

"we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us." 

- UNKNOWN

Travel has been such a huge part of my life that I can't help but feel that I was destined for it. At the young age of only 30 years old, I can already say that I've been to various states and countries in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia, I've sailed on and swam in the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, have been to 4 of the Pacific Islands, have been to 5 of the 7 continents, and have now seen 3 of the 7 world wonders. My travels are extensive for someone as young as myself and not due to good fortune or inheritance, but rather fate or what I like to call "blessings."

I come from very humble beginnings and grew up in a small country town on a small island in the Pacific, but was blessed with talents, good parents, good teachers and kupunas, a supportive, god-loving community and a strong work ethic, all which have contributed to the person who I have become and the many blessings brought in to my simple and humble life.

But let me start from the beginning. I was actually a military baby, born in Frankfurt, Germany. So right off the bat, you can already see where most of my European travels began. It was as a baby, toddler and child. However, I do remember a lot of it (or as much as a child of those ages can). Then when the opportunity presented itself, my Dad retired so that my Mom could return to her island home and raise us kids here. We officially moved from Germany to Hawaii when I was nine years old (1995), and although I remember our time in Germany, Hawaii is where I call home. It is where I was raised, where I was taught, and where I identify with the most. I am a local Hawaii girl through and through and I truly love my island home.

One of the many reasons for that, besides its obvious beauty and year-round perfect temperatures, is because of the rich culture I get to experience here. I was raised learning all about my cultures and was blessed to be able to learn how to dance these cultures at a very young age. I grew up dancing at all of the community events (even got paid here and there at certain gigs), but mostly danced for fun at weddings, birthday parties, school events and more. But then when I was 14 years old, an opportunity to work at the Polynesian Cultural Center presented itself, and well, I took it! But little did I know, it was for one of the best jobs ever. And I mean that quite literally. Best. Job. Ever!

It was to be on the promotional team, which meant that I would not only get to dance at gigs on-island, but off-island as well. Meaning I was going to get PAID TO TRAVEL! Yes, paid to dance in different countries around the world. Can I say dream job?! And as a 14 year old? Like come on, huge blessing. Not to mention, it was actually a job position offered mostly to college students at the nearby University, but as "fate" would have it, this opportunity came in to my life as a young junior high student. I was the baby of the group and was frequently called the "keiki" (haha!), but I was there, doin' my thing, livin' the dream, and loving it. It. was. awesome. (And if anything, I ended up with a lot of older brothers and sisters that took care of me along the way. :) Did I have to grow up fast? Yes. Did it come with a lot of responsibility? Of course! But it wasn't anything I couldn't handle, and hey, I kind of liked being an independent young woman that could take care of myself. ;) So the bulk of my travels came from there.

So I did that throughout high school and even after leaving for college, I was still asked to perform and travel to various locations from there. Then when I would come home for summer and Christmas breaks, I'd go right back to dancing and working again. So I did that for a good 3 years after high school (during my college years).

But then another opportunity presented itself right before my junior year of college, and that was to be in the Performing Arts Group, Living Legends, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. And thus even more travel opportunities presented itself. I was in this performing group for two years (both my Junior and Senior years), and went on three tours each year. Four of the tours were state side tours that we road-tripped to and two of the tours were international tours, both in South America. Thanks to this college experience, I had experienced a new section of the world for the first time: some of the beautifully diverse and colorful countries of South America.

Then, during my senior year of college, my life took a little turn and I had become engaged and married. So once my college career ended, so did my dancing travels (as we started our family soon after I graduated). But luckily, my dancing travels were soon replaced by football travels since I just so happened to marry a collegiate football player!! And what an adventure that was! That brought a totally different type of excitement into my life. I got to attend a bunch of football games during those years and even traveled for some of them. Football wife life was seriously so much fun and I loved that stage of my life so much. The perk was that it even included some free travel as well when it came to bowl games. Talk about blessed in the travel department again!

But soon mom life began and the traveling slowed down quite a bit. (2010) But not tooooo much! Our goal when we got married was to go on at least one family vacation a year and one anniversary trip a year and thankfully, that has been true for us thus far. In fact, we somehow managed to travel more than once or twice a year. So although we had to start paying for trips out of pocket for a while there, we still made travel a priority and just did the dang thing.

After my husband graduated from college in 2012, we returned home to Hawaii. It was meant to be a temporary move, just to have a break and to be with our families for a year or so, but one year turned in to two and two years turned in to three. Then two babies turned into three babies and then three turned into four and now it's 5 1/2 years later and we are still here. I guess we just didn’t want to leave, but not only that, an incredible opportunity presented itself all of a sudden, and it was one both my husband and I couldn't turn down. (2015)

It was a job opening to become a Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant. Our good friends talked to us about how awesome of a job it is, how amazing the benefits are, how flexible the schedule is, and also how good the pay is. Then another time my mother-in-law randomly brought it up to me too because one of her co-workers had recently become one too and really loved it so far. So I thought, 'Hmmm....maybe I should look in to this.' So I then consulted with my Mom about it and to my surprise she was all about it too! Like ecstatic! I mean, I guess I could see why she would be (that would mean flight benefits for her too), but yeah, with now my husband, Mom and mother-in-law on board, I decided I'd go for it. In fact, my husband and I both decided we'd go for it! I mean, why not? Two chances are better than one, right? Sooo we did it. We both applied (with the hopes, of course, that at least one of us would get it) and guess what? I got it! I got the job and it has been the biggest blessing in our lives. We get to travel for fun, we get to go to Disneyland multiple times a year, we get to check off places on our bucket list, we get to spend holidays with our families that live far away, we get to attend special family events that we wouldn't otherwise be able to. It has been one roller coaster of an adventure so far and we are loving it. Like truly loving it. And guess what? It is still only the beginning. We are now 3 years down with many many more to go and we cannot wait to see what else (or rather, where else) our future has in store for us. All I know is that we are living and loving this life of travel we have created for ourselves and we would love to share this journey with you. 

So join us on our family adventures as we travel through life, enjoying (and maybe not enjoying) all of the moments along the way. Because lets be honest, traveling with kids is the furthest thing from glamorous, easy or fun, but we are doing it and these are the very memories that will last a lifetime, that we will look back on some day and cherish. Life is short, life is precious and life is to be lived. And the thing is, we have only now to live it, because only today is guaranteed. So join me as I live life afloat sharing my tips, tricks and recommendations along the way. Also, feel free to ask away if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy.... Xo!

Crystal

Published April 2018

 

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