Have you been thinking about simplifying your life? Maybe you want to move to Hawaii?
I don’t have to own anything to enjoy life, including horses. But, everywhere I go, if I get a chance to ride, I do.
On my recent trip to Hawaii, driving from Kona to the rainy side of the Big Island, where they call it “Old Hawaii,” I found myself in paradise.
A cowgirl (Paniola in Hawaiian) for the day, I rode through the Waipi’o Valley. This rainforest, which winds to a black sand sea shore, is surrounded by 2,000-foot cliffs and waterfalls lace its edges. One riverbed is the only dirt road, and, as I rode my horse down it, taro fields, friendly locals and wild horses greeted me.
As I watched the locals wade through the water-filled gardens harvesting taro, it reminded me of rice paddies! The natives eat every part of the taro. The root is made into poi, which is a staple for Hawaiians, much like potatoes are for the Irish.
Here, I felt far away from any tourists and part of the culture. The locals live off their taro crops, and pick fresh bananas, mangos and papayas. And, they hunt wild boar, goats and fish — there’s plenty to eat! The homes were small and set high on stilts, since they live along a flood plane. I admired their simple life off the grid — no electricity or phones.
Wild horses approached for any tidbits of food. The locals told me they are too small to domesticate and ride, but are enjoyable to have around!
After a day of riding, it was refreshing to shower and taste the local cuisine. The poi tasted a little pasty, but the fresh catch of the day and lava flow cocktail (a piña colada with strawberry that looks like fire flowing from a volcano) were delicious!
Every time I travel, I bring home parts of the culture that resonates with me. So, here’s to celebrating the simple joys I discovered in Hawaii in my own back yard!
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“A horse can lend its rider the speed and strength he or she lacks, but the rider who is wise remembers it is no more than a loan.”
– Pam Brown