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Brian Cray - Hitchhikin', Trainhoppin', and Wanderin'

Wanderin' the world, at will, by any means

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Archives for October 2016

Monkey Husband and the Blue Haired Gypsy

Camp Erdman

So here we are in Hawaii. I guess my life changed when we went to NY, but nothing like here. We have been tent camping for about a month. The first week was hard, since then has kinda been a breeze. I am in the most beautiful place in the world. I hear the waves all day. The best part, being here with my husband. I wouldn’t trade it for your mansion.

I’ve been trying to hike more, preparing for the Haiku stairs. The fresh fruit is insane. We pick passion fruit and guava right off the vine. Husband jokes that I would hike anywhere if it involved food. He is right. 10 miles would be easy if there was a taco truck at the end.

Camp Erdman

Climbing a tree wall near Camp Erdman

My favorite hike though, was with Jungle. We walked this flood evacuation trail behind the YMCA here in Oahu. There was this amazing tree. A huge Banyan hugging the side of a the ledge of a mountain. My husband monkeyed up the side of it like it was no big deal. I knew a similar feat from me would most likely result in a broken femur.

Later along the path was a now defunct waterfall you could climb. Someone strategically placed ropes to ease the weekend adventurer into Indiana Jones. . I thought with my experience bouldering that this would be no problem. I was wrong …..problem. The nastiest habit I have picked up being a rock gym rat was definitely the ability to let go of the rope because of your harness.

Camp Erdman

Eating a fresh coconut straight off the tree

This had no harness there was no letting go unless a bee stung your ankle and you decided that you really enjoyed falling down the side of a waterfall. In hindsight I don’t recommend it much.

The view was well worth the scare however and only a minor scrape and cut were had, I don’t know we are ever close to finding the meaning of life but I tell you I feel closer on this trip. I think there is a good possibility the meaning of life is to take in all the beauty. We are all on borrowed time.

Camp Erdman

Camp Erdman Evacuation trail

My husband’s been working long days to make this trip happen, and squirrel away a little extra dough here and there.  I have to say after seeing the world the way he does it I’ve never felt more loved. Bringing me along for the ride has made the ride more difficult for him.  I’m not good at stealth camping and I’m only just learning how to hike. Everything I knew about budgeting, and thought I knew about finance kinda gets thrown out the window when you try to live like this.  I’m sure I’ve given him more headaches than heartwarming moments.  Being here eating this amazing fruit, swimming in the ocean with sea turtles. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

North shore sunset Oahu pacific Skydiving Center

Swoopin’ on Oahu

Pacific Skydiving Center

My time on the North Shore is ending as we approach the end of November in a month. Pacific Skydiving Center introduced me to a whole new aspect of drop zone life in a turbine setting. The fast-paced, upbeat environment is home to a variety of people from all over the country. I see some of the best swooping, free-flying skydivers in the United States on a daily basis. It’s intimidating, but rewarding. The turbulence, gusts, and experience required to safely land a canopy make me truly realize the dangers of the sport, the fears I need to overcome to become a better canopy pilot and skydiver. In due time I will get there, but skydiving is not my ultimate priority in life at this moment, traveling is…

Pacific Skydiving Center camping

Our home for the past few months with the Kelly…a mile from Pacific Skydiving Center

And that’s what I am doing and continue to do, except now I have a partner with me on occasion, my wife. My first days of hitching on the North Shore with no place to live, take warm showers, cook food, and feel civilized ended quicker than I planned. But living randomly makes me appreciate the unexpected adventures of travel, like meeting a nice Hawaiian woman for a work-trade opportunity. I never thought camping legally, rent-free in Hawaii was an option.

North shore oahu

Kelly holding a feral kitty That Kalei found on the beach

When I’m not packing tandems relentlessly for Pacific Skydiving Center, I’m landscaping, making Kalei’s lawn look like a resort town with a live-in lawn caretaker. When I’m not doing that I’m in the loft furthering my skills as a rigger, learning how to sew, make Sigma Tandem closing loops, sport closing loops, lower bungee assemblies, line sets, etc.

I’m stationary living as a camper with my wife, falling asleep every night to the lulling sound of the ocean waves and its nippy breeze. The beauty of this paradise surrounds me as I make some money to pay off our debt, my student loans and save or our next travels. It’s almost surreal beauty like gazing into a famous masterpiece planted far out into the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Skydiving center

BBQ with the crew

My explorations came to a halt with all the working, but towards the end of November we will hit the road for more adventures on each of the islands, walking, hitchhiking and utilizing the public transportation available to us.  We hope to hike the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Haleakala Crater on Maui, Sacred Falls and The Stairway to Heaven on Oahu, just to name a few explorations we have in mind.

Until then we bask in the beach sunshine, chatting with the other travelers at Kalei’s home, a radiant bunch of people from Florida, Missouri and Montana. And of course the homeless, meth-addict with the big bold letters, “Zion” tattooed on his back. But he’s a whole different story.

Pacific Skydiving center

The first edit to my book is almost done after three years of my misfit travels bicycle touring, hitchhiking and hopping freight trains between parachute packing jobs at Skydive Fargo, Western New York Skydiving and Pacific Skydiving Center

I am fortunate to live here temporarily. It’s like a permanent vacation. I will miss the people at Pacific Skydiving Center, but I might come back down the road, if it leads me here again, who knows?

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