Posted by: GeekHiker | February 16, 2012

On The Road And Out Of Place

After a full month, one filled with indecision and an incredible amount of self-doubt, it would seem that I’m finally on the road again.

Well, sort of.  I’ve left the truck behind, my constant companion of these past few months, and boarded a plane.  Currently I’m typing this post on a small bluetooth keyboard connected to my phone from a hostel in, of all places, Hawai’i.  Hilo, on The Big Island, to be exact.

It feels a bit strange right now, a bit surreal.  I keep having to remind myself that I’m actually in Hawai’i.  Yes, I spent most of the day yesterday on a plane, crossing the Pacific, so I know from a practical perspective that I’m here.  But it doesn’t feel like it, not really.

Then again, much feels strange in the last 24 hours.

I’ve decided to stay in a hostel, for example, and it’s my first time in my entire life doing so.  Again, surreal.  And leaving me feeling a bit out-of-place.  Given my difficulties around larger groups of people and socializing (and not to mention the fact that I am a notoriously light sleeper), I wondered as I walked into the hostel yesterday whether or not this whole thing was really the best idea.   Can I be comfortable in such an environment as this? As someone who so often values his privacy, can I fit in?  I’ve little doubt that part of this comes from my being an only child: never having had to share a room growing up with a sibling, solitary space isn’t selfish, its simply my normal.

So, after hours on a plane, I emerged from my shell and joined a game of Scrabble (not easy running on no sleep in 24 hours plus jet-lag), and again this morning, talking with a couple of women and getting myself invited onto a tour of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, hiking down into a crater, eating lunch, and going out for beers and Thai food with them afterwards.

So, yes, I’m pushing my boundaries.  At the same time, I can’t tell you how good it felt to be back on the trail, a certain familiarity coming with it.  The new lightweight hiking boots under my feet, moving through the lush tropical rainforest and crossing the desolate lava fields, the humidity in the air; it felt good. The environment was new, but the feeling was familiar.  Hiking, it seems, is a part of my soul, and already I’ve touched into it to explore a new part of the world.

And I’ve only been here a day.

* * *

Whether or not this marks a return to more regular blogging, I do not know.  I’d like to think so.  You may not believe it, but I’ve rather missed my blog, missed writing.  My more personal thoughts of the past few months have ended up in a handwritten journal, being easier to tote around and write in as I traveled across the country and back.  Still, writing my thoughts online, posting them for the world to see?  Yes, of course I miss it.

Of course, maybe not having to constantly pack and unpack wet tents and campsite may make a difference in my writing proficiency.

The strangest feeling of all over the past few days, though, may have been on the flight out of Northern California. Looking past my seatmate, I watched the coast of my home state slip beneath the plane, and immediately felt a longing for home.  My time between the road trip and the plane flight was spent mostly doing reading and research, and I spent relatively little time hanging out in California per se.

I know, though, that this is the right choice.  I know, and hope to write about, the things I’ve seen and done over these past few months.  But at the same time, it’s not that anyone who reads this blog has missed anything.

Because I also know, and wrote as much in my journal, that the journey is only halfway done…

It has to be.



  1. I’ve been browsing your blog for a little bit and enjoy your posts. What brought me here was the Eagle Rock post from Topanga Canyon State Park. I need to catch a plan to Istanbul in a few minutes so I’ll be brief. I have been abroad for quite some time now, heading back to Southern CA in SEPT (I grew up in Ahoura Hills, CA). I am a photographer (currently a Naval Officer) and want to spend the month of SEPT photographing around Ventura County and other parts of Southern CA. After that I am taking off backpacking around Europe, N Africa, Mid East and Asia. Anyways, was hoping you could steer me towards some of the more beautiful, off the grid spots in that area. Anyways, Have fun in Hawaii! I spent 2 yrs there and loved it!

  2. Oh Hawaii…sigh…what a beautiful destination for you to choose. I hope you will write more. I still want to read back-posts about your cross-country travels.

    I think it’s great you’re staying in a hostel because it seems like you’re getting a chance to see how friendly other solo(ish) travelers can be. Europe will be a piece of cake after this! 😉

  3. Ah…..the big island was the site of my very first marathon. After running in Kona, I toured around Volcanoes and Hilo solo. Awesome place with a great vibe.

  4. The Wife and I stayed at the Kilauea Military Camp inside Volcanoes National Park. Awesome place and park.

    I was unsure about Hostels as well but I ended up enjoying them on my Camino. I stayed in them for almost 38 days. The secret may be ear plugs to neutralize the snorers.

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