Last Updated on November 13, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa
Like life, booking travel abroad generally involves a fair bit of planning.
Or so I thought…
Last year, people asked me if I had a travel plans. What a ridiculous question, of course I had plans!
…. I just didn’t know what they were, where I wanted to go, how I’d be able to swing it on my inconsistent freelance schedule or how I’d afford it when I hadn’t earned much of an income this year.
If you live in Hawaii, travel is expensive.
The cost of flights from Hawaii to the mainland U.S., average anywhere from $400- $1,500, depending on season. Travel internationally during winter, and you’re in for a shock. Travel to Australia prices climb from $1,100- $3,000. Go eastbound to Asia/Southeast Asia and costs ease up, ranging from $700 – $1900. Oddly, Europe, SouthAmerica and Africa tend to hit a medium of $980- $2,300, even though they’re on the opposite end of the globe. ( Keep in mind, with winter travel I’m going from warm weather to cold.)
Thus in Hawaii, international travel feels like a sizable investment. It’s an “event” you’d ordinarily save for, take your time researching and planning.
It’s hardly something you’d want to have to wing at the last minute.
But when life doesn’t send you ideal opportunities, you must create them for yourself…
Work dribbled in… unpredictably. The challenges of finding work in acting and of a reviving a freelance career, in a place that wasn’t matched with my actual industry, was turning me jaded. It was hard getting a foot in the door; hard for others to take the chance on someone new (…and yeah, maybe being a girl unconsciously works against me). Shape-shifting to a new industry, required big skill alterations on my part. Opportunities were limited; not as sexy as New York or Los Angeles.
I wasn’t sure if investing in the struggle and frustration of re-starting a career in Honolulu would reap worthwhile results.
I’d have to fall backwards, before moving forwards and the road looked longer than I hoped.
Could I build a career as an actress, eventually reclaim my old job as a cameraman, earn a solid income as I did in New York, have a fabulous travel life, and work on fun projects that furthered my career? ( Yeah, I wanted it all. That’s how I am)
To be honest, all of it felt unlikely. This weighed on me like bricks. So I’d bury my head down, pushing myself harder to find a solution…
“Don’t stop until you’ve exhausted all resources, ” was a silent mantra.
“Because only after you’ve tried everything your imagination is capable of, can you give up on this place, if things don’t work out.”
Then the darkness entered…
By my sixth month, my smile was worn thin. When you don’t see many ways for you to move, you feel handicapped. Suffocated. I panicked, felt self-combustive. I was unable to do any of the fun stuff that I loved. It was all getting to me.
This is where the pain entered.
I enjoy acting but my old career was my long-standing breadwinner. I was a woman working a man’s adventure and everything I did, places I went and skills I used, mimicked the things I love most about travel. I was on the field, moving, meeting people in colorful situations and operating my camera. I was exploring and telling stories through my lens.
For a physical and social person like myself, 10 hours of running around chasing people with a camera, didn’t feel like work at all.
It was travel.
VH-1’s hidden camera show, Motormouth: Doing stealth squats waiting to surprise Location: New Jersey MTV’s My Super Sweet 16: The 16th birthday party was a Vegas casino theme. Location: Montreal or North Carolina
Valentine’s Day w/ Todd Oldham: One man shoot. I am the only camera shooting the show.
This is a short flashback and one with crappy pictures but in a nutshell, this is where I left off in my old life.
When I initially left my career to move to Korea, it was because I was searching for a ‘travel life’ more fabulous than this.
And I eventually found it in solo and expat life.
Now I was trying to recreate my travel life in Hawaii.
Life is too short to be lived unfulfilled; sometimes, you need to know when to walk away.
Mental and emotional health in my life and work is very important to me.
The moment I turn in on myself in frustrated rage or self-hate, for things beyond my control, its time to Stop! This push for career revival, was giving me more pain than joy.
I needed to feel movement, acceleration, to feel powerful, commanding, passionate again. My environment was making me feel the opposite.
I denied myself of a travel break for some time. Now, I needed it.
I needed to feel me.
When I finally found a hole in my schedule, I pounced on it before it could seal up. I catapulted onto the internet search engine with rocket fast instinct, fearful that if I wasn’t quick, the air-tight vault would close up again, locking me in with my death.
Find me the cheapest ticket to somewhere far from here…
Korea was the cheapest ticket at $580 (RT). I could visit friends, do errands and I was longing to return. It was ideal.
Through the gods of the Kayak search engine, the flight I found also afforded me two layovers in Japan; one of which, I extended into an 8 day trip.
Starved for travel, two countries wasn’t enough. I wanted a third country on my plate.
My requirements were: A cheap ticket to somewhere neighboring…. A place I hadn’t been before and one that didn’t require waiting on a visa.
Perhaps a place like….
$428… Hong Kong (and while I’m there, I could visit Macau too).
(Tickets weren’t as cheap as I knew it could be, but three RT flights at $1008 didn’t sound bad.)
There was one slight drawback to my lightning perfect plan, however… my departure date was in two days!
I booked a trip to four countries. I had two days to prepare for it.
Was I nuts?!
Correction: I created an opportunity and as imperfect as it was, I was going to take it.
Life was calling to me the way it did before (My GrrrlTraveler Challenge #2). There was a larger world outside my tiny bubble of life and it was telling me to leave behind this weakness and frustration. It wanted me to rise.
There was another person I would become.
And that person would have the answers…