When I came back to Chicago for the holidays in December 2021, I had developed some autoimmune symptoms on the road. The doctors at Northwestern initially thought it was lyme, but that was ruled out and they still hadn't gotten to the bottom of it by the time February rolled around. I felt like I needed to stay put instead of hitting the road again, at least until we knew what I was dealing with and how we were going to treat it. Well, I knew how I planned to treat it regardless of what it turned out to be... with raw vegan food and water fasting. As challenging as those can be for me, from experience, I know they work.
However, in October I'd gotten a great deal on a ticket to Hawaii. Once I started experiencing muscle weakness, stiffness, pruny fingers and chronic hair loss, I figured I'd better get a partial refund on my ticket. Fortunately, my pre-med nephew/travel agent/accountant Mutasem convinced me that a sun-filled trip to Hawaii in the dead of February was exactly what I needed. He was right. I had the time of my life. I also stopped in California on the way there and again on the way back to see my friends Matt & Megan again and my four-legged niece and nephew, Dahlia and Charlie. Their new brother Iggy was about to join the family and we couldn't have been more excited. I'll be dog sitting "The Peachland Three," as they're known on Insta, again at the end of July! Woo-hoo!
For rapid healing, I fasted for the first eight days of my two-week stay in Honolulu and Maui. It went phenomenally well. Nothing like having your days feel twice as long in one of the most beautiful places on Earth! But by the eighth day I had developed insomnia. This was the first time I'd ever experienced this side effect while fasting, even though I'd fasted this long before and longer - 11 days last year. I realized that I had to break my fast while staying with my friends for a couple of days in Ko'Olina, because once I flew to Maui I'd be driving an Xterra full of camping gear that I'd rented as an Air BnB through fellow adventure seekers Sean and Cece at Epic Maui Camping. I couldn't drive someone else's vehicle on no sleep. So I broke my fast with fruit and then unfortunately I ate regular cooked food instead of raw food for the remainder of the trip. But I'm ecstatic to report that all of my autoimmune symptoms disappeared during my fast and have not returned. The hair loss was actually from low Iron, vitamin B12 & D, due to malabsorption from leaky gut, which I've had for many years. Fortunately, fasting really heals your gut quickly. I also took the prescribed supplements from my internist, not while fasting, though. When the vitamin D numbers didn't increase, she switched me to injections, which I gave myself once a week for a month and then once a month. Now my hair is back to normal... well, kind of. I cut it super-short in Lahaina and love it - freedom! I'd wanted to do that for twelve years. So when I noticed in Waikiki that I could see the sun shining through my hair in my shadow on the sidewalk (yikes!), because it had become so thin, I decided it was time to cut it.
It seemed that everything I did in Hawaii was healing. Without knowing Maui is home to an energy vortex and said to be a very healing place, I had simply decided in California that Hawaii was for healing. In addition to fasting, I spent a lot of time floating while meditating (freaking love it), took an online animal communication class with Nikki Vasconez, rescued a tiny kitten who now has a fantastic home, regularly fed a stray cat and had an incredible shark cage experience that also turned out to be my first attempt at animal communication after taking Nikki's class. Despite sea sickness and not taking into consideration that there might be a lot of sharks swimming fast in all different directions, making a connection more of a challenge, I was fortunate enough to receive a crystal-clear response when I asked them if they had any advice for me. "Just be," they calmly responded, "Just... BE." I will never forget this jaw-dropping moment as long as I live.
In Maui, I camped on Haleakala Summit above the clouds, the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I half-expected Lando Calrissian to step out of the woods. The views were absolutely stunning all the time, but especially breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Maui was nothing like I expected, worlds apart from Waikiki and Ko'Olina. I fell in love with my little Xterra whom I was later told is named Black Betty. I became rather attached to her as we ventured all over the island and especially on the day I took her full-circle from Haleakala to Hana and back again, spending 12 hours on the road, stopping to talk to animals and take photos all along the way. For the record, the road OUT of Hana is the best, because most people turn around and go back the way they came. So if you continue on, you have the road to yourself most of the way and it just gets more beautiful, peaceful and magical the further you go. Yes, the roads are rougher in spots, but it was absolutely my favorite day of the entire trip. I even got to try soursop juice at a roadside stand and saw the most spiritual and uplifting graffiti, not to mention a meadow full of butterflies and stunning coastal views.
The camping was excellent and I couldn't have hoped for better quality gear. Sean and Cece thought of absolutely everything and it was all in pristine condition. The campground was a gem too. It was small, intimate and full of friendly families with toddlers who I could occasionally hear from a space I chose a ways away, near a second set of restrooms. I enjoyed my solitude and the occasional sound of laughter. I've never seen so many stars in my life, not even on the farm. Haleakala is one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
I decided that I will live in Maui at some point. Hawaii is the most beautiful place I've ever been and that's saying a lot, having been to Ireland twice, the UK, France and Canada a number of times. I was absolutely blissed out of my gourd. I can't wait to go back. My lovely friend Donna and her husband Harvey have encouraged me to spend winters with them in Ko'Olina, an offer this lifelong midwesterner, who is more than ready to say goodbye to Seasonal Affective Disorder and merciless Chicago winters, is more than happy to accept!
But what about Gabe and Jebby?! We will figure it out. Carpe Diem, friends. Life is short. I feel my sister reminding me of this with every mile of solo travel I've traveled in the past year. If you want to do something, do it now. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. When I choose me and follow my heart, I feel my little sister and my dad cheering me on.
My next road trip will be to Iowa to see my family, most of whom I've not seen since Christmas or longer. I forgot to give them the souvenirs from Ireland and Denmark in August, for Pete's sake... let alone Hawaii! In the meantime, my animal communication practice is taking off and I'm enjoying this work immensely. It feels so good to come full-circle with animals and be so immersed in their lives again, like I was as a farm kid. If you've ever wanted to take an animal communication class, you've got to check out Nikki Vasconez on TikTok and Instagram. The world needs all the animal communicators it can get! ANYONE can do this. We're all born knowing how to communicate telepathically. We simply forget as we learn our first verbal language from our parents. Don't believe me? Check out British biologist Rupert Sheldrake's research on telepathy between mothers and their babies on his website. Besides, Nikki's a phenomenal teacher. I talked myself out of taking a number of animal communication classes over the years. I'm so glad I found her. She's the real deal - used to be a lawyer and learned animal communication in a similar class and the rest from books and all in the past few years. What I learned in her class was priceless. Yet the cost was only $47 USD. We did a Live on Instagram about a week ago and it was such a blast. You can catch me as well on TikTok and Instagram, sharing my animal communication journey one animal adventure at a time.
Swing trading isn't going quite as well, due to the war and subsequent volatile market. But I'm making small gains. Trade and Travel with Teri Ijeoma was the previous course I took as I traveled up the east coast into Canada last fall. I studied hard, very hard, and I'm proud to say that I've learned a lot, but there will always be more to learn about trading. I wish it lit up my heart and soul the way animal communication does, but I've just never been driven by money. Apparently, I truly am passion-fueled. I love helping animals and their humans!