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Walking the Center of the Earth

Reminding ourselves why we came on this trip (Candace)

It’s been a stressful week.

I started my job at XPrize on Monday, but did so while still in Hawaii. Now, thanks to a generous gift from my mom and dad (thank you!), we have a beautiful place to stay on the big island of Hawaii this week. However, between the hours of 6am and 2pm, I’ve been glued to my phone and laptop, and then we might peel away for a few hours in the afternoon to swim with manta rays or have beach time and dinner with our friend, Lenka, and her two beautiful babies. But the day is primarily focused on work.

My buddy, Brad, is great at reframing the above picture from, “Why do I have to work while on vacation?” to, “I am so lucky that I get to work and travel at the same time,” and this often works as a mental trigger to pull myself out of stress or frustration. But sometimes I kick myself for agreeing to begin work on the tail end of our honeymoon.

Now, on top of work, our entry back into default world is looming as we both prepare ourselves with sadness for the end of our adventure. We will be away from one another for the majority of the next two months, so every time we embrace or kiss, we keep thinking, “I can’t believe this is almost over.”

And then, as a final stressor, we are both trying to figure out logistics for our lives upon our return. We have a lot of money tied up in a savings account that we can’t access without being physically present at a bank that doesn’t have a branch in Hawaii or Boston, and have accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in credit cards bills these last couple of months. And while we easily have the money to pay them off, we likely won’t be able to access it until Thanksgiving, so in the meantime, we are watching our credit scores drop.

At the same time, I need to buy a new car so I’ll have transportation to work when I land next week and need to find a place for us to live in LA. We have zero furniture and I only own yoga clothes that smell bad and have holes, so I also need to get myself into a presentable condition with a new wardrobe in five days or less.

After six months of very little to worry about, this has been a stressful week.

But on Thursday afternoon, we agreed to leave the work at the condo and drive north. We planned to stay the night sleeping in hammocks in a tent in Hilo, and then to visit the Akaka Falls and the active lava flow at Volcano National Parks yesterday.

And we are so glad we did.

As we climbed around on the black/silver shimmering dried lava for hours yesterday afternoon (it was a 10-mile hike to see the lava moving into the ocean), we found ourselves back on our honeymoon again. We were explorers. On a new planet. Finding new amazing aspects of nature. Playing with each other.

We walked the center of the earth yesterday, holding hands and giggling along the way. And we remembered why we came on this trip in the first place. To explore our world, ourselves and each other. To come home stronger than we had left.

And on a week like the one we’ve had, we needed this beautiful reminder.

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