Hawaii on $750

ConsciousnessForget Money / Demonetize LifeFreedomHealthy, Happy LivingIntentional LivingLiving in Service and VolunteeringMinimalismPermaculturePersonalProjectsSimple LivingSustainable LivingTravel

In January 2013 I embarked on a month-long adventure to Hawaii. I brought $750 cash as my budget for the month. I brought no credit card or access to my bank account back home and carried just a tiny backpack with my cellphone, laptop and a few possessions. The only clothes I had were the clothes I was wearing when I left my home in San Diego.

The intention was for adventure, not just for the sake of the adventure though, for the sake of personal growth and shaping myself into who I really wanted to be. I was striving to simplify my life, to live with less money, to learn to live more sustainably and to practice and sharpen my skills such as problem solving and resourcefulness. I was on a quest for knowledge and experiences that would better myself and help me to better the world too.

This was one of my first journeys that was designed to practice living with less money and to remove myself from the monetary system. By bringing just $750 cash and no access to other funds, I challenged myself to put my desires to a true test. I committed to donating the money that I had left at the end of the month to Guitars In The Classroom which gave me motivation to spend even less, so that I could donate more to them. I spent $633.73 for the entire month, leaving $116.27 to donate to Guitars in the Classroom when I got home.

I used couchsurfing and WWOOFing for accommodation as well as some camping and sleeping on the beach and never stayed in a hotel or hostel. WWOOFing is a website that facilitates volunteering on organic farms all over the world. It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Generally the volunteer works for about 25 hours per week on the farm and receives lodging and food. It’s not just about the work though, it’s about a mutually beneficial relationship where the host farmer has help with work on the farm and the volunteer learns organic farming and other skills on the land. During my stay I helped build two gardens for the YMCA on the Keanae Peninsula in Maui, which was transitioning to be a demonstration site for sustainable living and growing food using permaculture principles. I also volunteered to help the Source Maui Festival to go zero waste.

The whole adventure was very mind opening and a very beneficial experience challenging myself to really live out my beliefs and deepening my knowledge in sustainability. At the same time I enjoyed the natural beauty if the land and the company of the people I met.

I did multiple beach cleanups in service of the land.


Here I am taking a pause from my work on the farm where I was clearing out a huge amount of vines to make space for more food to grow.


Here is one of the many beautiful moments I shared with the land in Hawaii.


I leave you with an excerpt I wrote in the first few days of arriving on the journey.

I lay here alone on a deserted beach on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. I biked here from a small island town with a box full of fresh fruit and dried rice and lentils. The ride was tough and I was the only bike on the road. Hours of blue skies, winding roads hugging the shores, and whales spouting off in the distance, and here I am in this lonely place. I’m scared and for many reasons. The possibility of a long night with little sleep, rain, insects, hard ground, and cold are a few reasons. But mostly my mind is racing with fear of the locals finding me in the night and being unhappy with my presence.

I’ve got very little stuff with me and certainly no camping gear. Just a blanket and a pillow I picked up for seven dollars at a thrift store in town. This is a typical day for me. Not because of the location. I’ve never been to Hawaii before two days ago. Not because of the whales as I’ve seen very few in my life. But, because of the adventure. I live a life where I truly don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. I put myself in far off places and in sticky situations and often wonder what for. But it all comes back to that word again. Adventure. It’s what I’m on this earth for. I’ve done a lot of it and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop. I think I’ve quenched my thirst and a week later here I am somewhere I’ve never been, all on my own, without any prior knowledge the place even existed.

I believe I’m happiest in nature. But with that joy I often feel great strengths of loneliness. A few years back I traveled the world for five months in an attempt to bring to an end my dependence on other humans for my completeness and happiness. I came a long way but here I am nearly three years later still lonely on this beach. The beach that I chose to put myself on. The magnificent beach people pay thousands of dollars to get to where you can spot whales out at sea, gaze at mystical waterfalls high up in the tree line, and watch geckos molt their skin. The beach where hundreds of interesting species of plants grow, many with beautiful fruits and flowers. Timid Mongooses are crawling through the trees and fresh ocean surrounds me. How can I possibly be lonely? I’ve got everything I need don’t I? Food, water, beautiful surroundings, and entertainment… Or am I missing the company of a human? What is it about nature that brings on these deep feelings of loneliness for me? Many questions. But what I do know is that every time I put myself into one of the situations I come out a more experienced, knowledgeable, and well balanced human. I gain new insights, see a different way of living, and connect with nature.

You can only get so much from reading books, watching documentaries, and surfing the web. The only way to truly understand is to immerse. To be there, be in it and do it. To get out there and see the world near and far! I do this with the intentions of bettering myself and while bettering the world around me. And while respect nature and humans by giving as much as I take.

January 30th 2013 – Molokai, Hawaii

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