As you know, this time last month I was in Hawaii. I am so excited to share my experience with you now and some of my favourite photos from the trip. I decided in October I was going to go to O'ahu, HI for a business workshop (FIND 2.0) being run by of my favourite lifestyle photographers Jonathan Canlas & business expert Kristen Kalp (of Brand Camp).
Once I had commited to it, I was anxious about about how I was going to afford it but also really excited by the challenge of raising the money through my business, and the possibility of actually being able to go!
I had freaked out about clicking 'Pay Deposit', and wasn't sure if it was the right decision, I just felt I HAD to secure the last place! What if it could be possible for me to go!?
After that, it suddenly became less about going on the workshop itself, and more about how quickly I could grow in the 2 months I had, to raise the money! I did it, though, and I actually got there, by myself.
I arrived late on the Monday night, it was about 10:30pm, and it was lovely to feel warm air on my skin. As I walked to the taxi area, pulling my suitcase along, completely shattered after my 23 hours or so of travelling, I felt a surge of excitement, joy and pride, and tears in my eyes - I was HERE! I did it!
The taxi driver was really sweet and was clearly very excited about Barack Obama, pointing out every Obama related landmark possible on the way to my hotel which was nice and quite interesting. The hospital he was born, buildings he'd lived in, the school he went to etc! I didn't know that he was born and grew up there!
The next day I felt so peaceful and amazed to be there, although the first couple of nights alone, I reflected on what I had achieved, and felt very far away. The time difference made it harder being by yourself, and the first day felt very long and surreal.
On the Wednesday I worked out what busses I had to take to get from Waikiki to La'ie, where the workshop was to be held. I managed to get there fine, and using Google map screenshots on my iPad, I found my way up to the house we were all going to be staying in, dragging and bouncing my little suitcase up the tufty grass at the side of the road, beloved iPad in hand!
The house was on La'ie Point which is a stretch that comes right out into the ocean. One morning I went out at 6:30am oto watch the sunrise. It was just idyllic! There was an outdoor patio area at the house with the most incredible mountainous views where we ate and hung out a lot.
When I arrived I was greeted by Jonathan, who was just as I had imagined, and his beautiful wife Callie, who was hanging out and cooking for everybody throughout our stay.
The other photographers on the course were amazing. We all had a lot in common, and they were all from America or Canada. It was great living with them for the four days we were there, exploring the towns along the North Shore and getting some amazing food together outside the workshop time.
I had a mini portrait shoot with Jonathan on the Point, which I had been really looking forward to. It was wonderful to see what he is like to work with and have those photos now, of such a special time.
The workshop itself was fantastic, I got exactly what I needed from it, most importantly to me I got help with my pricing, online proofing, and lots of personal photography related things too.
Jon and Kristen were so natural, open, honest, and had so much integrity... Great teachers. They created a really safe space for us to share our thoughts and things we were struggling to figure out, and worked hard to inspire the answers we were searching for. They had amazing coaching skills, and said it like it is.
The whole learning experience was enhanced by the beauty of our surroundings and the time we had to step outside, watch the waves crashing, the clouds rolling and reflect on what we had learned.
What was so good is that everything we were taught and worked on, was really PRACTICAL. Stuff we either completed while we were there (pricing and packages etc) or things we could go home and get on with straight away, which was great.
I felt weird when I returned to Waikiki for the last night before flying home. I was back where it had all begun and done what I had come to do. I went out to take some photos of the beautiful sunset, got a salad on the sea front and watched people, listened to the sounds and soaked it up for the last night. I got back to my hotel and watched the Oscars, and journalled as I had done every other night.
The next day I finally got to sunbathe and even went in the sea! It was so lovely to float on my back and look up at the blue sky, feeling grateful to be here when there were forecasts of snow in England!
I got ready for my flight, and stuck my big Doc Martens boots back on, which felt really weird after my week in sandals, and got my taxi back to HNL airport.
I am just SO glad that back in October I decided to do this. It would have been so easy to say "I can't raise the money", and not go. But I really wanted to, and I made it happen through committing to the goal, valuing my time and talents more, saying yes to the opportunities, taking leaps of faith and stepping outside my comfort zone. It will be such a special thing for me to look back on for the rest of my life.
I feel deeply grateful to all those who supported my to keep going with this dream.
So here are some of my photos from the week, starting and finishing in Waikiki, with La'ie, Haliewa and other parts of the North Shore in between!
You can view more photos from the trip and order prints here.