Sunday, August 10, 2014

Does Every Adventure HAVE to Involve Nakedness?

Mom Humor about my daughter's Instagram posts

I love that my kids are more adventurous than I was at their age. I've always told them that if they want to travel, or move to new places, or try out different jobs, that they should do it when they're young. Because if you wait for "the right time" it may never come. You have to make now the right time.

This from a woman who's in pajamas by 7 every night.

What can I say? My kind of adventures are conducive to an early bedtime.

I think I first starting touting the whole live-simple-and-have-adventures-in-life thing after we returned from our first trip to Kauai in 2007. I was enamored with the simplicity and beauty of  the island life and I told my husband and kids I could live in a tent on the beach there and be just fine for the rest of my life.

My husband said he was fine with that too. He'd even throw me down some food from his hotel balcony once in a while.

Yeah, he's real funny.

Who knew my older daughter, Sissa, was actually listening to her mother's ramblings?

It started with her trip to Portland, Oregon, where she stayed with a friend for two weeks and did a lot of skinny dipping. She talked about a bank teller who rode around town on her bike, naked, then would go into the bank, put clothes on, and help customers with their fiances finances (I first typed "fiances". I don't think the engaged ladies of Portland would want a naked teller helping them with their fiances).

Apparently, nakedness is a thing in Portland. She came back with plans to move there by the end of last year. I think I mentioned this a few posts back.

Well, that plan changed. Her and her Portland friend, and another adventurous gal from Phoenix, decided to try something called WWOOFing. WWOOF - it stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. If you want to travel cheaply, you can volunteer on a farm, just about anywhere in the world, and live and eat for free in exchange for a few hours of work on the farm each day.

I had no idea this existed, but what a unique way of experiencing different cultures and lifestyles! Honestly, I was all for it. Of course, I'm always worried for her safety, but there were three of them and this is an established "thing" and would be a wonderful experience for her.

She wanted to find a farm in Kauai to work on, but the ones she inquired about were full. So she decided to head over anyway, with a backpack full of necessities, and wing it.

My excitement for her adventure quickly turned to "Oh, Dear God, my daughter is going to be a homeless hippie."

So then the plan became, backpack-through-Kauai-and-sleep-on-the-beach-and-if-we-find-a-farm-to-stay-on-great.


They set out in late January. Here's Sissa (on the right) and her Portland buddy before they boarded the bus (They took a bus to Phoenix, picked up their friend, and then flew to Hawaii):

Look out Kauai - Hurricane Sissa is coming!
I was relieved when they arrived safely in Hawaii:

I was jealous!
She sent me this picture of their "bedroom" the first night. Yup. Those are hammocks.

I have to admit - this looked pretty good to me.
Paradise proved to have a few pitfalls, though. One night a week the beaches close to campers so that maintenance crews can clean and repair things. If you happen to be camping there, you get shooed out in the wee hours of the morning. Sissa's friend posted this on Instagram:

You learn a lot of truths about your grown kid's lives from Instagram.

They camped on various beaches for the first week, then met someone who told them to go to the Farmer's Market because all the local farmers are there and maybe one of them would take them in to work on their farm. So they did that, and what-da-you-know, they met a farmer who had quite a few people just like them, working on his farm. I got this picture from her a day or so later:

My daughter? Working outdoors??
This picture almost brought tears to my eyes. Yeah, yeah, I missed her, but more importantly...she was working outside! I've always had to coerce and cajole my kids to do any kind of yardwork. The last time I saw my daughter working outside, she was picking up dog poos and the hubby was so moved, he took a picture to memorialize the occasion:

You missed one.
Sissa texted and sent pictures often while she was on the farm, but I got the most interesting tidbits of her adventures on Instagram. Here's one:

More nakedness. Perfect.

Apparently, hitchhiking is a common thing on the island. Or so my daughter tells me. Here's another Instagram gem:

She's embraced island life, my daughter, and is like one of the brown-skinned natives. By brown-skinned, I mean she's become a monkey:

Nip or not a nip? That is the question.
When she texted me this picture, I looked closely at it, and could swear I saw a nip. I texted her back to pull up her top. She said it was part of her top I saw, and not a nip. But to avoid posting porn pictures of my daughter online, I covered the questionable area...just in case.

Sissa stayed on the farm for about a month, then decided to hike to a remote area of the island that's only accessible by boat or hiking in. It's an 11 mile hike one way and one portion of the trail is a fun little stretch known as "Crawler's Ledge." Here's a picture I snagged online of it:

Trail? What trail?
Picture courtesy of:
And further, she informed me that there is no cell reception and no phone lines. A boat comes once a week to drop off supplies. You can give a letter to the guys on the boat which they can mail from town, or you can give it to someone who's hiking out and they can mail it...if they remember.

So basically, my daughter was embarking on one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world and I had no way of knowing if she would make it to the end of the trail in one piece.

The homeless hippie thing didn't seem so bad because at least I could communicate with her.

As it turns out, she did make it to Kalalau and has hiked in and out of there several times over the last 6 months. She sent me this picture of it:

Wow. Right?
She sent me two letters from there. The first one came postage due. Surprise surprise. And the next was addressed to "Mom", my address, and the return address was just "Kalalau." It was postmarked Portland, Oregon. Her friend from Portland was still in Kauai at the time, so I have no idea how it was mailed from Portland. I can only guess she gave it to someone who hiked out of Kalalau to mail for her from town and they forgot and found the letter in their things when they got home, then mailed it. It arrived to me several weeks after she wrote it. That's "Hawaiian time" for you.

Sissa is still in Kauai, and much of her time is spent in Kalalau.When she hikes out, I get calls and texts from her to update me of her adventures. She's having the time of her life. She's learning about herself, her spirituality, her strength, and how to share and give back to others and to the earth. 

It's a unique community on Kalalau. Some people hike in for a day or two and are gone. Some return again and again, like my daughter. Some never leave. They're either escaping or finding themselves, I suppose. Sissa's Portland friend posted this on Instagram:

Looks a little like Woodstock, wouldn't you say?
Despite some worries her adventures have brought me, I'm happy for my Sissa. She's making memories that will bring her joy and empower her to try new things. She won't be afraid of change and she'll know that if she wants to do something, she can figure out a way to make it happen. She's inspired me to do the same.

Her boyfriend (a good-hearted soul who was her first love in high school and who recently became her love interest again) joined her on Kauai a couple months ago. She posted this on Instagram:

What more could I want for my child?

She's been in Kauai for almost 7 months now. I miss her. So does her dog, Gracie Lou, her other love: 

We miss our Sissa.
I suppose it's partly my fault she's gone, with all my talk of I-can-live-in-a-tent-on-the-beach and give-me-a-travel-trailer-and-I'll-be-fine. But if I helped give my daughter the courage to embark on this adventure and the others that I'm sure will follow, I'm okay with that.

If only she could keep the nakedness to a minimum.

Adventures-in-pajamas mom, signing off.

**So a few weeks after I posted this, Mama Kat sent out her Writer's Workshop prompts and one of them was: "Write a blog post inspired by the word Adventure." Score! I get to be lazy and link up with a post I already had!

Mama’s Losin’ It


LauraEhlers said...

What an amazing adventure! I have often wished my kids were more adventuresome; I never was. And as to the least they are young and adorable!! lol!!

AiringMyLaundry said...

How fun! It looks like a blast. I love Hawaii.

Mrs4444 said...

I love this post.As much asyou worry,you must bevery proud of your ability to parent a child to end up this open and adventurous. Very cool.

Unknown said...

Oh. My God! I don't know who is braver - you or your daughter? I would have loved an adventure like that, but I don't think I could have ever done it. And I hate to say it - I think I would chase after my girl and bring her home - which I'm sure I'd live to regret it if I did. Amazing pictures!

Madamdreamweaver said...

Oh my gosh, real live hippies! All over again.

DontSayHurry said...


Unknown said...

Good for her! Nip or no, sitting in the tree looks like fun. This week is Burning Man and all the hippies drive through Reno on their way to the Black Rock desert. I be she would love that too. Thanks for sharing such amazing pics.

kayerj said...

She does have an adventurous spirit. Stopping by from mama kats kelley at the road goes ever ever on

KatBouska said...

Wow!!! I am equal parts marveling and cringing with you. What a beautiful life and that last instagram about living the dream. Love it all. She's an inspiration!

Rachel (Diary of a Recovering Chocoholic) said...

I have to admit I am a little jealous!

Mrs4444 said...

Loved the puppy, love the the adventure of it all. I hope she won't miss it too much when she eventually returns :)

Janice Wald said...

Hi Lori,
You sure got my attention with your headline! =)
Thank you for bringing your post to Blogger's Pit Stop.
Janice, Your Pit Stop Crew