A piece of my heart will be there for ever, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Last month I took a break from Italy for a short trip around the world. The first stop was NYC for some meetings and good food.
Then Seattle to visit my friend Peter Miller – more about this soon, also because he is moving the bookshop! – and before going to Tokyo I stopped in Hawai’i – the main reason was the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival.
As soon as I landed in Kona I was confused and, weirdly, in a very bad mood. I mean, I was in Hawai’i, the place where I wanted to be since the last time I left, but…
So, I walked to the beach and, to match my mood, of course it was raining. I spent the afternoon next to a fisherman, trying to fill my lungs with ocean breeze. It started to rain harder and harder so I walked back to the hostel. I was really tired but I didn’t know yet my travel was going to turn in one of the most incredible experience of my life.
That night I met Aylin, a young German woman, who took a 5 month stop from her job to travel the world. She was sunburnt and after a few minutes she said “Well, you have a car, I have a plan for tomorrow.” And then Joel, he is dreaming about travelling the world and he did pretty well in the last year from Alaska to Hawai’i, before going back to run his business in Florida, a gym with an ocean view. Not bad!
He was a bit slow processing my payment and something from nothing made me smile. He said I was slap-happy and made fun of my Sicilian accent.
Then I met Emelia, half Italian half Chinese, 100% British, 100% funny, crazy enough to swim at night with mantas. Together with Sonia, Australian-Italian who warned me about the not-so-good coffee we had in the morning, compared to Italian standards.
The day after with Aylin and Janik, a 22 yo guy from Switzerland, we drove south. Beach first, volcano then. Beach means reef and snorkeling.
After the first swim an enthusiastic Aylin pointed her hand to a school of dolphins. I was so much impressed an old Hawaiian man looked at me and said “What are you doing here? Get your diving mask and go!” Together with Janik we ran back into the ocean and we swam right after the reef. We waited. And yes, they came and it was just amazing. I grew up imaging a career as a marine biologist and always dreamt about that moment: swimming with dolphins!
Thanks old Hawaiian man, you made one of the best day of my life.
The volcano at sunset was great. I always get moved in front of the power of nature.
And the Festival, oh I still think about the Hot Lava Hotter Cuisine dinner. In particular dishes from Chef Tae-Hwan Ryu from Ryunique – Seoul, Chef Michelle Bernstein from Seagrape – Miami, and Chef Nancy Silverton from Mozza – LA.
I’m glad I shared the table with Gayle and Barbara from Ke Ola Magazine. Su much fun for my last night in Big Island!
– Till next time.