I got my wish.

I love Utah, but I truly despise the month of January there. I’ve said for years that, if I can have it my way, I will never spend the month of January in Utah again – and missing February wouldn’t hurt, either.

Well, we’re off to a pretty good start. We went to Hawaii, followed by a trade show in Las Vegas, then to India – and I’m writing all of this from Almerimar, Spain. It’s surreal.

2017 began with Allison and me moving out of our apartment in Mount Pleasant, Utah. With some help from a few friends and loved ones, we got most of our belongings into a storage unit – we also shed a ton of stuff, selling and/or giving away the kind of things that tie us down.

It was -5 degrees the day we moved out. Ugly-cold. I actually got freeze-burns on my fingers from handling the frigid steel lock on our storage unit. But we got out in the last possible moment, and sped down to Las Vegas, NV, where we would catch a flight to Oahu, HI. It was a rocky start. We got to the gate just as they closed the flight. It was my fault we were late, so I kicked myself as we settled in for a sleepless night in the airport. But the next morning we were under way. Hawaii!

My sister and brother-in-law were married years 6 years ago. They have two teenage boys from his previous marriage, and they’ve since adopted a beautiful little boy to join their crew. And, being LDS, they’ve all made the decision to be sealed together in the temple. For those of you unfamiliar with LDS Temple Sealings, some people do it on their wedding day, and others wait to do it later. In its simplest form, I suppose it’s a way to renew your wedding vows; we believe this can be done in a more lasting, eternal way, by doing so in a short, sweet ceremony inside any one of many LDS temples. A sealing ceremony can also include children, binding them to their parents as an eternal family. It’s a beautiful tenet of our belief system – one of my favorite things about it. The concept of the Eternal Family is as central to Mormonism as our belief in Christ. I’ll try not to get off topic, but here’s more info about LDS temples for the curious among you.

Anyway, they decided to do all of this in some place special to them, and that place was the Laie LDS Temple in Hawaii.

 

The only way we can afford all of this travel is to work from the places we visit. We try to schedule our day in a way that allows us to meet all of our work obligations, while balancing work with the need to play and explore. You know. Carpe diem, and all.

As you know, I have a real thing for motorcycles, and – whenever possible – I try to rent one when I’m in a new place.

 

You may also know I have a thing for BMW enduro motorbikes, particularly the F800GS. This model has been my companion on many an adventure. We named her Lie, after the Hawaiian goddess of the mountains.

 

One of the best parts of my job is that I can do it from anywhere with WiFi. When I worked in corporate cubicles, taking a break meant stretching my legs in a stairwell or – at best – going out for an Orange Julius at the nearby food court. But WiFi freelancing means when I take a break in a place like Oahu, I can go exploring along the coast for a quick ride, or go out and try any one of a million food trucks along Oahu’s North Shore.

Pro Tip: Get Korean BBQ any chance you get.

I loved riding past the pineapple fields. I don’t think I’ve ever seen pineapples still in the ground before.

 

Poor Allison was so sick while we were there. She had already been sick for the previous two weeks, and was struggling; plus, she had a ton of work to do that couldn’t wait. So she was a trooper, and didn’t come out with me much until the end of our stay the following weekend. I was glad she could join me.

 

We knew we wouldn’t be back this way again for a long time (maybe ever?), so we couldn’t pass up the chance to go out and see the Pearl Harbor Memorial. It was so worth it.

 

A ferry took us out to the Pearl Harbor Memorial, which is built over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona.

The USS Arizona is officially the final resting place of nearly a thousand U.S. servicemen. A total of 1,177 men died on board during the attack. Of those, only 229 bodies were recovered. The rest remain entombed in the sunken wreckage. Some of the men who served on the Arizona and survived the attack that day (and the war that followed) – who have lived into old age and passed away of natural causes – have , by special request, had their remains entombed inside the sunken Arizona. They wanted to be at rest with their brothers.

The Arizona has an oil leak, which they leave as-is. They say it leaks about 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. You can see the tiny droplets of oil float to the surface, one after the other (about every 1-2 seconds). Local legend is that the Arizona is crying for its lost crew, and that these tears of oil will continue to seep out of the hull until the last surviving crewman passes away.

 

It was touching, and I was moved to tears. I was mostly containing it, but this kind of stuff really resonates with me (as you know). I had my emotions mostly contained, but there was no hiding my tearful eyes.

It was then that a cute Japanese couple (about our same age range) approached me. The woman offered me a Kleenex. At first, I followed that stupid, gut reaction to say, “no thank you.” They smiled and turned away, and I realized I was missing out on an important moment. I followed after them and motioned that I would like a tissue after all. They offered it to me gladly, and with reverence, and the symbolism of what was happening struck me to my core. I was wrecked. It was so clear that they were there not just to see an interesting tourist attraction or historical monument. They saw me mourning our fallen, and – in their effort to offer some small comfort to me – it was clear they were to personally participate in the healing of those old wounds.

That moment softened me in ways I wasn’t expecting, and truly defined my experience there.