#Kauai: Helicopter Tour

Absolutely the best thing I’ve done on Kauai!

I’ve lived on this magical island for 2 years. But this opened my eyes all the way to my toes.

Soaring over the plunging velvety emerald cliffs and mesmerizing turquoise waters was a jolt to my soul.

How could all this amazing enchantment be sparkling in the now moment and I’ve never seen it?

I fell more deeply in love with this 25 x 33 miles tiny island. But no, it’s not so tiny. The power of the landscape made me tingle for hours, it was like having a crush on a hunky man turn into true love.

I was floating. My eyes grew new nerve endings, I could see more clearly and my heart busted open in gratitude.

Wonder and awe guide my life now. And I’ve never been more grateful that I sold my belongings, explored the world, moved to an island, and decided to be happy.

You can change your life. It all starts with that whispering in your spirit that says, yes go that way or no that is not for you.

Listen to it, even if it doesn’t make sense. Logic is not final wisdom.

Would your friends and family tell you not to move to another country or convert a used shipping container into a home? I am considering this.

Don’t live anyone’s life but your own.

It’s enough to do that one thing in your life. Truly live what is in your heart.

Yes courage takes practice. But there’s no other time like right now to start practicing.

Kickstart your motivation here, in my new video on the beach in Poipu.

Mary Bartnikowski, is an author, award winning photographer, and speaker. She has led programs at Apple Computer, Stanford, Intel, and worldwide.

Stay in touch with Mary and get her free ebook, Secrets of Stunning Photographs.

Go with www.sunshinehelicopters.com

Being SMART with Our Goals

8d0a21fae760c7f50e09457ec11ae320It’s one thing to say “we want to travel” and something else entirely to figure out how we’re going to do that. So, I figure a good place for me to start out on this blog is to put down for the record our goals for the future. These are what Brett and I are going to be working toward over the next few months and years.

Brett and I use the SMART system when we set our goals. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. Creating goals the SMART way is an extremely efficient way of making sure that we don’t come up with anything too nebulous, unattainable or downright crazy.

We currently have set both short- and long-term goals:

Short term:

  • Brett’s trip to Oregon and California: He will spend 10 days with his sister beginning in late September. They will meet in Portland, take our oldest daughter (Meiling) to college and get her settled in, and then he and his sister will drive down to Los Angeles where he will spend a few days before flying home. This trip is in the bag: plane tickets have been purchased and money set aside so all he needs to do now is go!
  • The Big Family Mystery Adventure: I can say no more about this other than I am about half-way there. I still need to save a bit more, and need to find some decent air fares, but otherwise everything is in place for a fabulous family vacation next spring!
  • Getting our middle daughter (WenYu) off to college: This will happen in the fall of 2016. We can’t start any planning until we know which college she will be attending, and we won’t know that until next spring. We are still thinking about it quite a bit though. I will most likely be traveling with her to help her get settled in wherever she goes. We are already working though on having enough Hawaiian Airlines frequent flyer miles to get her where ever she goes and home for the holidays at no cost.

Long term goals:

  • Take our youngest daughter (YaYu) to college in the fall of 2018 and get her settled in.
  • Spend three months every spring in Japan, living near our son and his family, beginning in 2019. Ninety days within a 365 day period is the maximum time we can stay in Japan without a visa (which is very difficult to get) and we want to live there the entire three months.
  • Spend two months every fall somewhere in the world beginning in the fall of 2018. We will either stay in one place for the entire time, or split our time between two locations.

While we’re not exactly at the starting point, we’re still very much at the beginning of things, currently trying to firm up how much we are going to need to save and how we will accomplish that without disrupting our budget. All of this travel will be paid for in cash – NO credit cards. Each one of the goals meets the SMART standard though, so we already know how long we have and a fairly good idea what we need to do to get to the finish line. We know there will be bumps and stalls and surprises along the way, but hopefully things will start falling into place and keep moving along.

Here we go!

Fourth Time’s a Charm

188220757187dae32adb3af278d41724So here I am with my fourth blog. My fourth!

What can I say? Blogging the past few years has helped me keep track of life and stay on track with our dreams, plans and goals, but as the focus of our lives keeps evolving and changing so have the blogs. We’ve paid off our debt (I’m Losing It Here), downsized and moved ourselves to Kaua’i (Noho’Ana Hau’ole), and settled in to our new life on the Garden Island (The View From the Treehouse). Along the way I’ve learned more than I imagined, not just about other people and places, but most especially about myself, about what makes me happy, and about what I want to do in the future.

If you have followed any of my other blogs you know that I am a finisher. I don’t just dream. I set goals. I plan. And then I execute the plan and go for the finish line.

It wasn’t always that way though. I grew up internalizing a message from my family that I was unserious, scatterbrained, silly, unable to finish anything. Because I was supposedly incapable of making a decision my parents and others made decisions and plans for me, but more to accomplish their own dreams and preconceptions, not mine. What I wanted to do carried little validity because what did I know?  And of course others’ opinion of me was always validated because for some reason I never seemed to finish anything I started.

Then, in 1977 I did something totally crazy. Without telling anyone I enlisted in the navy in order to take advantage of the then-existing GI Bill benefits. Bets were made that I wouldn’t even finish boot camp let alone make my way in the armed forces. However, as difficult as boot camp was (and it was awful), I was determined to not only finish on time but do well, and I did. Most importantly I also learned, beyond anything my time in the navy taught me, that when I set my own goals, follow my own dreams and make my own plans I follow through and accomplish what I set out to do. I am not a quitter, and I can accomplish any goal I set for myself (although the jury is still out on maintaining a weight loss).

Whether it was adopting our three daughters, paying off our debt or moving our family to Hawai’i, Brett and I have not only dreamed, but made concrete plans for reaching our goals, and then worked those plans. The path to accomplishing our goals hasn’t always been a straight line, or without its issues and setbacks, but we have always kept going and adjusted as necessary. And here we are, parents of four wonderful children, retired and living our dream on Kaua’i!

Our move to Kaua’i is not the end but the beginning of a new stage for us. We’re still dreaming, setting goals, and making plans. We’re in the beginning phases of thinking about how we will accomplish all we want to do and what we will need to accomplish in this next phase of our lives. In just three years our youngest daughter will graduate from high school and head off to college. And after she flies away, so will we. Beautiful Kaua’i will remain our home base, but we are looking forward to becoming Occasional Nomads, spending time in Japan every year near our son and his family and also visiting other parts of the world.

Until then we will be figuring out not only what we want to do, but where we want to go, how we want to do it, what we need to get there and how we will afford to not only travel but get three girls through college. Our income will be fluctuating for the next couple of years as the girls move on and my retirement benefits are added in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while, but we have been there, done that and will adjust as necessary and keep going.

The Occasional Nomads will continue with updates from Kaua’i, and both the Sunday Afternoon and Feel Good Friday posts will continue as well. Brett will also be joining me here this time around, contributing posts about his hikes around Kaua’i, and his upcoming trip back to the mainland. His voice will be a valuable addition to our ongoing retirement story, and I’m thrilled he’s agreed to join me this time.

Many thanks to all of you for coming along – I hope you’ll enjoy this latest ride!