I initially started writing this post before I left for my trip to Hawaii.
I still have to pinch myself because this trip is really happening and that I AM GOING TO BE A PART OF IT! This trip is something that seemed impossible to me yet somehow I knocked that barrier down and MADE it happen. For the first time in my life, I declared “I am going to this retreat! I am not sure how yet but I will BE there and I will be DEBT free”. I didn’t want to charge this to my credit card (I could have) and bam I would have been there – but that would have been the easy way out. Its easy to just swipe that little plastic rectangle and figure out how to pay for it later. I did not want to do that. How many of us in here tell ourselves “No, I can’t afford that” and never purchase or go on nice trips? Too many of us!
In the midst of a cross country move with part-time work that was soon to come to an end, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for this trip but I knew that one thing was for sure. I wasn’t going to tell myself “I can’t afford this”. Instead I kept telling myself “Yes, I have the money for this trip but I choose not to use it for that”. Yes, its true we had money in our savings account but that money was designated for moving, health expenses, and for emergencies only. So with that thought I went to sleep.
Conveniently, I had forgotten that through out the year I had been setting some cash aside (by having Adam put it in his savings account. You know out of sight, out of mind?). When I asked Adam how much I had given him, it was the perfect amount to cover the deposit. I was set. I knew I could do this, not to mention my gut was screaming as loud as it could at me “You MUST go to this retreat!”. If life has taught me anything, it is that you MUST listen to your gut. It may not make sense to your logical mind but in the end it will NEVER steer you wrong. I can give you two personal accounts where gut beat logic if you really want to know.
That week an idea hit me like as if I were in a dodge ball match. Go Fund Me! I remembered that a friend used it to raise money to pay for surgery for her cat. I felt slightly guilty asking for money to go on this retreat and didn’t even know if that would be acceptable but Go Fund Me is good for any cause. I was set, this was a sign from the universe! If 2000 people gave me just $1 I could go on this trip. So I made a video (which I later scrapped because I was so embarrassed to see myself on camera LOL) and I put myself out there and the help came in from all corners of this world (they were all friends of mine). You see, what Go Fund Me allowed was for friends from other countries to help me out, friends who otherwise would have probably found it hard to help otherwise. It was incredible to see the outpouring of love. I am so grateful to all my family and friends who’ve made this happen for me.
In addition to Go Fund Me, I tried to look for ways to save money. When I mean save, I mean those invisible dollars sitting around that I could use. For example, if I booked my trip by a certain date I would get $100 off. That’s $100 in my pocket! I looked at one of my older credit cards and realized that I had a $100 travel credit that I had never used! Bam! Just like that I found $200 for my trip. $200 (If I could underline that, bold it and make it bigger, I would). The next thing I did (for which I am sure my parents would not be proud) was scavenge for change. Yup, not my finest hour but I found $101.85. My first step was visiting the coin jar I had stashed in the basement that was conveniently labeled “retirement fund”. This was a jar that I had where I dumped change that I had found on the floor in the last 8 years. BTW I had about $85 in that jar of money that people just tossed on the floor. Yup. Keep your pennies people because they may take you to Hawaii some day! The rest of the money came from coworkers who didn’t want their change when they bought drinks. Like seriously… I politely asked if they minded me keeping that since I was saving for a trip and all of them agreed. Thanks guys! 🙂 Finally, the change left over from cash purchases went to my trip. Every purchase I would add $1 more to my savings fund. Christmas rolled around and I didn’t want anything but contributions for my trip, that is how I paid for the rest of it.
So you see? When you make a conscious decision to make a change and find a way in life to make a positive change for yourself, all the tools you need to get there will be presented to you. You have to have faith and you have to set aside your limiting beliefs and just go for it. Its not easy to do this perse but pardon my language you have to say to yourself “EFF it! I am going to do this!” and really BELIEVE that you can even though your ego may be telling you that you can’t. Magical things happen, crazy ideas pop in your head and you do what you need to do to make that thing you want happen.
So now lets talk about the actual trip, shall we? I am going to post several blogs about it because I have a lot of photos. This post is broken down into the first two days of the Food Photography Retreat with Andrew Scrivani and Laura Dawn. I hope you enjoy the photos. I had such a blast and met some of the most incredible people who also love food and food photography 🙂 Please give them a follow as they are amazing artists and individuals!
Our Wonderful Instructors:
The Students (with Social Media or Websites. Not everyone is mentioned because not everyone had an account or website to share):
Since I, and some of the other students, arrived a day early we decided to head to the hot ponds (which took us entirely too long to find since everyone kept directing us the wrong way LOL). This was one of 2 rain-free days in Puna. Our workshop was held on the big island (about 45 minutes south of Hilo) in a town called Puna.
Of course group selfies are a must!
After circling around what felt like forever we finally found one warm pond… but its not what we had in mind. We took a pic and moved on.
We walked about a mile and a half and FINALLY we found our destination! A much larger warm pond! Its basically a swimming pool fed by the ocean and warmed by volcanic heat underground. Totally cool!
After enjoying some time in the water and taking photos we were FAMISHED. Luckily, we found a food truck not too far away and we feasted! Below: Fresh coconut and heart of palm salsa quesadilla. The fresh heart of palm salsa was out of this world! This was one of the BEST quesadillas I have EVER had. You know what the crazy part is? One of the owners is from Northern Virginia! She moved out to Hawaii to enjoy life. Seriously, small world! and so cool!
That night we had our meet and greet. Dinner was provided by Laura Dawn. Below, the fresh rolls were OUT of this world! And as you can see, the next day our cameras were lined up ready for action!
Our morning started with preparing and photographing a Spanish Tortilla. Andrew showed us how to carefully place all the ingredients in the pan to make a very photogenic Spanish Tortilla. He also demonstrated how to swish around the egg and how to cook it so it would look its absolute best for a shoot. Chopsticks were used to carefully move ingredients around in the pan as it was cooking. I love the attention to detail!
Below is Monica, the girl who made me fall extra in love with my Fuji x30 camera. She herself has a Fuji x100 and she did all her photo work during this workshop with it. Her pics came out amazing! (check out her Instagram link above!).
Below, Bread fruit skin (I don’t remember if it was fried or baked). Tastes just like potato skins. Amazing and totally cool looking!
Below, Hazel and Leigh doing their thing! I love documenting behind the scenes action shots! I did this intentionally to remember my trip as it happened (more than just food photos ya know?) and because I want to make a scrapbook of it!
I love my egg shot. I mean seriously… that bowl and that surface… ERMYGERD dreamy!!!
So then we ate the Spanish Tortilla and below was what was left 🙂
Let there be cameras! Plus the floor was really cool texturally so footsie pic was a must!
I haven’t seen these flowers since Adam and I went to England a few years back! They are so gorgeous!
Below we have bananas, a Rollinia, Soursop, Rambutan and I can’t remember the name of the yellow fruit.
Later that evening we headed to a night market. We walked through dried lava to get to the ocean. It was pretty incredible. Below we have baby bananas and Noni fruit or better known to me as “spicy blue cheese fruit”. Now I like blue cheese but this was a bit extreme for me. This fruit has a lot of medicinal benefits which is awesome but the smell and taste is a bit off putting LOL
I loved this so much! This little coconut was sprouting in a sea of dark dried lava.
Below, a whole bunch of Lava texture. So beautiful. Thank you Fire Goddess Pele for letting me photograph your beautiful creations!
By the end of the night I was so tired and famished that I only managed to catch 3 photos… I really love these 3 photos though 🙂