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A Leap of Faith

By Rebecca Rendon

November 9, 2022

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Rendon explores Black Sand Beach in Maui this past July. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rendon.)

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? My answer to that question comes with no hesitation: Hawaii. The warm, tropical waters; soft sand; picturesque mountain ranges; and the aloha spirit are unlike anything else. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on Lanikai Beach in Kailua on the windward side of Oahu. You may be thinking, “What is she doing writing this while she’s on vacation?”

Well, I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Hawaii with my 9-year-old daughter, Kennedy, for one year of adventure. This wasn’t a rash decision, rather something that had a great deal of meaning and purpose behind it, which continues to evolve every day.

The first question people ask me when they hear this is “Why?” As a single mother who loves to travel with her daughter and works remotely, the question for me becomes “Why not?”

Obviously, there were plenty of legitimate reasons for not packing up and moving 4,500 miles away to the middle of the Pacific. We already had a comfortable, established life in Carmel, Indiana. We had just moved into a new house, with a big yard for our dog, and Kennedy was enrolled in a top-rated elementary school. Our friends and my mother lived nearby, and that was the place I called home for the past 25 years. What more could we want? Everything was comfortable and stable—except the Indiana weather. So, why not move to a place with daily rainbows and consistently sunny, 80-degree weather?

The decision to move was based off more than just unfavorable Indiana weather. I had this feeling deep in my heart that there was more to life than settling for comfort and familiarity. I couldn’t help but feel like I was complacently accepting a life based on social norms and familial expectations, rather than a passionate pursuit of adventure and unchartered opportunity. At 33 years old, some people might call this a “pre-midlife crisis.” Call it what you will. I saw this as an opportunity to be brave, pursue a dream, and provide my daughter with some incredible childhood memories. So, why not take this leap of faith?

We had visited Hawaii eight months prior and fallen in love with the beauty of the land and the Hawaiian culture. However, this idea seemed like such a far-fetched dream that it posed a massive challenge. Thankfully, I love a challenge.

Dreams are just goals without a plan, though, right? During the next month, I’d spend most evenings in deep thought, weighing the amount of effort and sacrifice required to make this happen versus the potential reward. This was also going to require a considerable amount of logistical planning—asking my boss for his support, deciding what to do with my house and car, transferring schools, getting our dog into Hawaii, telling friends and family, and actually making the 4,500-mile move to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

If it’s meant to be, it will be. But it can never be if you don’t attempt it. Kennedy was excited and 100% on board. We’d move with our dog to the most remote chain of islands in the world, where we don’t know a soul, because why not? This would be a year of adventure, personal growth, and the ultimate test of faith and our own limits.

My goal was to provide us with an opportunity to embrace diversity, develop an appreciation for another culture, do good for the planet, and experience things that wouldn’t be possible in the confines of Carmel, Indiana.

After my boss at Kolbus gave his blessing, I started laying out a plan of action. I researched everything—best schools, safe areas to live, special Hawaii laws, etc. I felt confident in my plan, knowing that my daughter and I are resilient and could make it work for a year, in hopes of experiencing something wildly exciting and life-changing.

I decided to leave everything behind. We’d move with two suitcases each, bringing what is essential. There’d be no room for excess. We’d be forced to evaluate what was most important to us. I sold my 4-month-old car and moved my mother into my house in Carmel for a year so we could keep our things just as they are in Indiana and return home if needed. As a single mother, I had to be logical and have a backup plan.

We visited Oahu for three weeks in May, with the goal of finding a place to live, buying a new car, and enrolling my daughter in school. Check. Check. Check. We flew home for two weeks to get our dog, say goodbye to friends, and pack our suitcases.

On July 4, we embarked on this life-changing year. I vividly remember walking out of the Honolulu airport that day, apprehensively thinking to myself, “Oh wow, we’re actually doing this!” Reality was finally hitting me. I loaded up the car, sat there for a few minutes while I cried some anxious tears, and proceeded to drive to our new home in Kailua.

As I write this, we’re in our 11th week as Hawaii residents. We are soaking up the sunshine and aloha every day and have realized how little we actually need in order to be happy.

Life during the weekdays is pretty “normal.” Due to the time difference, I wake up early, often at 3 or 4 a.m., for business meetings with colleagues in Germany and the United Kingdom. I take my daughter to school and then wrap up my workday midafternoon. Kennedy is adjusting well and is loving “island life.” She joined the swim team and has quickly developed a love for surfing and all ocean-related activities.

We are assimilating to life in Hawaii and are making the most of every day here. There are still hard days when I miss friends and family, good Mexican food, or the comforts of home. However, those sad feelings are short-lived when I step into the warm, tropical water of Waikiki Beach to surf with my daughter, or when we come across a sea turtle or Hawaiian monk seal basking on the beach.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far: Be brave and take that leap of faith because there’s a chance it could turn out better than you could have ever imagined.


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Rebecca Rendon is marketing and communications manager at Kolbus America Inc. She can be reached at rebecca.rendon@kolbus.com.