Why I Came to Oahu (the real reason)

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So all was going very well at Polestar on the Big Island, but I did decide to leave. What I learned in my final days there is that while I wasn’t looking for a home, I did find a family. And for better or worse, you’re always connected to your family – so I know that in the long run, there will always be a place for me there. And in the short term, I wouldn’t count out a return visit…

What should we call it?

Meanwhile, in another part of town…I had gone to Oahu for one reason: to meet Chris Guillebeau, the author of the site (and now book) The Art of Non-Conformity. An avid fan of AONC’s for over a year, I had just finished the book and felt some real energy in terms of how I might be able to help spread this message: “you don’t have to live the life that other people expect you to.”

It was time to establish a face-to-face connection with the dude. Heck, I even used Chris’ tactics to get a $5 one-way ticket from LA-Hilo and then a $2.50 ticket from Hilo-Honolulu. I was ready for this!

Mr. Non-Conformity meets Mr. Awesomeness

Long-story short: I ate malasadas for the first time, talked to awesome people, heard cool stories, and even had a few minutes with the man himself to let him know what a thrill it’s been to read AONC. We talked very briefly about what might be possible between The Art of Non-Conformity and Nonstop Awesomeness down the road, so we’ll see about that. Some of my better ideas included Nonstop Non-Conformity, Non-Conformity Awesomeness, or (wait for it…) The Art of Nonstop Non-Conformity Awesomeness. I know he’s just carefully weighing these choices before getting back to me.

But as I realized a couple days later, there was a whole other reason (one I hadn’t even planned on) why I had to come to Oahu —

I think he’s right about the .com

I’ll leave you with a brief cliffhanger – check out this interview I scored with Chris! Forgive the darkness – we were in a lounge and there were no white lights in the vicinity. I think this makes it look like a much crazier place than it was. But definitely an unconventional stop on his book tour!

I so LOVE asking this question (that I posed to Chris, and that I’ve asked of many others):

What are you excited about these days?

This is a question that can totally bring some real depth and connection between not only the person who asked and the one who answers, but internally as well. I think in general that we (and I’m speaking for Americans) don’t spend much of our day thinking about what excites us – it’s more about getting through the daily grind. But what if we did spend more time on this topic – really tapping into this power? What amazing things might we create? How could we change the world? I’m definitely interested in pursuing this question and this life.

I’ve had exceptional luck with asking this to people I’ve known for years and with people I’ve literally just met. I’m blown away, excited & delighted by the answers I hear. And seeing a smile on someone’s face never gets old. This may seem like a personal question (’cause it is), but I encourage you to dive in and use it. People love talking about what they are passionate about, and I think it’s awesome to hear it!

Ok – now to the shocking conclusion —

At the AONC meet-up, a few people heard my tale and knew I had landed in Oahu without knowing where I was sleeping (yup, it’s made for some interesting days). As we were all leaving, a woman and her boyfriend asked me where I was staying. I replied that I had housing for that night, but no idea for tomorrow. She said, “you could stay with us.” And so it was that I became good friends with Amber & Evan.

Amber, Evan & I at the top of Diamond Head Crater

It was a really wonderful few days with them. We had lots in common, laughed plenty, and were able to talk pretty effortlessly. But here’s the clincher: Amber & Evan had recently been searching (to no avail) for what to call Amber’s work. Amber was currently working from home for a veterinarian and also helping out a couple other people with online tasks. So it was a twist of fate that Virtual Nathan should walk into their lives. She was thrilled to learn about “virtual assistants” and is now excited to pursue a career in the field. She needed to figure out what to call what she did, and the Universe provided her with a living specimen. Nice.

Sunset in Honolulu – I’m not sure I’d ever seen colors & textures like that before

The other cool part is that we traded stories about where we are in our lives, and where we’re headed. Amber grew up in Kauai and Evan in Chicago. They have plans to move to San Francisco, and are actively planning the idea. (I even saw a couple vision boards – they mean business.) Naturally, moving two people (and a lovable dog) across the Pacific is no easy feat. As we discussed, (just like with selling everything & traveling the world) it takes lots of patience, optimism, faith, a good dose of humor, and a heap of awesomeness! But I’m sure that they’ll be able to handle it – or they’ll realize a different move that they need to make, and take that one head on. Either way, they’re gonna be just fine. And I can’t wait to hang out with them again, wherever it is in the world.

What did I take away from the experience?

It really reaffirmed that I’m to keep on moving. I really liked their place: it was comfortable, it was clean, it was centrally located – but it comes with something I’m not interested these days: paying rent. I feel abundantly complete to stay with them, enjoy what they have, express my gratitude, and then move on. So I was happy to know that even when temptation came around, I wasn’t to be steered from this path.

in case anyone thought this nomad life was glamorous…

So in the end, I thought I was coming here for one reason, but it turned out to be for something completely different – something I couldn’t have even expected. And this is just the beginning – I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot more of these moments, that I’m totally in the right place at the right time. And equally as important, and something I’ve mentioned , is that I’m showing up as the right person. You line those three elements (place, time, person/people) up, and that’s when the magic happens.

It has been a good reminder that as much as I might want to be, I’m not steering this ship. The Universe will unfold the reasons “why” – I just need to be patient and open. I wish you excitement and joy while you wait for the answers, too.