Lava, Surfing and Craigslist

Me sliding down a nice wave. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

(This is the follow up post to last week’s post  My Dream of Working Remotely)

Waves are coming. Everything else in the world fades away. A grin of excitement breaks out on my face as the curved wall of water arrives to pick me up. I’ve traveled thousands of miles to position myself to catch this wave. A second later, I’m gliding down the glassy surface of the ocean, which seems like it will propel me on forever.

Another fun wave before it closes out. Photo by: Bobby Henderson

I love the exercise. I love being out in the sun. I love the cleansing aspect of the ocean. I love the beauty and the challenge of harnessing the power of the waves. I love being with my friends through it all.

There are few experiences in this world that I believe are as satisfying as surfing an ocean wave. Ever since I rode my first wave I’ve been determined to build surfing into my life. To do that I was going to have to figure out a way to live out in Hawaii and support my family.

Lava, Surfing and Sunshine

I just got back late Tuesday night from the Big Island. The weather was unbelievably nice the entire time. This was the first photo I took when I got off the plane. To get a few days of beautiful sun in a row is nice. To get a solid week of sun on the east side of the Big Island was unreal.

Hilo on Monday January 21st Photo: Ryan Finlay

On top of that, the waves had 4-6 ft faces most of the week. This was a gift. I could have shown up to a glassy flat sea with no waves, and there’s absolutely nothing I could have done about it. That’s the way it is with the ocean, and the good fortune was not lost on me! I went out surfing four times, each for one to two hours at a time. There were turtles sprinkled in the bay like floating ornaments. Taking in the smell of the fresh ocean air, beautifully colored sky and the crystal clear water was almost too much. It really is a magical experience.

Me on a wave at Pohiki, second bay. Photo: Bobby Henderson

Then there was the lava. The Kilauea Volcano is currently oozing lava into the ocean out by where I stayed on the southeastern tip of the Island. Since the flow can collapse and stop at anytime, it’s wise to see it while you can. So we set out at 10:30 pm Saturday night to hike the two and a quarter miles each way, that is required.  There is no path and the walking surface is razor sharp. One incredible thing about the night was the moon was so full and bright that we needed no flashlight the entire time.  Here’s a video that my friend Bobby took from where we were peering over the cliff at the lava descending into the ocean.

Me poking a stick into the lava. Photo: Bobby Henderson

Lastly, a close up I took of the lava creeping across the ground. It felt like you were inside an oven standing next to it.

Close up of the lava. Photo: Ryan Finlay

Working Near and Afar

One of the first days on the Island, I was out with my friend Matt when we spotted a free Kenmore Dryer and picked it up. It was badly rusted on top, but was the nicer Kenmore Elite model.  I went to the hardware store, bought some appliance paint and went to work completely cleaning the dryer out, grinding and neutralizing the rust, and finally repainting it. It took about an hour of work, and the dryer will sell for $150 or so. It was confirmation that what I’m doing on the mainland can, to some degree, be replicated on the island.

Me in front of the free Kenmore Dryer before it was cleaned up
After the dryer was cleaned up.

At the same time back in Portland, we very casually sold three appliances and picked up seven more used ones. Peter handled the calls of prospective buyers and I would setup item pick ups during down time in the morning and later in the evenings. I worked no more than a few hours all week.

The Sunset

I came back very encouraged about both the prospects of operating a Craigslist operation out in Hawaii, but also by the relative ease of working remotely. I’m going to continue to build and refine operations back on the mainland that can be operated and run from anywhere.

Part of the four wheeling crew. Photo: Ryan Finlay

On the second to last day, some friends and I went four-wheeling along miles of ocean, jungle and old lava beds. At first, I was certain I would perish during our expedition but I gradually grew more comfortable operating the quad over some pretty gnarly terrain. The curtain closed on that day with our group overlooking the ocean, watching whales breaching as the sun set behind us while eating nachos with friends.

View from the bluff where gather at the end of the day to talk and eat nachos. Photo: Ryan Finlay

It’s cool how often the simple things in life mixed with the majestic can create the most lasting memories.



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