Landing at the Sanctuary

Peta shares her breakfast of cereal, milk and bananas before our journey to Rainbow Falls. The walk is long and hot though when we arrive to the furious waterfall, we are refreshed by a sudden breeze. We quickly sneak off the tourist viewing area, ducking behind a tour group and bushwhack into the forest for a better view. When we don’t hitch a ride to the Boiling Pots, a waterfall further up the road, we forgo the experience and instead head back to town.

We part and I grab some food in town alone. I accept my desire to be alone without judgement, as soon I know I will have little opportunity to do so. Later today Jo from Hawaiian Sanctuary is to pick me up at the hostel and take me back to the jungle in Pahoa. I am beginning a two-week internship of agricultural work and yoga teaching. I am not sure what to expect from the experience though I am excited about what I have heard and read of the Sanctuary. Megan, one of my Yandara teachers, recommended the place to me. She spoke extremely highly of the woman in charge of the internship program, Terra Ann, who is a yogi as well as a remarkable woman. Through our email exchanges and numerous phone calls, I have already been convinced that everything Megan has said about Terra Ann is true.

Jo arrives in a black Corolla pick-up truck right on time. As we start conversing I find out that Jo initially came to Hawaii to live out an idealist into-the-wild-type plan of living in the jungle and foraging for food. Now he repels down waterfalls for fun and manages the Sanctuary. As the drive turns from concrete maze and highway stretch to lush jungle canopy and dirt road, the unease I felt through the day begins to dissipate. I am oddly at home in Pahoa and being in Hilo felt like waking from some magical dream too early. I decide to hit snooze and drift back into the fantasy. I breathe in the fresh jungle air out the window and welcome whatever is to come.

It is dark when we pull up to Hawaiian Sanctuary though I can still make out the majestic wooden structure of the lodge. I drop my bags in my room, which contains a comfortable looking twin bed, a night table, a chair, a skylight, and a wall of windows. Jo gives me a tour of the common areas, the spa and kitchen, and points out the yoga studio and gym in the distance. I gasp at the infrared sauna and hot tub that overlooks raw greenery through an open wall. In the kitchen we bump into three smiling girls who introduce themselves as Brooke, Georgia and Elise, the other interns. Immediately I like them, though feel a particular pull to Georgia, who appears insanely familiar in some way I cannot place. Invigorated by new energy, I get distracted and lose Jo somewhere in the kitchen. We finish our tour through the rest of the grounds, conveniently bumping into Erica and Chloe, the remaining interns. They smile just as wide as the others, making me feel welcome and as if I have known them forever. Once exhaustion overcomes me, I excuse myself back to my room, and curl into bed without unpacking anything beyond my toothbrush. I feel satisfied with where I have landed. A vague feeling surfaces before I drift into easy sleep that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

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