I grew up in the small Hawaiian town of La’ie, which is some forty miles away from Honolulu—just about as far away from town as you can get and still be on the same island.
The road to
, called Honolulu Kamehameha Highway, winds along the northeast shore of the island, following the jagged coastline through lush tropical landscapes and past beautiful sandy beaches. Small towns cluster along the highway like pearls on a string, wedged between the ocean and the towering Ko’olau Mountains.
The speed limit on this little two-lane road alternates between 35 and 45 miles per hour, and it’s not uncommon to be stuck behind a rented convertible doing significantly less. The road twists and turns and bumps and bounces and requires the driver’s full attention.
In the eight years between the day I got my learner’s permit and when I moved from
, I drove that stretch of road literally hundreds of times, and I learned to love the sense of wonder and adventure that comes from being able to see just a few hundred feet before the next bend in the road. Hawai’i
I enjoyed taking that drive; it was part of the adventure of going into town. And we did it often enough that we didn’t really think too much about it. The people we met in
usually seemed surprised we would drive “all that way” just to go shopping, or to a movie, or for dinner, yet to us it was no big deal. Honolulu
Like Kamehameha highway, the last few years have provided my family with some significant twists and turns: Bumpy Landings was picked up by Cedar Fort, and I’ve had to transition from casual writer to book marketing specialist; My wife has found a clinic that has been able to really help with her health issues, but it’s 400 miles away and we don’t yet know how much insurance will pay; I have a good job with a company I like, and they have recently decided that it’s time for us engineers to spend more time traveling to customer sites. Twist; turn; slow down; speed up.
As I look forward to 2011, it’s difficult to see where exactly the road will lead. Sometimes I wish life were more like a broad, straight freeway, allowing me to reach my destination quickly and easily. And yet, looking back to 2010 and the years that came before, I’m grateful for the twists and turns and curves and bends that have helped shape me into the person that I am.
The road hasn’t always been smooth, or easy, and it’s often been far too slow, but I have to admit that despite all of the challenges—or perhaps even because of them—on the whole it’s been a pretty fun ride.
You can find out more about Don by visiting his website and blog: www.donaldjcarey.com
And be sure you mark this date down on your calendar.
You won't want to miss it.