Trapped in Paradise – the DC Edition

Part travel blog, part philosophical musings. All tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness.

My (Updated) Story

Well, after an almost two-year hiatus, I’m back!

First of all, I would like to say how excited I am to be dusting this old blog off for the first time in almost two years. Writing has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but after I left Hawaii and started the new blog, I had found it harder and harder to make myself sit down and type out a post. I explained my reasoning for coming back here in excruciating detail (and if you really want to gouge your eyes out, it’s here, here, and here) but the tl;dr version is that at some point I realized that I didn’t enjoy sailing as much as I thought I would. Moreover, I was greatly unhappy with the direction my life was heading, and have decided to start working toward the life that I do want. And in a grand symbolic gesture of shedding the old persona and going back to my roots, I’ve decided to resurrect the old website and start writing about the things I enjoy – travel, sarcasm, self-deprecating humor, and so on.

So here I am again, and I hope to have as much fodder for entertainment as I did the first time around. Washington DC is a bit of a strange place, and graduate school is its own beast, so adventures are sure to be abundant (I hope.)

Cheers,
Brit C
May 9, 2016

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Aloha! (or should I say Ahoy, Mate!)

I started this blog on New Years Day 2014, as a way of expressing my frustrations over living in Hawaii. I’ve had a lot of fun writing about the things that are unique (for good or bad) about life in the islands, and it was one of the things that helped me cope with being forced to live there.

As an aside – I’d been serving in the U.S. Navy for several years, and had already spent a tour in Hawaii. Been there, done that, had fun but the island fever was so great by the end of my assignment that I never wanted to go back. When I was up for orders again a few years later, I’d pretty much begged the detailer to send me anywhere but Hawaii… well, anyone familiar with the military knows how that goes. The thing was, this time around it was worse than I feared it would be: from the 5,000 mile separation between me and my fiance who was stationed in Virginia, to the nightmare that was working among the sycophants in my first true intelligence officer tour. As an former aviator, I’d come from a community where camaraderie and candidness were prized while mediocrity and willful ignorance were not, and it only took me three months there to know that a career in naval intelligence was a terrible fit for me. Long story short, this tour was the one that made me say, “you know what? The Navy’s been good to me and I’ve had a lot of fun over the last ten years… but it’s time to do something else.”

Anyway, thanks to budget cuts and the subsequent thinning of the ranks, my request to leave a year before my projected date had been approved! My friends thought I’d gone nuts for wanting to leave the paradise that was Hawaii, but to me returning to the mainland U.S. was a dream come true. At last I got to live with my fiance, be on the same continental landmass as my family, and finally had the opportunity to go to graduate school and pursue a career where I could actually make a difference.

The catch: my fiance is currently realizing his lifelong dream of living on a sailboat.

Since my time in Hawaii has come to an end, I only plan to update this blog through the end of the year. Meanwhile I invite you to check out my new site The Skeptical Sailor, where I’ll continue writing about my adventures on the U.S. East Coast living aboard a sailboat that I think of as either a fancy yacht or a floating RV, depending on how I’m feeling that day. 🙂 I hope I can continue to enlighten and entertain as I did while I was stuck in paradise!

Cheers,
Brit “Crazy B”
September 26, 2014

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Many people who have visited Hawaii have been charmed by the year-round sun, balmy warm weather, beautiful beaches, bountiful surf, and so on.  Perhaps they’ve wandered into the rainforests or hiked up the mountains, or dove below the ocean to swim among the abundant sea life.  Maybe they have ventured off of Oahu to the other islands and seen for themselves the quaint island existence.  It really can be a dream vacation – and for the lucky few who discovered they would have the opportunity to live in such a paradise, an experience beyond their wildest dreams.

Yeah, we’ve all been there.  Great.  Awesome.

In spending an extended period of time on the islands, one discovers that the non-local residents tend to fall into two categories.  There are those who adapt wholeheartedly to the island life, eschewing closed-toe shoes and jeans forever and wanting nothing more than to lie in their beach hammocks forever strumming their ukeleles and listening to Jack Johnson.  And then, there’s the rest of us: those for whom “island fever” has struck full-force and who have had it with all the quirks that come with living in Hawaii.

Hello, I’m Crazy B and though I’m not an alcoholic (yet!) this is my second time living in Hawaii.  A Seattlelite by birth, I first came here as a clueless young officer back in 2007 and while I enjoyed it for a while, I soon tired of the cramped island life.  I’d managed to escape once, but after three years of freedom the military dragged me back kicking and screaming.  If you think island fever is bad the first time around, oh boy… and what’s worse, this time I’ve been on my own: stuck in a menial job that makes me long for my high school days as a K-mart cashier, with coworkers who prefer Microsoft Power Point over socializing and fun. (What?!)  So my goal in writing this is to keep myself sane through a bit of venting, a bit of whining, and a bit of travel blogging (since I use every dollar I save on getting off the island whenever I can) and to hear from others with their own stories.  I hope my experiences and the tips I’ve picked up over the years can be helpful – or even just entertaining to read – for those who might also be trapped in paradise .  After all, misery does loves company!

Cheers!
B
January 1, 2014

 

9 thoughts on “My (Updated) Story

  1. I’ve been to Hawaii once. No charm for me, though I loved the weather.

    After a few days on the beach and scuba diving I decided to give some of the guided tours a shot which gave me a chance to get to know a few of the bus drivers and tour operators. When their working masks came off the vitriol flowed — they totally ripped apart the tourists and jobs. The people on the tours weren’t much better. I went on a Luau — and I’m really glad I did — it was like a parody of something you’d see at Disneyland, speaking of which — the Mormons at the Polynesian Culture Centre. . .

    I can easily see how Hawaii would get old quick.

    In the military don’t they send you around to other islands in the Pacific?

    • Ugh, I’m sorry you had to experience that! Tourism is the biggest moneymaker out here, so you would think that the workers would at least wait until they were off the job to start badmouthing the industry that gives them their paycheck. I’m sure that’s not what you wanted to hear after spending the money to fly all the way out here. Ironically, the quality of service here vs. the mainland was going to be the topic of one of my next posts.

      To answer your question, the military does have a lot of opportunities around the Pacific, but it’s dependent on the type of job you’re qualified for and what’s available when it’s time for you to get your next set of orders. The other thing is that since it’s so expensive to move people out to Hawaii (plane tickets for you and your family, shipping your household goods and your vehicle) there is a tendency for some people to be “left” out here instead of moving them back after they’ve done their time. I’ve heard horror stories of people being forced to do back-to-back tours against their wishes, which will hopefully become less common as the DOD realizes how expensive it is to keep someone out here (we do get a bigger housing allowance as well as an allowance to offset the higher cost of living, so we are very fortunate in that regard. I’ve heard that some other jobs like teaching don’t pay any extra compensation for working out here, which seems so unfair when the food alone is so expensive!)

  2. Hey There! I have really enjoyed reading your posts and just nominated you for the Sunshine Award!

    To accept the award, just go here and follow the instructions.
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    And congrats! I really like reading your blog and hope this will help others enjoy it as well 🙂

  3. Hello! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts! I have nominated you for a Liebster Award, because I just love the way you write and the stuff you write about. 🙂 You can check out my page about it to see how it works: http://2014bydawn.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/im-grateful-for-a-liebster-award/

  4. I have enjoyed spending time on your blog, I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. Please review the guidelines here on my blog http://jennlostinchaos.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/liebster-award/. Thank you 🙂

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