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Afterthoughts: We Go

Time for some new adventures.


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Sometimes I wonder exactly how I got this job.

 

Not as a managing editor, per se—I love setting deadlines and making sure we are constantly making progress on stories—but as a voice for our community. I’ve never considered myself an influencer, I don’t like fads (you can keep your unicorn drinks, thanks) and I’m more of an introvert than many people realize.

 

Afterthoughts camping

illustration: kim sielbeck

 

These traits don’t really jibe with being the hip friend who knows the coolest stuff our city has to offer. But that’s exactly what HONOLULU Magazine—and its staff—strives to be. So, each month, I push myself out of my comfort zone, try new things and talk to new people. Honestly, it’s not always easy for me. But it is fun.

 

Some of my favorite stories I’ve written for HONOLULU involve me trying to break out of an escape room, meandering around a farm in a bee suit and Crocs, eating my way through all the French toast I could get my hands on and taking a pole fitness class. I’ve worked backstage at a fashion show, tried kombucha for the first time, learned how to make chocolate and discovered the best beer to pair with uni pasta. On the more serious side, I’ve been grateful to make a difference by researching volunteer opportunities, ways to protect endangered places and the history behind important local sites. And I wouldn’t have done any of this if I worked anywhere else (except for that French toast eat-a-thon).

 

Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to try something new each month, whether it’s for a story or my own personal growth. It’s easy to fudge (oh, I tried a new dish at my favorite restaurant—that totally counts), but it’s always more fun when I explore a new hike, attend an opera or try bouldering at the gym. Recently, I went camping for the first time.

 

For the record, I’ve spent many nights in a tent in the backyard. Apparently that doesn’t count, as indicated by the shocked expressions of my co-workers upon hearing my confession.

 

The main thing holding me back from camping was not knowing where to start. Where’s the best place to go? How far in advance do I need to reserve a permit? How much does it cost? Do I have to buy a tent? Would anyone even want to go with me? I knew I couldn’t do it alone, but everyone who had ever promised to take me had flaked out, so I’d given up.

 

That changed this summer, when an email chain among a few friends quickly grew to 50-plus responses, and a Google doc sprang up with a list of what we needed, with sign-up slots. Some in our group were first-timers like me. Others were pros with portable grills, cots and tables at the ready. They booked a campground and planned out all the meals. Me? I signed up to bring skewers (for s’mores and kabobs), a pineapple floaty and my own pillow.

 

Early Saturday morning, I shoved my overnight bag in the trunk and hopped in the car with three friends, singing car-pool karaoke all the way to Mālaekahana. We arrived to a full scene prepared by the rest of our crew who had arrived the day before: pop-up tent, music bumping through portable speakers, plenty of coolers full of drinks, enough musubi for an army. By the time I blew up my floaty, my (borrowed) tent had already been set up for me, and the burgers were on the grill. There was nothing for me to do but enjoy myself (I did offer!), so I ran straight into the water.

 

From frolicking in the waves to telling ghost stories by the fire to watching the sunrise from the shore, everything that weekend reminded me how lucky I am to live here and have the friends I do. New experiences bring people together, and I look forward to sharing them with you here.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY KATRINA VALCOURT

 

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Honolulu Magazine December 2018
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