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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


In March of 2015 I traveled the furthest by myself that I have ever traveled at that time. I went to Hawaii for a photo workshop on the big island of Hawaii: thirteen hours across country and almost half way across the Pacific Ocean. I got married my senior year in college, so my life had always been spent as part of a family where things were more or less done together. I had never traveled alone to a strange. place to be with a group of people that I had never met. The week began in Kona and ended in Hilo, where we were for most of that week and where each of us had little efficiency apartments. I decided that I would drive to Hilo across the island instead of along the shore. That turned into a "white knuckle" drive as I encountered the most dense fog I have ever seen, or more properly, I think it was clouds sitting on top of the island. Either way, it was impossible to see more than a few inches in front of the car. So the last half of the drive to Hilo was driven at no more than 5 miles an hour, and at times that seemed too fast. But once I got there, I loved everything about Hilo. The locations for our photography shoots were amazing. This one was taken at dawn at Laupahoehoe State Park, where the ruggedness of islands created by lava is especially evident, and walking around to try to get the best shots can be dangerous. I never fell, but one of the others in our group did and had a nice shiner to prove it. Besides making some more wonderful friends, I found I really liked being independent. Since that liberating trip to Hawaii I have made many more solo or nearly solo trips. Each one has had their own version of "white knuckle" moments. But because of this one, I knew I could do it. Now, as the whole world is pretty much shut down and we are told to stay at home, I wonder when I will be able to solo out again. I hope it won't be too long.

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