Have you ever had the urge to just up and move to Hawaii? Yeah, that’s a bit of a rhetorical question provided you've seen a postcard from there... but Laura Flynn took that urge and, well, up and did it.
She attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii and now lives a lifestyle that you will inevitably envy. It’s chock full of yoga, sunset swims, sea turtles, hiking to craters, vegan restaurants and fresh fruit smoothies (and this is Hawaii, so you can bet the fruits are "not from concentrate"). But Laura, wouldn’t you rather commute from Brooklyn to frigid Manhattan on the ever-delayed F train in the middle of February every day for work at 6:30 am?
Guess not… and we don't blame her! Learn more about Laura’s life in Hawaii (Oahu specifically) in our interview with her below.
Also, for more information on Laura and her yoga classes - please check out her website here: http://www.lauramaryflynn.com/
What are your top 3 favorite trips/adventures you've gone on while in Hawaii?
Wow, what a tough question. I live on Oahu, there are so many amazing sunsets, hikes, and spots to go on the island I live. So I will start with Oahu. My favorite hike on Oahu is Ka’au Crater, where you hike up the mouth of multiple waterfalls, hike through thick forests, and eventually emerge to the top of a beautiful crater, that looks like a meadow. It is absolutely gorgeous. Once at the top of the crater ridge, you can see spectacular views of other famous spots on Oahu, such as Olomana, the Mokes, Waimanalo, Chinaman's Hat, the Sandbar, everything! You can continue the hike and hike around the ridge line of the crater, with steep drop offs on either side - this is a precarious hike. This was the most beautiful hike/destination I'e ever experienced, however, it is also for very advanced hikers. I was terrified during this hike of slipping and falling off the ridge, but the reward, the views, and the experience was well worth the fear I felt.
My two other top experiences were on the island of Maui. Sunrise at Haleakala is one of the most breathtaking experiences. You are up above the clouds at really cold temperatures, and as the sun emerges and lights up the sky, you feel like you are a part of something bigger. The other Maui experience was on a hike through a bunch of lava rock for miles and we were just exploring. We happened to have stumbled upon a natural pool on the side of a 400ft cliff. At first, I was pretty scared of getting in the water, but then, I realized that we were so high up there was no way that water would splash up and pull me off of the cliff. So hidden around miles of lava rock and on next to the side of the cliff with no one to be even possibly seen we went swimming, it was amazing.
What's your favorite part about the Hawaiian culture?
I adore the respect for the land that everyone holds. Everyone knows the value of savoring a breathtaking sunset, swimming with sea turtles, surfing, hiking, and being active by using the land. I've never lived in such an active culture where the activity centers around the tides and the weather patterns.
At what moment did you know you were ready to move to Hawaii?
I had a full scholarship to attend graduate school at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, HI. It was a no brainer for me to attend. Now as a Master in Public Health, I have a much broader understanding of health. I feel inspired by the notion that sweeping changes can be made to health and overall well-being, however, I know that change starts with the individual.
Describe your typical day...
My typical day...I like to wake up slowly and savor my morning time before the day really begins. I like to sit down and have either coffee or tea and connect with my man before he heads off to work. I often teach early morning yoga privates. I make sure to ground myself before my day begins. After my man leaves, I eat breakfast, read a book, and then I start to plan my classes for the day. I begin with an intention. I find an intention that resonates with me on that particular day that I can share with my students and practice myself, then I sequence my class so that it connects to that intention. I head off to teach my first class. After class, I stop for cold-pressed juice at Jugo Life and a second breakfast at Down to Earth. I head home and walk my dog. I might make some calls and/or organize a bit more for my day before heading off to teach my lunchtime class. After class, I will eat a light lunch, then I practice yoga. After my practice and another dog walk, I head out to my nighttime class. I arrive home and usually my man is cooking dinner (so lucky), we have dinner and head to bed. Not a bad day.
Is there anywhere else you want to travel? Do you see yourself staying in Hawaii forever?
I would love to travel to Europe. It sounds silly, because it is the closest culture to ours in the US, but I've never been there and I am eager to soak up the history and romance of such an old place. I just bought a place in Hawaii and I do plan to stay for several years! Truthfully, I don't know how long I will stay, but I don't see myself leaving any time soon.
How is life in Hawaii (culture, people, attitude) different from where you grew up?
Growing up in Boston, MA, the culture is much speedier than that of Hawaii. The phrase, "island time" is true, locals really do stick to a much looser agenda. You can easily add 15 minutes to arrival times, and it wouldn't be rude to be that late. This took some getting used to, but i've softened around the edges to the more lax schedule.
What are the top 3 things you've learned while living here?
Tough question! 1- Life is happening now, don't wait. 2- Step into vulnerability, because that is the space where growth happens. 3- Be curious, a lifelong learner, in whatever you pursue.
Favorite meal you've had in Hawaii?
I have a few favorite restaurants that are all vegetarian. I will say that Peace Cafe in Honolulu, HI is my current favorite restaurant. It is pretty casual, this yummy macrobiotic vegan restaurant serves delicious grinds (local word for food). I order the yogini (go figure), and I add carrots, mung beans, and extra kale to my order.
How has yoga changed your personal views or way of life?
Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways. Basically, it just makes me a better person, my best self. I judge less, both others and myself. I am more comfortable just being myself and less concerned of public opinion of any sort. Yoga constantly reminds me that my life is happening right now, it reminds me to be present, to not waste time, and to enjoy. I've fallen in love with the most amazing person I've ever met, found a passion in my career as a yoga instructor/life coach, and feel blessed every day. I think that this bliss started with yoga. It's not that every single day is perfect at all, but that when I am having a rough time, I am able to see a light, and able to find gratitude even when I am in a struggle. I feel really blessed.