By Caroline Farley
In just three short months, the island I had always dreamed of had become my home away from home. I landed on Kaua‘i with high hopes for a summer filled with adventure and professional development at a publication I had only known through my online research.
Those lofty ambitions soared after I had the opportunity to speak to Barbara Bennett, For Kaua‘i’s owner and publisher. In our first telephone conversation from halfway across the globe, Barbara graciously offered me the opportunity of a lifetime — to intern for the summer at For Kaua‘i.
I immediately accepted, trusting wholeheartedly I was onto something very special. As high as my expectations were, I could not imagine the way Kaua‘i would change my life, opening my mind to the possibility of a simpler life on a beautiful island, committed to sustainability and the renowned spirit of aloha.
When I arrived on Kaua‘i, I knew I had made the right decision. I could not help but admire the spirit of island and the beautiful people. My first meeting with Barbara was amazing. Her energy is electric and I could not wait to assume some responsibility and learn from this incredible woman who had accomplished so much. Barbara then introduced me to her editor in chief, Léo Azambuja, who taught me so much and quickly became a trusted friend.
My first assignment would be to deliver the publication to many distribution points all over Kaua‘i. This was a great way for me see the island, meet people and gain insight into how things would unfold. With my first assignment complete, it was time to start writing.
I learned so much through my writing assignments. Who knew that a mushroom farm could be an example of sustainability and a tribute to one’s ancestral roots? It was a privilege to meet Keith Silva and learn more about farming. It was also great to witness a true grass-roots effort to restore the Hule‘ia watershed by stopping the invasive red mangrove from destroying the fragile ecosystem. It was so cool to learn about Hanalei Surf School and how they keep things fun and fresh for the all important tourist industry — gotta love those glow in the dark surfboards! I only wish I could return in September for CrossFit Kaua‘i’s Ultimate Trail Run and see the pride in Aaron Hoff’s eyes as his dreams for the children of Kaua‘i come true.
For Kaua‘i also sent me on assignment to shadow at KONG Radio Station. I met several KONG employees and was afforded a unique glimpse into the radio industry. I was also invited to the Hawai‘i Publishers Association Governor’s Luncheon in O‘ahu. This was an incredible opportunity to visit another island, network within the industry and meet Gov. David Ige. I also got a chance to experience O‘ahu, go more than 100 feet below the ocean surface in the largest commercial submarine in the world and surf the crystal clear waters of Waikiki with Léo — check out the pic of Léo and I below!
Without reservation, I can say my summer internship at For Kaua‘i exceeded all of expectations for comprehensive professional development. I cannot thank the people of For Kaua‘i enough for the many kindnesses extended to me as they showed me the ropes of the magazine industry, from advertising to writing to delivery.
I have to say however that the greatest part for me was the intangible benefits I gained simply by living on Kaua‘i and becoming friends with Barbara, Léo and the many people of Kaua‘i who so graciously welcomed me.
On Kaua‘i I learned the meaning of many Hawaiian expressions, but none meant so much to me as the spirit of ‘ohana I came to know by living and working among all of you.
Mahalo to Barbara and Léo for the faith you showed in me and the opportunities you provided; my family, the Iglays, who invited me into their home and showed me the meaning of aloha; the people of Brennecke’s who gave me the chance to work and meet new people; Bethany and Alana, you’re awesome — thanks for taking the time to make this starstruck girl feel at home; Uncle Mark who was there on the one night I felt homesick and encouraged me to appreciate the moment and paddle for the big waves.
Mahalo from the bottom of this globetrotter’s heart. If you’re ever in Georgia, you’ve got friend in me.
Until we meet again, Kaua‘i!