I try to be discreet and diplomatic when I visit the many remarkably beautiful and fascinating places throughout the world that I've been to, telling the people who take pride in showing me the wonderful locations they live in that I still haven't seen anything quite like the island where I spent most of my adult life.
I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii about 27 years before leaving to begin my travel adventures in 2016.
Kilauea Volcano, near where I lived, had been in a constant state of eruption since 1983, but had never threatened the more populous areas Puna District.
In 2018 that all changed. Lava began spewing in torrents from vents in the landscape for miles as it coursed toward the sea, destroying everything in its path, while at the same time laying the foundation for a rebirth of the land.
In February, I returned for the first time to an island dramatically changed by the 2018 lava flows.
Hundreds of homes, farms and businesses were destroyed, but not the resiliency and spirit of the people who call Puna home.
Everyone who lives on or near the volcano, knows that Pele, the Goddess of Kilauea Volcano, is the supreme ruler of the land and that, sooner or later, she will transform the landscape to something new and even more magnificent than it was before, and that there is nothing anyone can do about it but to get out of the way.
It is a time of suffering for many, but life goes on (in fact, no lives were lost); the people, the animals, the vegetation, come back; they rebuild, replant, and continue to live in awe of and respect for the incomparable power and sheer beauty of the natural and spiritual forces that shape and reshape this small part of the world endlessly over thousands of years.
One of my sons and many dear friends still live among the ancient and new lava flows, the luxurious tropical forests, and black sand beaches that give Puna its distinctive allure. They are the primary reasons I went back; but I also wanted to see for myself the changes that Pele brought to Puna while I was gone.
Just tap the gray "Read More" button below for the rest of this post, which consists of photos I took showing just a small part of this utterly fantastic piece of the universe.
Quotes For A Good Life On The Road
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
-- Albert Einstein
See my complete collection of "Quotes For The Road" by clicking "More" in the dropdown menu above.
Who Am I?
I'm a retired journalist from Hawaii who tired quickly of retirement and hit the road as a slow, solo world traveler in August 2016. I've spent time in 20 countries on four continents. Currently I'm in sunny Merida, Mexico, waiting out developments in the coronavirus crisis before moving on. Meanwhile, learn more about me and my travels at Nomadic Matt, and Expat Focus, and in a great story by veteran Borneo newsman and prolific author James Ritchie, about our memorable meeting in Malaysia, A Confluence of Adventure Writers .
Also online ...
GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY
Still the most authentic, lively and colorful local cultural festival I've seen on the road.
I found this Alternative Arts and Music Festival in the Amazon highlands of Peru. What a find!
Solas "Best Travel Writing" Awards
Saysha: What Happened?
13th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing
(Read it here)