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Lately

On Discovering Identity + Deflecting Lies

July 12, 2018

I was finally feeling somewhat settled. I knew where I was supposed to be each day and each week, what mornings I had to rise before 4AM. I alternated between slingin’ yoga pants at lululemon and coaching my heart out at Orange Theory, teaching a handful of other classes at other studios and attempting to complete a website building project “on the side”.

This is the Hawaiian Hustle, my friends.

On the island it seems the majority of those I connect with work multiple jobs or side hustles to make ends meet while pursuing a life of beach, ocean, community and mountains. But what I love most, even despite the hustle is this —

I am more than a job title. A salary. An upwards trajectory, an employee of the latest and greatest startup. I am Avery, first and foremost, a sister-daughter-lover-and-friend who will cook you dinner and be in bed at 8:30PM one night, kicking your ass in fitness class the next, out on the town Saturdays and diving 40 feet down in the ocean on Sundays before sunrise.

Me.

While this is the Hawaiian way of life, I will admit — detaching my identity from my job title is tough. Especially because in the last couple of weeks, a shoot-ton changed. I left the job I was tying myself to. I quit Orange Theory.

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Redefining This Space

May 21, 2018

Grab your bulletproof coffee (my current experiment: 21 days of keto) and take a seat — we’re making a few changes around here.

I’ve been tending to this little plot of the Internet for over eight years now. And over the course of what seems like a lifetime, these pages have been my digital diary of sorts. While these changes are nothing too huge, I’ve been craving a bit more structure for myself and value for my readers when it comes to what I post on here. And I’m growing up — so it’s time my blog does the same.

As I shift my career 100% into the wellness realm, I want this space to be a platform for what I believe in — holistic health, faith, and living an authentic life. I hope through my stories I can empower others to live the good life. 

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January in Pictures

February 5, 2018

January. The new year started fresh, me in bare feet and a red sequin dress. We danced under the starlight in Oahu, Hawaii, my new home.

The roomies 🙂

One very dapper group — thank you for welcoming me

After surviving the oddity of the Missile Alert f&*k-up, I met with a few of the world’s greatest humans from SF for a soul-filling long weekend in Kauai. Our goal was to sit in wonder, and in wonder we did sit — under the ocean on a SCUBA trip, and under the stars at a life-changer of a campout at Polihale. (more to come…including a rad video wrap-up)

Waking up on the sand at Polihale

Triple-decker hammocks for six for the sunset at Poipu Beach

The tricycle rides again! My besties Will & Janine visited from SF for a long weekend of sun, fun, and one very wet and muddy sunrise hike. (worth it)

The top of our v v rainy sunrise hike to Lanikai Pillboxes

Back to our usual shenanigans, this time at Duke’s Waikiki

…and at Lanikai Brewing Co.

Hiking glory captured by Will

Mah bestie and former roommate Lo also made the visit (all the way from Chi Town!). We chased sunshine around the island, taste tested IPAs, and somehow managed to stick to our grandma bedtimes and chick flick movie nights.

Sunset catching & mai tai sippin’ in Waikiki

North shore, big waves, big wave surfers, and Banzai Bowls

Not matter how often (or not?) I shower, you’ll typically find me covered in plenty of dog hair, sea salt, and a fine layer of sand. I don’t hate it.

Doggie days at the beach are a bit less relaxing with this one in tow, but can’t be much happier

My fur baby niece Chesney feelin’ the aloha in her new bandana

Dog friends and friends with dogs, yes please

…have I mentioned, PUPPIES?! Not mine, but definitely considered snatching up Mr. Peanut Butter.

So now that my skin is tanner, my hair blonder, and my feet WAY dirtier (from forgetting my shoes on a daily basis..whoops) — the question is, do I look local yet?

Oh friends, the call of the island is real. This place has a way of sucking you in, challenging you, and breaking down the carefully built walls you hoped to remain in place for the duration of your reality escape. But I’d have to say, once I stopped resisting reality, my wonder at this beautiful, crazy life came rushing back like a wave at Pipeline. This is life. Do with it what you may.

Oh hey February, don’t speed along too fast, mmkay?

Not Just Vacation — My First Week on Oahu

January 22, 2018

It has been 3 weeks since I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket and crossed the Pacific to the little island of Oahu. WUT.

hiking with dogs in hawaii

The first few days were a vacation with my sister Kendall around and Katie in town— we joined Kendall’s friends for nights out to dive bars and house parties, rang in the new year at a Gatsby-themed soiree, soaked up some sun on the beach, drank too many mai tais, and got fresh ink on the North Shore. Our musical friend Peter even island-hopped over from Kauai for a brainstorming sesh and yes, a few more mai tais. We went out in Kailua and Waikiki. Spent too much money on expensive appetizers. Got my honorary first sunburn.

Vacay life, ya know?

But not all island living is sunshine and coconuts.

north shore pipeline surfing

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Aloha to you, 2018

December 19, 2017

The fact that aloha means both hello and goodbye seems accurate right about now — these past few weeks have included waves of both, peppered with joy in anticipation for the new and the next, yet coupled with the nostalgic ache for what is now past. Friends, it is true. Finally, ten years after a dream was born in a little sunkissed blonde girl’s heart and buried in the sand of Poipu Beach, Kauai, it’s a reality:

Hawaii, here I come. Aloha, my new island home.

When preparing for my shoulder surgery and a solid month away from work and 3-4 months away from my spin studio, I received an encouraging text from my dear friend Dom after I frantically texted her while in a panic about my life being put “on hold” for a few months:

“You’re being forced to turn off, look inward, spend time with God. Get to know yourself deeply. And really truly turn off, unplug, and recover,” she wrote.

That’s exactly what I had to do. For once, walking down the hall was an excursion requiring super-human strength. My morning power-shower turned to baths, hair washed by my sister or my aunt. I slept nearly 18+ hours a day. I watched 3 seasons of Vikings in a scary-short amount of time. I lived off of toast and water for the first two weeks. I celebrated my 27th birthday in a drive from Santa Cruz to Sacramento, post-op doctor’s appointment and falling asleep during a movie marathon. I started (but have yet to finish) four different books.

Lanakai Beach, my new home beach

It was during this time my heart began to change. My mind said enough is enough! to all the dreams and the maybes and the one days and instead began whispering, now now now. And then God slipped under my skin and cracked my heart open back home in Colorado over Thanksgiving. Before I knew it my fingers  were skittering across the keys of my keyboard researching flights and facebook-posting a room for rent.

It all happened so fast: A one-way ticket to Honolulu on December 30. An inbox of house-hunters eager to begin their SF journey in the bay-windowed bedroom that saw me through so much. A gentle goodbye to my love from the past year, filled with hope and encouragement and nothing but the best wishes for one another. A two-week notice to the agency full of some of the most talented (and hilarious and amazing) people I know.

Whew.

Excited to be auntie to this fur baby for a few months!

Furniture is sold, books and knicknacks are in bags. Clothes are sorted and awaiting donation. An assortment of swimsuits, a couple t-shirts, 2 pairs cutoff shorts and the only pair of sandals I own make a pile on my floor. Many goodbyes have been said, yet others await for hugs after Christmas or big aloha snuggles with already-booked visits to see me on the island.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what to expect. My timeline is open as I walk barefoot steps to trust the Big Guy with whatever comes next. I’m grateful for my sister and a room to myself in her home, a furry companion to look after while she is away, and a car to drive. My computer and notebooks will accompany me, along with copious amounts of time to just write, finally freeing the words swimming deep down somewhere behind my bellybutton, pulling them to the surface once again.

2018, I am SO ready for you!

It’s been a tough year wrought with trials that knocked me off my feet and left me gasping for air — but finally I am slowly crawling back to standing. Writing is the way I not only continue my journey past these demons, but allows me to spread awareness that mental illness is a very real thing — but there is hope, oh so much hope, of brighter tomorrows. One just may have to take a step out of the ordinary to find it.

So yes — I’m back. I’ll be here weekly (#goals) and on Instagram @averykjohnson sharing my adventures from the land of aloha. It’s time for a new year, a fresh start, and a new chapter on an island where very few know my name. Through it all I am consistently reminded God didn’t give me a spirit of fear — so across the ocean I go.