Born in my mothers' hometown in Germany. I grew up in the same home she was born in and called home her whole life, until one day she met my dad. Stationed at the Army base there. They had three kids while living there, my older sister, younger brother and myself. One day decided that it was time to move to America. A place my father called home for most of his life. It was a place we would visit as children and always had a special place in my heart.

Moving to North Caroline, a place many people were born and raised I quickly felt different than the rest. Unwilling to put down any sort of roots and spending more time planning where I would go next. An unbreakable bond between building my wings so I could finally fly. I counted down the days till I was 18 and hit the highway as quickly as I could, driving until I reached the sandy shores of Wilmington. I stayed there for a little while until I took off again, this time following my heart (ok...ok...I followed this handsome guy I married stationed at Fort Bragg).

I've spent a great deal of my time envying those who put down roots and often wondered why my family is so unwilling to stay in one place for long. I realize that even though I might not have what most people have; deep roots in their hometown, with friends they've known a lifetime. There's something incredibly beautiful about being free. Not being tied to a place, but instead grounded deep in the people we love, even when some of those people are across the world.

My parents raised us to value being able to be free within our dreams, ideas, and thoughts. To always be selective with what we fill our days with, as this would be what our life would be.

It's what made the decision of moving to Maui even easier. Knowing that flying to whatever destination my heart longed for was ok. This is the first place I've lived at where I could see myself for a long time. I think part of me will always have a longing to travel and see the world, but can understand how nice it is to live in a place I picked myself. I've lived in Maui for almost a year now and couldn't have found a more magical place to raise my children and feel so incredibly happy to call Maui my home. I know one day they will want to grow their wings and see the world they live in, and as much as I would love to keep them in my nest forever, I hope that they always know that home is where the heart is.

February 20, 2018 — Elena Ringeisen

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