Amit - Chapter 09
Kalani Oceanside Retreat is "an educational nonprofit organization
that celebrates Hawaii, nature, culture and wellness."1 Located in a rural
area on the big island of Hawaii, it is about an hour's drive from the
town of Hilo. Molten lava flows into the sea at the end of the road to
Kalani, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a half-day adventure
away. Kalani Honua means "harmony of heaven and earth" in Hawaiian.
This is a powerful place of bare rocks, starry nights, and big surf on
black-sand beaches. A tropical sensorium softens the hard edges: scarlet
hibiscus, fragrant plumeria, misty rains, sweet pineapples. Hawaii
is synonymous with paradise, and travel to such a destination is easily
equated with privilege.
Vered Amit has organized this volume around the scope and implications
of the privileged circumstances that accompany certain forms
of contemporary mobility. This chapter explores privileged travel to
a privileged place. The focus is neither on guests nor staff at Kalani,
but on people who are in between those categories. "Resident volunteers"
pay a maximum of $500 a month and work thirty hours a week
for at least a three-month period at Kalani. How is time a privileged
resource in this form of travel" How does travel in the context of volunteering
at Kalani foster and yet limit community" What relationships
manifest here between time, space, community, and capitalism"
What links do volunteers posit between Hawaii as a place and their
personal transformation" How do volunteers' inner journeys intersect
with their real-world trips to Kalani and to similar destinations on a
circuit of retreat centers"