Selten habe ich jemanden so authentisch sein Ding machen sehen, wie es Kelli tut. Sie strahlt eine Selbstsicherheit aus, die einem direkt ins Herz geht und verkörpert Freiheit & Naturverbundenheit besser als es Tom Hanks in Cast Away unfreiwillig getan hat. Ihr Lächeln steckt an und hat fast etwas kindlich Unbeschwertes an sich. Ob das Leben in einem Baumhaus mitten im Hawaiianischem Jungel das so mit sich bringt? Dort versorgt sie sich selbst, baut die schönsten exotischen Früchte an und genießt das Leben umgeben von Naturgewalten, Meer und Sonnenschein. Sie sagt von sich selbst, dass sie keine typische Frau ist – sie hat kurz rasierte Haare, macht sich gerne die Hände in der Erde schmutzig, liebt das Abenteuer und schwimmt auch schon mal nackig durchs Meer oder klettert auf atemberaubende Berge – wenn mal getrocknete Lava im Weg liegt, wird auch einfach drüber gerannt. Das Gefühl wirklich lebendig zu sein, das strahlt sie aus. In Zeiten wo man von Selbstliebe-Gurus umgeben ist, die 2 Stunden brauchen, um top gestyled vor die Kamera zu treten (ich verurteile das an dieser Stelle nicht, nutze es nur als Kontrast) ist sie wie eine frische Meeresbrise – rau aber echt.
Im Interview mit Kelli erfahrt ihr, wie sie von Conneticut auf die Inseln in Hawaii kam und ihre Militäruniform gegen jungelsichere Kleidung tauschte (auch wenn sie lieber die ganze Zeit nackt wäre, die Moskitos, Feuerameisen und Co. sind nämlich dort ein Thema).
You are sharing your vegan, off grid life in a tree house in the jungle of Hawaii on Instagram. Tell us how you got where you are and what your life looked like before all this – and don’t skip the part when you were wearing the U.S. army uniform.
Oh boy, this is the most intense question! Where to begin… I joined the Navy after graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I did this because I really had no clue what to do after college. I knew the typical 9-5 job wasnt for me but i wasnt sure what my life was going to look like. The Navy was enticing for the travel option. I was very good at military life, but i quickly realized it wasnt for me. I got out after 6 months active duty and never looked back. From there i bounced around the east coast, im originally from CT, and landed a job at Longhorn Steakhouse (totally wasnt vegan back then). I did that for a few years and in 2017 i just wasnt happy. I wanted something different, again, not really sure WHAT that looked like but i knew it wasnt just CHANGING MY JOB I WANTED TO CHANGE MY LIFE… Fast forward (later in 2017) to my sister katie and her boyfriend dave booking a VACATION to Oahu and Maui, 2 islands in HAWAII and they invited ME to go with them. Clearly i was FREAKING STOKED and said yes. Then, one day while on an acid trip <3 i had a sudden realization- i didnt want to be in CT, and i was done working, i didnt wanna be at longhorn anymore- so i started to play with ideas in my mind of being homeless and where i would have to be to make that happen. Somewhere tropical right? Like why dont people in NYC that are homeless jus WALK to FL before the snow hits…!? I’ll never know, but i decided that i wanted to be somewhere warm. i started telling my family that i didnt want to come back from hawaii, that when i got there i was going to do a STAYCATION. Everyone jus said “yeah ok Kel”, or something like “good luck with that” I was single, i was jus paying my best friend rent for a room in her apartment, i got my cat a nice place to stay with my mom while i left, and i put in my two weeks notice at work. My manager laughed on my “last day” and said see you soon… And then BOOM vacation happened. And i cried when i got here, i cried the second i got off the plane, i walked into PARADISE, i felt HOME i felt PEACE i felt the aina (land).. I knew i was going to find a home here. And i did! I met a really awesome older gentleman who told me he lived on HAWAII ISLAND, and he was the CLOSEST LIVING PERSON to an ACTIVE volcano! Woah.. and he was totally willing to let me fly over there and stay with him until i found a farm or a home. Well.. i said YES! And here i am! Hawaii
Now the treehouse.. thats a whole other story. In 2018, i was building a tiny house on a cacao farm somewhere on the puna coast. The most beautiful little farm right next to the ocean. Ahhhh. And then the volcano ERUPTED ERUPTED… we had the biggest eruption in HISTORY, and during that time I had to be evacuated. I spent 5 weeks on a private beach on the west side of the island.. man that was so COOL.. and when i came back to Puna side, i couldnt get to my place cuz the roads were all blocked from the eruption. So i moved in with my friend. And we went LAVA CHASING (kinda 🙂 ). At night we would follow the power line roads all the way up to the lava river (at some points it was as fast as 30mph!!!) to make sure it was staying away from us – seeing as we live within a mile of the eruption site.. It was then that through the dead brush from all the sulfur being emitted by the volcano, that we saw the treehouse. It was so high up and just freaking COOL. 6 ohia posts underneath and 3 giant ohias on the corners, plus some awesome cables holding up the treehouse and having it be able to sway in the wind and grow with the trees! We went back to the neighbors and got a ladder and came to explore. The boys went up first to make sure it was safe cuz if anyone fell through we wanted it to be them.. and we found a ladder up there! Homemade out of native ohia wood, same as the treehouse posts!! We dropped it down and the rest of us climbed up. The treehouse was the coolest thing ever. Its a triangle shape but also a hexagon, like if you put a hexagon inside of a triangle. And the roof was COVERED in trees so that when we went inside there were roots hanging everywhere. Definitely tons of rats and cockroaches had made this place home for the years prior.. Well.. the lava was going off, they said it was gonna go for years.. and people were leaving… and buisinesses were closing.. and things were crazy.. so.. why not SQUAT at the treehouse. And so i did… i squatted for a few years until i had a terrible falling out with my “best friend” and she wrote a letter to the person that was on the house tax paperwork to let him know i was here. So in March 2020, when i was squatting here with my girlfriend at the time, my cat KOKO who MADE IT FROM THE MAINLAND, and my dog Balu.. the owner showed up. He had a machete in one hand and in the other he was video taping me and there was a notice of trespassing there as well. Things were tense for a minute until we got to talking story. He wasnt sure what he was coming home to but he was so impressed. I had been cutting down invasive trees, saving the native ohias, and planting fruit since i found it back in 2017… Things were thriving, the treehouse was standing and he could tell it was being loved, and it was my hOMe. So after he initially told me i had 4 days to pack all my shit and leave- in which i responded, “are you moving here?” He said “why does that matter?” And i replied, “well, if you arent going to move here its going to take me a lot longer than 4 days to dig out all my plants and leave, but i will do it!” And i thanked himfor the opportunity that i had had for the past 2 years. His whole demeanor changed and he asked me for a TOUR! So when i took him upstairs to the treehouse he CRIED!! He was so moved by all the work me and my friends had done and i will NEVER FORGET WHAT HE SAID TO ME. He said, “Kelli, you are living my dream, you have kept this place alive and you are clearly meant to be here, you have made this place your hOMe and i cannot kick you out of here.. we will work something out” Then I started crying and then we set up a time to meet and talk about me purchasing the property.. and well.. i guess you can guess where that went and now here i am trying to get SOLAR POWER 🙂
Yes, I took the time to scroll almost 10 years back in your feed – wow, what a journey and transformation. How did you get into a plant-based diet and when did your love for fruit manifest?
I watched a silly documentary called FOOD CHOICES one day, i dunno when im bored i like to learn things sometimes. And that was enough proof for me to shut down most animal products almost immedietly and almost completely. I still make mistakes sometimes and when the volcano was going off i lived vegetarian not vegan, but yes for the most part 99.9% vegan
My love for fruit definitely came in hawaii. I just became absolutely obsessed with fruit and fruiting trees and flowers and the land. its different out here, watching things GROW all the time.. seeds of love.. seeds of life.. seeds are the future. I cannot believe how many fruits there are in the world! So much more better and flavor than the typical apples and oranges!
I believe i was called here!
How would you describe your own kind of magic? What do you believe is your so-called Dharma or soul’s purpose on earth?
Hm… my magic… i think authenticity is magic. So many people out there trying to be someone or something for someone else. I think my magic is i know who i am and what i want. My souls purpose is to spread seeds and fruit and show the world there is a different way. We are all children and we need play and sun and water and FRUIT! THAT is magic 🙂
What is it like living in a tree house? Thinking of major differences to a normie lifestyle.
Sheesh, well this all changes all the time. Right now im the closest to a normal house ive ever been.. but lets see…
I dont have doors and i cant close my windows. my second level doesnt have walls all the way around
I live 25 feet up in the air and i pee off my balcony cuz i dont want to walk downstairs to pee at night
I pee outside and i shit in buckets in my bedroom- i haul my own sawdust in and out and i go get it from the mill in the city!!
I have propane appliances- fridge and HOT WATER HEATER (this is like 2 months old i didnt have hot water or shower for over 2 years) – so I have propane tanks that i haul around and need to have filled and switched out.
I dont have “power” here, i just have a generator and i recently had the whole treehouse wired for electricity and now i can just plug my whole house into the generator and use the outlets and light switches. For a long time i didnt have thouse, just extension cords and power strips and TONS of solar and USB lights.
I dont have laundry on site so i have to go to the laundromat
Theres BUGS – but i try to keep ontop of it… and rats eeek and geckos my buddies!
I have early nights and even earlier mornings cuz when you live off grid you kinda get used to the sunrising and the sunset as being your day. Right now with it being the middle of the summer i get up around 420 am and i go to bed around 8-9pm
I have an outdoor shower
I have a hose as my kitchen faucet and i have to use a bucket system to do my dishes. because of this i let them pile up more than i ever would in a normal house.
Everything and i mean EVERYTHING stays wet in the rainy season.
My roof leaks and my roof over my lanai right now is plastic and bamboo and that one leaks a lot.
I have a water catchment (250 gallons) that i have to fill myself so we really need to watch our water!
Is this lifestyle affordable? How much money did you need to get started?
Depends.. a lot of people wont give up what they have for this lifestyle. Around here people worktrade, not EVERYTHING is about MONEY here.. like a farm will have you work x amount of hours as your “rent” etc. this question is the hardest to answer because i dont think its ever been about the money. Its about heart and being brave enough to trust in the world of abundance if that makes sense..
I believe many people admire your lifestyle but wouldn’t be brave enough to leave behind the comfort & perceived security of normie life. How did you know that choosing this path was the right decision?
Hehe, funny cuz i think i was just thinking this!! I have never been happier or felt more peaceful. Plants and plant knowledge and fruit facts just STICK in my brain. Like theres a whole section saved just for them. I am constantly in the flow and feeling right. I love listening to abraham hicks sometimes and she would say that im in the “vortex”. Things just happen for me and i allow them all. I am very good at mana festing and i am very good at receiving. No attachments. Go with the flow. <3 Everything about my being screams YES when im home. It is my dream.
Who taught you to build & make everything yourself?
I am self taught but i defintely dont claim to have done all of this myself. I have PLENNY friends and PLENNY help. Again its learning to live in abundance and KNOW that i am always provided for and cared for.
Could you describe what a typical day in your life looks like?
This one is hard too 🙂 lets see since december i ALWAYS start my day with back to back coffee enemas and snuggles with my animals. And smoke a bong duh! Then i either go to work (landscping) or run errands (haul water, drinking water, sawdust, laundry, fruit picking..etc.)or get out to working in my yard. I’ve got 2.5 acres of pure jungle that im taming so its CONSTANT work. I adventure quite often, just depends on how i feel. Around here its really hard to have any sort of routine/make plans.. itsmore go with the flow ALWAYS. The weather is ALWAYS changing and so is stuff.. like hawaii time is TOTALLY a thing. ISLAND TIME IS A THINGGGGGG!
When i adventure.. its the best ever, my favorite beach is BLACK SAND! And we have a green sand beach too! I LOVE LOVE LOVE swimming with the dolphins and whale watching in the winter. I miss the volcano (shes quiet now) but theres tons of hiking trails i like in volcanos national park. I like to chase waterfalls and forage for fruit flowers and plants.
What do you like doing so much that you lose track of time?
Any time im with my plants and the fruits i lose track of time. Also thers tons of places around where i dont have service or where i need to go through water so i have to leave my phone.. thats when i lose track of time!
Are you a spiritual person? I saw you are using crystals and other witchy things. If so, where would you say are you on your path?
Meh kinda. In my own ways i guess. I have tons of crystals and orgonite and shells and stuff but i dont necessarily say i “use” them. I play with them. I talk to them. I set thembeside my plants and give them nice altars but thats really it! 🙂
How does freedom for you feel like?
It feels like growing my own food and turning my poop into THE BEST DIRT EVER!
You always seem to be so positive and living in the moment. Do you have any moments of doubt & uncertainty and if yes, how do you navigate them?
Aw thank you so much for that comment! I try to be positive, but YES i for Sure have moments of doubt and uncertainty. A lot of that has to do with my land and building from the ground up! Its pretty wild… in those moments i try to stop and see WHERE the thought could be coming from. WHY am i feeling overwhelmed and stuff. Then i am lucky enough to live in a place of community where i feel i have safe spaces to express myself and concerns and either ask for feedback or just reassurance. I can usually pull myself out pretty quick. Smoking and food will always help me in those moments.. very grounding for me
Do you have any specific plans for your future?
As long as the volcano doesnt take my property my plans for the future are to homestead here! To create a selfsustainable offgrid home. Where im growing 90% of what i eat and i have plenny for friends and family! I love my hOMe so much!
If you could make the whole world listen for 2 minutes, what would you say?
Woah… wow… i would probably be very shy and then i would want them to listen to me talk about seeds, and how important they are! Seeds and fruit are the keys to life in my opinion. We are all seeds. We get buried sometimes, but thats when we sprout up out of the dirt bigger and stronger than we ever have been. Learning to use the sun and water to grow into the best versions of ourselves. Whatever that looks like!
Folgt Kelli auf Instagram unter @namastayfruity_
Wenn Ihr sie unterstützen möchtet auf Ihrer kleinen Jungle-Farm eine Solaranlage zu bauen, dann könnt ihr hier spenden: