All the planning, phone calls, deposits, and more planning come down to today! Participants from all over the U.S. as well as the U.K. came together for 25 days of incredible adventure. We’re going to explore volcanoes and glaciers, eat traditional Hawaiian cuisine, give back to communities and the environment, and have a blast doing it all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today, we’re traveling and doing introductions. I started my morning in Portland, Oregon with Isabelle, Trenton, and Jacob. We met at the airport around 8:30am and checked in without issue. The flight was smooth over the Pacific. All four of us sat together in the center section of the Airbus Jet, and spent our time watching movies, chatting, chatting about movies, and listening to music. I don’t know about the others, but I found the pasta with cream sauce and mushrooms delicious.

Griff and Meg got to Newark around 8:00am, and met up with Harrison, Jared, Garret, Ali, Julia, Isaiah, Cece, Carian, and Evan. With no hiccups, the larger of the zeal crews jetted off from Newark and made it L.A. with lots of time to spare. With some food and introductions, they were ready to welcome our final two members for the last leg of our journey.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Ben and Judd boarded their plane to L.A. to meet up with the Newark crew and were greeted by the 11 Zeal members as they stepped off their plane! They wandered the long halls of the airports, stopping to wander around stores and then soon the call was made to jump on our next plane, taking them to the final destination; Hawaii!! For those of you counting, Dani, the final of the 15 members, is meeting us tomorrow due to a dance competition today. Good luck Dani!!

From every corner of the U.S. (and U.K.), we converged in Hilo at 9:30pm local time. From there we took the short 10 minute drive from the airport to our first home, Hilo Bay Hostel. Hilo is a small town far across the island from Kona, the more bustling and touristy city. With the time change and the longs flights we all admitted we were pretty tired. So with exhausted but bright faces we had a quick meeting to go over a few of the house rules and then everyone quietly went off to bed.