Eric R., Hiking Tour Guide, 34 Years (Hanapepe, Kauai)

I’m at a point in my life where I absolutely treasure quality people…and I know when I meet one instantaneously. Eric R. is one of my favorites…authentic, hard-working, cool, funny, sweet (in a manly way ;)), honest, and so much more. He knows exactly who he is and has created a life where he can express it wholeheartedly with passion. I do believe I was meant to meet him…besides the Universe, I have Google to thank! I was planning my latest trip to Kauai (last May) and was determined to find a “non-haole tourist” hike to go on. I Googled to see what was out there and, after bypassing all the hokey-sounding ones, I found Eric’s site (www.hikekauaiwithme.com). I emailed him with my request (a moderate hike with no Mid-Western tourists or whining kids!)…and he responded almost immediately. Within minutes I had two half-day hikes scheduled. It was clear he knew the island inside and out, so I put myself into his very capable hands only concerning myself with packing the right hiking gear.

It only took minutes to feel like I was hiking with a buddy (so much so that I almost forgot to pay him!). Of course, I eyed his tattoos immediately and coerced him into an interview. 😉 I snapped most of the pictures on the top of Kahili Mountain, right after the rain stopped and the blustery winds blew away the white-out (I was wet and a tad chilled and the sun was now shining brightly, so it’s not my best work…life is not perfect, but it’s exciting!). I was so distracted by the consummate Kauai experience on top of the mountain (and in the lychee orchard at its base) that I completely forgot to interview him when we got back to the cars! In authentic male style, Eric emailed concise answers to all of my questions…

I am so thankful for Facebook, which has allowed me to keep a lifeline to my island through one of my newest friends. The best part…I was able to be a small part of his recent journey to the Phillipines where he became engaged to his finance! I’m so looking forward to my next hike this August…

WHAT IS THE FIRST WORD THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN I SAY TATTOO?

Expression

WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST TATTOO?

I was 22.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET A TATTOO?

The first one was mostly because I could.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST TATTOO?

A Los Angeles Dodgers hat on top of a globe (i.e, Dodgers are on top of the world!).

HOW DID YOU PICK THE DESIGN?

I discussed it with an artist and the brainchild was formed.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHERE YOU WERE GOING TO PUT IT?

To me, the arms are the best spot for a tattoo. I decided on my upper arm because it was most visible.

WHO DID IT?

Some dude in Portland, Oregon.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HIM AND HOW DID YOU KNOW HE WAS THE RIGHT ONE?

I just went into a tattoo parlor that a friend recommended and used the artist that was available.

AND HOW DID YOU PICK THE DESIGN OF YOUR SECOND TATTOO?

It was my favorite band’s logo – the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHERE YOU WERE GOING TO PUT THIS ONE?

I liked the idea of having one on my inner wrist.

WHO DID IT?

An artist in Ft. Worth, Texas. I used the first artist that became available at a shop that I found down the street from my house.

AND YOUR THIRD TATTOO…HOW DID YOU PICK THAT DESIGN?

My favorite number is 10 and I used it in a design to look like a ring. The same artist that did my Chili Peppers tattoo did this one.

HOW DID YOU PICK THE DESIGN & LOCATION OF YOUR FOURTH TATTOO?

I drew a design that was representative of my lifestyle – palm trees on an island at sunset that states “No bad days!” Again, upper arm is one of my choice spots…very visible to me and others.

WHO DID IT?

An artist in Portland, Oregon. I returned to the same shop that did my first tattoo, but I used a different artist this time (one that was available).

AND YOUR FIFTH TATTOO?

I wanted something that represented the beauty of Hawaii. The hibiscus is so Hawaii and I didn’t feel like it was too “girly” by doing it in black. 🙂

YOUR SIXTH TATTOO?

My buddy and I decided to think of two words that perfectly represented what was important to us in our lives…”Love & Leisure” (on a compass). I always wanted one on my forearm and this was the time. The same shop that did the previous two in Portland did this one.

OK, NOW FOR YOUR SEVENTH…

That’s the hiker on my arm. This is a silhouette of me doing what I do best. I had the artist use a picture of me.

AND, YOUR LAST (EIGHTH) TATTOO!

The island of Kauai on my chest…pretty self explanatory, my favorite place in the world over my heart. Kauai is very dear to me…

WHICH TATTOO IS MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU?

The most meaningful is the picture of myself hiking because it’s an actual shot of me doing what I love most.

HAVE YOU EVER REGRETTED GETTING ANY OF YOUR TATTOOS?

Never. I always love what I finally choose after much thought.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO GET MORE?

If I get any more, it will most likely have to do with my fiance. She will love that! 🙂

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