MEET: Kau‘ilani Misipeka

MEET: Kau‘ilani Misipeka

We all wonder and wander in our own little way. Everybody’s got a story to tell.
If you want to have a chat, I’d love to MEET you!


Loves her family, turtles, and staying active — and shares what a typical day looks like for her at Coconut Point, her goals, and fave spots on island.

Tell me about yourself, where you live, and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Kau‘ilani Misipeka, and it means “The Beautiful Heaven”. I currently live in American Samoa and loving every second of it. My ultimate goal is to help the people of American Samoa strive to be better. I want to become a Marine Biologist, but also use my time to help the youth grow as student athletes.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Everyday I wake up at 5-6am to get ready for workouts, then I come home to a morning swim. There’s a lot of girls in our home, so we have to clean and make sure everything is tidy before we go on with our day. We have volleyball clinics that teach girls 18 and younger the basic skills you need for volleyball. After, I come home to relax or paddle to get some air or clean some more.

Favorite beach?

My favorite beach is Coconut point because it’s my home. I love seeing the turtles and sea creatures that swim around. It’s where I grew up and where I want to stay.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love working out, spending time with my family and turtle watching. Mostly spending time with the people I love, they make every second valuable.

Favorite restaurant in American Samoa?

I don’t really eat a lot outside my home, but I would say Milovales is my favorite because they have delicious fish and chips.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years?

In 5 years, I would be back in American Samoa and trying my best to improve our environment. I would also have a part time job as a strength and conditioning instructor for the youth. In 10 years, I would remain in American Samoa as a Marine Biologist and continuing to make our island better then expand to other islands and countries. I want to have my own nonprofit organization, that helps the youth travel to other places to explore their options and knowledge that we may not have.

What are your goals for this year?

As of right now, I want to meet my 2 mile run time and pass basic training/AIT. I also have a goal to clean as many beaches as I can while I’m here.

Describe your perfect weekend.

A perfect weekend is on a beach somewhere with the sun shining, healthy food, and my loved ones around me. There’s a second where you feel like time has stopped and there’s no bad and you’re in your own world. That’s where I wanna be.

Favorite food?

Favorite food? I love BACON ASPARAGUS, even though they’re hard to find on island;(

What is your all time favorite spot in American Samoa?

Coconut Point lol! I am surrounded by good people, beautiful sunrise/sets, it’s peaceful and my ancestors are from here.

What advice would you give your 10-year old self?

Stop eating, workout more, jokes! Remember that there’s always room for improvement. And keep doing you girl!

Model and interview by Kau‘ilani Misipeka. Questions and photos by Nerelle.

More in the MEET series.

Follow Kau‘ilani on instagram: @kauilani_misipeka

MEET: Tilali Scanlan

MEET: Tilali Scanlan

We all wonder and wander in our own little way. Everybody’s got a story to tell.
If you want to have a chat, I’d love to MEET you!


Competitive swimmer and national athlete representing American Samoa. This Vaitogi girl shares her passion for the ocean, goals, favorite spots, and a dose of inspiration for young Pacific athletes.

Tell me about yourself, where you live, and what do you do?

I was born and raised in Vaitogi, American Samoa as number 7 of 8 kids. I am a national athlete of American Samoa, my main sport is competitive swimming. I was homeschooled until college basically, and now I am in my 3rd year of university studying Marine Science/Biology at USP in Fiji.

How did you get started in swimming competitively?

My mom put my siblings and I into a bunch of sports when we were young to burn off our energy and get us out of the house. I did a lot of sports, but swimming was my favorite. I really got into competitive swimming when I realised the potential I had, and how much fun it was!

Growing up, where were your favorite places to swim?

I swam at the tide pools in Vaitogi almost every day in homeschooling, so that was a favorite spot of mine. I loved going to Maliu Mai, and on rare occasions, beaches on the far ends of the island with the family. Nothing tops swimming in Manu’a though, that’s an all time favorite!

You’re so young and have traveled a lot; where have you been and how did you get to travel so often?

Just for swim comps, I’ve gone to New Caledonia, Samoa, NZ, PNG, Canada, Hawaii, Budapest, Austria, and most recently China (gettin that passport stamped!!)

I come from such a tiny dot on the map, yet have seen so much in my young years, and I’m thankful to sports for that. Swimming has taken me places my bank account could neva.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Train. School. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Typically a 5 am start to a 9pm rest (depending on if I get my schoolwork done in time). It gets busier when school deadlines get closer, but I always try to set aside Saturday night to chill and do whatever I want.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Motivated. Curious. Hungry (aaaalwayyys hungry).

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years?

Back in AS, training young swimmers to pursue the sport, and have opportunities like I have had. 10 years? Somewhere in the islands, doing the same thing, and protecting the oceans! I can definitely see myself somewhere in the water haha.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Toughest question yet. BRB gotta make a comparison chart. Definitely high up on the food chain.

What are your passions?

I’m passionate about the water (big surprise there), and becoming so connected with it, that it feels unnatural to leave its medium. I’m also passionate about encouraging young people from small islands like ours to pursue more options. There’s something for everyone.

Why do you care so much for the environment?

I could write you a thesis paper on why, and a whole lot of other good reasons lol. Bottom line is that life is codependent on the environment, and it pains me to see it suffer.

Favorite kind of music?

A LOT, but I can listen to island songs anytime, anyday. Ben Vai is one of my favorite artists from home.

Favorite food?


What is your life motto?

“Eat pasta swim fasta”

What’s your spirit animal?

Sloths. They avoid so much trouble by taking naps.

What is your all time favorite spot in American Samoa?

The spot right where Ofu and Olosega meet. Just hanging out under the bridge with my nieces and nephews. Nothing beats that.

Any advice for young aspiring pacific athletes?

Never let where you come from determine how far you will go.

Model and interview by Tilali Scanlan. Questions and photos by Nerelle.

Want to follow Tilali into the blue? Check out this arvo surf sesh!

Also follow Tilali’s adventures on instagram: @tilalipops

Meet: Mikah Meyer

Meet: Mikah Meyer

We all wonder and wander in our own little way. Everybody’s got a story to tell.
If you want to have a chat, I’d love to MEET you!

Meet Mikah Meyer.

A double world-record holder for being the youngest person to visit all 417 US national parks in a single continuous journey, started in honor of his late father, and to bring his “Pride Outside”. Mikah came to American Samoa in late February to experience the only US National Park Service system south of the equator, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and asking him a few questions about his travels and his thoughts on American Samoa!

Tell me about yourself, where you’re from, what do you do?

I’m from Nebraska originally, but made a conscious effort to explore the world after growing up in the center of the United States. So have lived in Tennessee, Maine, Wisconsin, Canada, Switzerland, and Washington D.C. since graduating high school.

How did you find yourself in American Samoa?

I’m currently 22 months into a world record, 3-year journey making me the youngest person to visit all 417 U.S. National Park Service sites. The NP of American Samoa was park #293!


I lost my dad to cancer when I was 19. He was 58 at the time and it taught me a lesson about not having the time we think we’ll have to pursue our goals. I’ve taken 1 road trip a year ever since his passing, because he loved road trips.


3-years to the day. I started on the 11th anniversary of my father’s passing, April 29, 2016, and will end the same day 2019.


Our world is becoming increasingly polarized. With the internet and “fake news” allowing people to choose the lens they view the world through, travel is so important because it reminds us that when we think we are “right” and the “good people,” there are others around the world who do things completely different and are still great people who aren’t wrong for doing it that way. Travel helps us be more self-aware and less small-minded.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Dynamic, Ambitious, Ebullient

Describe your experience in 3 words

Exhausting, Life-Affirming, Challenging

What is your favorite spot in American Samoa?

The National Park beach on Ofu!

Favorite kind of music?

Anything you can dance to!

What’s your spirit animal?

I’m gonna go with a lion. When I was a kid and picked on in elementary school, I always fantasized about having a lion I could ride to/from school so none of the bullies would mess with me (and my lion)! 🙂

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Long term goals?

I hope to have my own travel show, sharing corners of the world in an attempt to help bring people together.

If you could give your 10 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Figure out a way to go to a Performing Arts High School. It’s one of the things I regret I never got to do.

What’s one thing that you’ve learned from your time in American Samoa?

It is a very distinct, different culture than the mainland. But it’s part of America and should be celebrated and included more in our American awareness.

What is your life motto?

Life’s More Fun When You Talk to Strangers

Follow his journey:
Mikah’s Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Photos by Mikah. Edits by Nerelle.

French Pirates

French Pirates

Meet Diane and Louise

French pirates (not really really) and BFFs who are currently volunteering at the National Park of American Samoa. I’ve only known them for a couple of months but they are both sweet as crepes, and artsy too! I didn’t get to interview them yet, since they are both currently on holiday gallivanting around Upolu. But soon!

These are from last weekend while we hung out and took some silly photos.

Don’t they make you want to grab your best friend and go on an adventure?

Meet Aidan King

Meet Aidan King

We all wonder and wander in our own little way. Everybody’s got a story to tell.

If you want to have a chat, I’d love to MEET you!

Meet Aidan King

UH Mānoa college student, intern, big brother, and football fanatic.

Aidan shares his some of his favorites here at home in American Samoa, his passions, his goals, and his definition of the word ‘stretch’.

Tell me about yourself – where you’re from, age, where you live, what you’re doing?

I’m Aidan King, and I’m from here, American Samoa. I just recently moved to the Mānoa Valley in Oahu and I go to school at the University of Hawai`i Mānoa, and I’m studying to be a Communications/ Mass Communications major with an emphasis in multimedia arts. I’m 20, about to turn 21 next month though! Really excited for that.

I came back home this summer to spend some time with my family, and take a break from the semester, and I’m currently finishing up my internship at Bluesky! I interned for the marketing department, and It was beyond a great experience for me, but other than being an intern, I’m a full time student.

Current hobbies? How do you like to fill your time?

Hmm hobbies? I guess it really depends on my mood, but for the most part, I paint and do art. I really like to paint and create things. I use a variety of mediums including acrylic paint, oil pastels, and I’m now getting into watercolor, which is really cool. It’s a bit tricky for me because I’m not good at details when it comes to painting faces or stuff like that, I kind of just throw a bunch of colors together to try to create a picture.

I also really enjoy spending time with my little brother. He’s really entertaining, and it’s never a dull moment with him. Whatever he is interested in, I try to relate to and it all turns into a really great time.

I also really like swimming. Haven’t had many chances to go swimming at the beach this summer, but in Hawai`i I’d go to the beach a lot.

Oh, I also like playing and listening to music. I don’t have a set genre of music I listen to, but I’m very open minded to music.

What inspires you?

When it comes to art, I get my inspiration from things that are off the wall. Things that aren’t mainstream. I like things that may seem odd to most eyes, but I try to look deeper into it, as I try to understand what the art is really about. I enjoy, and pull inspiration from street art, or unconventional art that you see on Instagram, or Pinterest. Even with music, I like to stray away from mainstream music, and I like to find my own. But when it all comes down to it, it really is just anything that I find interesting.

Inspiration pertaining to life, or anything else I get from my little brother, believe it or not! He is only 11, but I tell you, this kid puts life into a whole different perspective, and I use him as a way to look at life differently as well.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about a lot of things, actually. One of them (which is pretty cliché) is football. I really do know football; I can read and call plays before they happen, I know formations, and strengths and weaknesses of teams. Aside from football, I am passionate about creativity. I like being creative, even if I don’t put it down on paper or anything, I like seeing creativity in any form.

What’s on your bucket list?

Oh! I definitely know that going to Japan is at the top of my bucket list. And I don’t mean just Tokyo, I mean I want to experience all of Japan, like Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki, etc. I’m part Japanese, and I would love to see that side, and experience the culture. I want to travel around the world, and try different foods from everywhere, even the weird types. I want to be out at sea, to be able to be on a boat, even if it is a cruise.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Hmmm… Adventurous, Hungry, and Lost.

Adventurous in a sense that I want to explore more; to get out of my comfort zone, and try new things. Hungry, not actually hungry hungry, like for food, but hungry for knowledge in every aspect.

Also actually hungry, I want to try new and different types of food from around the world. Last but not least, lost. I admit that I am lost, not physically, but lost in a way which I don’t know exactly where I am with my life, and don’t really know where I want to go, ultimately, but I totally accept that.

I’ve said it before in past interviews and conversations that it is okay to feel lost. It is the best way to find out where you are and where you are going.

Any personal projects you have planned for the rest of 2017?

Hmmm, not any exact, big project, more like smaller projects that I eventually want to piece together at the end of the year and say “This was my 2017”. Whether it be a collection of pictures that I’ve taken, a souvenir from a place I’ve been, artwork that I have done, etc.

Favorite spot to hang out in American Samoa?

Oh Canco Hill. My friends Mana, Nikki, and Tasi live up there, all the way at the top, and they have this killer view, and it doesn’t matter what time of the day, or what the weather is like, the view remains just as thrilling as it was the first time. I also love being near the water. I love hanging out in my cousins, Nick and Chris’ backyard in Vaitogi, which are the cliffs. Being able to see the edge of the island meet the vast ocean is something really special. Also I love hanging out at my family’s beach in Poloa, although I don’t go there as much as I’d like to, it’s still an amazing place.

Favorite place to eat in American Samoa?

I have to be biased on this one, I love eating at home! My dad’s cooking? Nothing beats it in my book. It doesn’t matter, he could be making ramen noodles, and I’ll think it is the absolute greatest out there. My grandpa is always trying new things with food, and can also stick to the basics, and still make it great. My grandma is Filipino, so you already know that her Filipino food is A1!

Goals for the next 5 years? Ten years?

Definitely graduate from UH with my bachelors degree in Communications, and I would like to work in Hawai`i for a bit, gain some off island work experience. Then I eventually would like to continue on to graduate school in the mainland. I would absolute love to go to graduate school at Stanford University, and live there for a while, but we’ll see where life takes me.

What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

There are a lot of things that I would tell my 10 year old self, but if there was one thing I would share it would be “Stretch”. Stretch before and after you practice/work out, when you wake up, before you go to bed – you’ll feel better. Stretch your hand out to those in need; it means a lot more than you think. Be the reason why someone’s day was made better. And stretch beyond said limits. You are greater than you hinder yourself to be. Stretch your mind to learn as much as you can, the mind is a beautiful thing. Use it to the fullest and then some. Stretch to be a better person than you were yesterday, today, and stretch to be a better tomorrow, than you were today.

“Stretch your mind to learn as much as you can, the mind is a beautiful thing. Use it to the fullest and then some. Stretch to be a better person than you were yesterday, today, and stretch to be a better tomorrow, than you were today.”

Follow Aidan King on Instagram and Twitter @AidanKing32