That was probably a bad joke, but I’m just going to run with it.
Back in late February, one of my best friends Bill and I went on a 10-day excursion to Hawaii. Skipping the over-hyped Big Island and the drivers that run you over in Oahu, we journeyed to Maui, which is simply one of the more beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
When I first got the text from Bill that tickets were at the cheapest they’ve ever been, and miraculously he has family we can stay with when we go, I immediately jumped at the opportunity because to be honest, I’m not really much of a surf & sun kind of person on my own.
I know what you’re thinking..
Black, white and tan sand in between my weird baby toes.
So what I mean by that is, you wouldn’t catch me drooling over exotic locations where the sand is white and the sun is hot because I simply prefer being surrounded by mountains with a cool breeze on my face. I decided not to go in with too many expectations and bought my ticket solely on the idea it was somewhere new and far away from what was going on in my life at the moment. I’ve learned you cannot run away from life, but learn how to process what is going on in a completely different environment, surrounded by a whole bunch of new people and perspectives. It ended up being exactly what I needed.
But I digress.
The plane ride(s) were from hell and I thought I was going to have to cut our trip short because my legs had become incredibly painful from sitting for so long in such a short span of time. I ended up taking a whole lot of aspirin and was left with a nasty mystery bruise on my calf and sweet cough for the duration of the trip. It was great. I made a map of all the places we ended up stopping (hint: it was only supposed to be a one-layover trip, thanks American Airlines..)
Once we arrived on Maui, everything changed. Despite our lack of sleep and endless plane rides, the island itself was complete bliss. I don’t know what it was, but the place just had me in a great mood the entire time. I absolutely loved being able to stay with people who had practically lived their entire lives on Hawaii.
As someone who is huge on learning about the culture and history of any place I visit, Aunt Andrea always had a story to tell behind each place we went and Aunt Cindy was quick to explain the meaning behind a lot I would have generally missed out on. The ties to the past and traditions here somewhat surprised me, not really sure what I should expect from Hawaii going into it, Maui became less of a beach getaway and more of a place I could fully immerse myself into exploring.
Thanks to Bill’s family, we had a car to cruise the island and boy did we make good use of that little beast, almost making a complete loop of Maui during our 10-day stay.
What I Expected From Hawaii:
p class=”left” style=”text-align: left;”>1. Beaches.
3. Grass skirts .
4. Hawaiian shirts.
What I Got:
1. Lei’d (a real flower lei, none of those plastic flower ones!)
2. Nearly private beaches
Exploring Iao ValleyView from Aunt Andrea’s house. Seriously.
4. Volcanic rock
100% not dirt mounds and will hurt to fall on.La Perouse Bay
5. Side-of-the-road, homemade banana bread that was OUT of this world
6. Lessons in history, culture, and traditions of the island .
Throwing flowers into the serene waterfalls at Iao Valley for someone we each lost, yet wanted to pay tribute to.
7.) But most importantly, a sense of peace and belonging.
Even if was only for a short while.
I strongly recommend traveling to a place where either you or your travel companions have family, friends, college roommate, or even just someone you may have met in passing that live and breathe the place you would only scratch the surface of if you went in cold. Don’t get me wrong, both methods are great for traveling as sometimes it can be better to explore a place on your own, but in this case, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Have you been to Hawaii yet? What tropical island are you most in love with?[yikes-mailchimp form=”1″ title=”1″ description=”1″ submit=”Submit”]