October 2017 was the happiest and most beautiful month of my life. We spent exactly 29 days on the island of Maui and here is the story of how this magical trip came to be and what we found out about ourselves while we were there.
Flash back to 2015, around our eight year anniversary we started a conversation about wanting to go on an extended vacation for our ten year anniversary. Thinking ahead to being married for ten whole years felt like quite the accomplishment and we wanted to go on an adventure together to celebrate. Where to go was the next big question! We talked New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Italy. Maui wasn’t even on the list as we started to tuck away funds whenever possible. We made saving a priority and kept our options open. We took no trips in the meantime as we had a large goal worth waiting for.
As our little vacation fund grew, we talked more in depth about what we wanted and our ideal way to celebrate. We wanted a quick flight, warm beaches and most of all a place that was special to us. Our first vacation as a couple was actually to Maui for seven days back in 2011. This place quickly captured our hearts was definitely worth an extended stay.
Logistics can be somewhat daunting when preparing to leave for a month. Who will take care of our pets? Will clients be upset by my absence? Where should we stay? What kind of car should we rent? The list goes on! Leading up to our departure, we slowly checked things off our list. We did have two years to make it all happen and I honestly think it was the perfect amount of time prepare and anticipate this trip to paradise. We gave everyone in our circles advance notice and eagerly awaited take off!
Before we knew it we were on a plane and landing in Kahului airport, smelling plumeria from the gentle breezes and anxiously awaiting to jump in those feel good ocean waves. As a photographer by profession, I am actually surprised when I go back through the photos from this trip. Although few in number (the surprising part) they represent some of my most gratitude filled moments. I do have hundreds of cell phone pics which are all special too, but these were the moments I brought my fancy camera out and wanted to keep forever.
Below you’ll see images of a hibiscus flower, cows and big swells. The flower shown was right outside of the condo we rented. We walked or ran the beach every morning and every evening, passing by these sweet florals on our route to the ocean. Waking up with the waves and waving aloha to the sun provided us a sweet routine filled new colors, reflection and lots of hand holding. The incredible turquoise waves shown below were some of the biggest swells I’ve ever seen in person. Ho’okipa Beach Park made for an entire day of sitting and watching in wide eyed awe. The surfers weren’t even out that day because the waters were too dangerous! As we walked back to our car that night there was a large field at the edge of a cliff filled with happy, sunset grazing cows. They are living the life I tell you.
Keep scrolling down to a grainy, brown and white image with neon blue squiggles. This particular evening we were walking the beach at dusk and Jared pointed out tiny blue lights in the sea. The ocean was literally glittering and we could barely contain ourselves. Jared mentioned he has seen a news article about Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as the sea sparkle, which are a free-living, nonparasitic, marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate that exhibits bioluminescence when disturbed (popularly known as mareel). As we watched the waves gentle crash, they would light up and glow! It was the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced. The photo doesn’t even do it justice but I love the memory that it holds. Just imagine a sea of blue sparkles. I snapped a quick photo of a few of them and then went back to taking it all in. The stars were also out in full force that night and we laid down in the sand and watched shooting stars dance across the sky. I’m telling you this night is illuminated in my memory and I felt more connected to myself, Jared and my environment than ever before.
The next two images I’ll title, Fresh Fruit and Freckles. Maui is an endless garden of all tropical fruits, smoothies, coconut water and vitamin D. We found ourselves taking full advantage of local fruit stands, even driving random neighborhoods to find which vendor had the best passion fruit, star fruit and honey tangerines. I don’t ever remember loving star fruit as much as I do now, but I just couldn’t get enough of it! When trying to decide what smoothie to order, I had a local woman gently remind to not rush my choice as we were on island time. Pace is just a lot slower over on the Hawaiian Islands and life centers around good company, good fun and the beach. Jared especially embraced the island lifestyle and thanks to his special tanning abilities, he even got “local” discounts for looking the part. As you can see by his sweet expression, this trip was EXACTLY what each of us needed.
Two towns we fell in love with were Pāʻia and Makawao. Sweet north shore beach towns who offered quaint shops, warm people and awesome food! We even took a surf lesson from Pome based in Pāʻia and became instant friends with the owners, Walle and Becky. We met them for Indian Food one evening and had a night filled with Maui life conversation, parenthood and entrepreneur stories. They have the most adorable two year-old little boy name Kai, who also joined in the fun! Our budding friendship is one I know will pick up right where we left off next trip around. I miss these three dearly and was so thankful for their instant kindness and hospitality.
Ahh, the geckos. I’m obsessed with these little guys. They are everywhere if you know where to look. Their colors range from dull and camouflage to neon and rainbow like. I put my hand gently in front of the tiniest baby and he jumped right onto my hand! I stood there in awe of it’s little thin fingers and sweet disposition! I’m not sure why I felt so connected to these little creatures but I squealed with excitement every time I saw one. Call me crazy, but I might be part lizard. Always wanting to find that sunny spot.
Thanks for indulging my photo trip down memory lane and allowing me to share with you some of the highlights from our trip. Jared and I feel only extreme gratitude for this experience together. We set a goal, worked really, REALLY, hard over two years to make it happen and got a window into daily life on Maui. In 2018 I’ll be prioritizing a little slower pace of life as we both realized how important it is to slow down, take time to soak up our surroundings and cherish the foundation we’ve built together.
Here are a few travel tips just incase you find yourself in Maui soon!
Must Shop: Mele Ukulele, Pome, Driftwood Lifestyle Boutique *We bought a Ukulele (pronounced “oo koo lay lay” I learned I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life. Knowing is half the fun!) and Jared has been strumming on it since! We bought some awesome gifts at Pome and I treated myself to some local artist jewelry at Driftwood. Love these shops!