05 Mar Maui | The Road to Hāna
First thing to pack – bug spray! If there is anything that I learned the hard way from this trip is this one important detail – take bug spray. On the first full day on the island, I was the dish of the day for mosquitoes – and I have the bites to prove it! I learned my lesson that it is an essential part of any hot destination.
Second – sunscreen! Make sure you always have some in your travel essentials. I made sure to purchase some as I had forgotten it at home because regardless of how “mild” the sun is, those UV rays don’t hold back and I am someone who just likes to avoid certain predicaments down the line.
*DISCLAIMER – One thing I should impart is that when I go on vacation, I am a tourist – %100 for the first few days.* I like to mingle with the locals and ask questions. I do my research beforehand, I bring my camera everywhere I go and I make sure not to miss a beat! We had done our research of what to see and things to do; therefore, one of the biggest excursions was the drive up Hāna Highway – a 64.4-mile long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360, which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui.
We made sure to grab a hearty breakfast in Paia – a small plantation village – just on the cusp of the entrance or start of Hāna Highway. Quiet, charming and with so much character. Breakfast was nothing fancy, but it hit the right spot – sustenance that held us through until our next stop.
The majority of the journey was spent chasing the curve of the road behind a very long convoy of vehicles. While we didn’t all go together, to the unsuspecting stranger who didn’t know, the convoy would have told a different story. The road was a never-ending spiral that had scenic lookouts at some of the mile markers. The luscious green all around us made me feel like we were in a rainforest. The scent of the green earth and the amazing views mother nature provided were nothing short of amazing. It was like being in your very own bubble at times … until you saw the next vehicle.
Naturally, we stopped at every opportune moment to enjoy the view and to just appreciate God’s majestic creation.
Waterfalls, local food delicacies and endless road meant that there would be enough time for thinking, laughter and bad karaoke – but it was all part of the experience. The moments created with friends are meant to be memorable and this road trip was nothing short of memories.
One of the local stalls we stopped at was at this hole in the green wall, where this guy was cooking up chicken, rice and plantain and serving it up with an island twist. With makeshift bamboo chopsticks, this dish was heavenly and delicious. Everything about it – from watching the guy grilling the meat, to him dishing it out and passing along the chopsticks – every single moment was all part of the island experience.
Let me assure you that this trip was all about the food and living the experience! Did you know that banana bread is a must-have in Hawaii? I make banana bread all the time at home, but I didn’t realize that it was almost a delicacy until we made a pit-stop at this gem of a farm where they had so many varieties. The stop at Hana Farms was definitely worth every bite! The next time you are in Maui, make sure to do the road trip and check it out as well as many of the other locally owned stands.
It was a hot day, so naturally the next pit-stop we made was at this ice cream stall where the flavours were unique and refreshingly delightful! After talking to the owner, I discovered that she made it herself from natural ingredients and she proudly displayed where she kept her coconuts. It was all in plain view and it all added character to the surroundings. It was such a happy place that served you delicious goodness! Once at the top, we opted not to go on a further expedition into the park, but instead turned around and made our way back down the long and winding road. The drive down was peaceful, but just like everyone else, exhaustion was on the horizon. As the sun sank behind the mountain tops, the sky was illuminated with its beautiful splendour and it was breathtaking. What better way to end a day on the road?!
Time with one’s thoughts as well as good company made the trek what it was – amazing. As I type this, it is at moments like these that I feel truly blessed – when I sit and reminisce about great times shared with great people – I am fortunate to know such people. Ensuring that you keep good people around you is important because they keep you grounded and push you. The takeaway was more than the amazing views and the delicious food. It was about the time spent with great people in my life who constantly support me and push me, as I do them. Do you have people in your life who are constantly supporting you and pushing you to be your best version? Do they know how special they are to you? You should tell them. Have you done a trip with them that brought you closer? If not … maybe you should start planning.... N. xo