Traveling 8 hours by 767 to visit paradise may seem extraordinary or a luxury.  Both are likely true.  But what draws us back time and time again?   Do the sites of the same small island ever become mundane?  Can the same opportunity to relax, escape and spend precious family moments not be accomplished on the shores of lower Padre, Florida, Cancun, southern California or just as refreshing as the cool air of Colorado mountain vistas or upper Atlantic seaside towns of New England?  Possibly.

Certainly European adventures are phenomenal; the historical basis of our American society, leading, though often the trailing edge of our conscientiousness.  Always another sight to see, cuisine to experience, culture to encounter.  I will never cease to enjoy catching the next train to check off another site that has been on the eternal bucket list.  A different kind of trip that addresses a different yearning.

Maui’s local industry caters to the western tourist more so than the outlying islands. If one seeks non-stop activities there are countless opportunities and “deals” to keep one entertained and busy.  Scuba, snorkel, surf, swim, sail, scenic sightseeing, jet skis, fishing, submarine or helicopter rides, hang from a parachute or zipline, you name it, it will be found.

To us however, Maui is tranquility and serenity, perhaps closer to being Shangri-la than Shangri-la; a nice regeneration of soul while attempting to put the efforts and challenges of the work place briefly to the side.  Maui an island in and of itself, like each of the Hawaiian Islands, whose ambiance is influenced by the local tropical flavor and styles of Polynesia, brilliant colors, and blending of multiple cultures.  A politely simple, slower pace.  Air conditioning is optional.  Lobbies, eating establishments and shops are open to the elements.  T-shirts, shorts, swim suits, sun glasses, 50 SPF and flip flops are necessities. The occasional “Aloha-ware” totally optional. “Hang-loose” is the state motto.  Maui is where you stop and take count.

Schedules and lists are not allowed.  Island time, island feel, island courtesy, and island seafood (caught that day) creates an atmosphere and affect that ensures revival.  The gentle waves constantly lapping at the beach.  The island air is constantly refreshed by the Kona trade winds sweeping across the cool Pacific waters; absorbing the fragrance of a mountain shower or the always pungent blossoming flowers and trees.   The Fahrenheit has a typical 20 degree swing from the 60’s to the 80’s, with the breeze keeping the humidity and temperatures at a comfortable level.  Only when reaching the higher brisk elevations of the extinct volcano, often requiring a drive through the clouds, does one dawn a sweater or where hiking through a 400” per year rain forest is a jacket needed.

Every day starts with a morning walk on the beach.  Every day brings a vibrant rainbow.  Every sunset is shaded with varying hues of pink, yellow, purple and red.  Yes, taking stock of life, counting blessings, and reflecting on purpose and what is important, requires a regular infusion of Maui.

POSTED BY: Craig Reynolds, FAIA

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