I wasn't sure what to expect from Hawaii. This is my first time visiting and it was never really on "the bucket lists" of places to go, until we starting researching ticket prices and when they dropped we jumped! Due to the many happenings this year (trying to save for a big trip, weddings, life, trying to save for a house), we decided to keep it to a US bound adventure, instead of getting the ol' passports stamped. Well, Hawaii proved me wrong and we are already planning what island to hit up next.
The best thing about traveling is: Ignorance is bliss. Drew and I are adventurous travelers. Not so much with zip lining and bungee jumping, but more of: let's drive around the WHOLE perimeter of the island, let's climb to the very top no matter how muddy! Well, driving on the "drive at own risk" part of the map was the most stressful driving (as a passenger) I have ever done. Drew has the patience of a saint and remained cool and focused the entire time. At one point, our car got stuck in the ditch. We were inches away from what looked like a 100 year old cement divider covered in tall grass. Luckily, a few locals helped push the car out. We were also driving against traffic at 1:30pm - traffic being small tour buses that take the Road to Hana from the North and weave down to the more remote part of the Road to Hana, the Piilani Highway. This probably would not be so bad, if we were not going against the traffic. So, if you are adventurous and want to break your rental car contract, then by all means, start your Road to Hana Adventure at Wailua, snake down to Hana, continue past Haleakala National Park, and brace yourself for a bumpy ride. It is beautiful though! And enjoy every moment of the Road to Hana! We took our time and even stopped to have a picnic twice, the second time in a more remote location, which was nice to enjoy the world as it was passing by with people checking off their "Hana to do list."
There is just so much more. The beaches are fantastic. We would drive with towels and bathing suites in tote and when we found a beach that didn't have many people, we would plant ourselves in the sun. Definitely go whale watching, if it's in season. Watching a whale breach a few times in a row or swim from underneath your boat is a surreal experience. I would not miss the Old Lahaina Luau either! We had the best service ever and the buffet was really good.
In life news: I also got engaged in Maui. Drew and I have been dating for over ten years and there is no one else I would rather spend my life with. Looking back at the last ten years, we have really come a long way; We did two years of long distance, pulled ourselves out of a combined 6-figure debt (thanks, college!), moved across the country twice, survived driving Road to Hana three times (yes, three times, don't ask... remember as a traveler ignorance is bliss), and gave one another support through thick and thin. He's my partner in crime and my adventurer, who yes will off road with me in any rental car from Iceland to Hawaii! He asked me on May 5th shortly after 6 in the morning after watching the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. We spent a lot of time exploring both parts of Haleakala (House of the Sun in Hawaiian) and it will always hold a special place in my heart. May 5, 2014 was the perfect day. We even followed it up with beach time, tiki drink time, and hot tub time. In my book, that's a perfect day even if I got up at 1:30am. Love that dude.
Mahalo, Hawaii. Thanks for making me slow down a little and to just shaka.