A few months ago, I went to Maui with my family. It was supposed to be a vacation, but it turned out to be anything but. The word vacation means, “to vacate,” or leave your life for a little bit. But while I was in Maui, I didn’t feel like I left my life behind at all, on the contrary, I felt alive in a way I never have before. By the time I left, I knew that that trip would be the last time I would vacation there because I wanted, more than anything, to go back and stay forever.
I had been to Maui and a few other Hawaiian islands before, but no trip has ever had quite the effect that this one did. Having lived in Los Angeles for the past three years, the fast-paced lifestyle of an urban city had taken a toll on my mental and physical well-being. In fact, I was so busy ay my studio job, I almost didn’t make it on the trip. I honestly believe that if I didn’t get on that plane to Maui that day, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Arriving in Maui almost immediately lowered my blood pressure and made me feel at ease, something I didn’t always get producing a fast-paced television show. Our first stop was Wailea Beach because we were staying at the Four Seasons nearby. Though it was crowded, there was something vastly different about the beaches in Hawaii that the beaches in LA. For one, even the tourists were more relaxed, and there were no director look-alikes pacing the beach trying to get cell service. The people at the beach were carefree and having a great time. Even within the first few hours or arriving in Maui, I could feel a change in my countenance and the way I felt.
Another experience that made me fall in love Maui was our trip to Hana. It was a few hours away by car, but the drive was absolutely breathtaking. I could imagine myself going for a long walk or run at any number of places along the 52-Mile Road to Hana. And I just loved the small town of Hana for its beautiful beaches and lovely hikes. I knew that I probably didn’t want to live in Hana, but I certainly wanted it to be a part of my life forever. Although I was looking to simplify my life, I knew that moving directly from LA to Hana might be a little too much of a culture shock.
When we visited Lahaina, however, I knew that was the place I wanted to live. Lahaina is vibrant and cultured, yet still embodies the island lifestyle I dreamed of having. The restaurants were amazing and the community felt like it was thriving. With art galleries and shopping lining the streets, I could imagine myself going for a stroll along the water or stopping for a coffee at one of the local cafes. Although I planned on earning most of my income from various freelancing jobs, I also planned to work at one of the shops nearby to give myself a chance to assimilate into the island culture.
After my trip to Maui, I knew my life would never be the same. I’ve lived in Lahaina now for a little over six months and I truly feel like I have added years to my life. I am a more active person and I feel deeply connected to the people, places and culture around me. I love my life in Maui, and I love my life in Lahaina.