I’ve heard people talk about Hawaii. I’ve seen the tacky shirts and eaten the chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. I’ve experienced the surf culture in California, and I’ve watched Gilligan’s Island. So, I figured Hawaii just wasn’t my cup of tea. I thought it would likely be very nice and all, but no thank you, I could do without.
Huh. Isn’t it great when life completely surprises you? I love learning new things, especially when you find out something about yourself you didn’t really know. I had no idea how much I’d love those Pacific islands, I am completely flabbergasted.
Normally I do enough travel in the year to eek my way through winter without wanting to jump off a cliff. This winter I found my breaking point. So we decided we needed some time in the sun. After noodling a few ideas around, we landed on Maui. I had a flight discount and it was a direct flight. I never would have even considered it, truly. It’s far, and it’s expensive. But with the good flights we thought, what the heck. Jason loves Hawaii and it’s been ages since he’s been. Plus it’s cycling friendly and has excellent snorkelling (which is Jay’s second greatest passion after cycling). Off we went…
The week was filled with stunning views, gorgeous flowers and scents, marine life, beaches, local papayas and pineapples and spectacular fish. Both in the sea and on our plates. There was natural beauty everywhere and it was incredibly diverse. As a non-swimmer, I figured out how to get into that big, bad ocean and snorkel. And I was seriously rewarded with an amazing array of sea life, including several enormous sea turtles. We even heard Humpback whale song.
I am not a sun-destination kinda person, certainly not the all-inclusive variety. I’ve done it and I’ve never felt an urge to return. But this was different. This place felt healthy, alive, relaxed and free. There was no end of things to see and do, and the local culture and people were incredibly fun and friendly. It was restorative, and it gave me time to reflect.
I often think it must be wonderful to be born in a country you love and feels like home. I have never felt that I was born to the right place. It’s like wearing the wrong sized clothes; they keep you from being naked and exposed, but they just don’t feel right, like you are constantly struggling to make them fit. As a result, I spend my time trying to find “home”. I’ve found it in Provence, and if I could practically and feasibly live there, I would. I do not have endless financial or time resources, so I have to choose wisely. I choose to go to Provence every year to ensure for a few months at least, I can feel at home. It’s no different than people going to their cottages every summer, and no one thinks that is strange. Going to Provence isn’t out of a lack of curiosity about the rest of the world, it’s about being “home” for some tiny portion of the year.
But when I have the chance to go elsewhere, and the ability, I do. As much as I can. I’ve enjoyed a great many places. After this visit to Maui, I have been reminded again how I am not meant to live in a place that is brown, grey and dead more than half of the year. I need sun and heat, and to see things growing and thriving. I need to feel free, and cold and ice does the opposite for me. Warmth, light and life feeds my spirit. Hawaii has that in spades. I might just be considering adding it to my list of “homes”. One day I will live in one of these “homes” for good so my spirit can soar all year long.