Last Day on Maui

6 02 2011

It is so hard to believe but today is my last day on Maui. Since my first visit here in 1978, I have loved this island. When I lived in Lahaina from 1978 to 1982, I met so many lovely people and had so many unique experiences. During the early ’80s I lived two blocks from the ocean: I could go snorkeling every day. I loved sitting around with the local fishermen just talking story, sharing a few beers. Time was you couldn’t walk all the way around Lahaina boat harbor without someone sticking a beer in your hand. Of course I was much younger then, doing all the wild and crazy things young people do.
When I moved back in 2009, Maui had changed dramatically. New roads, big-box stores and way more people have Maui a different place to live. The beach where I snorkeled has been cut off by a housing development. Where once you could park and walk directly into Whaler’s Village in Kaanapali, you now have to pay to park in a three-story structure that blocks the view of the ocean. Lots of changes … very few for the good of the island.
This second time around, I lived on a mountain above Jaws in Haiku for a year. Although living in a community of other renters was interesting, I was pretty isolated. A far cry from the social life I led in Lahaina years earlier. But I’m older and hopefully wiser now, so the slower paced lifestyle fit me. Last year I moved to Hana, thinking I had finally found paradise. But Hana proved to be just a little too remote for me. If you are not part of an ‘ohana (family), it is hard to find a place to fit into the community. While I loved the beauty of the place and people, I learned that I need to be closer to city living where I can walk or take public transportation. I found that when I moved to Paia in December. I knew my stay here would be temporary; I planned long ago to return to California. But Paia has been a delight. I love walking to Mana Foods or having a meal at Cafe des Amis.
Each place I live, gives me clues as to what type of towns I will like in the future.
I have been so blessed with many new friends. These are people I never want to lose contact with. I cherish the good times we have had together. I know already I will miss them dearly.
I cannot help but be sad today as I close this chapter of my life. It’s not easy leaving Paradise behind. But I am excited by the prospect of moving forward in my 48 Places journey by moving to California. My plan now is to live in four different towns in California over the course of the next year. My goal is to learn enough Spanish to travel through Central America in 2012. I know I will make more friends, have great experiences and enjoy my time in California.
As I move from beautiful Maui, all I can say is “Maui no ka oi” (Maui is the best) and “Aloha” to all I leave behind.

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