After our whirlwind of a few weeks we had one last stop in the US that would bring us to Maui where we would see and stay with my folks. My aunt Becky and uncle Mike were also vacationing in Maui at the time so it would be one big happy family.
My parents, for the past decade or so, having been spending about 8 weeks on Maui every spring. This has greatly enriched all of ours lives because…free place in Hawaii! In all seriousness it has afforded our family some incredibly wonderful trips together. This trip included.
My friend Jen and I had been going back and forth about where in the world she could join us on our world tour. It’s not the easiest solution to come up with when Jen works full time and is also simultaneously raising two kids with her husband Jason. I finally brought up Hawaii. It would be a much shorter plane ride, time difference, and less time off of work. Plus Jen has a well established awesome relationship with my folks so it all seemed meant to be. She was completely on board with this idea.
My excitement the morning we left was uncontainable. I was heading out on a plane to Maui — one of my most favorite places in the world, with my husband and my best friend…to see my parents. Oh man. THANK YOU UNIVERSE! That’s some good stuff right there.
The next 6 nights were full of joy, relaxing, wonderful meals, and as my Dad always says, “family bonding.”
The following are some of the highlights:
The afternoon we arrived was a Sunday, the day of the week that Little Beach holds a hippie’s paradise party. Little beach is tucked away in a private oasis that allows for a secluded party with fire dancers, drum circle and where clothing is optional. It’s awesome! There is a peaceful, happy, and community vibe in the air that is palpable. The people watching is like no other: naked sun salutations, men and women of all ages and sizes, and people loving living free for just that one night of the week. It’s what I image being in the 60′s might have looked like. The era that I have often wished I could have lived in.
Here’s the view on the hike to Little Beach. Just an example of Maui picture perfect scenery.
Here we are trying to blend in.
As usual in Maui we witnessed a gorgeous sunset before the fire show kicked off.
When we we had our fill of hippie haven, we called my Dad who came and picked us up. Some things never change (particularly when you have an awesome Dad). Back home we relayed the stories from the evening and showed off our tattoos that initiated us into the Little Beach tribe.
Time Spent with the Bundschuh’s
Jessica, who had joined us in Croatia and Egypt had moved to Maui with her husband Jimmy and their two kids a little less than a year ago. We were all now getting the opportunity for another reunion since our wedding last May. Jess had also just given birth to her son Edison, so we got the opportunity to meet the latest Baby Bundschuh. Plus that’s 2 best friends in Maui. Somebody pinch me.
We all got together for lunch at the Monkey Pod, a favorite of ours.
During our time in Maui we also accepted their offer to have dinner at their home in the countryside. Their home was a straight up old Hawaii feel and vide. Lush green trees as far as the eye could see. Peaceful and tranquil without any neighbors nearby. A child’s paradise playground with fresh air and a perfect climate.
On top of all this, Jimmy made us fresh fish tacos making it an even more authentic Hawaiian feel. After all the dinner parties the Bundschuh’s have had me over for, this might have been my favorite. Pretty tough to beat the setting, the food, and the company.
Snorkeling with Turtles
My Dad LOVES snorkeling. He managed to get Jen and I up early every morning with his infectious enthusiasm to start the day with the turtles. We were honestly hooked from the first morning. The best part is that there was snorkeling available just across the street from where we were staying. All we had to do was put on a swim suit, grab our gear, and go. Within a handful of minutes we were in the water.
The incident that got us hooked was a wonderfully organic and perfect moment. The three of us all happened to be really close to each other when a turtle started to surface. The next think we knew the turtle popped his head up out of the water as we were all encircling him. Jen exclaimed, ”He is SO cute!” For a minute or so he remained at the surface while we all smiled and laughed at our good fortune. There is something extra special about experiencing a moment like that with people you love and whom all share in the ability to see the perfection of what nature has just provided.
Here we are relaxing after a triumphant morning in the sea. Thank you turtles. And thanks Dad for representing. Go Cats!
Every morning we would go to the same spot and see 3-4 turtles. One morning after snorkeling Peter, Jen, and I rented SUP and cruised around the ocean together. We were on the opposite side of the beach from where we snorkel and saw a couple turtles emerging on the surface. From this clue alone, I thought to myself we need to check out this spot on our next turtle snorkel session.
The very last morning we were in Hawaii I relayed my discovery to my Dad and he was on board to try out the new spot. My Uncle Mike joined us and we were off. We immediately realized we had been going to the wrong spot all along. There were moments where we were the ones encircled by three emerged turtles or we would get nearly swam into by one diving back down. It was glorious. Turtles every which way we turned. We couldn’t keep count of how many we saw that morning. Starting your morning by taking a swim in the cool ocean with turtles on Maui is a pretty magical way to start your day.
Homemade Food and Drinks
My Dad holds the title as “World’s Greatest Mai Thai Maker” so we certainly indulged in those. Jen and my Dad started going toe to toe with her Coco Loco’s and his Mai Thai’s. One evening my Dad ended up giving Jen his secret recipe and they bartended together. She repaid him this great fortune by buying him a shot glass adorned with a turtle. My Dad recently told me he uses that shot glass quite frequently and every time he does, he thinks of all of us and our time spent on Maui. While telling me this he referred to Jen as, “a kick in the head.” A twist on a ‘kick in the pants’ because Jen deservers her own phrase.
“Kick in the pants.”
We were super spoiled by my Mom and Becky, who most nights cooked up a storm for all of us, including Lobster tails and filets. Jen also made us her special chicken enchiladas one night. They were so good, I saw people eating them for breakfast days afterwords.
I believe this is Peter imitating a lobster. It’s a little unclear.
Trip Back to Olowalu Plantation House
At the time we were 2 months shy of our 1 year anniversary. All of us still had fresh memories of our time together during the wedding week and the magical place that Olowalu is. Olowalu plantation house is a special place that instills zen the moment you walk onto the property and now on top of that we all share in some wonderful, nostalgia inducing memories.
The Bundshuh’s joined us for lunch that afternoon at Leoda’s, a restaurant directly across from Olowalu and a place we all frequented during the wedding week. In fact the day of the wedding I treated the bridesmaid’s to take out from Leoda’s.
After lunch we ventured over to Olowalu where of course a wedding we being set up. We wandered around the property trying not to bother the staff on site.
We got married right about in this spot.
Various Olowalu shots.
This is pretty self explanatory. A Hawaiian sunset will rival just about any sunset out there. Hawaii has such a magical feel to begin with. It’s a place where you can see whales jumping in the distance as you sit on your lanai sipping a Mai Tai. Where you can SUP and have a turtle swim under your board. You can see the biggest and brightest double rainbow of your life while walking along the beautiful coastline. All of these things I have witnessed in Maui which makes it such a special place and one of my favorite places in the world to be. Add to that vibe a wondrous sunset of red, gold, and pink while sitting on soft sand surrounded by loved ones — your mind, body, and soul will instantaneously feel soothed.
Each night we would grab lounge chairs, a cold beverage, and park ourselves on the sand, breathing in the fresh Maui air while we stared off into the horizon.
First sunset of the trip.
Various evenings down at the beach enjoying sundowners and one another’s company.
Last Maui sunset for now. The pink liquor in our glasses is from a bottle of Rosé we snagged while in Sonoma with Lisa.
As usual, Maui was very good to us. We were able to recharge while still doing fun activities, with most of our time spent together doing what we love best, “family bonding.” (family meaning friends too, because they are just like family) We left with our hearts full and grateful for a week spent with loved ones on the island paradise of Maui.
In the words of Jay Hodges, “It’s all good.”