Oh Maui… I don’t have the correct words for this amazing place.
I booked this trip on a total whim one morning at 2:30am (who was it that said nothing good ever happens after 2am?) and since I had gotten the plane tickets for so little, I made it a goal to do the rest of the trip as affordably as possible. I found the perfect AirBnB in Paia on the North Shore of Maui and not only did it save me hundreds on a hotel, it was amazing to meet the other people in the house and get advice and suggestions from them! Shoutout to Olivia, Morea & Tyler for being so rad about that! My biggest splurge was the amazing little 4×4 Wrangler that I rented fort the week- I knew I wanted to adventure as much as I could and didn’t see that happening with a tiny little rental… so Jeepin’ it was naturally the way to go!
My first full day I got up, saw that it was a gorgeous day and immediately jumped in the car to go to Hana. If you haven’t been to Maui, the Road to Hana is a MUST! It took about 5-6 hours total but it was worth it… miles and miles of windy roads along the cliffs of northern and eastern Maui- so awesome! At one point the road is totally rocks dirt and gravel and gets pretty steep along a serious cliff down to the ocean… I think that was my favorite part and I was pretty happy to have the Jeep for that. Naturally, all rental agreements tell you not to take the cars there but what they don’t know doesn’t matter right??
The rest of the week was spent in Kihei, Wailea, Lahaina, downtown Kahului and of course in Paia. I think of all of them, my favorite was Kihei. The sunsets from there are absolutely KILLER and I could have watched them every single night and been happy. Wailea was beautiful but definitely the ritzier part of Maui. I did treat myself to dinner at the Four Seasons in Wailea one night… because why not?? A ridiculously expensive tuna roll and mojito overlooking the sunset may not have been part of the “travel inexpensively” plan but it was sure memorable.
One of my favorite days was mid-week when I had planned to read on the beach all day. Realizing that I didn’t have a book, I found a bookstore in Lahaina. It was like 2:30 by that point so I stopped for lunch on the main street in Lahaina and found this awesome place called the Sugar Cane Cafe with a great deck overlooking the water. The deck was full but I was able to sit by a table right inside the window. I was chatting with my server Mark who was from Portsmouth, NH (what? small world) when the two guys outside and I started talking. Max was a coffee shop owner on the Big Island and the Scott worked in an art gallery up the street. These guys were pretty freaking awesome dudes so after I was done with my (DELICIOUS) ahi, I joined them outside for a drink. Mark kept us well supplied and before I knew it, one drink had led to several and the afternoon had long passed by. We met up with Scott’s girlfriend on the boardwalk where Max busted out the guitar and we spent a while singing on a bench overlooking the ocean. A few more hours filled with more laughter and some Thai noodles and it was one of the best days I had on the island! I loved that about Maui- you could just meet random people and feel like you’d known them for a long time. I hope I meet those guys again one day- they definitely showed me a great time!
In between drinks in Lahaina and a beach day in Kihei, I had the INCREDIBLE chance to photograph an engagement session for Sasha & Chris too! You can read that story and see their Maui engagement session <– right there.
On the second to last day, I took my camera and went back on the Road to Hana in hopes of capturing some of the gorgeousness I’d seen my first day. Of course it ended up being cloudy as heck and down pouring but oh well… still an adventure.
My last morning I got up at 3:30 and drove the 2 hours to the summit of the Haleakala volcano to watch the sunrise. Being that I was going to HAWAII, I didn’t think to bring a heavy jacket or super warm clothing in general… but I’m here to tell you that if you’re planning on going to Haleakala, bring some mother-loving winter clothes. The summit is at just over 10,000 feet so it’s just a few degrees above freezing there. I ended up wearing my running pants under jeans and layering almost all the shirts I had with me and I was STILL freezing. Freezing for 45 minutes was so worth it though- watching the sun rise above the clouds like that was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen! It was so quiet and standing at the summit of a 10,000 foot volcano in the middle of Pacific Ocean, well lets just say it made me feel insignificant, in a good way. Once the sun was actually rising, someone came out and chanted a welcome to the sun in Hawaiian- it was surreal and beautiful all at once.
Coming home was hard- Maui was so healing for me personally and I fell in love with the people and the culture. Everyone I met was so relaxed, happy and friendly… they all truly embodied the aloha spirit. It was the first time I took a trip completely by myself, not knowing anyone on the other end… and I don’t think I spent a day by myself. If you ever have the chance to go to Maui, jump on it. I absolutely can’t wait to go back!
All the photos below are a mix of iPhone and DSLR… and selfies.