The first stop on my adventure was off to the island of Maui in Hawaii. I'd never been to this island before and it immediately became one of my favourite tropical destinations. The locals are friendly, the tourists are laid-back (how could we not be relaxed?), the scenery is gorgeous and the food is to die for! Most days were either spent exploring the island by car or foot, or hanging out at the resort, swimming, running, sleeping and lots of reading. I think I went through four books in the first three days there... I'm a fast reader but this has got to be a new PB.
After arriving late the night before, we got up the first morning and went for a beach run, followed by a swim, followed by a scrumptious breakfast sitting in the shade of a huge tree by the water. Not too shabby I'd say! I found a shopping centre where I grabbed an acai bowl for lunch, and was delighted to discover a second hand bookstore and picked up eight new novels for poolside reading :)
One of the incredible sights we visited on the Island was Haleakala National Park, where we first hiked up to the top of some mountains and actually ended up above the clouds! It was surreal to look down upon them whilst standing outdoors, I felt like I was on a plane passing over but the heat and wind were constant reminders of my unbelievable surroundings.
Along the hike we chatted to a family - two parents and their daughter, who seemed around three or four and reminded me so much of myself at that age, clambering over boulders and trying to keep up with my parents on our explorations around the country. From the top of the mountain, which is 10,023 feet at the summit, you can literally see for miles! Visible in the distance were five other Hawaiian islands over 100 miles away. Woah.
These photos were taken at Iao Valley State Park, home of the iconic 'space needle'. There had to be at least 1000 steps to get up there, so I'm glad I wore runners that really didn't go with my outfit. It was worth it.
On the way home I asked if we could pull over and practically jumped out of the car, after having spotted this tiny little hidden beach off to the side of the road. I had to trek down a pretty steep hill to reach the bottom, but the view (and water temperature) was spectacular.
Another hidden gem was this incredible waterfall! Tucked away within a rainforest, we had to walk for about twenty minutes until finally hearing the sounds of running water, splashing and kids squealing.
People were swimming and splashing and jumping from the top of the waterfall, it really was a sight to see. There was an incident that happened on our way through the rainforest that I found so vivid I just had to write about it in my journal that night, so one day soon I might post that on here. I had only been jotting down dot points of our daily activities, and was craving writing a zoomed in, highly detailed recollection of a particularly memorable scenario.
The rocks we had to cross were covered in moss and extremely slippery, so the journey to get there wasn't an easy one, but when we did, we were greeted with a sight that I thought only existed on postcards and hipster blogs.
This groovy van slash shop-on-wheels was parked near the entrance, selling fresh fruit, pressed juices, coconut candy and many other delicious, refreshing treats. I opted for a large banana smoothie and it tasted how I imagine heaven would.
I bought this bowl on the day of our first trip to Whole Foods. WF is without a doubt the thing I miss most when I'm not in America, so walking along those isles with a basket in my hand and some american dollars tucked into my bra was like Christmas morning for me. I'm so excited to eat fruit salad out of this, particularly pineapple!
Hawaii, you were good to me. In fact, you were great. I don't think I've ever felt so at ease and relaxed, while simultaneously sight-seeing and exploring everyday. My favourite part of that week was probably just how much time I had to read - it's something I really don't take advantage of back home. Thank you for a wonderful week in paradise!
If anyone else has been on a travel adventure (or is planning one for the future) please let me know about it in the comments below! I love nothing more than reading and living through other people's holiday tales.
Stay tuned for Parts 2 & 3 in Mexico and New York!