One of our big adventures this year took place in Hawaii. There was an abundance of things to do and sights to see. Of course, I can't forget the food. My belly was consistently and happily filled with poke and spam musubi.

During this trip, my family, along with our family friends with whom we traveled, explored two of Hawaii's beautiful islands – here is Maui.

Our first stop in Maui was historic Lahaina. It was really interesting walking through the main streets of this little town, one that had been the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom many years ago. While it's a touristy area now, lined with many gift shops and a Honolulu Cookie Co. (was super excited seeing this guys, you have no idea), much of the buildings' original architecture was maintained. My favourite sight was this group of giant banyan trees, relaxing in the centre of town. We spent a solid fifteen minutes standing under their shade, craning our necks up and looking at all of the cascading vines and thick branches. It was so beautiful!

Apart from exploring the town, we also greeted our first day with some snorkeling at a nearby beach. I believe I was one of the few individuals in our group who had never gone snorkeling before. Ever. I was definitely a bundle of nerves, waddling into the water in my flippers haha.

I didn't catch a photo of this experience – too preoccupied with getting used to the snorkel and adjusting the goggles and all that – but some shrieks prompted us to look farther out sea. It turned out that there were dolphins swimming by and jumping out of the water. I only caught sight of a little grey flipper before they went back under. 

We aimed to explore most of the island that we could, and attempted The Road to Hana the following day.

*Interlude*: This is your time to pull up a map of this winding, thrilling road. Although it was a breathtaking and exciting experience, the drive had our entire group on edge (quite literally, actually. The road had us cruising along the edge of some steep, narrow and sharp curves).

"Life is a journey, not a destination." 

The Road to Hana is a historic route on the east side of the island. It begins at Paia and ends at the town of Hana. Prior to venturing on the road, we learned that in the rush of trying to completely drive to Hana and back visitors can easily overlook sights along the way. As beautiful as the town is, The Road to Hana is also recognized for its numerous scenic stops. Though our group didn't hit all of them, the sights we did see and friends we made, still made the road trip worth it.

Along with the beautiful sights, there were also some wonderful food stops on the road. We made a lunch stop at Ka Haku Smoke Shack. Not only was the food great, but we had the chance to talk with a few locals. Meeting them was a major highlight of the day–they all embodied this very bright and friendly persona, even teaching us how to properly shaka dab.

Though all of us enjoyed what Maui had to offer in our short time there, a few in our group were a bit hesitant about taking on The Road to Hana again. I'm in the middle with this – was I scared being on this road? Yes, quite a bit. But there were tons of sights that have yet to be seen. No promises made, but revisiting the road is a possibility. We'll just wake up earlier and take it real slow next time haha.

Maui was undoubtedly beautiful, and exploring the island was a great way to kick off the trip. It was bittersweet watching the island get smaller and smaller through the airplane windows. 

The island had less congested and city-like areas, which–while it's something I loved–came as a surprise for myself, as I initially thought it otherwise. This made for a great balance for the overall trip though, since our next island encompassed tall buildings, crowded beaches, a bright night-life...and ABC Stores every block or so. 

A vibrant welcome from Honolulu indeed.

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