My husband planned a surprise trip for our anniversary, and presented me with the itinerary at my birthday dinner. We’d be traveling to Hawaii – three nights on Oahu, eight nights on Maui.
Maui garnered a spot on my bucket list for quite some time, and I was truly excited to visit the land of breathtaking landscapes and exotic flora. Along our journey, everyone we met greeted us with a warm Aloha – a Hawaiian expression of love, hello, and goodbye.
Here are some examples of Aloha I experienced while visiting the islands.
- The Arizona Memorial – 1,177 men lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The somberness and quiet solitude touched me as I observed the oil still spilling to the surface of the water from the ship. Some say it’s the souls of the lost sailors. I’ll always remember the feeling that overcame me – one of emotion, one of loss – an Aloha goodbye.
- Al Rodrigues, the 97 year old Pearl Harbor Survivor, we met outside the Arizona Memorial gift shop signing his book. He hugged us so tight when I told him my dad was on the USS Vestal that was moored next to the Arizona.
- The wild, windy southern shoreline of Black Sand Beach and Makena Beach was a welcome ‘hello’ as we strolled the seashore for shells and photo opportunities.
- A warm Aloha evident in the latte art in a cup of espresso from Bella Surf Café.
- The exotic coastline, mixed with the cool evening air at Surf’s Up, a hidden gem and lookout point on a mountaintop. It’s so peaceful there, you can hear your voice echo. The sunsets on the west side of the island are phenomenal.
- Rachel and Anthony, a young couple we met at sunset at Surf’s Up. They were loving life traveling this great land, spreading the spirit of Aloha.
- The white, friendly dog and smiling lady at Julia’s Banana Bread roadside stand along a dangerously, curvy mountainside street.
- The brackish cliffs near the Nakele Blowhole, and the untamed ocean.
- The road to Hana with 617 turns (some hairpin curves) and infinite drop-offs.
- The hike to the pristine pools beneath Twin Falls, and the way my body felt when I stepped gingerly into the midnight-hued cold water. The rushing sound of the falls was delightful.
- The tangy taste of a Lilikoi tart at Kula Bistro.
- The refreshing dessert, named ‘Coconut’ at the Mill House Restaurant. A mix of white cake, chilled coconut sorbet, and coconut meringue mirrored the look of a mini Baked Alaska, and tasted like a cool slice of heaven.
- Our farm to table anniversary dinner at Pacific O Restaurant while gazing at the sunset.
- The fragrant aroma of eight varieties of lavender at Ali’I Lavender Farm high in the Kula Mountains.
- The foggy mist on the side of the mountain near the lavender farm.
- The King Protea in bloom.
- The paragliders floating along the mountaintop in Kula.
- The wind in my hair, and the sun on my face aboard the Trilogy catamaran.
- Ladies with plumeria, gardenia, and pikake tucked behind their ear lobes.
- The romantic sounds of the Hawaiian language and their meanings conveyed through song.
These things and more, I find to be the spirit of Aloha for me – a lingering and everlasting feeling of love, hello, and even goodbye.
For Hawaiians, the Spirit of Aloha is a way of life – spreading kindness, compassion, and grace. Their values – ‘to care for, and do what’s right’. Sustainability to all natural resources is key in Hawaiian life – evident in the vegetation, the flora, the food, the people, the farms, the animals, and the waterfalls. I felt refreshed by the universal beauty around me, and invigorated by the friendliness of the Hawaiian people.
And isn’t that what life’s about — embracing our aloha, giving back to community, to the environment, and each other?
Peace out and Aloha,