Despite our Californian roots, my family is now spread out across the country, from New York to Austin to San Diego to Maui. While some of us are still able to see each other on special occasions like birthdays and weddings, we all make it a point to travel from wherever we are to spend Thanksgiving together. And what better place is there to celebrate a complete family gathering than in one very special to us?
After having vacationed in Maui over the years, my parents made the decision to retire to the island and begin laying roots for generations to come. It did not take very long for the rest us to fall in love with this place. While my family gathers in South Maui, one of my favorite parts is around the back side of the island by some of the black sand beaches. I never tire of the views over there, especially the stark contrast of the black lava rocks against the piercing blue water and white waves, the lush greenery and the beautiful waterfalls found just steps from the road. I always tell first time visitors to set aside a full day to drive around the island (all the way around, don’t stop in Hana and come back). The landscapes and topography are like nothing else you will see on your stay. And for those really ambitious people, I also say that watching the sun rise from 10,000 feet above sea level on Haleakala, the East Maui Volcano, is a must.
Family time on island consists of our normal routine: relaxing afternoons on the beach, paddle boarding, sand castles, home cooked meals, poke, POG Tais, and puzzles. But perhaps the most important tradition is watching the sun set at Kamaole Beach I. Going down for sunset has become an anchor to our time spent on island – it’s when we relax, have a cocktail and reflect on the day that is slowly setting before us. My mom and I even wear matching destination necklaces with the coordinates of our sunset spot to bring us back anytime we are away. It’s things like this that I am so thankful for, especially as our family continues to grow.
I came across a quote that has always stuck with me: “If you want to know what a person is afraid of losing, look at what they photograph.” I think it’s pretty clear what that is when it comes to me.
Shop the Destination Necklace pictured here.