Last Christmas, my parents gifted our family a trip to Hawaii. This past week we went on the trip. We stayed on the island of Maui and had a really great time. Since I started writing this blog, I try to look for things to write about and take lessons from any experience. Today’s post is a collection of some of the highlights. Please note, I’m experiencing quite a bit of jet lag as I write this, so it’ll be more of a collection of pieces and less of a cohesive blog post this week. Thanks for bearing with me through this one! Haha!

We did some really neat things on the trip. While I’m certainly not an outdoorsy person, I really enjoy snorkeling. The condo we rented had access to the beach with a beautiful reef and one afternoon, I journeyed out there with my dad to snorkel. We swam around for a bit, and saw some incredible fish and some sea urchins. I got to a point where I was done and headed back to the shore. My dad, who wasn’t quite done, and about 10-15 feet from me yells out “Rob, Turtle!” and points between the two of us. I rushed to put my snorkel back on and a MASSIVE sea turtle was swimming just a few feet from where I was treading water. After penguins, turtles are my next favorite animal, so seeing this big fella in the wild was amazing. So what was the lesson? There’s a some cliche lessons about “looking beyond the surface” or how my dad saw the turtle because he “hung on a little bit longer”, but I think what stood out to me was the importance of my dad being there. See, when I went out snorkeling, my dad had just finished. We had a limited number of masks, and he had just gone out with my sister, Katie, and her husband, Jason. I was perfectly content going out alone, but, as my dad does, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone. Had he not gone out there with me, I would have swam right past the turtle and missed out on what’s now one of the highlights of my trip.

My second lesson of the trip happened while shopping on Maui’s Front Street. Halley, Parker and I stopped in an art gallery. Roughly 20 artists’ works were on display, and some reproductions of some maps. We found some canvas prints we liked (one of them shared below), and wouldn’t you know it, the artist that created what we bought was also working the front counter that day. Her name is Amy Justen.

Love Birds of Wailea by Amy Justen

Amy was very nice to us before we even hinted at making a purchase and were just browsing around the store. But when we went to the counter with a couple of her prints, her face lit up. She was so excited that we chose her work out of all the other artists on display. I recognized that joy. It’s the same joy I feel when I sell one of my books. Her joyful reaction was contagious, and it made me happy to make her so happy. I don’t always wear my emotions on my sleeves, but I hope when you buy my book, that I make you feel as appreciated as Amy made us feel.

I also want to plug Amy’s Instagram and her website. Please check it out!

Last but not least, my third lesson was a reminder to enjoy the ride. To quote one of my favorite philosophers, Frank Zappa, “You got to be digging it while it’s happening, because it just might be a one shot deal.” We rented these little convertibles for a few hours called “Slingshots”.

Halley and me in our Slingshot

Halley and I in one vehicle and Katie and Jason in another, we drove around the island and saw some beautiful scenes. But my favorite part was driving around with Halley. We blared our favorite songs from The Beatles, Barenaked Ladies and Hamilton while the wind whipped through our hair. While I’ll probably forget what some of the scenes looked like, I’ll never forget mumbling my way through “One Week” with my best friend.

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