maui revisited: playing posh tourist during my 5 nights home

Today marks the conclusion of a fabulous 5 day vacation on Maui.

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Usually I would never consider a trip to Maui a vacation as it’s the place where I was born and raised. However, considering that this time I spent all 5 days at a luxury resort rather than at my humble house, it seems appropriate to categorize it as such.

The trip, which started as a quick getaway for my aunt and her friend, rapidly evolved into an 8-woman excursion as more and more ladies opted to join, including my mom. Being the generous soul that I am, I too kindly offered my company in exchange for a shared bed at the hotel. Obviously anyone who is at all partial to paradisal bliss would be mad not to jump at such an opportunity, but as I hadn’t been back to Maui in over 2 years, I was particularly keen. My parents rented out our home on Maui and moved to Washington state last summer, thus making a return much more complicated. Plus, as all my travel funds have gone towards my adventures abroad, I haven’t had the means to fly back. So naturally, I was ecstatic at the prospect of joining the blonde bandwagon.

Especially when it was confirmed that we’d be staying at the Grand Wailea.

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The Grand Wailea certainly lives up to its name. There are 780 rooms, 4 restaurants, an uber luxurious spa, and the most incredible hotel pool I have ever come across — complete with 7 slides, a rope swing, a lazy river, and a swim up bar.

There are a ton of other things to do at the hotel as well, but I am most content laying poolside, sippin’ tropical cocktails. You see, I’m of the philosophy that calories don’t count on vacation and thus took it upon myself to personally consume everything in sight at the most rapid rate possible. Always a fun game to play whilst spending your days in a bikini. However, being mindful of preserving my physique, I was sure to walk up the stairs to the water slides rather than take the water elevator.

That’s right, I just said water elevator.

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A bit different than my days of camping in farmers’ fields.

If the photos don’t speak for themselves, it costs a pretty penny to stay here. The rooms, food, and drinks are pricey, and the necessary cost of valet parking, maid service, and other incidentals can really add up — which, if completely unexpected and unaccounted for, can really undermine what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation. However, if you have the means and the opportunity arrises, I’d highly suggest a stay.

The 8 of us had a fabulous time together. A real highlight was taking a sunset cruise out for whale watching. I’m usually not one for observing massive mammals flapping about — I get enough of that in my bathroom — but it was quite impressive seeing the baby humpback repeatedly breach. However, there’s no denying that my favorite part of the night was the all inclusive cocktails and appetizers. And of course, the wonderful company.

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Thoughts on Returning Home to Maui

Last week I dedicated an entire post to “the art of going home,” as I so pretentiously entitled it, so I won’t bore everyone with extended ramblings on the subject. However, I must say that the notion of home has been on my mind a lot since first landing in Hawaii. It’s an especially difficult concept for me to define.

I currently work in DC, but have only lived there a total of 6 months. I grew up on Maui, but no longer have a house to return to there. I’ve spent 12 of the last 20 months abroad, but never in the same country. And I resided for 3 years in Spokane, Washington during college, which is the city where my family is originally from and where my parents now live. Thus, when people ask me where I’m from, I always seem to fumble with the answer.

Travel complicates your sense of identity.

By that, I certainly don’t mean that people who have traveled a lot are more “complex” than those who haven’t. However, I think it’s definitely more difficult to conceptualize your identity when it’s composed of a variety of different cultures and countries. This isn’t a bad thing: it’s an inevitable element of globalization, the reality of our future, and a subject that I find absolutely fascinating. Still, the question of where — or perhaps more importantly, what — home is, remains a valid and challenging inquiry.

For me, home isn’t really a place but a feeling. Sorry if this is sounding cheesy — if you haven’t noticed yet, I hate falling into overly sentimental cliches — but I can’t deny there is some serious truth in that gag worthy phrase “home is where the heart is.” I certainly feel most at “home” when I’m happy and surrounded by people I care about, regardless of my location. Ack, okay excuse me while I go weep on a teddy bear’s shoulder and sacrifice the rest of my dignity.

Peace.

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Special thanks to my mom, Sandy, Cindy, Twila, Krissy, Tina, and Sue for a fantastic time. Let’s make it an annual trip!

7 thoughts on “maui revisited: playing posh tourist during my 5 nights home

  1. http://vimeo.com/41264088…sounds like you have the same conclusion as some of these kids :)

    I learned to love sentimentality, you can too. I think I still have some dignity left :P And sometimes you just have to be bold in your statements (even if that means feeling vulnerable because the truth can sound a bit cheesy…)

    love reading your writing, keep them posts coming!

    • Thanks for the link — I loved the video!!
      Such wise words Marisa. You’re right, I do need to be better at confidently stating my opinions even if it leaves me feeling vulnerable — it’s just hard to do it so publicly sometimes. A work in progress though!

      • Same here with the work in progress! I adore your comic edge though, it cracks me up and serves its purpose by making those public online confessions less menacing. Shoots

  2. Thanks for sharing Kara. Each women on this trip added such a special element, and you were no exception. Everyone loved the opportunity to know you better and I loved getting to spend this time with you. Sorry our room was so noisy! You were a trooper. Hope you’re trip to DC today goes smoothly. Looking forward to taking one of your tours this season. Love you!

  3. Love your blog Kara! Thanks for sharing and I loved spending time with you. Can’t wait to see where the road takes you in life. All the best!

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