Whenever I told anyone that I was heading to Maui they were all like, “AWWWWW, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE THE BEST TIME! You will LOVE it!”
‘Will I?’ I thought cheekily, ‘How do you know?’
The way they spoke about Maui was quite madly passionate, as if to prove it was better than anywhere in the world. Having never visited before I didn’t understand it, but I had a feeling I would… in time. I didn’t research the island, from the impression I was getting from people who had been there before… I wanted to feel it truly for the first time, and go there without any pre-conceived ideas.
Plus, I was going in with a secret weapon. I was going to be spending time with a local.
I’ve written about it here before, and I’ll probably harp on about it for a long time to come; I highly recommend spending time with a local when you travel.
My thoughts are that life is short, and there’s a lot of the world to see. When I’m in a location I know that there’s a chance that I might never go back, so I want to see as much of it as possible, and I don’t want to just see all the tourist traps, I want to REALLY see a place. Plus, I’m pulling my daughter out of school to travel, and it’s important to me that both of my kids get to really immerse themselves in the place we’re visiting, but also learn about the history, the culture, and really see the beautiful landscape as well.
For past trips we’ve had tour guides take us around for a day, and I’ve researched to make sure I’m getting someone who is willing to show us everything they know, and that I want to know too. Maui was no different, but this time we got a special treat of spending time with a local legend who had grown up on the island, who also had a passion for all things Maui. We got to spend time with Maui local, Kepa.
Kepa is a one-of-a-kind human being, and by the end of our time together we were all good mates. Shane and Kepa had spent time out on the water together, and quickly became Facebook friends. The girls adored him, but also got to spend time with his kids too, so it was really special. And I just loved being part of it all.
In Hawaii if someone is an elder, they are referred to as Uncle or Aunty, and I loved that I became Aunty to Kepa’s daughters, and I got to watch the relationship blossom between our kids.
One of Kepa’s daughters drove with us in the car as we went into town to explore, and I loved overhearing Lacey and Moyata swap stories of their countries. I thought my heart might explode.
We’d definitely go back and visit Kepa again, and it would be a great reason to return to Maui.
(2023 Update: We are still friends with Kepa and have visited him since. He’s become a special part of our family, and took us out on an Outrigger – was such a special moment).
Through Kepa I learned so much about Maui, and its history. Any question I had, he knew the answer to. As we walked around parts of the island, people knew him and respected him. He spoke Hawaiian to his kids, and even that simple language exchange was beautiful to witness.
Through Kepa we got to see so much of Maui, but also come to love the land almost as much as he does. It was a highlight of my life.
During our time together, we also had a film crew following us around too, so I love that we’ll get to revisit those moments, and have these memories forever. So, you might not be able to get your own local for Maui, like we had Kepa, but you can experience it like we did. Take a look, and see Maui the way that we saw it, with the help of our new friend Kepa.