I grew up in the jungle of Maui, barefoot, climbing trees, keeping geckos as house pets. A trip to the busy west side of the island was an all day affair. After a two hour dance with the narrow, cliff-side Hana Highway we’d arrive in Kahului where I was fascinated by the fluorescent lights and honking car horns. I’d sing along to the Ka’ahumanu Center jingle on the radio and the grocery store might as well have been Disney World I was so eager for the cheese samples, flower displays and rows of sugary cereal I might possibly convince mom to splurge on.
When I was nine, my family relocated to Maine where grocery stores weren’t so special and civilization was easily accessed just a few minutes down the road. I spent my teenage years still titillated at the mere mention of a trip to the mall as it seemed Maine never got the overdevelopment memo the rest of the country took to heart in the 90s. The closest mall was still two hours away; I’m a country girl.
Though I still live in Maine today, I at least have made it to Portland, the “big city”. I have had the pleasure of getting my traveler’s feet wet as I’ve grown out of my rural roots but when I returned to Maui in 2005, I was caught off guard—the visit was nothing like I expected.