Island Time – Lessons From the Road to Hana

Eleven years ago, Karen and I honeymooned in the tropical paradises of Maui and Kauai. On both of these magnificent islands, folks continually mentioned living on “island time.” Both islands seemed like foreign lands, bearing little resemblance to our fast-paced lives on the mainland.

As so many tourists do when they visit Maui, we ventured out onto the legendary, winding trek around the east side of the island called The Road to Hana. Since we were just 22-years-young at the time, I’m pretty sure we missed the point of the trip.

Road to HanaWe expected unique destinations and interesting local spots. In fact, very little exists in terms of modern conveniences along this sparsely populated portion of the island. Hana itself is nothing more than a quaint village in the middle of nowhere. I darted right past the Hana town limits before blinking and realizing we had missed it.

The truth is that The Road to Hana is not about arriving at a grand destination filled with entertainment galore. Rather it is a journey into a simpler life surrounded by the awe of Creation.

The road itself is extremely narrow and bumpy in spots, winding in the midst of lush, tropical vegetation. We discovered a beautiful black sand beach nestled in between rocky cliffs. We drove along the sides of the mountains, which provided stunning ocean views.

At one point, a local parked smack-dab in the middle of the road, exited his car, and made small talk with his neighbors. The road was so narrow, none of us could get around. A parade of vehicles came to a complete a standstill until he finally ended the conversation.

Granted, I considered this a bit extremely rude, but I missed the greater lesson. Here was a man who wasn’t in a rush to accomplish the next task. He thought nothing about stopping to engage with his friends. It is likely something he does on a daily basis. (He probably finds extreme satisfaction in annoying the tourists.)

After returning to civilization, I recall discussing with Karen the sheer boredom of the drive. Looking back, I now desire to make the trek again and to see it through a different set of lenses that have aged by eleven years.

The reality is that the Road to Hana offers a pace of life that we rarely experience, where there are few schedules to fill and appointments to rush to.

Quite honestly, I have grown weary of constantly watching the clock and scheduling all aspects of my day. That is why many of my nights and weekends are devoted to island time. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt when you live at the beach.)

There will always be another commitment, additional obligations, and mountains of work to accomplish. Yet, if we can’t slow down long enough to converse with our friends and relish the beauty of Creation, then we have missed the lessons of The Road to Hana.

What’s the status of your life? Is your schedule maxed out, or do you allow for some island time?

Photo Courtesy: Randy Robertson

By the way, if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of my e-book Blaze Your Own Trail, you still time to pick one up. There is no obligation for you to pay anything unless you want to! So head on over and grab your copy now.