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.

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  • Kari Scare

    Funny that you should bring that up considering that I’m just finishing a month talking about technology and the overload it creates and am now moving into a focus on struggling for balance. Does that answer the question? I’ve been to Hawaii several times and love it mainly because of the island time. My husband went there on work a couple of times, and even their approach to doing work is at a lot slower pace than ours. And, everyone is heading to the beach by around 3:00 in the afternoon. Also, did you ever see a clock out anywhere? Yes, definitely some significant life lessons to be learned from the island way of life. And, I want to go back… soon.

    • Chris Peek

      It sounds like you’re fighting for that island time in your life! On the mainland, we do have to fight for it, or we get lost in schedules and busyness. You’re right – there are few clocks. Even the airport runs at a relaxed pace. I’m ready to go back myself!

      • Kari Scare

        My life is getting more and more like island life, at least compared to what it used to be. I don’t wear a watch anymore for one thing. I am trying to “flow” with life more than I have in the past. That’s a big change from my need to always plan every detail and then freak out when my plans go awry. I could live there, or in the mountains. It’s pretty relaxed there too.

        • Chris Peek

          Same here. I’m a bit of a planner, but I’ve become much more go-with-the-flow over the years. It more adventurous and there tends to be less disappointment. I grew up near the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee. So I definitely miss their beauty and peacefulness, which is why I return to hike in them often!

          • Kari Scare

            We’ve stayed near the mountains in Tennessee and absolutely loved it there. Spent a lot of time hiking, and I would go back today if I could. I still plan, but I am much more okay with the plan being disrupted and/or changed. Having a plan makes being spontaneous go better, if that makes sense.

          • Chris Peek

            I’m glad you have had a chance to hike in the mountains of TN! There is nothing like it. As to your point, I agree completely. For example, I love to plan trips, but I don’t plan every second or hour. There is a loose framework of some things we want to see and do, but I also make sure to allow plenty of time for spontaneity and for us to experience the unknown.

          • Kari Scare

            I could definitely live there, in a house right on the edge of the mountains. Plan to return! The way you plan trips sounds a lot like mine. My oldest is involved more in planning now too, and we’ve gotten a routine of planning that loose schedule and then letting my husband be spontaneous. He’s good at that. We balance each other out.

  • Daniel Holterhaus

    Very true Chris. I’ve been rushing around today trying to get all these errands run and tasks accomplished, and I haven’t even taken a breath. Island time sounds like a place we should all strive to get to, a simpler way of life.

    • Chris Peek

      Absolutely Dan. I know we all have errands that must get accomplished. Hopefully, we allow for a little island time each to reflect and refresh.

  • BlessingCounter – Deb Wolf

    Island time and the road to Hana. Great memories. Rev and I went there for our 25th anniversary. What a great reminder to take a moment to listen to the silence and rest in Him.

    • Chris Peek

      Thanks Deb. Glad that you both have had the opportunity to visit this amazing display of God’s handiwork.

  • Dan Black

    Great lesson here, I’ve been trying to be more intentional about taking a day of rest each week and to slow down a little to really enjoy life.

    • Chris Peek

      Dan, good point. It takes us being intentional in order to slow down. After all, God even commanded us to rest one day per week.

      • Dan Black

        It sure does:)

  • Jon Stolpe

    This seems to be a common theme this week. I wrote on my blog about the importance of practicing the discipline of unplugging. I don’t do it enough. Thanks for reiterating my thoughts.

    • Chris Peek

      Great minds think alike! Likewise, I don’t do it often enough either. As Dan and I discussed below, we really have to be intentional in order to make it happen.

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