Adventure Review: Maui, 2008.
The best part about travel is meeting people.
On my recent adventure to Maui, I met five worthy of mention: Steve, Sonny, Lance, Joe and a television news reporter.
1. Steve. Steve led an ATV tour to a rain forest high on the Haleakala volcano. After encountering bone jarring terrain, feral pigs, and red mud splayed onto my face, we took a brief break to drink in the vista and hydration. Taking this opportunity, I inquired about Steve. Steve's path to Hawaii involved many twists and turns, like the trail we just conquered. Steve graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in the rather staid discipline of accounting. He started in the family's accounting business. He quickly realized it was not for him. With the pendulum swinging in an entirely different direction, Steve undertook two completely different activities. First, he became a tattoo artist, indulging his passion for drawing and color. Second, he starred in motorcycle stunt videos. Nearly costing his life, a tragic accident stopped his bike stunts. As a result, he moved to Maui, where he lives with his wife and children on the side of a mountain with stunning ocean views. He now repairs heavy machinery Monday through Thursday. He begins his weekends early on Fridays by taking people on ATVs onto the mountain-an obvious homage to his earlier motorcycle riding days.
2. Sonny. Sonny waits tables at Kimo's restaurant in Lahaina. By the way, Kimo's is part of the restaurant group (http://tsrestaurants.com/) that operates fine eateries such as Duke's, Leilani's and Hula Grill, among others. Sonny told me he and five other guys from West Covina left California shortly after their high school graduation for a surfing trip. They never returned. They all have lived on the island for over a decade; all are raising families there. Alternating his time between his family, surfing, and waiting tables, his only interruption is his mainland parents who squat for nine months out of every year at his abode.
3. Lance. Lance reminded me of Robert Kiyosaki. He's a true entrepreneur. Frustrated with the lack of quality "mixed plate" restaurants, he opened a local restaurant in Kahului. He readily admitted that he had no experience cooking or even running a restaurant. Nevertheless, he had plenty of experience eating--especially "mixed plate" also known as "lunch plate" meals, and knew what they should look and taste like. He reported (bragged?) that despite his age (nearing 50 years), he had never dated a woman older than 30. And even more remarkably claimed he hadn't planned it that way--it just somehow happened to him. Lance couldn't have been more generous--he comp'ed everything as well as regaled me with hilarious stories.
4. Joe. The dean of sports talk radio in Los Angeles, Joe McDonnell currently helms a nightly show on KLAC (570 am --the Lakers flagship). Recognizing him from his intermittent television appearances, I introduced myself. He couldn't have been more gracious. He introduced me to his wife, as they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. He also invited me to call into his talk show and identify myself as the guy he met in Maui. I haven't yet taken him up on the offer to become a quasi-celebrity, but shortly after this meeting I did appear on television.
5. Television News Reporter. I capped off this adventure by appearing on television throughout the Hawaiian islands. Having booked my airfare on Aloha Airlines, I discovered in Maui that my return flight would not be happening, since the air carrier went out of business between the time of my arrival and scheduled departure from Hawaii. I was asked how I scored a free return flight on Hawaiian Airlines.
None of this could have been expected the moment I stepped onto Maui.
As Phil Keoghan says, no opportunity (was) wasted.