Travelistic: The Road to Hana

While waiting on an absurdly long line in Chipotle today, I got to thinking about how people tend to view travel (the actual transportation portion of it) in one of two ways.

First there’s the school of Zen-like masters who preach patience in the face of delayed gratification. This is the “The culmination is worth the effort” club.

Then there is the opposite sect who preach a philosophy not of instant gratification, but constant gratification. That is, “Every minute you aren’t enjoying is a waste.” Or, as we’ve come to know this romantic notion “It’s the journey not the destination.”

I’m not sure which camp I fall into. Clearly the principals require that you fall on one side of the divide – you can’t sometimes appreciate the journey (say, if you are flying first class) and sometimes bypass the journey in favor of the destination (if perhaps you are sitting in front of a child singing the entire Dora The Explorer soundtrack). I’m inclined to say that I am in the “Culmination is worth the effort” camp. Until airports replace those barely padded plastic chairs with massaging recliners, I’m going to have to say that the journey part isn’t all that fun.

Then, as I snaked my way around the far corner of the Chipotle, I remembered my trip to Maui a few years ago. My friends and I thought it would be fun to wake up obscenely early one morning and make the drive out to Hana, a town which is conveniently located on the eastern tip of Maui, completely opposite the developed Western coast, where we were staying. Although Hana is a mere 56 miles from our hotel in Kihea, because the mountainous roads are so windy and fraught with rocky terrain and one-lane bridges, the drive will take the average person 3 hours.

While this trip clearly went against my vacationing motto (“Do less, enjoy more”) my friends hyped Hana as an oasis of natural beauty in a world marred by the unyielding grip of man. It was a strong sell, and despite me seeming lack of motivation in the face of minimal effort, I came to the conclusion that a leisurely drive to a peaceful beach town would actually be perfect. Plus we only had one car and it was easier to just go than have to walk everywhere on my own.

Of course, the guidebook told us of a variety of side trips we needed to take (this was the word they used, as though we wouldn’t be allowed entry into Hana without first securing tokens from these adventures). Apparently, despite strongly worded signs to the contrary (“BEWARE OF HUNGRY RADIOACTIVE DOG”) all of Maui’s beaches are open to the public. The locals, however, like to make it difficult for the tourists to visit them all in order to preserve their cleanliness and beauty.

So our first stop was a dirt road that veered off the highway about 45 minutes in. There was a rusty gate with a NO TRESPASSING sign dangling from a chain. My friends assumed this meant “no trespassing unless you promise to keep things tidy and you have a genuine appreciation for the aesthetic beauties of the wilderness,” so we parked our car and began walking into the woods down what seemed to be a rather defined trail. Quickly, we realized that our trail was nothing more than a minor clearing, one that became less and less clear the further we went. Apparently “NO TRESPASSING” had a more literal meaning: without a machete, you’d have little success trespassing.