Sharing the aloha on Maui

Sharing the aloha on Maui

When it comes to my family tree, I am a tiny leaf on a long branch of Hawaii-born family members. My maternal great-grandfather came from the Philippines to work on one of the many pineapple farms on Maui.  And while my mother is technically full Filipino, she was born and raised on the islands and identifies more towards Hawaiian culture than Filipino.

Both of my parents were essentially raised on the island of Oahu. It’s where they met, fell in love, and eventually had me. Hawaiian culture is prevalent in our day-to-day lives. I still remove my shoes when I enter a house. I speak pidgin with my grandmother and other relatives still residing on the islands. I’ve taught Chris to say “pau” when he’s finished with something and “ono” when a meal is particularly delicious. And SPAM, rice, and eggs is one of my favorite breakfast meals of all time.

I have always felt close to the islands and I’ve really enjoyed introducing Chris to the nuances of Hawaiian culture. It’s been even more fun to explore new islands together. Just in the past two years, we’ve been to Hawai’i (commonly referred to as the Big Island), Kauai, and Lana’i- all islands I had never visited before.

As a child, I had been to Maui a few times but remember very little. Fortunately, Chris and I had the opportunity to visit last year for the first time and quickly fell in love with the island. We were thrilled when we learned that we were going to go back for our annual Expedia Viewfinder summit and this time we’d be with some of our favorite friends and travelers (click here to check out our fellow Expedia Viewfinders).

With a full seven days on the island, we knew we would have plenty of time for fellowship, exploration, and food. Lots of food.

I captured a few of my highlights and posted them to our Instagram account:



@tripstyler thoroughly enjoying our @fairmontkealani outrigger canoe adventure. We even saw Dolphins! #picturemaui


A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on


This is how we #pictureMaui. Look at the view from our home for the next 7 days at @GrandWailea Ho’olei 🌴🌴 A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Making beautiful leis at @FairmontKeaLani. They smell amazing! #PictureMaui A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on


Gorgeous rainbow trees on the road to Hana! #PictureMaui #TeamHana


A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Red sand beaches of Hana. We dig them. #PictureMaui #TeamHana A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on


We spent most of today at the @grandwailea pool. Lazy rivers, water slides, and yummy drinks all day long, #PictureMaui


A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

While our last trip to Maui was simply magical, this time was a little different. In so many ways it was even more special than the first. I think what set it apart was the people that we were able to share the island with. Chris and I loved coming back to our Grand Wailea Ho’olei Villa that we shared with Kent and Canaan from No Vacation Required. It was fun to just hop over next door where Rick and Sandi (Midlife Roadtrip) and Kara (The Vacation Gals) were staying and borrow a cup of sugar wine. This sense of community–if only for a few days–really made Maui seem like home.

The best part was being able to share Maui with friends. To watch as they hunted for the perfect malasada. Or to be there when Sandi tackled her fears and stood proudly on her board while SUPing at Makena Point with Hawaiian Paddle Sports. I loved watching our troop make their own personal bowls of poke and witnessing everyone’s creativity emerge while stringing our own leis.   

Meals were obviously a personal favorite. Whether it was a locally foraged dinner at the Grand Wailea’s Humuhumunukunukuapua’a or unique Hawaiian fusion at The Fairmont Kea Lani, there’s nothing better than good food enjoyed with great people.  

What I took away from our time on Maui was that I have an overwhelming pride in my culture… but also in these people that I have come to call family. I feel so blessed to be able to work alongside this talented group of travelers and writers. I love our camaraderie and sheer love and respect that we have for one another. 

And this. I love this photo that the NVR guys took. I feel like it encapsulates all of the love and excitement we have when we’re together.

Disclosure: our time on Maui for our Expedia Viewfinder summit was hosted by Expedia and the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. As always, our thoughts and opinions remain our own. 

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