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9 Tips For Navigating the Road to Hāna

9 Tips For Navigating the Road to Hāna

Driving the Back Road to Hāna

What road are you traveling down? This could be a literal or figurative question. Today I want to share with you a road I recently conquered and hope to do again some day. Ready for a road trip? Let’s go on a drive to Hāna…

First off, what and where is Hāna? Hāna is a very, very small town on the eastern end of Maui, Hawaii. Call me naïve, but I didn’t even now it existed until I got TO the island. I ventured down to Maui to visit a college bestie who has lived there for several years, currently in Lāhainā. Being caught up in my own world here in Dallas with life and work, I didn’t pay much attention to my friend’s home down there, but wow, did Maui immediately get my attention, especially on this adventure.

Hāna has maintained an isolated, ‘small town’ feel for basically its entire existence. It’s no wonder it’s not easy to get to. My mom owned a travel agency throughout the 80’s and early 90’s and said that to get clients of hers to Hāna back then, she would schedule a helicopter ride for them from Kahului. She said there was a “winding road that no one wanted to drive or take the time to do.” I can understand that now; in 2016 it’s definitely not a road for everyone: blind corners on every turn, dozens of one-lane bridges all the while you’re driving on the edge of a cliff. Some of it is not even paved. You can see mailboxes on the side of the road and you know that up in the green Amazonian-like hillsides, people are living and existing in this quiet, serene and secluded area. Peaceful is an understatement. Oh, and there’s only one resort in Hāna to choose from.

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All this to say: there’s only one back road to Hāna. This is the more adventurous route starting from “upcountry.” If you’ve gone all the way to Maui you might as well get full use out of your rental car and do this. Snag the front seat, make sure you trust your driver, down some Dramamine and have your camera ready. While you’re en route, here are some of the gems my local friend had us stop at along the way…enjoy!

Stop #1: Grandma’s Coffee House – Get the entire loaf of banana chocolate chip bread. Believe me when I say, “It’s not like regular banana bread!” Even though it’s only about 45 more miles to Hāna, it’s going to take you a while and you’ll want a snack!

Stop #2: Ulupalakua Ranch Store – Where a little bit of the Wild West meets Maui. If you’re hungry, get a grass-fed burger (apparently the best on the island according to my friend and other locals) or if you’re a tourist like me, get some of the goat’s milk caramel sauce and homemade hot sauce with locally grown ingredients. Oh, and mini jellies too.

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Stop #3: Friends of St. Joseph-Kaupo – This is actually a spontaneous stop. You really can’t miss it – a beautiful, old white church overlooking the ocean that looks nearly deserted. We pulled over and got out to explore. Founded in 1862 it only has several services per year now, but the grounds are maintained. Wow, if this place could talk… lots of history to observe there.

Stop #3: Hiked Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls + 7 Sacred Pools – This is where you pay the parking fee and get to hike through a bamboo forest to an iconic Maui waterfall. Yes, you read that right. Then, if they’ve had rain recently (unfortunately for us, they hadn’t – sad!), you head back down to the 7 Sacred Pools – where you can swim.

Stop #4: Chow Wagon (Hawaiian food truck!) – There are a decent amount of food trucks to choose from – we really wanted Thai (because Hāna is THE place for Thai), but they were already closed when we rolled into town around 3pm. However, Chows did not disappoint! We had the ‘catch of the day’ and delicious veggies!

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Stop #5: Hāna Farms– What’s not to love here? On Friday/Saturday nights they have farm-to-table organic wood fired pizza being served. Since we had already chowed at Chows, we didn’t partake but I did end up with some organic cacao nibs and a coconut face serum infused with Maui coffee, vanilla and fruit seed oil! Glowing skin here I come!

Stop #6: Overlook at Wailua Valley State Wayside – You’ll come around a sharp curve at mile marker #18 and this view will knock your socks off. You’ll be looking at the most beautifully green valley stretching to the ocean with mountains behind you. We met a local walking his dog who lived in town. He said about 3-4 families have occupied the town for several generations. They are all fisherman, farmers, etc. It’s gotten a lot smaller with more of the children growing up and moving away for other opportunities. There are two churches you can see in the valley below – legend has it that during a storm in the 1800’s a bunch of white coral was washed ashore to build one of the churches that is still stark white to this day. He considers it “the most Hawaiian part of the island” due to its remoteness, small town and secluded vibe.

Stop #6: Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream – This is a few miles outside of Hāna heading north. Don’t miss it. Best. Ice Cream. Ever. There’s more than coconut and we even met Coconut Glen himself as well as his new puppy.

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Stop #7: Sunset at Ho’okipa Beach Park – A beautiful beach with a perfect sunset as we watched storm clouds roll in.

Stop #8: Thai Spice, Paia – If you can’t get Thai in Hāna, wait until you get to this place in Paia – delicious spring rolls, pad thai and curry! It’s small, so be patient or get it to go.

Stop #9: Your bed. Trust me, you’ll be ready for sleep after this long, beautiful, winding road of a day!

Don’t miss this adventure on your next trip to Maui. Start comparing fares to get you there and before you know it, you’ll be hiking to waterfalls, sipping on Maui coffee and basking in the green, lush Amazonian surroundings.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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