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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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