Mahalo, Maui – What I Learned in Hawaii

Now that I’m settled in back home and I’ve had some time to reflect on all of the awesomeness that happened in Hawaii, I realize that this trip has had a different affect on me than others have. I always learn when I travel, but there is something about the aloha spirit that grabs your heart and the feeling doesn’t seem to let go. I feel like that spirit snuck into my suitcase and followed me home because I still can’t stop thinking about this trip and how it changed me. 

I love those cotton candy skies😍🌌💗💜

There are so many things I saw, felt, and learned in the valley isle, but I want to share the biggest ones here.

Family is everywhere.

Being in Maui has been eye opening to how I live my life and what my priorities are. It was a trip that truly touched my heart because I’ve never been made to feel like family around complete strangers the way I had here. People are so accepting and inviting, so friendly and relaxed. They care more about experiences and spending time with each other than materialistic things. The things that are deeply valued are the things that make your soul happy – a supportive family, friends that make you smile, your pets, music, kindness, a beautiful sunset, a warm meal – these are the things to be grateful and thankful for. At the luau, they even talked about how Hawaiians accept and treat each other like family no matter what(ohana💙). It definitely made me reflect on my priorities and the things that I cherish.

Disconnect with social media and take time to connect with nature.

It’s hard not to constantly take pictures because it is such a picturesque place, and it’s impossible not to get lost in the moment and just live and be. Hawaii is such a magical place that I wasn’t even thinking about my phone other than to take pictures (and check in with mom) and taking time away from it has made me happier, and I felt like I have more time to simply live. In a world where everyone is glued to their phones, it’s easy to get lost in time, and we often miss out on the beauty of the present. Whether it’s because you’re surrounded by bright blue, roaring waves, or strong towering, bright green palm trees everywhere you turn, something about Hawaii makes you stop and look at where you are and just be there. This island has showed me that its absolutely necessary to take a break from the screen so that more rainbows and sunsets can grace your horizon instead of your facebook. 

Live in the moment and go with the flow.

Patience was a big thing that everyone but myself seemed to have in Hawaii. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been on the fast track to becoming a doctor, and working in hospitals has not exactly taught me to “move slow” but in Maui, everyone took their time. They took their time to see, walk, talk, appreciate and admire. They took their time to eat and to play, and they took their time to be in the moment and appreciate their surroundings. It feels like positivity is in the air your breathe, and people don’t constantly worry about getting to where they need to be because they go with the flow and trust that it will happen. I feel like we’re never told to sit still; we’re always on the go and we’re always trying to get somewhere, but half the time we don’t even know where we’re going. And of course I’m not saying to stop chasing your goals and drop everything, but at certain times (especially a time like today, the holidays!) I think it’s good to just slow down and let yourself be. What matters isn’t how quickly you’re able to get to where you want to be, but rather the attitude and grace you have in the process of getting there. Appreciate where you are in that moment and the people you have around you, because life isn’t all about being on the go, it’s about enjoying the journey and what you learn from it.

Take pride in your culture.

I’ve always been loyal and connected to my past and the history of both Bosnia and Germany, I practice a lot of things that I don’t talk about but it’s important to me, and being in Hawaii only solidified the importance of staying true to your culture and history. Hawaiians are so incredibly proud of where they come from, their history and the tales and legends that make their home unique, and it is a beautiful thing to see. What others think or feel about you simply does not matter, be you and do what makes you happy because life is so much better when you live by your own standards.

Everyone is a minimalist. 

I think the most intense feeling I had after Hawaii was the urge to simplify my life and live minimally. In Hawaii, so many people are happy with what most people today would consider to be very little in possessions. But the truth is, materialistic things do not make you rich or happy; wealth comes from having family and friends and giving love and kindness to others. 

In Maui, I had so many moment where I had to stop just so I could look around and take in my surroundings. It made me wonder what truly makes you happy, and for me, it’s as simple as walking to the shore, standing in the sand as the waves slowly make their way over my feet and I sink deeper into the earth. I am incredibly grateful for this journey and the many more to come. 🙏

To remember this beautiful trip I’ll leave it with this snapshot of a video I took while I was body surfing:

…aaand I’m out😋🤙🌴💗✌


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