If there was one thing that living on the North shore of Maui taught me last year was how a simple life can be the most rewarding. Those three months in Maui were the most uncomplicated and satisfying we’ve spent in long time. Life isn’t about (designer) clothes, (fast) cars and the (latest) gadgets… Without being too blasé I’d say that sums up a lot of people’s lives, especially here in Cyprus. I’m tired of walking into a restaurant or cafe in Cyprus and women looking at me from head to toe to inspect my non-designer bag or clothes and check out how slim I am, or not, in comparison to them. What the hell is all that about? Actually don’t even bother giving me an answer, I’m past caring. In stark contrast, I swear there’s something in the water in Maui because people just aren’t like that there. It’s not about appearances, it’s genuinely about who you are, being friendly to each other and having a positive attitude.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing I do without clothes (god forbid!!), a car, my beloved Mac computer or my camera gear but I like to think we can all do ‘with’. I can do ‘with’ what I have and more than that, I’ve been in declutter mode the last few weeks. So many non-essentials complicate our lives and material possessions that we get conned into believing we ‘must have’ clutter up our homes, so much so that we forget about what’s important.
Throwing on scruffy beach clothes and flip flops and driving to the beach to see what the surf was doing pretty much summed up daily life for three months. In Maui, decision making in the morning revolved around the wind, waves and sun and whether or not to take the 600mm lens to Ho’okipa. Simplicity at its finest. Sure, I fully understand that for most people that’s a fantasy world and reality is about working and making ends meet but at the same time why do we have to be so miserable and negative as we go about our daily life? What happened to smiling at someone passing you by? What happened to making even the smallest of kind gestures to someone in need? Why do we always want more and more rather than being satisfied with what we have?
I’m not preaching here because I’m just as guilty as the person next to me of being rude to someone or ungrateful of the life I have but there were a few things that struck a nerve or two with me while I was in Maui and have stayed with me and will haunt and inspire me for a long time:
– The man at the recycling center on a Sunday hanging half way in the recycling bin, pulling out cans … I guess to sell them on Monday when the center reopened. There’s always someone much worse off than you are.
– Our drive to Ho’okipa every morning has to be one of the most beautiful drives you can do. Magnificent and breathtaking Haleakala volcano to our left, somedays perfectly clear and others engulfed in cloud, and to our right the lush greenery and practically the be all and end all of life in Hawaii, the powerful ocean. We’d also pass by the most exquisitely kept cemetery. One morning there was a huge crowd of people gathered for a funeral but by the evening when we were driving home, there was just one man there, sitting by the graveside and playing Ukelele. The crowd had turned into this lone figure playing music to a departed loved one and the thought of his loss & devotion to this person overwhelmed my emotions. In fact, my eyes well up every time that poignant image comes into my head. Life is short. Live it and take the time to be with the people you love.
– The wheelchair-bound surfer at Ho’okipa & the lifeguards who help him in and out of the water was another image I won’t forget in a hurry. For some people there is no such word as ‘can’t’. I don’t know who you are but thank you for the lilikoi you threw my way one day but more so, you should know, you are truly inspiring.
– And finally, an image I took on my iphone. It was our last day and we went to the Cannery for breakfast and to say goodbye to some of the guys at the Goya store. Outside one of the doors of the cannery someone had left a box of lilikoi with a simple message written on the box …