For our anniversary date last fall, we stepped it up a notch from our usual mountain attire and set out to enjoy a nice dinner and a couple of sidecars (my favorite cocktail) at a local restaurant. We ended up evaluating our life together and our overall happiness. It sounds corny, I know. We didn’t plan it; it just sort of happened. And although we were decidedly quite happy living in Steamboat Springs, CO with our two elementary school-aged kids, we yearned for an adventure and the opportunity to live a simpler life that had somehow slipped away from us. We wanted to slowdown from our routinely busy lives and spend more time as a family unit. We would leave the mountains and spend one year near the ocean. Neither of us had ever been to Hawaii, and so that night, it was decided!

HAWAII! The idea of it sounded crazy and fun, but mostly crazy fun! We shared the news with our kids and they were completely on board! Well, there was one reservation — missing a full season of alpine skiing, cross country skiing, teleskiing, snowboarding and ski jumping- but when they realized there was surfing, it was GAME ON!

An adventure of a lifetime. We see it as an adventure to teach our kids a different lifestyle, a simple lifestyle that doesn’t include loads of material things, in a place where we can experience different outdoor activities; make new friends; be more adventurous in our food choices; be comfortable in uncomfortable environments; learn more about the ocean and volcanoes; and acknowledge and respect differences in individuals and foreign cultures. Our hope is that this experience will help shape our kid’s future, teach them about themselves and guide them to be their best selves.

Now that we’ve landed on the beautiful island of Maui (with a suitcase each), we are getting accustomed to “island life” and the heat and humidity. Our journey has just begun, but we hope it leads us to understand the true meanings of the words: aloha and mahalo. Until then, you’ll find us splashing in the waves and fully doused in SPF.

By: Elisa Maines