Maui Time


“Maui Time” is that elusive feeling that tourists get while vacationing here: that time is standing still, that things are moving more slowly than they do back home. Many people crave a trip to Maui just to experience Maui Time, to step off the treadmill of their lives.

Fantasy? Myth? Or reality?

In his book “Time Shifters,” Stefan Rechtschaffen, M.D.,describes how researchers have found that people who live in the same cities or areas influence each other in how fast they move. Or, in Maui, how slowly move. Study shows that before the year 1900 and shortly into that century, no letters between people ever stated, “Sorry I haven’t written, I’ve been too busy.”

While “busy-ness” is only a concept, we all have things that must be done, and a hierarchy: I WANT to go to the beach. I SHOULD clean out the refrigerator. I NEED to meet my writing deadline.

In February, I ran into my friend April, who I hadn’t seen in months. She immediately apologized for not sending me a Christmas card, and said, “You’ll understand when I tell you that the fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving are still in my refrigerator.” April works as a supervisor and has two small children. Yes, she lives on Maui, but does not operate on Maui Time. She doesn’t have the time!

Mike and I go to Costco and see local families who walk in a horizontal line of four to six across, blocking the aisle. (By the way, we do not experience this at the Costco on Oahu.) This would be fine if they moved at a normal pace, or if people could get around them. But they move like turtles. And here’s the question: how do these people get their taxes done? How do they pay their bills on time?

These are probably the people who don’t keep their properties up. You can drive all over this island and see run-down houses with peeling paint, overgrown bushes, and 15 rusting cars in the yard. (This is not an exaggeration. There is a property down the street from us that has fifteen cars sitting around in the front, back and side yards. I know because I counted.) A property in Maui needs constant vigilance, or it returns to its natural state – a jungle. This takes an enormous amount of time, energy, and money… If you’re going to keep up with the weeding, the trimming of bushes and trees, and painting of porches, sheds, outside stairways, garages etc. Then there is dealing with the termites. Just getting ready to have a house tented is a huge committment of time. And it’s very expensive. That’s why the houses are falling down around us.

So those of us who work normal jobs, own houses, and take care of our yards don’t experience Maui Time the way the tourists do. We are not at luaus watching slow, beautiful hula shows, listening to laid-back Hawaiian music. (The Feast at Lele is $110.00 per person. Not in a normal Mauiian’s budget. We only go if we get company.(

The closest I get to Maui Time is at the beach, or when I am driving and turn on the radio and catch some really soothing Hawaiian music. Hawaiian music can always put me in a good mood. And every day I watch the sunset from wherever I am. That is how I remember that I am in Maui. I take a deep breath in gratitude.

What is the pace like where you live? Are you in New York City, Fargo, N.D., or Austin, Texas? And is “Maui Time” one of the reasons you love to visit Maui?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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