The Psychology of Place 2


Our friends in Sonoma, California met a girl who moved there from Maui, and she complained, “There’s nothing to do here! I’m used to going to the beach every day.” Well, that may be, but if you move to Sonoma, California, you’d better be prepared to like hiking, biking, wine, and excellent food (and have the money to support that lifestyle.) Otherwise, why be there?

When we are on the outside looking in, thinking about how great it would be to live in a place, the dichotomy is that we can’t really know a place until we live there. To know the “psychology” of the place.

Vacationing in Maui doesn’t count; even part – time residents who own a condo near the beach and “play” the whole time they’re here, can’t really know.

It’s the people who work two and three jobs, long, long days to support a family on an $8 to $12 per hour salary while paying $7.00 for a gallon of milk, who know. Any place can put its best face forward to visitors – particularly if those visitors rarely venture outside the pristine, landscaped, hotel/restaurant areas where all the other visitors are, who look and act the same as them. A place doesn’t announce its ills, its economy, its prejudices or its wounds to the visitors it counts on for its life blood. All of that is kept under wraps – it’s best foot forward, always.

That is why the weathermen call the VOG (volcanic organic gas) here “haze.” As a boat Captain, Mike talks with tourists who think the VOG is just fog. And they have no idea that the sugar cane is burned, because it’s done at 4:30 am and far away from their hotels in Wailea…

The psychology of any place is a mix of history, change, job opportunity, education (or lack of it), racial tensions, shunning outsiders or accepting them, feeling agitated or at peace with where you find yourself in the world… and Maui is no different.

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

Aloha, Jamaica