Life is Short. Play Hard.

Aloha!

I met my friend, world – class swimmer Suzanne Heim-Bowen, when she came to Maui to compete in the Maui Channel Swim (Lanai to Maui) a few years ago. Mike has served as an escort boat Captain for the teams every Labor Day weekend for twenty years, and Suzanne and I were seated next to each other at the awards banquet.

Suzanne has set three world records in swimming, all after the age of 50. Recently, Deborah J. McDonald made a lively documentary about her, called “The 50-year-old Freshman” (which keeps winning awards):

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What I find especially interesting is that Suzanne was also the first person to swim the Bay-to-Breakers in San Francisco Bay, a treacherous 10 mile swim in 56° water from the Bay Bridge, across the Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and beyond. She was the first person… And she was 24 years old.

So what this means, is that Suzanne has been setting amazing goals, and reaching them, her entire adult life. She just keeps raising the bar higher.

Suzanne was inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, and has swum the English-Channel twice. She’s a polar-bear swimmer in San Francisco Bay, and I’ve sat in the nice, cozy Dolphin Club and watched from a large window as she swam toward Alcatraz in weather that had me wearing a winter coat.

Suzanne set the three world records for women 50-54 in the 200, 400, and 800 meter free. At 50 years old she swam 18:32 in the 1500 M, and broke her own world record by 13 seconds.

Suzanne is warm, funny, and crazy – smart. She is one of my favorite people. Her motto: Life is short. Play hard.

We’ve been talking about dreams here at Mauidailyescape.com. Check out “The 50-year-old Freshman” documentary on Amazon. If you’re a person who automatically thinks “documentary”: dry, boring… This is not. I think you’ll really enjoy it, and even if you’re not a swimmer, it will get your wheels spinning for the next dream in your life…

Note: This Sunday,on the OWN network, Oprah Winfrey interviews Diana Nyad, the swimmer who was 64 when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in under 53 hours. How’s that for a goal?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along… If you would like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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Because Suze Orman Said So

Aloha!

Many of you have written to me saying you’re planning to move to Maui this June… must be something in the air. And of course the price of Paradise always enters the conversation when people plan to move here.

I never had facts and figures to back up how much more expensive Paradise is, until now. In the recent Oprah Magazine a woman wrote to financial guru Suze Orman to talk about budgeting, and she is living in Hawaii. Suze wrote back to question the wisdom of living in a place that is 55% higher than the mainland for necessities like gas, groceries, and utilities.

So there you have it. Paradise is 55% higher because Suze Orman said so. Now we can all quit wondering.

I spent this winter in northern California, taking care of my mother’s estate after she passed away. There were three people living in the house. And California was having the coldest winter anyone could remember for ages, which meant I was running the furnace all the time.

The  utility bill in California (for three people) was $310 per month cheaper than my house in Maui (for four people), with no furnace running.

And then there are the groceries. In California, I fairly skip down the grocery aisles, tossing things into my cart with abandon. Everything is about one third, to half the price, as Maui. It’s all relative, whatever you are used to. I’m sure the people in California don’t think their groceries are cheap.

The price of paradise is steep. The difference is, I did not get to wake up to blinding sunshine every single day in California like I do in Maui.

It really is all relative…

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.


Aloha, Jamaica

Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Aloha!

No matter what I post on any topic, it seems the thing people really most want to know is: where the heck does Oprah live on Maui? So, I will tell you.

I directed tourists on how to get there all the time when I worked as a concierge at the Maui Kaanapali Villas: (www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com.) Hard to believe, but it’s a destination drive for tourists now. I wonder if someday they’ll stop there with the tourist buses like they do on the Beverly Hills “See the Stars’ Homes” tours.

Soooo (drumroll please…) Here is Oprah’s House, as seen on http://www.oprah.com:

And this is how we’ll get there: Let’s pretend you fly into Maui and board my Maui Magical Mystery Tours bus. We are now driving away from the airport, and the mountain range on your right is the West Maui mountains, and the mountain on your left is Haleakala. We’re going to go toward Haleakala. If you look at a map of Maui, and see Highway 37, we are going to follow that out toward Ulupalakua.

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When we get to the main intersection in Kahului (Dairy Road and Hana Highway, just past K-Mart) we make a left onto Hana Hwy. and stay on it about one mile till we see a big green sign on our right that says “Haleakala Crater” “Kula” and “Pukalani”. We will make a right.

This is Hwy. 37. We will stay on this ALL the way until the turn-off for Oprah’s house. Since you’re not the one driving, you will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery as we slowly climb the mountain. We will pass the turn-off for Makawao. While it’s a perfectly nice little cowboy town with a few art galleries thrown in, we won’t turn off. We will then pass the signs that say “Crater.” But we are on a mission, so we don’t turn off, as much as we might like to see Haleakala Crater.

We will eventually pass mile marker 12, then mile marker 13. We will pass Rice Park on our left. We will keep going until we see mile marker 16.5 and Keokea Park will be on our left.

Now, we SLOW DOWN. We will see a sign for “Thompson Ranch Road” because Oprah bought Thompson Ranch. Grandma’s Coffee House will be on our right, and we make the left onto Thompson Ranch Road, which immediately veers to the right. We are careful to make this right or we will be going uphill to Kula Hospital!

Thompson Ranch road is a bit like a small roller-coaster ride, up and down and all around. It’s pretty much one lane, so we are careful of all the people going in the other direction who have already been to view Miss Oprah’s house, and are now probably on their way for coffee at Grandma’s. (Oprah would probably make money if she put a coffee stand at the bottom of her driveway, there are so many people who go there now.)

We won’t know we are at Oprah’s house unless we are watching the hillside on the left. About a quarter mile down there it is, white and gleaming, perched on the hill. Lucky for us there happens to be a little turnaround were we can pull off on the right and view it. Would you like to get off the bus and stretch your legs? We’ve been on here for about 35 to 40 minutes now. Be sure to bring your camera…though you won’t get pictures anywhere is good as the one at the top. It’s uphill and the angle is not right for photos.

Okay now, everybody happy? That’ll be $19.95 for the bus tour. Oh wait, this is Maui. Make that $89.95.

Thank you for traveling today with Mauidailyescape.com. Remember, you read it here. Please tell your friends about this blog, and be sure to direct them to this post so they’ll know how to get to Miss Oprah’s house. Share it on Facebook…tweet it….then I can cover other interesting topics on this blog in the future. Thank you for riding along.

A hui hou! (till next time.) If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica