Earlier in the year, when my sister and future brother-in-law announced their plans to hold a destination wedding in Maui, I was somewhat skeptical. I was not looking forward to the realities of pandemic era travel -- mask requirements and the questionable ethics of potentially spreading a fatal illness in an isolated area with a limited health network.
Color me doom and gloom, but having spent the last year under siege with battened down hatches and at-risk housemates, it was hard for me to imagine that I would soon trade the lush forests of Pennsylvania for Hawaii's sunshine, strong surf, and sharp rocks.
Fortunately, by the time the wedding date rolled around, I was fully vaccinated, and very ready to get out of the house. I spent some quality time with family before the wedding, and a fair amount of enjoyable time by myself afterwards, doing a combination of work and travel. #DigitalNomad
Oh Yeah, I Went To Maui
Throughout this time period, I was fortunate to still be able to see and visit many of the island's attractions, though some closures and restrictions were still in place. I hope to discuss some of these more thoroughly in future posts (a.k.a. excuses for holiday snaps.)
For now, I'll share a few general observations about myself and my visit.
For starters, I'm not a huge beach guy. I enjoy the ocean, and I enjoy spending time on the beach, but I enjoy the beach most when it is as empty as possible, and I'm not one to spend my days plunked down under an umbrella. That said -- there are obviously some killer beaches that I really, really enjoyed.
Another thing worth noting is that my typical travel was somewhat modified due to the pandemic-era circumstances. I typically would opt for a more low-budget, shared for of accommodation, and I would also typically eschew a car rental in favor of public transportation. Given that I was avoiding people (and staying at times in quite remote areas), I had a rental car, and stayed in two entire condo rentals by myself, like the high roller I apparently became.
In more urban, pre-pandemic settings, I would have been much more sociable and perhaps tried to meet more people, rather than mainly keeping to myself. This does mean that my experiences were somewhat less rich. And, that brings me back to one more soapbox that I want to stand on.
Someone Else's (Better) Writing (That Has Nothing To Do With Hawaii)
I stumbled across this blog post, which is an absolutely fantastic take on the whole "end of pandemic" travel thing, and I highly recommend giving it a read.
The takeaway is that the pandemic continues to rage globally, even though infections are down in the United States, and travelling without being fully vaccinated and responsible is a bad thing to do.
“The pandemic is basically over!” people kept saying throughout the month.
“My friends are locked in their apartments and they can’t buy alcohol,” I replied, again and again.
The author connects this back with the idea of community in a way that really resonated with me.
Maybe we need to think about traveling as joining a community, even if it’s only temporary. Maybe the whole concept of travel needs to shift. I want people to come here who are invested in the people, in the COMMUNITY of the place, and not just the thrill of travel or the desire to get moving again after a pandemic year of forced stillness.
In all of my best experiences as a traveler or a host to travelers, I have done my best to foster those kinds of connections and investments. It is connections with people that really matter, above most of everything else. Visiting Hawaii during the pandemic, I did not do that. But, I did stay safe and do my part to keep others safe as well. I went to a killer wedding.
And I took some decent photos.
(Many of which will appear in subsequent posts!)
A Few Site Update Notes
On the site side of things, one of the major features I want to support is email updates when I make a new post.
Currently, I'm using an external service called FeedBurner to supply the emails. FeedBurner is a legacy tool for RSS-feed management that made sense in the days when "Web 2.0" was a huge buzzword. It was bought by Google for big bucks back in the day (whoever founded that startup sure knew when to exit.) Like most Google products that I like, it's now slated for shutdown... sometime in July.
I've looked into other existing tools for transmuting an RSS feed into an email subscription, but generally they all cost money or I don't particularly like them. As such, I started writing my own. It's about half-way done, so hopefully I'll be arsed enough to finish it soon. It's been a pretty interesting learning opportunity -- and also a good opportunity to remove one more bit of this site from the Google-tracking ecosystem.
Other than that, I will also note that I have a number of book reviews in the works covering whatever I read on the plane or on the beach. Those will be coming soon.
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