Life is like the Road to Hana

3 Things the Road to Hana can Teach Us About Life

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Earlier this year, my wife and I were fortunate enough to travel to beautiful Maui for a much needed vacation. While we made plenty of time for fruity cocktails and lounging on the beach, one activity that everyone told us we had to do was the fabled Road to Hana.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Road to Hana is a 64.4 mile scenic coastal drive that takes you from the Northern tip of the island to the South Eastern side of the island. The journey is filled with 617 hairpin turns and 59 one-lane bridges and is affectionately referred to as “The Divorce Highway” by some. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?

The long, windy, and sometimes treacherous drive takes about 7 hours round trip without stopping. But of course, the whole point is to stop and see things along the way so this beast of a drive becomes a whole day trip. It also means an early wakeup call (we are definitely not morning people) as you have to start early in the morning to ensure you can make it back to civilization before nightfall. Otherwise, the drive can become truly dangerous.

Despite all of this, we willingly chose to incorporate this drive into our vacation… Spoiler alert: we survived and the drive did not disappoint!

As we were looking back at pictures and reminiscing on this incredible journey, it struck me that the Road to Hana was the perfect metaphor for several important topics that I learned throughout my research for Redefining Success. Let’s dig into three lessons that stuck out to me:

1. The cliché is right – It’s about enjoying the journey, not the destination.

The Road to Hana seems to imply that the real treasure of the journey is arriving at the town of Hana. Don’t get me wrong, Hana is a lovely little town with a few shops and delicious food trucks, but the stops we made on the way to the town are what truly stood out. Our drive to Hana was highlighted by a botanical garden taken straight from the movie Jurassic Park, stunning vistas of waterfalls and beachside cliffs, a hike down an old lava tube, and delicious food stops for Coconut Ice Cream and Banana Bread. Had we not stopped and enjoyed the ride, the town of Hana itself would have been largely disappointing given how much effort it took to get there. That said, the journey itself was well worth the ride!

2. It’s important to celebrate the small victories

Seeing the “Welcome to Hana” sign was a nice moral victory given the time we spent to get there. We literally cheered, high-fived, and celebrated in the car as we drove into town! There was even a collective sigh of relief that neither of us got nauseous along the way. We took time to truly soak in the achievement by visiting a red sand beach and treating ourselves to some delicious Kalua Pork to commemorate the victory. As we complete goals in life, our natural instinct is to immediately focus on what’s next. Take time to celebrate when you reach your goals!

3. Your goals will change… and that’s OK!

While Hana was a wonderful little town, we ultimately decided to continue driving past Hana in order to hike to Waimoku Falls and see the Seven Sacred Pools. This added another 20 miles to our roundtrip drive and shifted our mindset from “let’s drive to Hana” to “let’s drive even further to see more!” The Seven Sacred Pools were my personal favorite part of the entire journey that day! It’s perfectly natural, and in fact important, to reevaluate your goals from time to time. It would have been so easy for us to have made it to Hana and immediately turnaround to go home. Instead, we adjusted our endpoint and decided that Hana was just another wonderful stop during our daylong journey.

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