Hawaii: Guide-Given Advice on How to Decompress Islander-style

For tips on how to destress while vacationing in Hawaii, who better to contact than Hawaii tour guides, the most chilled out and in-the-know people there. From feasts at macadamia nut farms to beach-side yoga, Kelly, Alexa, Joshua Grotkin, Mike Gulden, and Erik Storm  have the keys to achieving that at-peace Islander outlook. Read on for the secrets!

Ma’alea General Store and North Kihei’s Coastal Boardwalk

Kelly, an eco-impassioned guide with a lifetime of everything from back country camping to snowboarding behind him has been leading paddle trips on “Mother Ocean” for the past 7 years, but on his days off the water, Kelly relaxes (even deeper) by popping into Ma’alaea General Store for lunch on the way to Lahaina, where they’ve been serving the likes of grilled fish burgers and classic Hawaiian Shave Ice made with local fruit flavors since 1910. After, Kelly suggests strolling Keālia’s 2200-foot coastal boardwalk through ancient wetlands where waterfowl from Asia and North America gather in search of warmer weather, rest, and food.

Beachfront yoga, the Maui Swap Meet, and Monkeypod Kitchen

Alexa, the champion behind the peaceful yoga-on-the-beach company, Yogagurlmaui, is a playful yogi who meditates daily, and finds inner peace by practicing her soothing art on Maui’s spectacular waterfront. To de-stress, she also suggests attending the Maui Swap Meet for 50 cents on Saturday mornings, which she describes as “an old fashioned flea market [where you can] see local goods, foods, fruits and crafts, and support local businesses,” and hitting up Monkeypod Kitchen’s “great live music, good food…and nice long bar.” At Monkeypod kitchen, be sure to try one (or two…or more) of their thirty-six craft beers on tap that are served at an optimal twenty-nine degrees, as well as their unique cocktails featuring acai spirit, coconut water, and Kula lavender.

Hamakua coastal road, old plantation towns, 50′s Highway Fountain Diner, and Ahalanui Beach Park

Born and raised in Hawaii, Joshua Grotkin radiates “aloha spirit,” and when asked for his secrets to living cool, calm and collected, he says, “take a scenic coastal drive along the beautiful Hamakua coast while enjoying the sea cliffs and view of the Pacific ocean on one side of the road, lush valleys and waterfalls on the other,” and “stop along the way to soak in the serenity and natural beauty [at] Onomea Bay, Akaka Falls and Waipio Valley.” He also suggests going on a “tour through some of the old plantation towns like Laupahoehoe.” To keep the tummy happy, Joshua encourages stopping at the 50′s Highway Fountain Diner for old fashioned burgers, shakes, and homemade pies. Lastly, Joshua encourages “swimming in the pool at Ahalanui Beach Park (it is volcanically heated, and the bottom is made of mud and sand!), driving along the lush coastline to Kalapana, and walking out to one of the island’s newest black sand beaches to enjoy the surf and views of lava fields along the rugged coastline.”

Local wood carving shops, macadamia nut farms, and rope swings in secluded meadows

Mike Gulden has a self-proclaimed “keen understanding of his natural surroundings, and is filled with random facts,” so he’s the perfect chap for advice on decompressing Oahu-style. Mike’s key to unwinding in Hawaii begins with having “the initiative to do something different, [whether it be] stopping at a secluded beach, leaving your cell phone at home, asking directions from locals…just getting out of your comfort zone.” Mike understands his suggestions “may seem more stressful than relaxing,” but he emphasizes, “it’s all about living the experience and being present with whoever you are traveling with.” “Enjoy the journey” is Mike’s motto, and a journey you can enjoy with his suggestions like, “spend the day driving from the North West side of the island all the way to Haleiwa, and stop at the local wood carving shops, macadamia nut farms (to get some free raw nuts!), and any and every beach.” Mike’s favorite way to relax is to beach hop “because it doesn’t require anything but the clothes you have on, transportation, and a swim suit, and for food [you can] just stop at a food truck on the way up the coast to your next beach.” Mike’s favorite destination is actually reached on his tour, Rainforest Adventure: it’s the clearing above a rainforest valley. He also finds peace at “a nice little rope swing in the middle of a secluded meadow” that he hikes to with smaller groups. He notes, “It also helps that there isn’t any cell reception there!”

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

As a resident of the heart of Volcano Village whose backyard is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, it’s no wonder Erik Storm (read interview) suggests heading to lava to find deep relaxation; not only is it mesmerizing, Hawaiians believe lava is the physical representation of Pelehonuamea, the goddess of volcanoes. Erik, who can “sit and watch the lava for hours,” says, “I have guests that see shapes, such as faces, and, in some cases, full body forms of Pelehonuamea while viewing the lava…several guests mention that viewing the lava, both up close and from afar, can be a healing experience due to the sheer power of nature involved…guests meditate, pray, and even chant while around the lava leaving them with the feeling of a very spiritual experience.” Erik admits that while “some flows can be quite violent and dangerous, I find that viewing the flowing lava and the summit eruption at sunset are both a calming experience like no other.”

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