The Box - a single parent swaps West Yorkshire, England for Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

The box that was literally inspiration for Annalies Morgan's travels. photo by Annaliese Morgan for Travel Boldly
The box  literally that was the inspiration for Annaliese Morgan, a single parent from West Yorkshire, England to book three plane tickets to Hawaii for herself and two sons.  It is a big leap from life in the United Kingdom to life in Kihei, Maui.
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The Box

by Annaliese Morgan

As I throw yet another burnt pan in the bin, hearing cheers of “It’s another world record!” from my boys, I think: “Is this really the epitome of me? Is being the worst cook on the planet my sole legacy?” I can feel something else bubbling and erupting, something way bigger than a boil-in-the-bag rice, something no one else seems to understand, but me.

I phone for the proverbial take away and then it happened. I opened ‘The Box’. The box is covered in maps of the world and brass clips. It stares at me every night and every morning from the corner of my bedroom, begging me to let myself in. But the old friends’ voices of fear, logic, and “Yeah we would all love to do that” usually prevent me from doing so. But not this time. This time I open it; the physical box, and the closed box in my mind. I remember thinking: “the time is now”.

… Welcome to the Seven Wonders of Annaliese World.

Hideout, waterfall and cave off t he Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii.. photo by Annaliese Morgan for Travel Boldly
Hideout, waterfall and cave off t
he Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii.
Hawaii, London (UK), Gran Canaria, Los Angeles (USA), Greece, Italy and Japan - each with my own reasons why I need to be there. Each with their own wonder to discover. Each with their own culture to be found, treasured and shared with the world at large. I realise why, until now, this epic journey has remained in the box and why the “I’ll do it one day, when I’m rich enough, know enough, when the boys are older, oh, and what about the dog?” has played over and over.

You see, I never made the decision to do this; it never dawned on me that everything else in my life that I have achieved, whether it’s writing books, passing exams, or learning to walk again, a decision was made to achieve the result I wanted.

The very next day I booked three tickets for me and my two boys to leave for Maui six weeks later. Part of me didn’t even realise I’d just begun the journey of the Seven Wonders of Annaliese World.

Six weeks later, it’s 3 AM and I’m waking my boys up with two suitcases, three flight bags and enough excitement from all of us to supply the national grid. I ditch the nerves and apprehension that is swirling, unsure whether it’s that or the excitement making me feel sick. With one last check of documents and one final pep talk to the boys about behaviour for the journey, their faces so alive… and we’re on our way to the airport, swapping West Yorkshire for Kihei, Maui.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree off the Hana Highway, Maui AM. photo by Annaliese Morgan for Travel Boldly
Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree off the
Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii
Fast forward a few weeks and Maui has changed my life, and I intend to be back there soon. Without fail, expect to spend some $ here, but every one of them is worth it. Many people who live here rent half their house out; a cheaper option for accommodation that creates needed income for the owners. We made lifelong friends with the couple who owned the house we stayed in, and it was a way better experience than a hotel. 9-5 life doesn’t seem to exist there - which I loved - most jobs, of course, being outdoor-orientated. The happiness, caring, and a slower pace of life is everywhere in the Aloha state. They even drive slowly - compared to where I am from at least! It’s not without its stresses of course; the cost of living, the problems of burning the sugar canes, the oceans and marine life are taking a hit amongst others.

There are cheaper options for food (which can start at 8$ just for a gallon of milk!). Some supermarkets offer discount cards if you sign up and give your phone number. Costco near Kahului airport (around a 20 minute drive from Kihei) is a cheaper and key place for groceries. There are many other cash saving tips, so don’t let the cost put you off visiting this island that cocoons you in its magic.

Granny's Beach, Lahania, Maui, Hawaii. photo by Annaliese Morgan for Travel Boldly
Granny's Beach, Lahania, Maui, Hawaii
I still have many places to discover and explore on this small island. It’s shaped like a woman - look at
a map of it - it’s staggering! But here are a few of my
memories. Paia was funky; more hippy than Kihei. Just beyond Paia is Hookipa beach, the windsurfing mecca and the place for Honu watch. (I was invited to this courtesy of the Hawaiian Wildlife Fund; awesome guys doing awesome work. Up to 40 Green Sea Turtles leave the ocean and bask on the beach every day around sunset - an incredible sight to (respectfully) watch.

The road to Hana hides many waterfalls that are not on the main tourist list. They’re outrageously beautiful, although the famous hairpin bends which run for miles and miles made me feel sick! Personally, I didn’t like driving it. Do not miss the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees whilst on this road either. The native flowers of Hawaii really are what you see in the pictures; you can stare at them for hours. The Lavender Farm near the Haleakala Volcano I fell in love with, as I did with their lavender tea and biscuits.

One of Annaliese's favorite beaches Baldwin Beach Paia, Maui, Hawaii. photo by Annaliese Morgan for Travel Boldly
One of Annaliese's favorite beaches
Baldwin Beach Paia, Maui, Hawaii

The beaches are a stereotypical tropical paradise. Two of my favorites were Baldwin beach in Paia, and Big beach in Makena, also nicknamed breakback beach… The waves break right on the shore line, causing many spinal injuries every year to those who are not ocean-aware.

There are many more experiences and places for me to ramble over, but don’t take my word for it - go! Spend time with some of the nicest (and healthiest) people I’ve ever met in one of the most enchanting places I’ve been.

I was told by a wise lady, “The Hawaiian islands call to you, and bring you there, not the other way round". I would agree with that statement entirely.


Annaliese Morgan is a leading veterinary nurse turned professional writer. Authentic, inspirational and funny, Annaliese has led a challenging life, learning to walk after a serious accident, living as a single parent, and then sharing her astounding journey via her blog. Her passions include creativity, inspirational writing, and world travel - she is inspired by cultures and enjoys sharing her knowledge with her readers. Annaliese on G+


What is in your travel box? Where do you dream of going? What changes have you always dreamed of making?  Do you have an adventure like Annaliese's to share? Please share your travel desires in the comments below.

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