when life isn't a beach- don't stop.

A few months back I came into a cold world of Tim Horton’s drinkers and family embraces. After people looked at my slowly fading tan they'd ask where I had been. Mostly I'd get Australia, but when I say, no, unfortunately Hawaii sympathy haha!  Even though I worked exchanged while away, when you attach Hawaii to any part of your sentence I think automatically there is the assumption that everything is paradise. 

I’ve been given a slice of paradise. I am grateful everyday for the life I can live, and the people who surround me. Yet, your personal paradise isn’t determined by where you are or what you are doing. Sure life can look glamorous via Instagram pics but behind the scenes, behind the palm trees are people, with struggles that aren’t so care-free.

Regardless if you find yourself on a perfect sand beach, or haven’t had a vacation in years you aren’t alone.

Your physical location doesn’t fix the hurt, the stress, the worries, that consume the inside of you. Because, when you go away, - they're coming with you. What I’m getting at is, although I don’t have any new updates from Maui, or any fabulous snaps from the beach, that is only a season- a moment in time. It doesn’t determine the greatness of what’s next or what is now.

I can’t compare each year as better than the next because life isn’t always a beach.

I miss the tropical breeze, the tanned skin, watching the surfers at Hoopkipa, but I find myself here now in Southern Ontario. And guess what, I can’t wait for what new thing I can find around here. The adventure doesn’t stop - ever.

So, a quick reminder - don’t stop. 
Don’t stop asking.
Don’t stop hoping.
Don’t stop believing. 
Don’t stop working out.
Don’t stop eating your vegetables.
Don’t stop hanging out
Don’t stop moving forward
Don’t stop learning. 
Don’t stop cleaning your house. 
Don’t stop. 
Don’t get stuck in a moment. Keep moving, let life be as fluid as it’s meant to be. Don’t get hung up, or overanalyze. Let live. mediocrity isn't meant to be your song

Pretty poetic.  
Truth is. Life isn’t always a beach, but it’s what compels us that will be our life song, what will be our legend. It’s what you didn’t stop doing that you’ll be remembered for.  { A friend, a mentor, a parent, a spouse a sibling, a co-worker, a listening ear. } 

Just as life doesn’t stop whether things are going good or not. I’d encourage you to make the most of your current season. Find the hidden trails, the blooming trees, the good in the now.

Also, you should all get outside and explore some of Canada’s parks, 150 years y’all what better way to celebrate our Canadian pride and the good looks of Justin Trudeau. 
see ya on the trail, in the woods, and on the go. 

As always.

Brittany Hayward
Aloha : hello and goodbye

It was a mid-week inter island flight. Not fully realizing I had left my newfound dear friends behind in Maui I kept the Aloha spirit and met Leslie at the airport on Wednesday night. Finishing my time on Maui,  I changed gears from working to full out vacation mode. Upon her arrival we took a drive up the east coast of Oahu. I couldn't believe the difference already in the two islands. Finding myself in a big city surrounded by freeways and palm trees was a sight to be seen after living on an island with only 150,000 people. Bustling Honolulu was before my eyes and all I could think of was Hawaii 5-0 and Blue Crush. I was excited to see my dear friend and excited to see what Oahu had to offer. 

Harbour views in Waikiki 

Harbour views in Waikiki 

Our following days took us to Hanauma a beautiful snorkelling location. The sun was hot but the reef was loaded with colourful fish! We ate hummus wraps on the beach and Leslie avoided getting burned as the hot hot sun was a shock to the Canadian skin! Our day continued as we drove to Waimanolo Bay and beyond, the perfectly white sand couldn't get boring. I was happy to continually indulge in smoothie bowls endlessly on the island. One favourite being the North Shore's  popular Haleiwa Bowls, a food truck ( which is a very popular way to eat here) but a close tie was The Beet Box in Haleiwa an artsy cafe on the outskirts of the surf town. 

Hanauma Bay snorkel 

Hanauma Bay snorkel 

Upon Carina's arrival on Monday we couldn't wait to pick her up from the airport and take her up the coast- hoping for some whale sightings! She also had to lather on the SPF- apparently 30 wasn't good enough for beginning of vaca. The UV doesn't lie. 

Referencing Leslie's Lonely Planet guide was our bible for the week or so, we consulted every move and place to eat by the book. "What does the book say?" Was a common phrase. Thankful for every recommendation we found ourselves at some stellar sushi places, seafood trucks (for them) and local breweries. Checking Pearl Harbour, and a fun Luau off our list, we were content with driving around the shore line looking for some great beaches and personally watching some impressive surf on the North Shore. We were able to give it a go on the iconic Waikiki beach but definitely need some more time with it. 


With only a few days remaining on the islands it's hard to know what to think. A battle of emotions as I look to Canada where there has been a dumping of snow. What will I wear when I get home- I've literally been wearing flip-flops and a bathing suit for almost 3 months. What will happen next and where will the road lead. I'm reminded that the phrase of Aloha translates in Hawaiian as hello, but also goodbye. Even more deeper it translates into love, peace and compassion.  As I wave goodbye to the islands this coming week I take with me love. Never tiring of watching the ocean, the green mountains and the relentless surfers. I take with me the memory of the people I've met; for only a moment in time. The experience of travel has taught me that wherever you find yourself in the world, whoever you meet is for a reason. There is depth to your acquaintances and experiences. 

Never let them go , learn from them and think on them. 

So, Aloha to a never ending story. Goodbye to this chapter and Aloha to what is next. I have hope it's going to be good. 




Eventually everything fails me, but when I look at the sunset or the sky, I’m reminded what it’s like to be alive.
Jon Foreman
Brittany Hayward
This is living now

The first time I thought this was "the life" was when I was 12 and my parents left me home alone with my sisters for the first time. They brought us home chicken McNuggets, put on a movie and we called it a night. We maybe even had pop that night. That was living. But this Friday, when I strapped my snorkel gear on and followed a large sea turtle around the rocks of the bay in Kihei, I seriously thought. This is the life. 


It was the second power outage since being on the island. It was Thursday and we had just returned from the beach in Paia to come home to a very dark house. No wifi, no nothing. The worst part being that guests on the property were without electricity and running water. When this happens we have a "no flush rule" it usually gets broken pretty quickly as it only takes one person to succumb to their reflexes. Regardless, we found our flashlights and emergency lamps in order to navigate the house. Let's just say, Netflix downloads exist for times such as these. 

A week full of laughable Pinterest fails as we tidied the cottages and continued with both French and English grammar corrections with my Quebec room mates. We picked fresh local fruit, walked around town, got Dark Chocolate Sorbet (YES) again and planned where to eat next. On Friday we took our day off in the sun. I'm guessing UV was around a 10 as we couldn't lather enough SFP on our skin! The sun was hot and the water as always was perfect. That's where we couldn't see enough fish and the spectacular sea turtle. Because we didn't want to end up like rock Lobsters we finished our time and grabbed some smoothie bowls before we boarded the boat in Malaelaa Harbour for a whale watching cruise. We saw some beautiful humpback fins up close! We got soaked on our way out of the harbour , and the boat ride was equally just as great as the whales.  We made some new local friends, one who wanted to pretend we were boyfriend and girlfriend, (for jokes) and got a great view of Maui from the sea, and the volcanic clouds (vog) coming over the mountains. 

On Monday in Lahaina we chose to visit some local breweries and shopping around town. Of course, wasn't without stopping at a smoothie bowl place. A beautiful day oppose to some sort of allergic reaction and built up sickness I was feeling. Thankful for friends who can catch you when you need it. Literally.  



The first few weeks I came to Maui I turned to my two roommates and asked them, what should I do with my life? They laughed and asked if I meant in the moment, or in general. I laughed and thought yeah both. What should I do? The life is happening now. So before I move onto to the neighbouring Hawaiian island this week and say good bye to Maui friends I'm choosing to appreciate as much of life's moments right now. In general, I know what my life is grounded in, and that is what is most important. Adventure is welcome to find me, that usually is accompanied with the unknown. Adventure on, and live now.  

Brittany Hayward
Maui Aquarium : A whale of a time

I sat at Maalaea Harbour watching the snorkel and whale tours preparing for their departures to nearby Molokini island and into the harbour. We had just finished our tour of Maui Ocean Centre, a top rated Aquarium here on Maui when from the distance I saw a whale watching boat. Not far off the shore a large humpback lept completely out of the water, a full out breach as it landed back into the ocean with a big splash. My eyes literally came out of my head. Did that just happen??? I left my friends back at the cafe to explore, so it was just me, the ocean and the whale. So many times I thought, I could have captured it, but that's the spontaneity of the ocean. 

We left fairly early that day to make it to the aquarium placed in the centre of island of Maui. On the smaller side, the Aquarium divided up the viewings into lower ocean reef, medium reef and deep reef. Some of the coolest things was seeing fish we had already snorkelled with! The aquarium featured a long tunnel of different sharks in the nearby islands, large tuna fish and of course turtles.

There was a great summary of why the amount of humpback whales in the area and a narrative of Hawaiians and their history with the ocean. We found ourselves staring at the glass and taking endlessly taking photos of the colourful fish. I felt like was on a field trip back in grade school. 

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Shifting gears our next day took us down past Hana into Haleakala National Park. I got the opportunity to drive the winding road but didn't mind one bit. The greenery is like non other on this scenic route. Our destination being the Pipiwai trail. A covered trail with loads of bamboo, at the end being a tall waterfall. More Jurassic Park vibes as we sang the theme song as we hiked. Only 2 more weeks left on Maui before the road leads to Oahu. Can't wait to take as much as I can in before I say good-bye to this island! 


Brittany Hayward
The roads of Maui

I saw the shark sign listed on the beach and it didn't faze me. We were ready to snorkel again. We hit up Olowalu Beach outside of Lahaina on our day off ; extra early.  We brought our gear and fins although the weather wasn't on our side! Regardless, we jumped into the ocean as the cloudy skies loomed above us. The reefs were beautiful and full of fish again. The best part was that the ocean was warm and easy to swim around.

Although, because of the cloud cover, we found we didn't last too long on the beach. We headed North towards Napili looking for some hidden gems around the specular West Maui mountains. On the way we saw neighbouring islands Lanai and Molokai. The skies cleared up and it turned into a picture perfect day.


The cliffs soared down into the ocean below us and the Jurassic Park mountains and greenery stood out on our right side. Gradually the road became more and more narrow, increasingly winding and as I kept my eyes glued to the unknown around each corner.



My friend Cat stuck her Go Pro out the window being able to film every turn so I could watch the road, and watch the footage later! I have to admit my palms got pretty sweaty at some points but it was a gloriously beautiful road. As the road kept getting greener and more narrow I wondered how driving a single lane was possible! I tried my best and gave the hang loose signals as the locals do to the drivers passing by.

We took our time taking it all in and completely missing our sight seeing point of interest. Not much signage here in Hawaii! 

We ended our days venture at Walmart to grab some cheap groceries as we made our way back down to the road to Hana. Another day off to come in beautiful Maui.


Brittany Hayward
Hiking lava fields and what the ocean is teaching me 

I watched as the cruise ship turned away from Lahaina, honking it’s loud horn as it departed the harbour. We sat on the lanai eating wood oven pizza’s looking out at the ocean while a cheesy DJ tried to spin some tunes inside. Our mid-week day off proved eventful at D.T. Fleming beach on the North West coast of Maui. We hopped from beach park to beach park trying to find our perfect spot. We had hoped to go snorkelling again but learned that the waters on the North shore create some pretty big currents. Instead we relaxed, did a little hike and took in the rays. Before departing south for Lahaina we followed Mechi to a cliff face that had crazy rock formations, which looked as though lava had frozen in its place. 

The ocean has been our theme. I guess living on an island you really can’t get away from it. But I’m amazed just how every day it looks different, how every day it can change. It’s mesmerizing to sit and watch the waves, as the water laps up on shore. I think, you never know what it will bring. It’s a form of faith I suppose, the unknown. We have no control over the ocean, no control over the tides. On Friday we drove by Ho’okipa beach we boasts some of the best surfing on the island. This early Friday morning and the beach is packed, the waves full with surfers. “Doesn’t anyone work Friday?” I ask my manager. “Not if the surf is good” she laughs. This gives a whole new meaning to island time.  

Island timing requires surrender, and as the coast line followed our drive Friday morning it led us to Makena. A very southern portion of the island. We made it down to La Pourouse Bay and walked along where Lava used to flow. Looking upwards we saw the black remains of the flow, and to our right was spectucalr blue waters with the brightest fish I’ve seen yet. This area is immensely popular for snorkelling. We decided we have to come back. I kept thinking how thankful I was for a local take on the island. The day cleared up as the vog from the Big Island left the horizon. We were left with a chance to hang around the seaside and pick up coral and lava rocks. It brought us all back to being kids again. 

To being kids, the ocean, exploring, and discovering. I don’t think we should ever stop. There is so much more to be seen. 

Brittany Hayward
Upcountry and Around

Highlight of this week on Maui was visiting a lavender farm high into the hills of upcountry. The air was extra clean and crisp, as the temperature got a little brisk on our side of the island. Entering the lavender farm we received kama'aina rate. Which is the discounted local price. None of us really being locals, yet driving up in our beat-up work truck was enough to prove we weren't tourists. The entrance was glorious boasting large plants of every kind. The smell was even a whole lot better! 

This being Sunday I was able to attend church in the early morning. Super grateful! I made connections with Maui Christian Church and spent the morning getting to know the friendly, little congregation that met up on the hill at Pai'a Elementary School. Even more grateful to have received a ride to and from as the winding Hana Highway becomes pretty isolated! 

Following church and our lavender farm experience, we had to make a decision. Do we want to see the sunset from the beach in South Maui, or from the top of Haleakala Crater? We decided to drive down to the beach. The winding road from Kula and upcountry took us town towards... well it took us down towards not a whole lot! Driving towards the coast, the swerving road boasted views of the ocean lookout with Lanai and Molokini, the neighbouring islands on the horizon.

We kept on driving and found ourselves surrounded by spectacular, erie scenery. Something out of Lord of the Rings, or Jurassic Park. We were on the south side of the Haleakala Crater and one look to the left was the hazy dormant volcano, and to the right was the pristine ocean with sights of blowholes, and whales off the shoreline.

We kept on driving until the road turned to gravel and portions of bridges became one lane. We made it completely to Kaupo a tiny, tiny town with a convenience store and old church. At that point we turned around and called it a day, we had at least another 2 hour drive before making it back to Huelo. The sun followed us home as it set on the horizon in front of us. It was a beautiful way to spend a day off. 


This evening we had a "woofer dinner" essentially it is a potluck with all the workers here at Heulo Point. We each created a unique dish of findings  and our boss brought some leftover wine from guests! The beach calls tomorrow on our day off. More stories to come!



Brittany Hayward