Kalepolepo Beach Park, Kihei, Hawaii

We Made It

Trey Whitaker
5 min readJul 29, 2022


It was a month ago that Abbey and I left our Tolland home for the final time to begin our journey to Maui. We’ve now been in Kihei for 18 days. We’re just settling in, but here are a few tidbits from our journey so far.

Abbey: She’s been somewhat of a phenom. Getting her to Maui safely was the number one priority. She endured seven days traveling across country from Manchester, CT to Dubois, PA to Indianapolis, IN to Springfield, MO to Oklahoma City, OK to Albuquerque, NM to Sedona, AZ to San Diego, CA. This was all before spending 10 hours in a cargo crate flying to Maui. She slept in a series of random hotels, drank water and took bio breaks at all sorts of crazy rest areas, conquered her first elevator rides, ate at restaurants, and even hiked among the red rocks in Sedona.

Since we arrived in Maui, Abbey has learned the walk to the beach, to ignore the lizards and wild chickens, and to not drink the ocean water. At this point, she hasn’t figured out that some of the ‘big rocks’ at the beach are actually sea turtles. Given the journey she faced, Abbey has done remarkably well. She definitely misses all the treats and pets from her CrossFit fan club, but she’s holding up.

Weather: Compared to what we’ve been hearing about on the mainland, the weather has been reasonable. Abbey and I walk to the beach around 6:30 AM. The mornings are calm, but the temps are already edging toward 80 degrees. When Abbey and I take our afternoon walk to the beach around 6:00 PM, the winds are usually blustery and the temps are starting to drop from the highs of around 90. So far, we’ve seen no rain beside the lightest of sprinkles. Even though we’re in the Rainbow State, we’ve not yet seen a single rainbow.

Territory: We live in Kihei on Maui’s south shore. To the east is Wailea, which is home to some ritzy beachside hotels like the Four Seasons. To the west is Lahaina and many large hotels like the Hyatt. The north side of the island includes the airport and the primary business area of Kahului and the surfing mecca near Paia. Each weekend, we’ve been visiting the farmer’s market in ‘up country’. Essentially, these are the hillsides of the dormant volcanoes and include towns like Makawao and Kula. The far side of the mountain is more remote and reached by an ever-winding and narrow road to Hana.

Food: So far, my favorite food find is the ‘sugarloaf pineapple’ grown on Kauai. It is sweeter and softer than a typical pineapple. The core is almost white and there’s no tartness. My favorite beverage is Maui Jun which is kombucha made with raw organic Hawaiian honey. We’ve been getting jugs refilled at the farmer’s market.

Fitness: Aloha CrossFit is less than a mile away and I’ve been walking to and from the gym. The coaches and members have been very welcoming. It’s usual that a portion of each class are folks dropping in while visiting the island. The workouts have been hard and I’m happy that the walk back home is downhill.

Entertainment: Maui doesn’t have a large civic center, but it has a venue about the size of the Bushnell. Last week, we were able to see comedian Nate Bargatze and laughed until our eyes were tearing up. Next week, The Stylistics come to town. Nothing like a little Motown in Maui.

Volunteering: I’ve been applying for some roles and had my first gig this week at the local Sugar Museum. I was able to ride my bike up to the museum, put in three hours of yard work and then ride back home. It was my first time trimming palm fronds. Many of their bushes are getting eaten by the axis deer that live on the island.

Time: The 6-hour time difference between the East Coast and Hawaii Standard Time is a bit challenging. I’m usually up at 6:00 AM and it’s already noon in Connecticut. When we’re heading out for our afternoon walk, it’s usually past midnight in New England. At this point, I’m just texting away and hoping that folks have their notifications turned off.

Homelessness: Like most places in the United States, there is some homelessness here in Maui. The weather is mostly ideal, the ocean surrounds you and you will catch a tan by just going about your normal day-to-day business. That said, Maui is also very much like other towns and cities. Not every aspect is perfect and idyllic.

Products: Since the islands are absolutely in the middle of a vast ocean, the supply of goods is more limited and things takes much longer to arrive. There’s really no ‘Amazon Prime’ delivery when you’re a six-hour flight from San Diego.

Maui Lifestyle: One of the coaches at Aloha CrossFit urged me to commit to the ‘Maui lifestyle’. Essentially to slow down and take things more easily. Having lived in the Northeast for most of my 63 years, that’s going to take some time, but, each day, I find myself giving more mahalo signs and less peace signs.

Family and Friends: On the plus side, it is wonderful to be back with Cherry and Caylee. Most days, we’ve been able to see each other and often share a meal. Recently, Caylee wasn’t feeling well and it was comforting to be here to support her. When they were visiting Maui, we were able to have lunch and do some sea turtle watching with Phil Ly and his family. This weekend, Caylee’s high school friend, Natalia, will be here to celebrate Caylee’s birthday with surf lessons, hiking and some venturing around the island.

It’s impossible to express how much we miss seeing and spending time with our friends in Connecticut. Many folks relocate to escape a troubled life with the hope of starting anew. In our case, we loved our Tolland home and the people that we spent time with. We very much look forward to seeing you all again soon.



Trey Whitaker

Former CrossFit gym owner, corporate manager, paratrooper, youth sports coach and jujitsu black belt. Now a trail steward at Haleakala National Park on Maui.