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Kean grew up in Indianapolis playing basketball 25 hours a day, attended Indiana University studying English as a Creative Writing major, and in 1971 got his first job out of college as a tour escort in Hawaii. He has been living on Maui ever since, and while he had several careers including video production...read more
Article by Kean Salzer
There is a phenomenon that almost every visitor experiences on their first trip to Maui that no one expects. They come back more alive than they've been in a long, long time.
Having plugged into the mainland's ferocious time-eating, merchandising culture we forget how fast we have been moving. I have a niece with three kids in Wisconsin who, bless her heart, tried to give her kids all the things she never had when she was growing up...you know...Mozart in the womb, flash card training in the crib, swim lessons at six months, gymnastics at age three, math camp, special tutoring, drama club, ballet, jazz and tap dancing, soccer, basketball, softball, speech competitions, spelling bee training...I know I've forgotten a few. The thirty year old niece is fine – though she hasn't gotten out of her mini van in the last 9 months, she still has most of her hair – it's the kids... I called last week and the 7 year old chastised me for not having more of my retirement portfolio in overseas technology stocks. I thought the little bugger was parroting something she had heard on TV so I smiled and asked her which ones I should pick up, but she read my skepticism and answered me in Mandarin, smiled, and walked off with her iPhone.
Anyway...here they come thinking life is a treadmill set on high-speed and they run smack into Hawaiian time. Local people or long time residents live by it, valuing relationships more than money. These are people who think the best thing they did all day was stop and "talk story" with an old friend from grade school. You'll see lots of bumper stickers on Maui that say "Slow Down – This Ain't The Mainland." That's because many visitors feel they have to get somewhere – anywhere – fast. Forgetting this is an island, and all you can do is go around in a circle, they rush to this hour's destination and snap the photo from the car window, throwing KFC over the seat to whoever's in back.
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