Have Teen Will Travel

Tara Christina M
6 min readJul 7, 2021



I was blessed to be able to take my son to Maui for his birthday. Though we stayed for 4 days, it was an amazing trip. The people were wonderful, the food was fantastic and what I thought was going to be a week of rest, turned into a 4-day adventure.

When I told my son about our trip he was elated. I suggested he look up activities and let me know. Being a research oriented young man, he disappeared into his room and came back immediately with a list. Top of the list was “Zipline.”

I looked him and asked, “You want to go ziplining?”

He responded enthusiastically, “Yes, it looks like fun.”

I’m normally a positive parent who tells my child he can do anything, but I honestly felt surprised. I described ziplining to him and he was unbothered about the thought of being harnessed to a line and gliding high in the air. I said, “Alright!” and suggested he research companies.

Within a few minutes he found two companies and we chose Maui Zipline Company. I booked the excursion and looked at the rest of his list. He wanted to go fishing, parasailing and more. I thought to myself, who is this child and when did he get so audacious. We looked into more adventures but most were booked well in advance. We were both excited and ready for our trip.

When we arrived on Maui it was early, so we decided to eat after picking up the rental car. He looked through my Yelp and asked to go to SixtyTwo MarcKet in Wailuku. We were able to get in within 15 minutes and were both happy, the food was excellent.

Since our check-in time at the hotel was several hours later, we decided to go for a drive. I love mountains and kept driving up. My intention was to drive around in a loop and come back by the ocean. As the road continued to narrow, my son repeatedly asked to go back. He didn’t think we would make it around the mountain to the ocean side. I finally conceded and after several photo opportunities, turned around and drove back.

Maui © 2021 Tara Christina

We ended up going to Paia, walking around and having Gelato. After a couple hours of exploration we checked into our hotel, settled in and decided to go eat again. We were ready for the following day’s adventures.

Day two was our zipline excursion. After a fantastic breakfast, swimming and minor exploration, we went to our zipline appointment. Although I had been ziplining before, I felt terrified over the high winds that day. My son was not phased in the least bit. Each time he jumped off the landing station, he glided with complete ease. I on the other hand, cussed up a storm. We were ziplining in the middle of a windstorm, it scared me, but he managed like a pro.

© 2021 Tara Christina

After more eating, swimming and exploration we contemplated our next adventure. The following day we drove to the other side of the island, the resort area, to go snorkeling. I was disappointed to discover that only people at the resort were allowed to snorkel at Black Rock Beach, so we drove until we found another where we could.

I don’t remember the name of the beach, but we had gotten there just when the wind picked up. I looked for the most calm spot with enough people to satisfy my comfort level. We put down our belongings, placed our snorkeling gear snug on our heads and I started the lesson.

I had been snorkeling several times before and guided my son through the experience. Though he’s a good swimmer, I stayed close. I watched as he jumped in and out of the waves, stood and submerged his face under water to look at the under sea treasures. He picked up very easily and soon ventured off to enjoy his own path.

I kept a watchful eye and even when I swam out to get a closer look at the fish and coral, every few seconds I turned to look at my son. He stayed by the shore and was in his own world exploring what was around him. I found myself taking multiple pictures and videos with our new underwater camera, Akaso EK700, which honestly was AWESOME!

Chasing Fish © 2021 Tara Christina

My son asked me a question and it was then I realized traveling as a parent has a whole different meaning than as a individual.

Prior to our trip I purchased a couple Joto underwater phone cases. I had both around my neck, plus held my underwater camera as I swam. Every few seconds I turned around to look at my son enjoying his own world. My son asked for his phone so that he could take an underwater picture of himself and text it to his father. This amused him greatly, but I felt concerned with him having the cord around his neck as he swam so I watched. I sat at the shore and looked as my son laughed, took underwater photos and had a good time. Though I was enjoying myself, I literally felt this was more his moment than mine and that was okay.

I was no longer thinking of vacationing the same as when I traveled prior to becoming a parent, the mom in me took over. I did not feel comfortable with him having the phone around his neck so I took it back, put both around mine and walked around in the water. The waters calmed and after a few more underwater explorations, we eventually sat on our towels to dry off. We finally showered, changed and drove to find something to eat.

Before eating we stopped off at an adventure park he saw on the way to snorkeling. We pulled up, looked around and found what he wanted, the air trampoline. After his five minutes of jumping, we ventured back to Kahului to eat dinner. We ordered from Tin Roof Maui and brought our dinner back to the hotel. The food was FANTASTIC!

Mochiko Chicken, Pickled Onions and Ginger Beer from Tin Roof Maui © 2021 Tara Christina

After more swimming and exploring, it was time to rest. I took a shower and literally passed out from exhaustion while my son watched television. We had a full four days, jam packed with a variety of planned and unplanned activities.

Though we didn’t get through his list, we enjoyed many adventures. My son thought the trip was epic and that brought a level of joy in my heart that I cannot describe. I never knew another person’s joy could bring me so much happiness. The trip was about my son and I felt very peaceful about that.

Maui was just fabulous. Our hotel was amazing, the food was fantastic, the people were the best and the vibe was chill. We both enjoyed ourselves, enough where we’ve decided to return and explore different islands. This will be after I take my adult trip however. It’s my turn.

Waiehu Beach © 2021 Tara Christina’s Son G.H.
Maui Seaside Hotel, View from Our Room © 2021 Tara Christina



Tara Christina M

Biracial Black Woman, Mother, Author, Tea-Maker & World Travelin' Foodie. You can read more at TaraChristina.com.