In today’s world, the most precious asset is… common sense. Que “my precious” by Gollum. It’s become a rarity, dwindling away from our grasp. But I want to hold on to it so bad!
Society seems to have lost its ability to acknowledge perspectives beyond our own. Instead of embracing a variety of views, we’ve become one-way thinkers—where there’s only right or wrong, each person interpreting their own truth. It’s a messed-up reality that’s causing a lot of trouble and fights in our lives.
The breakdown in our ability to exercise common sense has led us to this. We’ve forsaken the middle ground, fixating on extreme ends. Rather than striving to understand various viewpoints, we’ve adopted an alarming stance: “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story.”
Deep down, we recognize this flaw. How? By dismissing anyone who disagrees with us. It’s far simpler to cling to our existing beliefs than to step into the shoes of another.
This challenge isn’t fixed to a specific year or time. It’s not about 2020 or 2024—it’s about our collective inability to embrace common sense. The thing is, the extremes of a spectrum don’t show what’s right or wrong. The real answer is in the middle, where different views come together.
When hiring, I’m no longer fixated solely on a specific skill set or educational or experience. People who still hold onto common sense are what I’m looking for. It’s not just a passing trend—it’s crucial in a world where balance is lacking. It seems common sense is not so common!
It feels like the world is burning, and no one can agree on anything. I know that I feel this way because I make a conscious choice to go on social media, and the algorithm targets me with content that increases this feeling. That’s just the reality we live in. We are getting fed a non-stop diet of content that isn’t necessarily good for our psyche.
The biggest learning I had this year wasn’t about my social media use. I’ve known about that for a while. I’m a technologist, so I understand why I’m fed what I’m fed. My learning came late in the year as conference season came to a close. As I looked back on the year and the interactions I had with people, I realized something.
I interacted with hundreds, if not thousands, of people throughout the year, and almost never did those interactions include politics or what I would call stressful or uncomfortable conversations. Most of the conversations were about HR or Recruiting with other professionals who were passionate about HR and/or Recruiting. Men, women, people who identify as something other, gay, straight, queer, etc., old, young, black, white, Asian, Indian, etc.
So, I know that many, if not a majority, of the folks I positively interacted with throughout the year most likely had many different ideologies than I did. Yet, we still had enjoyable and educational conversations. We left feeling like we had a connection that we could call on if needed. Never once did I, or someone I was speaking with, make the conclusion that we couldn’t listen and learn from each other because we were talking about something we had in common.
That was my big learning for 2023 and something I’ll take into 2024.
We do not focus enough on what we have in common with each other. We focus too much on the few things we might have differing opinions on.
I met and connected with so many great people in 2023 all across the world. Amazing people who are now a part of my global network of friends and professionals that I will rely on. People of all kinds who I value based on our commonalities, not our differences.
The world, our politicians, our technology, Artificial Intelligence, and often our friends and family are working to rip us apart. Begging us to lean into our differences like it’s a badge of honor. Wanting us to believe that a few differences are much more important than an overwhelming amount of ideas and philosophies we can agree on.
Some of the closest people in my life are the exact polar opposite of me politically. I actually think this makes me smarter and helps me keep an open mind. I’m able to do this because I also know, that while we might think of some things differently, we think about way more stuff the same. And it’s these common beliefs that build a strong relationship.
As you think about your goals and dreams for 2024, I would love to challenge you to do just one thing. Before judging someone (and I’m the king of judging folks!), first try to come up with three things you have in common and verbalize those to that person. Watch where the conversation goes. You will most likely create more friendships. Learn new things about those around you and yourself. You will probably be a bit happier and less stressed.
What I noticed throughout most of 2023 is that I kept running into new people who seemed lonely. I think the loneliness stems from us believing that everyone is different from us when we are mostly the same. In reality, you’ll never find anyone who is the same as you, but we are made to believe that is some kind of worthwhile goal. It’s not. Everyone is different from you. The key is to find out what we have in common, and what we share.
The world wants us to hate each other. I don’t buy that garbage. I’m the hugger guy. In 2024, I’m going to purposely try to find things between us that are common and keep our focus there. I’m really interested in where that will lead us. I already know what the opposite has been doing.
I’ve been flying a ton lately and have had to experience quite a few airlines. I usually only fly Delta when given a chance. Honestly, I’ve flown all the others, and I find them to be superior in the things that matter to me. Delta gets me to where I’m going when they say they do. The Delta flights I’m on also seem safe and clean. The Delta employees I’ve run into actually come across as professional and friendly.
At the end of the day, most air travel has basically become akin to taking a ride on a Greyhound bus. I say this knowing most people have never ridden on a Greyhound bus. A real trip from one city to the next where you had to go to the bus station to catch the bus. It’s not glamorous. It’s slow and tedious. I once took a Greyhound bus trip from Grand Rapids, MI, to Omaha, NE, to see the girl I love. I believe that specific bus is still en route to Omaha. I started that trip over thirty years ago!
The one thing you notice when you fly a lot, which seems rather out of place, is the pitch to buy the airline credit card. What I’ve witnessed recently is the pressure on getting an airline credit card is directly correlated to the level of the airline you are own. Let me give you some examples:
Delta: They make a brief announcement over the intercom of some great offer of free flier miles if you go to some website and get the credit card. That’s it. One mention takes less than a minute. (For transparency’s sake: I have a Delta Skymiles credit card, but they got me via email, not flight announcement).
American Airlines and United: They also make the credit card announcement, but they also have their flight attendants walk up and down with actual applications for the credit card. Like, here you go, fill this out right now. It’s almost as if the flight attendants themselves are getting some sort of kickback. Or they should be!
Southwest: Much longer pitch, as is the Southwest way. They give way too much freedom to flight attendants and the intercom! I have to believe that standup comics actually get jobs at Southwest as flight attendants simply because it offers them a captured audience for their sh*tty jokes. You know, it’s some flight attendant up there telling a story about how their grandma got the card and came to see them for the holidays. I can’t remember if they also have the brochures/credit card applications that they hand out, but I’m guessing they do. There’s no way they don’t.
Spirit/Frontier: Okay, let’s be honest. I don’t fly these airlines. I would take the Greyhound bus before subjecting myself to this Carnival of the airways. But I can imagine what these pitches must be like, given all of the other cheap policies they have in place. Something like, “Yo! If we don’t get ten of you to sign up for this card, this plane isn’t leaving the gate!” They get their ten and then go, “Okay, only five more before we can take off from the tarmac!”
Korean Air: Nope. None of it. They just took care of me and made my flight the most pleasant experience ever.
Why do airlines shove their credit cards down our throats after we pay an exceptionally high amount for a ticket? Because it makes them a ton of money! It’s pretty simple economics. We have a captured audience. We are going to assume at least part of the audience are fans because they chose to fly with us. Of course, they want our credit card!
It’s actually somewhat surprising they aren’t pitching more things for us to buy. A new Awaysuitcase with a special Delta Airlines luggage tag that acts as a tracker as well! (I love my Away bag!) Some arrival limo service that’s easier than Uber and picks you up directly at your gate. Girl Scout cookies. I mean, who wouldn’t kill an entire box of Thin Mints on a flight from Detroit to Dallas? How much for the Girl Scout cookies? $20! Sold! Airport money is different than any other kind of money.
It’s all lazy marketing. We have a captured audience who paid for one thing. Why don’t we jam something else down their throats and see if we can make the flight experience even more miserable? The best is when your flight is delayed, and you hear the pitch. “Hey, why don’t you sell fewer credit cards and just get me to my destination on time!?”
I feel for the flight attendants forced to do this as part of their job. I hope they are getting kickbacks for each one they land. They should!
So, that’s my rant. Airline credit card applications in the air. Stop it. Be better.
Also, if you click here and use the code #SackettMiles you can get 90,000 Delta Skymiles!
Do you know what it felt like the last time you fell in love?
I mean, real love?
The kind of love where you talk 42 times per day, in between text and Facebook messages, and feel physical pain from being apart? Ok, maybe for some, it’s been a while, and you didn’t have the texts or Facebook! But, you remember those times when you really didn’t think about anything else or even imagine not seeing the other person the next day, hell, the next hour. Falling “in” love is one of the best parts of love; it doesn’t last that long, and you never get it back.
I hear people all the time say, “I love my job,” and I never used to pay much attention; in fact, I’ve said it myself. The reality is that I don’t love my job. I mean, I like it a whole lot, but I love my wife, I love my kids, and I love Diet Mt. Dew at 7 am on a Monday morning. The important things in life! But my job? I’m not sure about that one. As an HR Pro, I’m supposed to work to get my employees to “love” their jobs. Love.
Want to know the difference between like and love? The next time your significant other tells you, “I love you!” just say in return, “Yeah, I like you as well!” Then get ready for an argument!
Let me go all Dr. Phil on you for a second. Do you know why most relationships fail? No, it’s not cheating. No, it’s not the drugs and/or alcohol. No, it’s not money. No, it’s not that he stops caring. No, it’s not your parents. Ok, stop it. I’ll just tell you!
Relationships fail because expectations aren’t met. It seems logical knowing what we know about how people fall in love and lose their minds. Once that calms down, the real work begins. So, if you expect love to be the love of the first 4-6 months of a relationship, you’re going to be disappointed a whole bunch over and over.
Jobs aren’t much different.
You get a new job, and it’s usually really good! People listen to your opinion. You seem smarter. Hell, you seem better looking (primarily because people are sick of looking at their older co-workers). Everything seems better in a new job. Then you have your one-year anniversary, and you come to find out you’re just like the other idiots you’re working with.
This is when falling in love with your job really begins. When you know about all the stuff, the company hid in the closet. The past employees they think are better and smarter than you, the good old days when they made more money, etc. Now is when you have to put some work into making it work.
I see people all the time moving around to different employers and never seeming to be satisfied. They’re searching. Not for a better job or a better company. They’re searching for that feeling that will last. But it never will, not without them working for it.
The best love has to be worked for. Passion is easy and fleeting. Love is hard to sustain and has to be worked on, but it can last forever.
I was over in London during the 4th of July holiday. I hosted the DisruptHR London event and attended RecFest 2022. The weather was very un-London like in that it was amazing!
This was my third time in London and every time I learn a little more:
Still the best mass transit system around. Nothing beats the Tube!
London is a better New York. Big city. Big city stuff to do. Smells wonderful and seems like a smaller city. Flowers everywhere. There’s so much to see.
Food is improving, but mainly that’s all the non-English food coming in.
Shopping is funny in London. So many people from different countries and middle east tourists love the gaudy logo brand clothing! The gaudier the better! They wait in line to get into the biggest brand name stores! Like, you never have to ask what they are wearing, you can read it clearly across their chest! The English, tend to not be so loud about their dress.
They still laugh at how much soda Americans drink, but that’s only because instead of drinking soda they drink the same amount of beer.
The English men dress exponentially way better than American men on average. Also, almost none of them wear shorts. I had folks comment on my “American” shorts, mostly that it was too cold for shorts. It was in the ’70s every day.
It’s one of the most diverse cities I’ve been to. You meet people from so many countries it’s unbelievable. And no one is complaining that England is trying to make the country their country. London is London, you came here, welcome to London. We’re going to stay being London, we hope you like it. If you don’t, you’re free to leave. That doesn’t mean they aren’t accepting and welcoming, they are. But they are also English, no matter your skin color or nationality.
I had drivers from six different countries – Afghanistan, Italy, South Africa, Iraq, Norway, and Croatia. Each one was excited to talk about America and all couldn’t wait to go back or go for the first time. They seemed truly excited. Also, unfortunately, most wanted to go to Las Vegas or New York. To them that’s America! This wasn’t normal driver chit-chat, these folks really wanted to talk about America and many had stories of them trying to get to America, but England was easier.
DisruptHR London –
Just an amazing group of HR professionals and speakers. The London HR crowd was so engaging.
We struggled to get 200 folks to sign up. Which is strange, but it’s really about advertising and marketing. Everyone who came raved about the event, but almost 100% said they had never heard of it. It felt like we hammered the marketing for eight straight weeks. Also, this was actually the 16th DisruptHR London, so it begs the question of who was coming to the first 16?!
If you’ve never done a 5-minute DisruptHR talk – as a speaker – it might be your greatest challenge! You must try one!
4,000+/- Recruiting professionals at an outdoor festival. Jamie Leonard, the founder of RecFest, hates when I call it the world’s largest Recruiting party, but it is! It’s also a festival and conference and it’s amazing.
It was a warm, sunny day, and I and like 50 other people had on our American shorts!
Word is, RecFest might be coming to America in 2022, but if you have a chance to go over to London for RecFest 2023, it’s a must-do!
People in the UK seem to love to queue (that’s standing in line, for Americans). When I arrived at the festival there were 1,000 people in the queue just waiting to get in! Eventually, they just opened the gates, then people went right back into the queue for coffee, food, and beer. I think the English just walk around looking to stand in a queue! That won’t work in America. Jamie and the crew will have to figure that out. If Americans stand in line for ten minutes, they’ll never come back!
There is nothing like this anywhere in the world! The RecFest folks truly have something special on their hands.
Every year around this time the content machine delivers an endless amount of “Graduation” advice to new grads. “As you leave the manicured lawns of your youth…” I’ve actually done the “wear sunscreen” posts myself from year to year. They are easy to write because it allows the writer to just wax poetically about all the mistakes we’ve made ourselves, which in turn becomes the advice for you to do or not do (thanks, Yoda!).
I realized just yesterday the problem with the grad advice columns is we’ve completely forgotten about dropouts! In today’s world, with declining higher ed enrollments (college starts are down 5 quarters in a row) it’s even more important that we talk to the dropouts as well. Of course, we see many more dropouts when unemployment is very low as it is now. With a ton of jobs open, young people can make really great money without going to college, so it’s a natural phenomenon.
The Sackett Tips for Grads and Dropouts
Work for the biggest brand possible right out of the gate. You most likely won’t have a great experience, but it will help your career out way more in the long run. We are all enamored with the person who worked for Amazon and Apple over JBE Automation in central Iowa. Like somehow that Apple job where you got to focus on a sliver of a project is way more valuable than actually owning an entire project. But that’s life. Go work for a giant brand.
Calculate the value of leaving a job and people you really like. You will hear estimates from “experts” telling you not to change jobs unless you get a 10-20% increase. And that is really a lot of money. But, what if the new job sucks and the new people suck. Is that $5,000-10,000 worth it? Each of us has to make that call. What I find is most people will tell you it’s not worth it.
Maintain relationships with peers and co-workers from other jobs you left and with those who left your company. That network will pay you back in the future like nothing else you have.
Say, “Yes” to jobs no one else wants. Those are the jobs that get noticed by executives. We all know the stuff no one else wants to do, so when someone steps forward and “takes one for the team” you stand out above the rest.
Protect your time, but have a reason. Executives totally understand the person who says, “I can’t this weekend, I’m coaching my little girl’s soccer team and I have to be there for her” vs. someone who just says “No”.
Every executive is looking for people who treat the organization and the brand like their own. I get it, they make a crap ton more than you, but they always didn’t make more. At some point, they made peanuts as well but treated the company like it was their own. Protected assets, spent budget wisely, etc.
Diversity isn’t about color, gender, etc. But it also is about all that. You want to hire great people who fit your culture and who are also from diverse backgrounds. Most organizations fuck this up by just hiring color or gender and forgetting about the fit. It’s not one or the other, it’s both.
Don’t wait for an employer to develop you. Find ways to develop yourself. Build a business case as to why your employer should pay for you to take a class that costs money.
Make yourself as pretty as possible. Every single study you can find will show that the more attractive you are the more money you make, the more likely you are to get promoted, work for a great company, etc. Turns out, everyone loves pretty people. You, like me, might not have been blessed with “pretty” DNA, but we can all make ourselves the best version of ourselves! Don’t believe people that tell you looks don’t matter. They matter greatly, they’ve just given up.
Put on your own oxygen mask first. I run into so many kind souls who are trying to protect and help co-workers, peers, etc., but not helping themselves. Take care of yourself, so you can properly help others.
Oh, and wear sunscreen.
So, what’s the difference in advice between the grads and dropouts? None. Turns out, once you start working no one gives a shit whether you have a degree or not, now you have to actually perform.
It’s a great time to be a hard-working, attractive, smart person in our society. Take advantage.
We all get asked for favors on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis. Most aren’t really favors, they’re just requests for something the person probably is getting paid to do or it’s their responsibility, but it sounds nicer if we say it’s a favor. I get asked for a lot of favors and I probably go overboard on trying to accommodate most. I can blame my Midwest upbringing, but honestly, most folks asking for a favor find it hard to ask to begin with and I know that. Having the courage to ask should be rewarded.
I had to ask for a favor this week. Kind of big favor (you know who you are if you’re reading this – thank you for your help!) that had to do with my business. Because I tend to give a lot of favors, I don’t feel nervous about asking, but I also don’t ever assume the favor will be granted. I go in eyes-wide-open, I’m giving favors without any guarantee that someone will be able to give me a favor back in return. But, it’s rare when someone can’t.
I find business can frequently be a favor economy. It’s not always about signed contracts and cash changing hands. In fact, most of the business I do is paid in favors, with the hope that one day a signed contract and cash might come!
The biggest favor I ever asked was when I wrote my book. I went out to my entire network and asked them to buy a book. That’s a big favor! To the tune of $24.95. I could actually put a price on that favor. The reality is, most favors we would consider much more valuable. The book favor was less about the $24.95, and more about the support of my content and all that I had given to our community for many years. The funny thing about that favor is while so many bought the book and made it very successful, not as many as I thought bought the book as I expected. Turns out, $24.95 is a giant favor to ask of some folks!
In comparison, I’ve asked folks for the favor of an introduction that has turned into a seven-figure deal for my company. That same person wouldn’t spend $24.95 on my book, but they would give me a seven-figure introduction! It’s ironic how we value favors!
Favors are the currency of our everyday business interactions. You need something from me, regardless if I’m getting paid for it or not, and if you give me a favor it almost is a guarantee that I’ll reply with a favor back. Yet, we place no monetary value on favors. Well, at least most people don’t place a monetary value on favors! But sometimes we run into someone that has a definite favor they need in return that might turn into a monetary or resource-driven favor that is really hard for us to obtain.
I’ve had many folks in my life, as a favor to me, push a candidate I was supporting in front of the hiring manager with a good word. No guarantee of hire, but getting to the top of the pile sometimes if the push you need to get some of that “favor” luck! I’ve done the same, too many times to count. We’ll say it’s just our job, but in reality, it’s more than that.
I believe it is in our nature to want to give a favor. Not because we’ll get something in return, but because we like to help others. I truly believe this is a built-in emotion of the human condition. If we can do something for you, that will help you, at a fairly low cost to ourselves, why wouldn’t we want to grant that favor? It gets a bit tricky as the cost to ourselves starts to feel uncomfortable.
No big aha moment to end on. Just simply think about all the favors you give and take today as you navigate around. It happens so often, sometimes we forget how common it is.
Before I get into this rant, let me give a shoutout to Hung Lee. Hung runs theRecruiting Brainfoodnewsletter out of the UK and it is seriously the best recruiting newsletter on the planet. Also, Hung believes everyone should start a LinkedIn Newsletter, which leads me to believe that maybe he caught the Covid or something and his brain is slipping!
First off, is there a glitch in the Matrix or something? Since the beginning of the year, I’ve seriously received over 50 LinkedIn Newsletter invitations. Somedays I’m getting over 5 per day! What the heck is going on?
Second off, no one needs all these dumb newsletters!
Have you seen some of these!? Most are bad life coaching newsletters or professionals who are working at home and just flat bored with nothing else to do. I have yet to receive one that looked half-interesting. Here’s a sample of the newsletter titles:
Leadership and You
The Cup’s Half Full Newsletter
The Thoughtful Leader
The Top Talent Newsletter
Reading these again just made me fall asleep, where was I again?
WhyShouldn’t You Start A LinkedIn Newsletter?
You shouldn’t primarily because you won’t sustain it and ultimately it makes you look like you’ve got a follow-through problem professionally!
Look, here’s the deal. Most people suck at writing. Some are good, but will just run out of things to say in around ninety days. Either way, all of these newsletters will just sit there with old content. Then one day, someone will find it and their first thought won’t be, “OMG! This newsletter is amazing and changed my life!” It will be, “this is odd, this person hasn’t written in 18 months, I wonder if the Covid got them!?”
To Hung’s belief, yes, everyone has a voice. But this is where Hung I part ways. He believes because you have a voice you should use it. I believe most voices suck! If yours sucks, don’t use it, use something else you’re good at! What the last twelve years of writing have shown me is most people’s writing voice isn’t very good, and no one wants to read it. But you’re bored and you think what the heck, someone might turn their life around by me sharing my “Thoughtful Leadership” thoughts, but they won’t, in fact, you might actually be the catalyst that finally pushes them over the edge! Let that sink in, you LinkedIn Newsletter Murderer!
By the way, this is not an indictment on LinkedIn! That would be like me blaming Taco Bell for fat people. No, Taco Bell is awesome, I love it. My low willpower is to blame, not Taco Bell. I don’t blame LinkedIn for stupid people. LinkedIn just provided a great tool for stupid people to spread their stupid. How did LinkedIn know stupid people wanted to share their stupid?
Another reason you shouldn’t start a LinkedIn Newsletter is that you actually don’t have an opinion. “Racism is bad!” Groundbreaking, thanks. Any other hot takes, Sparky? You actually have to have an opinion. Have a legitimate take on something. Stating the obvious, while probably be cathartic at some level for you, isn’t readable!
This isn’t to say that LinkedIn Newsletters can’t be ultra-popular. One of the Top 5 LI Newsletters is a dude who gives career advice. He has over 750K followers. I’m sure it’s great stuff, like, don’t stink and don’t throw up during an interview. All the ‘real’ stuff job seekers need to know. I haven’t read his newsletter but I’m guessing he had a 13-minute career as a recruiter which makes him highly qualified to now give out this life-changing advice.
I know. I know. You’re going to make so many new sales and clients with your newsletter, plus your Aunt Jenny who’s a retired accountant told you how great she thinks it is. No, you won’t and No, it’s not. Stop it. Stop sending me your damn invites. I hate your Newsletters! They’re awful! Someone needs to tell you the truth!
Okay, I have to go start my Linkedin Newsletter before I miss out on this gravy train!
Let’s start with I’m not a travel blogger, but I like to travel and I like to think I can vacation with the best of them! I spent the last two weeks in Maui, part family trip with the boys, part anniversary trip (with no boys) with my wife and eye. I’ve traveled all over the world, but for some reason never went to Hawaii.
First, I spent all two weeks in Maui, don’t @ me! I get Kauai is “way” better and Oahu is your favorite and Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t do the big island. Shut it! After flying 10 hours, I wasn’t looking for more stupid flights during Covid! It’s a nightmare flying right now between Covid, low staffing levels, etc. I wanted two weeks of fun and relaxation and fish tacos.
Shoutout to the twenty+ folks who gave me ideas of what to do. Too many to mention, but I think 95% of the stuff folks shared with me was awesome!
Okay, let’s breakdown Maui according to Sackett
1. We stayed the first week in Kannapali (west Maui) big resorts – Marriott, Hyatt, Westin, etc. Easy for families, big pools, average hotel food, good golfing. If you like big giant hotels and a lot of people west Maui is for you. Everything is right there, it’s simple. It was good. Great weather, lighter winds. Easy to get out and spend time on the beach.
2. We stayed the second week in Wailea (South-west Maui). Wailea is higher end. Fancy resorts, way better restaurants, higher daily trade winds, great beaches, better snorkeling, felt way less busy than Kannapali. Tremendous sunsets. Whale watching right off our balcony.
Things I did on a 5 Star scale – 1 Star = Never do this; 5 Stars = Must do.
– Snorkel Trips with Trilogy. We loved this so much we did it twice! Once out of Kannapali and once out of Kihei. These guys were amazing and you have a lot of options for these types of trips. Trilogy costs more than most, but it was worth it. Great newer boats, very clean, great staff, great food (not joking! one of the better lunches we had on the island!), great drinks. I actually would have done more of these they were so enjoyable! I also did Snuba on one of these trips and it was amazing! (5 Stars)
– Ultimate Whale Watch was cool. We were a bit early for great whale watching but we still saw five whales in two hours. They have small boats, so everyone is basically in the front row. The crew would call around and find whales and were knowledgeable. The small boats make it easier to zip around and find more whales. (4 Stars, but only because we were early in the season, better in late January, early February, but we did see whales both weeks – 2 breaches which are unheard of)
– Kapalua Golf, Plantation Course – Super expensive, but it’s always rated the number one course in Hawaii and one of the top courses in the world, and it was amazing! The views are outrageous, it’s difficult but playable. If you’re a serious golfer this is a must-do when you go to Maui. I only golfed twice in Maui and both courses had great rental clubs. (5 Stars)
– Helicopter ride around Maui – we went with Pacific Helicopter Tour and it was awesome. Now, we were hoping to do the entire island, including the north shore, Road to Hana, but the weather kept us on the west and northwest side, and it was still one of the most amazing things I’ve done and seen. You see parts of Maui no one can see and it will remind you of Jurassic Park! thousand-foot waterfalls, rain forest, coastline crashing waves, etc. Plus, flying on a helicopter with the doors off is just fun! (5 Stars)
– Surf Lessons – We used Maui Wave Riders and it was good. Look, I get it, most people aren’t going to take surf lessons, but I’ve got three boys (err. men) and we like to try adventurous stuff. I’ve now taken three surf lessons: Sydney, Hermosa Beach, and now Maui. It’s hard and tiring, but it’s so much fun! You fall a lot and it can be frustrating trying to get up, but a great instructor is a key to getting you up on a board, and then you get addicted. (4 Stars – waves were good, but it’s a packed place in Lahania where you can catch them, but great for beginners)
– Haleakalā Sunrise Tour – We used Skyline and they were good. So, this is very weather-dependent on how great it can be, we had a lot of clouds, but still got some good sunrise views, but not awesome. Understand, they pick you up at 2:45 am to get there and when you get there an hour early it’s 30-40 degrees, so you freeze! I definitely would not take kids on this! It’s a long day, cold, and you are hoping to get a view of an amazing sunrise that lasts like 20 minutes. Then a long ride back. The positive was the tour gives you a ton of information and history, plus they gave us warm coats, but when they tell you to dress warm, they are not kidding! (3 Stars)
– Road to Hana – this one will be the hardest to rate, it almost needs multiple ratings because there are pieces of the Road to Hana that are 5 stars and some that are 1 or 2 stars. We bought an app to guide us and it was super helpful (Gypsy Guide – $10). FYI – you will need hiking shoes or shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, and most likely they’ll get wet, so bring a change of clothes as you’ll most likely want to swim as well. We left Wailea at 6:30 am, skipped Ho’okipa Beach because we had already been there, and pretty much beat the traffic out on the road, we made Hana by 1:30 pm and that was with 90 minutes at Wai’anapanapa State Park.
Here’s what we saw on the Road to Hana with star ratings:
Ho’okipa Beach – (5 Stars) – great surfing beach, turtles, huge shore breaks. This is like 10 minutes from the airport and is at the start of Road to Hana. Really an amazing site to see being so close to the airport.
Town of Paia – (3 Star) cool little north shore surf town, if you want to stop to grab something to eat, etc. But not that different than most small towns on Maui.
Twin Falls – about a mile walk to a fairly decent fall into a muddy pool. Private land, so you pay $10 to park. (3 stars – but after the Jurassic Park Helicopter falls my ratings are probably skewed)
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees (5 stars) so cool, you get a view of some from the road, but you can also stop at Ke’anae Arboretum to get some up close pics. They are so cool.
Ke’anae Peninsula – (5 Stars – must stop) first Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread is here, and you have to get some, but the coast line here is breath taking and little ocean front town is very cool.
Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach – (6 Stars) we spent an hour and half here exploring the cliffs and could have spent all day. Sure the black sand is cool, but that’s only the half of it. You must buy a pass here before you go for a certain time period. You can not buy the day of. DO THIS! We got ours for 12:30pm and actually had to drag our feet a little because we got there a bit early.
We didn’t even stop in Hana, there isn’t much to see, but took off for what we were told was must see things past Hana – 7 Sacred Pool and Pipiwai Trail, which both basically sucked. Plus it cost $30 bucks to do it and it was on the worse stops of they day, primarily because the water wasn’t running, so not much to see, but you don’t know that until you get there. (2 Stars – but I think that is time of the year specific)
At this point, most people turn around at Oheo Gulch – 7 Pools and go back, but we kept going around the Reverse side and it was really cool! Extremely narrow road, puts you a few feet from the ocean for some magical views. I would only do this with a four wheel drive vehicle, even though we saw some normal rental cars doing it slowly. It’s about the same distance getting back to the beginning but you get so much cool shore line to check out. (5 Stars) FYI – Watch out for the wild goats on the road and local drivers coming at you super fast with very little room.
There are a ton of road-side water falls you see on the Road to Hana and it’s probably worth stopping at a few and taking pics.
– Snorkeling at local beaches – Bring, rent, or buy snorkel gear, you can see awesome stuff every day at local beaches for free. We snorkeled almost every day and spent hours swimming with sea turtles and all kinds of stuff. I don’t think there was one time I went out snorkeling that I didn’t run into a sea turtle no matter where we went.
– Sunsets – Wailea has way better sunsets than Kannapali, so if you’re into amazing sunsets, spend some time over in Wailea/Kihei. Kannapali sunsets aren’t bad, but you are usually blocked by another island, so you’re getting the sunset over an island, whereas in Wailea you get full ocean sunsets.
What we didn’t get about Hawaii
Tourist bring their kids! Like a lot of kids! I’ve been on flights to Orlando home of Disney World with fewer kids! I’m not sure why people spend all that money to bring kids to Hawaii. It’s perplexing. First, it’s a miserable flight from the mainland, basically an international flight. It absolutely makes no sense! We saw non-stop meltdowns by kids and parents.
Meals basically come in two price points if you’re eating out: $50 per person and $100 per person (includes alcohol drinks). $50 per person is a basic bar food meal, think Applebee’s but in Hawaii with fish tacos. No matter where we went, after tip, it was about $50 a person. Good meals, fresh fish, steaks, etc. at a nice place push it to $100 per person. Everything on islands is expensive, but this seems strange.
Nowhere on the island is the speed limit greater than 55 mph, and it’s usually 45 mph and under. Don’t be in a hurry, you get nowhere fast on Maui.
Pictures do none of this justice! We took pics of everything and nothing really comes close to capturing the beauty of it all.
HR Blogger Turned Maui Travel Blogger Insider Pro Tip:
We had the world’s best cinnamon roles at a place in Kehei called: The Cinnamon Roll Place. I kid you not, these were to die for and I’ve had cinnamon rolls all over the world! For $5 it’s by far the best deal on the island. It’s in some little strip mall behind a staircase being guarded by a wild rooster. You can’t make this stuff up!
Okay, friends, what did I miss? Hit me in the comments!
I know the Pandemic is not over. I’m traveling again, almost like it’s back to normal. 3 cities last week, 6 airports, 4 different hotels. Felt like Fall 2019! Well, almost.
You see, going through the Pandemic, I found myself very fortunate. Personally and professionally, I’ve come out on the backside of the Pandemic feeling extremely fortunate and grateful of where I find myself. So, I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated or have travel stress. Prior to the Pandemic when I traveled, you would run into mean people, bad employees, weather issues, poor service, long lines, etc.
All of it caused stress and frustration, and quite frankly made travel kind of pain in the ass.
But, I’ve got a new outlook on life. Traffic jam? No problem, I’ve got so many podcasts I want to catch up on, plus, it gives me extra time to catch up with people on a live call! Delayed flight? Oh, I really needed to get some writing done, this is perfect! Long line at the rental car desk? No big deal, look at the one employee working her butt off, I need to make sure to tell her how grateful I am at her showing up today and making sure I got on my way!
Sounds very life coachy of me, right!?
It all lasted about one flight!
Turns out, I can tell myself that none of this will stress me, but then I ran into people! You know just normal people who are trying to also get out on long awaited vacations and meetups with family they haven’t seen in so long. I mean really stupid, dumb people who have forgotten completely how to travel. Like, OMG, look, that’s an aeroplane! Let me stand right in the middle of this walk way with a suitcase that’s two big blocking everyone from moving on to their flight!
My scientific assessment of the situation is Covid-19 made people dumber when traveling. Like we took 12-18 months off of traveling and I completely forgot what to do. Wait, I can’t have a can of gasoline in my carryon luggage!? Why not!? This is America! And my rental car in Jacksonville might not have gasoline!
It’s not just air travel. Have you noticed how people drive right now? I mean pre-pandemic is what bad, but now almost everyone seems to be a complete imbecile when it comes to operating a vehicle. It’s almost like states just gave out driver’s licenses during the pandemic by mail! Like just send us a check and a picture and we’ll send you back a valid driver’s license! I’m sure you know how to drive, we believe you, it’s a Pandemic, why would you lie!
What was my tipping point?
I’m a Delta guy. I’ve almost already hit Diamond status this year and it’s the end of June. The one thing I hate about every airline is how they jam you on the plane knowing it’s not going to take off, but they want their on-time departure. I’ve learned to live with this, again, more time for me to catch up on stuff. But this week, Delta did this to me for an hour and half. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t get someone to fuel the plane, but let’s just all sit here and wait. One fueler for the entire Detroit airport on a Saturday morning. I get it, no staff, we’re doing the best we can. I truly appreciate that dude, but this was the end of a long week of travel and little issues like this one.
I failed myself, but I vow to keep trying. The premise stays the same, I live a blessed life, I’m the one making these choices to travel knowing the world is far from back to normal. I promise I’ll keep trying.
In the mean time, people please stop trying to be stupid! Get your sh*t together. Understand there are other people around you again. You’re not stuck in your house by yourself. Pick up your pace a bit. Did I mention stop being stupid?