I’m going to share a secret with you. But there is one catch: you can’t tell anyone else. Alright! Now that I have your word, I’m going to let you in on a secret very few people know. I am going to reveal to you the location of the best place in the world! A place blanketed with magic far beyond any wizard’s powers and beauty beyond your wildest imagination– a place that will provide for you as long as you respect it.

Alright, so what is so special about this place? Well, let’s see. Imagine flying higher than the birds soar over nothing but the deep blue ocean for about 2,000 miles. A stewardess decked out in aloha wear with a huge smile on her face brings you tropical fruit juice. She assures you that you are in for a treat! The plane touches ground, and as the door is opened an overwhelming smell of flowers reaches your nose. Already, you are in a state of complete peace– you have reached your destination, The Big Island of Hawaii.

You have left your mundane job for one weekend of uninterrupted bliss. You have no plans, no places you have to be, no schedule. Walking along the road, you head for the beach. An old pickup truck pulls up to you within five minutes. Five minutes and the island is already taking care of you. A wonderfully happy man of fifty says he is headed to Waipio Valley. You are immediately drawn to him. He tells you a little about Hawaii. You learn that it is a sign of respect to call your elders either uncle or aunty, and from that point, you refer to him as Uncle.

The valley was once the playground of Hawaiian royalty and you are now fortunate enough to be playing in this very same place. As a first time visitor to the island, Uncle takes you first to the black sand beach that the valley holds in her arms. You must cross the river to get to the best part, so you both wade across the river, watching carefully, as the waves break on the shore. Running at full speed you jump in to the ocean which seems to playfully embrace you. The waves crash all around you but you don’t feel scared for an instant. It feels like you are swimming in a cappuccino as foam rushes around you. After hours of swimming, you return to shore where Uncle shows you how to fish.

You are amazed when you feel a tug on your line. With a big smile you reel in the biggest fish you have ever seen. Uncle is singing old Hawaiian songs while he builds a fire to cook your catch. The two of you sit enjoying each other’s company and as the sun sets you eat the fresh fish you have caught. Tomorrow is a new day and the two of you retire to his homestead. In the morning you wake to the sound of a cock-a-doodle-do. Stretching ever so carefully you yawn and walk out onto the porch that wraps around your small room. Uncle is outside basking in the sun. He immediately greets you with a big hug.

The two of you set out to gather breakfast. First, you visit the hens who excitedly greet you. You gather several eggs from their house. Then Uncle shows you his favorite tree. The tree had taught him many things and provided him with juicy mangoes. Several images of yourself climbing trees as a child pop into your head and without hesitation you climb up and into the mango tree. You pick enough fruit for the two of you to enjoy with breakfast.

Sliding out of the tree you find a vine with several yellow fruits hanging like lights on a Christmas tree. You pick one and try to open it, but the shell seems too impenetrable. Uncle places it between his giant hands, and gives a gentle squeeze. Two perfect halves reveal a strange orange fruit called lilikoi. You gobble it up. It immediately becomes your new favorite fruit. You pick one more and this time imitate what Uncle had done and together you share another one of these delightful fruits.

After breakfast, Uncle takes you throughout the valley. This place is far more beautiful than anywhere you have ever been. A waterfall cascades down. Flowers and exotic fruits fill your eyes with joy. A wild horse gently nudges your arm. You smile and reach for a fruit to feed him. He stays for a moment and then disappears into the thick jungle. Uncle gives you some time to be alone with nature. You sit on a rock near a stream watching the fish swim by. A white owl appears across the river.

You sit quietly, with intense presence. Amazed by the mana or power of the island, you reflect on your experiences. The energy field surrounding you is bright. You have come into this valley with a deep respect for nature and in return she has given you all she has to offer.

• This piece is about the magic of Waipio. Those who visit tend to find themselves manifesting experiences into their lives that seem unreal. To me eco-travel is about being in tune with nature and having a deep respect for Mother Earth.