Do you choose money or happiness? When I finally followed my passion and heart I found much more than that. I found a home and family through work.
When I landed on Maui a little over 2 months ago I did not have a job. All I knew is that I didn’t want the corporate, cubicle 8-5 position. I mean why move to paradise to be inside and miserable all the time. Am I right? Was not gonna happen unless I got real desperate. And even then – I would rather have a job that I enjoy and not get paid ideally than a job that I loathe going to but make the big bucks. I choose happiness over money ANY day.
So I researched outdoor adventure positions and came across Skyline Eco-Adventures. After further research I realized what a hidden gem this organization is. Not only is this the 1st zipline in the US (claiming zipline.com) but they’ve also received “Best Places to Work” multiple years in a row! This is huge for me as it shows the employees truly do love their jobs. You can see why I was very intrigued to learn more!
Skyline was hiring for a “Zipline Guide” at their Ka’anapali and Haleakala courses on Maui (also on Big Island and Kauai).
I figured I might as well see what this is all about. Happy I did as I landed the job and had the best training group ever!
We started with two full weeks of rigorous training. We learned all about the company background, equipment used, and the ins and outs of ziplining. Every day we applied this knowledge out on the courses.
It was a blast but it was not always sunshine and roses. Guiding takes a lot of physical strength as the guest’s safety is in your hands. Quite literally. As a guide you are ensuring everyone has a safe landing on each line and it can be challenging to “catch” them, especially on windy days.
Not only can someone come in hot but if the winds are blowing the opposite way or if it is a lighter guest there is a chance they cannot make it all the way across. This sends them back towards the middle of the line and now it is up to the guide to retrieve them. We do this by hooking ourselves in, slowly zipping out to the guest, attaching a rope to them, then manually pulling ourselves back in and then pulling the rope with guest attached in. Um yeah – it’s a workout! I would like to think I am in semi-decent shape but man have I been humbled by this experience! It takes a TON of upper body strength and muscles I am not used to using. But I have earned some new muscles and I can thank guiding for this
After training we went through four “shadow” days where we join two other Senior guides on their tour with real live guests! I absolutely loved doing this. It is so fun to meet people from around their world and talk story with them (look at me soundin all Hawaiian).
Once you pass shadowing you are aloud to work with a Senior guide – just the two of you. And the guests of course!
I am loving providing entertaining and educational tours! Man do we have fun with our guests. Lots of jokes, laughs, and a few practical jokes to keep them on their toes! And oh – the poses. So many hilarious poses on the zipline. Come see for yourself 😉
Most people are visiting Maui from somewhere else around the world. And most don’t know much about Maui’s history. I am still pretty new but I have learned a TON already! Various islands, and Gods, and plants, and simply the history of how things came to be. There is SO much history and culture on this island. You can just feel it. So it is fun to give our guests a little taste of it.
Also – some guests are truly terrified. Whether it is a real fear of heights or even experiencing something that is out of their control. It is so inspiring seeing how they grow from the first to the last line. It may take them a bit to step off the ledge at line 1. They may scream out loud or even internally. But by that last line they are typically grinning ear to ear and cannot believe what they just did. I get chills. Every.single.time. So motivating to see people conquer their fears and knowing you helped them step off that ledge.
What really solidified my love for this company was our annual event – Zip For the Trees. This event was in support of native tree reforestation on Skyline’s Haleakala course (over 200 trees were planted!). Funds were raised by selling zipline tours and all proceeds benefited five local charities: The Children’s Justice Center, the Hui Malama Learning Center, Maui Youth and Family Services, the Pacific Cancer Foundation and Pūnana Leo o Maui. Over $6,000 was raised from the event in support of the five charities! It was also super fun (food trucks, live music, pony rides, etc).
This event showed me first-hand what an amazing group of people are with Skyline. Everyone has been super welcoming and just plain awesome. You know you’ve found the perfect “home away from home” when the #2 of the company says, “No matter if you’ve been with the company for two weeks or twelve years you are a part of this family. We take care of each other. It doesn’t matter where our paths go – we will always take care of you.” Yeah – let’s just say I cried a bit. I felt very at home. And still do. They even call me “sistah” and it makes me feel safe and a part of the family.
Thank you Skyline for all that you do! For Hawaiian culture. For the environment. For the Maui community. And for me personally – I thank you!
If you are traveling to Maui I URGE you to check out Skyline Eco-Adventures. I am first-hand guaranteeing an adventurous, educational, and highly entertaining must-do on your vacation in paradise! Hope to “guide” you soon!