When coming to New Zealand it was the first time that I heard about the Pacific Islands (pretty shocking I know!). Meeting people from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and so many other islands that I didn’t even know existed made me curious. For the last few years I’ve been wanting to get to visit at least one of them and this dream came true just a few months ago when traveling to Fiji. And what a marvelous time we had!
Fruits, music, kind people, gorgeous flowers, crystal blue water and so much more – thinking back to our trip feels like popping into a little bubble of paradise.
At the airport we were greeted by such warm smiling people that it didn’t matter waiting in line for a few hours to get through customs. With a warm “Bula” we were taken to our shuttle and soon found ourselves on our first sightseeing tour while heading to the resort we were staying at.
The people were remarkably lovely. What touched me most is that a lot of them don’t have much. Yes, we get to see the beautiful images of Fiji, its stunning landscape and escapes. But a lot of the people who live there actually don’t get to enjoy these things. Most of them work hard, long days every day, and still they greet you with a gorgeous smile and share their stories with you as if they had all the time in the world.
Our driver had so much information to share about Fiji, its people, history, that I couldn’t help but ask more and more questions. One thing we learned about quite quickly was Fiji time – don’t stress and take things easy. Everything runs a bit slower, but eventually gets done. If the bus didn’t arrive on time, no one seemed to worry or get frustrated – it will turn up sooner or later. And in the meantime you might as well start walking towards your destination and let the bus pick you up along the way. Simple as that.
I guess that’s one of the learnings I took away from our trip: some things we simply cannot control, but it’s our choice whether we want to stress about them or move on and continue doing other things instead.
We were staying in a small Bure (bungalow) at First Landing Resort right by the ocean surrounded by coconut trees and beautiful flowers so diverse in their colors and shapes that you wouldn’t know where to look first. But not just at the resort – everywhere you would find the most stunning flora.
One highlight for me definitely was the amount of fruit growing basically just around the corner. Bananas, huge HUGE mango trees, papayas, passion fruits, pineapples and so many more yummy goodies growing alongside the roads. Honestly, I would happily live off those, because they were incredibly delicious.
After enjoying some good swims at the beach and going on a few kayaking explorations, I was overwhelmed when diving in the ocean. The sea life was a whole new world meeting Nemo and his plenty colorful friends in real, but not just that. The coral reefs were breathtaking. And spending a lot of our time in or right by the water, we got very lucky to meet some freshly hatched turtles. Getting to discover the ocean from a completely new angle, even though we only got to see a very tiny bit, fascinated me. There is so much happening, so many amazing creatures, plants, and other organisms, that we don’t even notice in our day to day happenings, but are linked to all of us and what we do.
All of this was topped when entering the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Hidden away this garden proved once again what an impressive architect Nature is. After walking through an alley of over hundreds of different orchids, the path led into a tropical rain forest presenting Fiji’s flora from its most gorgeous side.
My heart was filled with excitement and I felt very lucky to experience such mind-blowing moment. Being in an almost heavenly surrounding like this; breathing in the fresh air filled with flowery scents; hearing birds chirping and singing away above us; feeling the hot sun on my skin.
A simple, but yet so powerful moment. It made me forget that I was a tourist visiting a foreign country. I simply enjoyed and appreciated that particular moment.
It made me think that no matter where we are, or were we come from, there is always an opportunity for us to enjoy what is given to us.