A Travellerspoint blog

Nadi to Labasa to Savu Savu

Its paradise!!! just Paradise!!

sunny 29 °C

just a note out to you folks who might be wondering if and how i made it to SavuSavu

I slept the entire 9 hours on the flight to Fiji, and hoped a little plane to Labasa. Cathy and Peter met me there and after the most delicious Indian curry lunch (the town is mostly indian you see) we got on a very crowded open air bus and jostled for 3 hours across Vanua Levi to SS. The town here is just lovely. Leto, our worthy vessel is just a stones throw from the shore. The main street (indeed the ONLY street) is lined with little merchant shops, general stores, and various Indian and Fijian restaurants. THe weather is just amazing, with big fluffy clouds sometimes shading us from a good 85 degree sun, with a nice prevailing breeze from the west.

Plan is to stay in SS for the weekend. We are hoping that a front coming through will change the winds in favor of the east, which would give us an opportunity to go out to the Lao group. So that is the plan for now. Much is going on this weekend in SS, as a HUUUUGE cruise ship made it into the harbor and flooded the town with "newly weds and nearly deads" as Cathy so eloquently put them. THe locals endure the tourists quite amicably, as they bring in quite a bit of money to the local economy. The locals themselves are just WONDERFUL. Everyone smiles at you and shakes your hand and wants to talk to you, even the children. I've had some people take pictures of me with their cell phones!!!

Cathy and peter have been just remarkable hosts; last night we had amazing seafood at a restaurant called Bula-Re, owned by a German lady that makes the BEST coffee in town, has an amazing water filtration system, and serves up the most delicious fish soup I've ever had. I had a GREAT night's sleep on the boat (unfortunately dreamed of working at Houston's, twice in a row now, cathy says its Post traumatic Work Syndrome), but woke happily at 6 am to the sun rising over the jagged lush green peaks of the surrounding Islands. We ate mango and papaya for breakfast followed by pancakes and strong coffee. A morning swim off the side of hte boat and i was ready for a leisurely day of reading, exploring the town, and mocking the silly tourists that have embarked from the cruise ship. THis weekend should be a busy one for this normally small town. Bands will be playing music at the yaught club and i'm sure people from all over the world will be there to mingle with.

So for now We'll stay in SS with hopes of makign for the Lao group, and/or Taveuni on monday and then perhaps going counter clockwise around the North Island. If the winds refuse to change however we'll make for Ovalu, i think. The email in SS is superb, so i'm sure to send out another transmission before we leave SS.

Posted by LadyCroft 16:22 Archived in Fiji Tagged boating Comments (1)

Going Away Party!

The Whirlwind that IS life before a GRAND Departure

sunny 28 °C

Does the Universe have a sense of humor??? Perhaps, or it's conspiring against me. Either way, I was struck with a bad cold just a FEW DAYS before my departure for the Blue Beyond. I feel like a piece of grade D poo on the end of a stick. With Going Away Festivities planned for the whole weekend, I went into Aggressive Cold-Combat Mode.

I ate 4 cloves of raw garlic a day and consumed the highest recommended doses of Vitamin C, even snorting powdered vitamin C up my leaky nose!!! Gallons of green tea was consumed yet the cold raged on in earnest. Would I let some microbial trouble makers ruin my weekend??? HELL NO!

Many people have asked me how I got this crazy idea to travel in my head. Having always wanted to travel, I'm more surprised at their having never considered the prospect themselves. Americans, it seems, don't have a predisposition to travel. The overwhelming majority of young people are focused on finishing school and getting straight to work. When the travel bug does bite they look to Mexico and Canada as an alternative to exploring something other than the wide-ranging 50 states. The occasional traveler that looks farther than the North American Continent finds themselves visualizing Europe-Western Europe-as an alternative.

Yet it's rare that the American mindset gets even this far in travel considerations. Never mind the fact that most Amercans squander all their savings on gadgets, clothing, luxury items, and a plethora of other materialistic items designed to break or go out of fashion in due time, but misconceptions about the safety of travel discourage those who might otherwise relish the opportunity to save for an amazing trip abroad. The number of people I talked to concerning my trip voiced the opinion that my traveling alone to S.E. Asia was reckless, if not downright impossible. Several girls at my going away party broke into tears expressing fear that I might never return.

The American close-mindedness towards the accessibility and safety of traveling to exotic places is obviously deeply routed. People who voice a desire to travel are discouraged from all sides- their families and friends find many reasons to squelch their desire for freedom. They are told not only that travel abroad isn't safe, which is NOT true, but that a few months or years of travel will be a strike against them when they seek careers after. This is a consideration that the individual has to grapple with on their own.

Cliche, yes, but life is only lived once. Do you want to spend all your youth slaving away until your old and can't enjoy your body or life anymore?? Just because you land a career straight out of college and spend three decades working for the man, this still doesn't guarantee a healthy prosperous retirement as anything can happen on the unpredictable road of life. I hope that my story can be an inspiration to others. My Aunt Cathy says that while traveling, one knows they are truly alive.

What a wonderful day Saturday was!! Jahan was in the kitchen all day prepping chickens, pigs and cows. On my request, my outrageously wonderful room mate made a meal we call Porky Peach--a heavenly dish. People started trickling in the afternoon. Heres a photo of Jahan tapping the keg...
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The celebrations went on all weekend. All hours of the day and night guests came and went and were treated to mountains of dog-food and and endless supply of wine, beer, and spirits. My friends took time to share their concerns with me about me going alone on this trip. It was also very humbling to have many share with me their admiration--some people admitted to living vicariously through me-that a trip such as this was something they'd always wanted to do.

Here are some of the crazy characters who made it out!

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Misty and Rachael smiling for the camera!

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Durka and Dave falling in love all over again

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Julia and Croft !

Despite a perpetually leaky nose, it was a pleasant day and evening. The next day Durka Burgers and Sishkabobs are lobbed onto on the sizzling grill. Our guests will be wined and kegged according to the time-honored traditions of Durka Hospitality.

It shant be fun being the sick coughing person on a 10 hour flight...but then again, it will be an opportune time to rest!!

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday and who are coming today. I shall miss you all very much and appreciate all your support and kind words!!

take care! See you soon on the traveling trail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by LadyCroft 09:48 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Leaving in ONE week

--originally posted to my family's blog

Dear Wonderful Family (and Friends and Fans)

I embark on the journey of a lifetime in less time than the calendar takes to munch 7 delicious days off the weekly buffet of days ending in "day".

I'm practically counting hours. Officially, as of THIS post: I'm at 162 hours and counting.

For anyone who wants to know, here is how I feel.

It is very hard to actually see the moment when I step away from this life into this new type of life. It think it begins when my room mate, Jahan, pulls up to the North Avenue Marta station at about 3:40 in the afternoon next Monday. He'll have just fed me a gargantuan smörgåsbord of Persian cuisine and will be bitching about why he can't drive me all the way to the airport.

"because" I'll say, "it begins here."

And so it will. I see them now, on that day that ends with "day, and begins with "Mon." I'll take my first step towards letting go. I'll enjoy the Marta ride to the airport, a quick 20 minutes or so right to the terminal. I'll relish all these American faces. Black, white, poor, rich, red, blue, ignorant, arrogant, comfortable and grumbling. But all American, except for the few. Like me, in fact.

I'll be traveling under an Irish Passport. Which is strange, methinks. Considering I've lived and paid taxes here for many years.* But that might actually come in handy come to think of it. I have always carried around a dual identity and it will be interesting to see how this fleshes out abroad.

I'll be traveling with all that sustains me upon my back and in my head. The train from downtown Atlanta will lead me to the glutch that is Hartsfield Jackson International, and from there I'll probably pass a wakeful four hours to L.A.

Over me Mum and Doug in Texas. Over me brothers and sisters from Colorado and Montana. Over my aunt in California. I shall wave to you all. I'll keep myself awake with fantasies of what-is-sooner-than-ever-to-come. **

Once I settle into a many many many many many (you get it) many houred flight destined for Nadi Fiji, all will be given to the future. My comfort and sustenance will be traveling at great speeds in an over head bin while I zoom over the pacific at break neck speed. Afraid of the unknown? Sure. We all are. But I am governed by Faith, which is drawn from an Unknown and Beautiful source which whispers that my path is down the very road I am on. My whole life has been leading to this moment, the moment when I take full responsibility, and leap with all fingers outstretched to the utmost, for the whirlwind of true and authentic experiences. The childlike joys of curiosity, adventure, and discovery are leaping at my hearts door to the wide world beyond this one.

When I land in Nadi, The journey will pick up its battle flag and steady its shoulders for the long shlog ahead. A quick hop on a flight chartered to the town of Labasa will carry me, weary of flight and travel to a largely Indian town on the north side of the north island of Vanua levi , Fiji.

And here, it is likely I will spend my first evening in Fiji, at the dawn of my travels. First thing in the morning I shall board the bus to Savu Savu, a three hour ride through the heart of Fiji's second largest island. Waiting for me, in the port of Savu Savu, will be my dear Aunt Cathy and her partner Peter, waiting to take me aboard their worthy vessel Leto.

And here, my dear family, is where the journey truly, finally, utterly begins. Where we shall travel is a mystery to me now, and what adventures to come but a grand scroll just waiting to be unfurled by the eager hands of time.

I shall miss you all tenderly and feel that the inescapable grasp of homesickness shall surely wring my heart of tears when I am a nobody in a far away land. Nevertheless, I shall keep you all closer and dearer than anyone.***

Much love to all, and many more updates to come on This Great Adventure!!!

  • (while on the trip I finally received my invitation to take the test and be sworn in as a citizen. I missed it, since I was in New Zealand at the time...my application is still pending as of February of 09)
  • *(due to poor weather in Atlanta, my flight was delayed and I actually missed my Fiji connection in L.A. I had to sleep in the airport. and wait another 24 hours for my trip to start. Major Bummer.)
  • **(nope, was never homesick. Not once. Did miss my family, but was having too much fun to miss home)

Posted by LadyCroft 06:56 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Beginnings are Delicate Things

...a quote from Dune. And they are. Combating Uncertainty and Fear with Research and Solemn Promises

sunny 23 °C

I have been immersed in Western Culture for all of my 24 years. Do not take that as an indignant statement.

I have seen more than my share of lovely sights than many are blessed to see. I was born upon the green lush gulf stream laden gem that is Ireland and since leapt the brawning Atlantic. I’ve lived my share of New England Winters and Sultry Southern Summers. I sailed in Long Island Sound and I’ve slid down the slopes of Montana. I raced across the ever changing landscape of Wyoming in the back of a convertible, and trod upon serene lakes in the Colorado Rockies. I saw rain move in on the slopes of Orange County and dipped my fingers into the Pacific on Laguna Beach. I searched for Serenity in the gorges and ice caves of New Mexico, and dipped my body in the Gulf of Mexico in many places: Corpus Christi, Destin, and Tampa Bay. I’ve sojourned to hidden valleys in West Virginia, trod the Appalachian trail in North Carolina, and placed my footprints in Helen, Rome, Athens, and Savannah.

Furthermore, I’ve seen the sunny shores of the Almafi Coast, and seen the cool blue green waters of the Mediterranean. I touched the dust laden bricks at Pompeii and sat in the cool darkness of Peters Cathedral in the heart of Rome. I breathed the Austrian air at dusk and sipped homemade wine in the vineyards of Hungary after a long day hiking though the dense Hungarian forest. I scaled walls and bridges and portcullises in Budapest and gazed upon endless fields of sunflowers and lavender in France. I saw the flag stones where Marie Antoinette’s blood was spilt and the bright lights of Paris.

I’ve been back to my home country, enchanted as ever by its holy burial mounds, soaring limestone cliffs and scattered ruins which hint at a history packed densely with allure and magic. I don’t want to go to Europe. I want to go somewhere entirely different and be immersed in another culture for as long as is best for me.

I’m from a traveling family. Maybe this is why I travel. My Biologicals brought me thousands of miles across open water, and my Adaptive Families have moved ever further from that center. My beloved Aunt Cathy lives on her boat in the South Pacific, her horizons changing as the winds change. My Uncle Patrick lives the mariners life as well, on his boat in Grand Cayman. My Dear Adoptive Grandparents lived on the mighty Kuan Yin for many years sailing to and fro the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They passed that vessel to my Mother and Step-father, who care for it lovingly, preparing for their own sojourns upon it later in life. I have cousins and aunts on my mothers side that have traveled, worked and lived from Spain to Holland, to South America and Vietnam. My own father has seen Africa and South East Asia. My heart sprung from a family of wind spirits and I have been called to see a new horizon, to inter into my ancestral line a vision of new worlds that offer new perspectives and experiences leading to life long inspirations.

So having finished college, I am setting out on my own great adventure. I know that there shall be challenges and hardships, but I am convinced that the rewards will far outweigh the sacrifices. Last January I had no savings or plans. In 8 months I saved and planned this whole trip.

I was able to do so by creating a strict budget and keeping track of even the smallest expenses. I stopped eating out and joining my friends for late night drinks. This alone saved hundreds of dollars a month. I cooked for myself and even made lunches and brought them to work. I cut off going to movies as well as renting them, and spent a lot of my free time immersed in research for the trip. I even downgraded my phone plan (oh how I miss my old sidekick!).

Staying motivated was easy as I aspired to keep monthly goals. I bought my plane tickets by April and had my shots done in June. I hung pictures of the places I wanted to go on my wall, so that whenever I got down and needed a boost, one look at the wall reminded me that Fiji was in my reach!!! I also bought equipment I needed as I went along.

I did a lot of research to determine what I needed to bring along with me. Travelers Point was an invaluable resource when it came to narrowing down the needs I would have for the trip. I really wanted to pack as light as possible. Two things I would have done differently (note: I edited after the trip >:) Is NOT have brought a mosquito net (I never used it) and I would have brought a much smaller homemade first aid kit.

So now, with my backpack on my shoulders and my plane tickets in hand I am ready to set off on a trip of a lifetime.......................or maybe just the trip which would get my REAL appetite for travel whetted.....

Posted by LadyCroft 11:11 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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