Being ungrateful isn't an option. Every single time that I step off of a plane and I am in a new place, I am grateful. This is the stuff that I dreamed of. I have spent countless hours of my life pouring over maps and watching travel shows, longing for the day in which that could be my life. And here, on some small level, it is. My latest destination: Fiji! Fiji, to me, was never some place that ranked high on my list of priorities. It was no Australia, South Africa, or Brazil but when the chance came to go, I would have never denied it and it did not disappoint. The place is beautiful; from the people, to the sights, to the sounds, to the food, everything. The neatest adventure came when I had an amazing opportunity to go and visit a local Indian-Fijian family. My Mom works with their brother and sister in Florida and they invited me into their home to see how locals live. The Mom of the house made curry of every flavor and type and then took me to her mother's home, who made me more curry, and then took me to her sister's home who gave me tea and snacks! I was so full but a good, home-cooked meal was more than welcomed. My adventures continued when I went out on the Mamanuca Island chain and kayaked and snorkled for the day. I swam with some black-tip reef sharks which aren't all that scary but when I am 90 years old and recounting this story to some young child who just wants me to put money in his birthday card and shut up, I will tell how it was a 14 foot Great White that nearly took off my leg but thanks to my massive biceps (cue: laughter) I was able to fend it off. On my last day, I walked out early to watch the sun rising over the water. While on the beach, I met a woman from the island country of Tonga, who was walking with a cane and asked me if I could help her walk back from the beach. She grabbed my arm and she said bluntly, "you know, I am two years from being 6-0 and I've got the big C in my bones and blood. Doc told me I have 5 months to live and I will never get over how beautiful this sunrise is today". Funny how a vacation can zap you into real life, really quickly. Her statement didn't require a response, I just looked at her and agreed that the sunrise was nice and that we should be grateful that we are seeing it. Like all good travels, I leave Fiji with memories and stories that will live inside of me for a long time to come. Now, I wonder what comes next!
(Making friends with the locals.)
(Ash and Abi, my Indian-Fijian brother and sister!)
(Wailoaloa Beach, Fiji)
(STOP! Hammock Time!)