Fiji

Here's a First: I'm Reading in Denver at The Art of Storytelling Series

Here's a First: I'm Reading in Denver at The Art of Storytelling Series

So here’s some exciting news: I’ll be a featured reader in an upcoming reading series!

The Art of Storytelling is a reading series based out of Prodigy Coffeehouse in Denver’s Elyria Swansea neighborhood. This is a great business to support for its work in supporting local youth to build professional skills and social capital. Essentially project-based learning (yay!) meant to generate wealth in the local community (yay!!).

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Mementos from a beautiful chapter in the Pacific Islands

Mementos from a beautiful chapter in the Pacific Islands

One of my favorite weekends involved a road trip to the Coromandel to celebrate Nick’s birthday at the newly-purchased home of Andrew McLean. We had a complete blast making music with melodeons and djembes, rebuilding bonfires on the beach, and eating crazy amounts of barbecued meats and veggies. I have never witnessed such a unified affinity for nature by a country. Through the channel of our local contact, it felt like we got a taste of this focus on the outdoors and the joys of sharing it with friends. I endeavor to adopt a little of this and take it with me wherever I go next.

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I booked a ticket to step back into a dream. I'm Nakavika-bound.

I booked a ticket to step back into a dream. I'm Nakavika-bound.

I've been living in Auckland, New Zealand for the past two months, continuing my work with THINK Global School. New developments at work have incorporated leisure time for employees to travel within the school term. I haven't had the opportunity to visit since February 2010, but thanks to the proximity, cost, and flexibility with work, that return to Nakavika is finally possible.

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What a New Year Means to a Traveler

What a New Year Means to a Traveler

Do you know where we were a year ago today?

This is a game my family plays. Actually, this is just a common sentence equation my parents throw around, about which my brother and I like to joke. Whether we recall where we were last month or dream of our future location a week away, the Clarks can often be found discussing their coordinates except where they are in the present.

Today, I'm sporting my genes and recalling my exact location at the 2010 New Year: on the Pacific Harbour beach in Fiji, taking a break from an exhausting project. Don't worry; I have a purpose for this nostalgia.

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Consume & Update: Why Blog, Low Points, and NYC

I'm in New York City! Depending on our work load in Mexico, this may be the last normal Consume & Update for a while. Enjoy it while you can!

Why The Low Points Matter

Once again, great work, Chris, in addressing an idea regarding a "perfect" trip with the necessary and realistic angle. He noted that no one really has (nor should have?) a perfect trip without low points. Meticulous planning sounds exhausting and semi-fruitless, not to mention detrimental to an aspect of travel that arguably many travelers find as the point to it all.

Image by MAMJODH

I'm reminded of the Hindi om/aum and the interpretation I often associate with its multi-purpose, ambiguous meaning. When you're high, know one day you will be low again. And when things are low, have hope that tomorrow you'll be back on top. I envision a undulating sine curve that reflects the state of all things, the stock market among others. Though this is somewhat of a hippie-esque ideology, I do think I believe everything balances out in the end - the great moments in life and the low points, the good and the bad. The same goes for your travels.

If we only had high points, what kind of characters would we be? Would we be as adaptable, as prepared for the world and appreciative of the good times? And though the catalyst for this "perfect trip" idea was in no way indicating a trip without flaws, it makes me think no one should leave their home expecting all to go as planned or with their own convenience in mind. We must flex with the sine curve of life and our own movement, appreciating both to strike a balance that makes us who we are.

Thanks, Chris, you got me thinking. And isn't that what good writing, and "perfect traveling," is about? You tell me.

Name This Vista

What are we looking at here? Any ideas? Leave a comment!

Why, If You Write, You Need a Blog

Rakiraki

This one is for the hopeful travel bloggers out there, the ones keen on crafting word symphonies with the hope of creating a path toward their passions. And not just travel bloggers, hopeful broadcast journalists, photographers, poets, and other expressionists have been contacting me about what to do with their skills as the means to a preferred end. Though I'm not a broadcast journalist nor a novelist by trade, I at least know it's essential to adapt to the new trend of self-marketing and projection of your assets in the form of a blog.

Darren at Problogger is usually someone I refer these people to, because he writes pieces just like this: Why Professional Writers Need a Blog. Or Not. Here are some great excerpts from his recent piece.

We can boil it down to this: if you’re looking to get hired for a project, which implies you offer some vertical expertise in addition to your abundant writing gifts, then you should consider writing a blog. And you should let the reader know who you are. Because you need to show the world you know more than they do about whatever it is you do. You need to demonstrate it. Both elements drive toward your credibility, which his essential.

A blog is about your niche, your field of expertise, your message. Your blog is, in essence, a gift to your readers. In effect, your blog is where you give away what you know. It’s your chance to demonstrate and validate your claim to authority and expertise. Your blog is, in every essence and facet of the word, content.

World's Touristy Map

It's kinda nice I'm from an unspotted area. My goodness, Europe, quit being so appealing to the world.

World's Most Touristy Places

World's Most Touristy Places

Other Discoveries

I'm getting pumped for Tuesday and my first real adventure in Mexico - let's face it, the others have been burps in my timeline. Check out some amazing photos to get pumped along with me.

Talk about the art of travel! Great moleskin journal watercolors from Notes From The Road.

Problogger's here to tell you How to Convert Blog Readers to Paying Customers

Update on Nomadderwhere

Here's the skinny on my current situation.

Nakavika Project/Fiji Stories: I've been frantically pushing out stories from Fiji this month and have finally completed the storyline. Yay, me! Soon, I'll publish a walk-through of the entire narrative in case you missed the overall flow of things.

The New Travels: The onslaught of Fiji content was in reaction to my upcoming trip and new job with ProjectExplorer, which has begun already with a short trip to NYC, followed by a flight Tuesday morning to Mexico City! Last night, I dined at Anthony Bourdain's restaurant with Jenny and Matt, a PE board member, and today I start my training for Mexico!

Reunited Collaborators: Great news, as well...I get to see Garrett Russell this weekend, for the first time since we parted ways in Suva. Garrett recently got his Peace Corps assignment and is preparing for Malawi come July 1st. I'm so excited for him, and I look forward to publishing some of his work on the experience on Nomadderwhere. We've also decided on how to proceed with The Nakavika Project, which you can check out now.

This week on Nomadderwhere:

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page will be the last for publishing raw video clips from our Fiji footage. Check out the final installment, which shows some lovely moments in the Yasawa islands before I flew back to America.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

The First Hour of 2010 in the World: Day 35

Aside from decapitation and/or childbirth sans-Epideral, I'm guessing nothing hurts as badly as putting aloe vera on freshly exposed burned skin. I nearly passed out from a woozy rush after an invigorating shower than revealed to me I hadn't just crisped one layer of skin but many. Regardless, I threw on some make-up for the first time in a month and joined Garrett at the bar to commence our celebration of a new decade in the first time zone of the world.

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It being Fiji, a place that brings out the friendly in most everyone, we soon joined a group of tourists from Europe who were circumnavigating Viti Levu with the Fiji Experience bus. We met Queenie, an employee of The Uprising whose job it was to entertain tour groups, and latched onto some other friends with whom we could relate our travel highs and woes. Dinner got lost in a sea of beers and traditional Fijian songs before the live band got started by the beach, playing Bob Marley to Black Eyed Peas.

New Year's and No Ball

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The moon rose higher, revealing its complete circumference and eerie glow, and the band announced its last song of 2010. They called the five minute warning, played a two minute song, and started counting from ten. The arbitrary count down had me laughing until fireworks exploded from the beach.

We were among the first bunch of world citizens to see the second zero melt from our annual status.

It seemed only proper to mark this remarkable occasion with an act of stupidity, so we stripped down to our underwear and jumped into the Pacific Ocean, which is regularly filled with unhappy creatures ready to snap or sting. Thankfully, the only sting I experienced was when the salt water hit my bright pink skin.

It felt like one of those movie moments, a baptism of sorts.

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We made drinks disappear, and Garrett twirled fire-tipped sticks until he nearly singed the label off his jeans. It was the first New Year's I didn't spend watching Dick Clark sprinkle one ton of confetti on Times Square. It was a night I enjoyed presently and knew for sure I would cherish from the future.

Dragging Our Feet

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The next morning marked one week away from the village. It seemed about time to return and commence with Phase 2 of The Nakavika Project, one that reflected the observed needs and wants of the village. During our quick layover in Suva before heading to The Uprising, we stopped by a wholesale bookstore to purchase some additional supplies for our classes and the youth library we wanted to create.

Our bodies were slowly returning to normal, and our longing to see the kids set in. If only we could drag ourselves away from the excellent food we found in town at The Water's Edge and toward more weeks of sleeping on the wooden floor. Adventure vs. luxury...we were pulled on both sides.

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Looking back in hindsight, it was at this point that we felt most optimistic about our project and its potential for success (in our terms). With loaded lists of supplies to complement our honorable budget and new ideas to satiate the emerging desires of the villagers to learn, it felt as though we were transporting an extra school three hours inland.

We knew our intentions would be appreciated, and the 45 days that stretched ahead of us held an enormous amount of potential for reasonable and universally acknowledged change.

Now if only we could pull ourselves away from the Coral Coast.

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Tracking Down Our Host

We booked three more nights in comfort and called Fane to inform her, for the first time since we parted, we were in Pacific Harbour on our way soon to Nakavika. She showed no signs of wanting to be there soon after us. Family time in Vanua Levu was treating her well.

Garrett and I earned the designation of "Man and Woman of the Household" and gained the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and functioning in a patriarchal society, which we planned to rebel against a wee bit. Packing up two weeks worth of peanut butter and lentils, we met the carrier at the base of the junction and enjoyed the best ride of the trip, one which involved a happy hour/century club feel and immediate camaraderie with the other few passengers.

We returned to a different atmosphere, what would soon become our most thrilling, proud, action-packed portion of the trip. Though, had we known what was ahead of us, I wonder if we would have returned.

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Have any questions thus far about vacationing on Viti Levu or about certain aspects of Fijian culture? We certainly have a lot to say on all topics Fiji-related. Leave a comment, and be sure to share this with your friends and readers!

Video of the Week: Nakavika Project Outtakes

Garrett and I met while traveling, which is why we share that close vaga-bond that provides plenty of laughs. Check out some of the outtakes from our 2.5 months in the South Pacific.

Note on Nomadderwhere's May Schedule: Now that you know my big news for June, I've got some catching up to do with my postings, if I want to stay current with my documentation while abroad. Though this video marks the end of the Fiji footage, I still have a lot to cover from our experience. Expect to see many written posts, many more than usual, in the coming weeks!

Reviewing J. Maarten Troost's Getting Stoned with Savages

Reviewing J. Maarten Troost's Getting Stoned with Savages

Getting Stoned with Savages by J. Maarten Troost, which wears a title that simultaneously excites and annoys me. I've heard this Dutch/Canadian/American's books touch on "Look how funny I am," and I've also seen his coverage of the South Pacific make lists like "The Top 50 Travel Narratives."

I read his chapters on Fiji before I traveled there and read the entire book upon landing back in America. I am now fully prepared to go at these pages with a critical eye.

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Reviewing Alkr's Urban Protection Sleeve

Alkr Laptop Sleeve

I keep my MacBook Pro shinier than a baby's bottom. Never do I set my backpack down without taking extra care for my precious laptop. And when my travels brought me to Fiji in December, I needed something special to cover my silver slab of genius through the bumpy rides, sweltering heat, and cyclone weather. May I introduce my Alkr Urban Protection Sleeve; it's Fiji-tested.

The Melon Shock Sleeve

The dudes at Alkr are just like me; they love their technology and love to travel. They pose an interesting question, "Why not put your beloved gadget in something that excites you, much like the gadget itself?" With its cushioned interior and a flamboyant, durable neoprene exterior, it gets the job of protecting and invigorating...done.

The Urban Protection Sleeve offers the following:

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Complete notebook protectionPadded at every angle, this sleeve absorbed the shock from multiple bouts of rough transportation, namely the carrier from the coastal highway to the inland valley of Namosi. Namosi means "valley of pain," since the journey to the interior on foot was a difficult one (the journey in the carrier not being that much better). Not only did the sleeve absorb the bone-rattling drive but also kept leaking tuna head juice on the floor from penetrating my laptop. That's some serious protection.

Form-fitting 3mm neoprene construction It certainly was form fitting, and this is one of the two reasons why I had a little difficulty with my sleeve. I have a 15" MacBook Pro, and placing it into the cover was always a tight squeeze, especially when I closed the zipper. I'm guessing it's essential to have the neoprene hug the computer in order to offer optimal protection, but a few millimeters here would have taken the pressure off the zipper and allowed it not to snag.

Heavy-duty zipper with closed-seam construction The closed seam and strong zipper, along with the tension of the tight squeeze, could be why the fabric holding the zipper became thin and unable to handle all the activity. It probably lasted a good month before I couldn't zip it fully anymore, for fear of not being able to take my laptop back out. These days, I simply place my computer in the sleeve and leave it unzipped, which still protects the laptop to a good extent. Sadly, one of the zipper handles also fell off because that which held it in place was bent from the pressure of zipping too strongly.

Cushioned interior with soft fleece lining As I said previously, the cushioning was fantastic, and the soft fleece lining superior. No complaints here!

Compatibility with many laptops The urban protection sleeve can accommodate the 13" MacBook, Air, and Pro, as well as the 15" MacBook Pro and PowerBook. Alkr is a new company, and their product line will grow in the future, possibly accommodating 17" MacBooks.

The Pro/Con Balance

My melon shock sleeve is one tight little case, as the appearance certainly reflects a creative and exciting air. I received my product mere days after the company launched its sales in certain countries, so I assumed I received one from a preliminary litter. Therefore, I was very understanding that it had a fit and zipper issue; it takes a while to perfect the product line. However, I would have preferred to have a fully functional case for my laptop in Fiji and today on my wee intra-state trips.

I didn't pay for this sleeve, but would I purchase my next one? Yes, because my issues with the sleeve's malfunctions would be covered in the warranty and replaced or repaired at no cost to me. I'd rather not go back to something dull and lifeless.

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The Real Travel Situations I put my laptop and sleeve in a thin backpack on the floor of the carrier en route to the village. A woman sitting at the front of the bed had recently purchased a frozen fish head that was melting its juices in a stream toward my backpack. I didn't realize what happened until we grabbed the pack and smelt the odor. Thankfully, my laptop didn't smell at all like fish, and the sleeve easily rid itself of the smell in a simple hand wash.

I took at least ten trips on the village carrier, three-hour bumpy rides through rivers, potholes, and hurricane aftermath. My laptop never incurred any damages.

The zippers easily fit together to lock up, keeping unwanted guests from playing games and fiddling with my laptop.

The Bottom Line

Part of the reason why I'm still a fan of Alkr is the person behind it. Juergen found me via twitter after I inquired about laptop cases. His outreach was amazing, and I found him to be a very kind and reliable guy. I'm not interested in doing business with apathetic people, and as I've told many backpackers I've met around the world, I simply love Germans. Win...and win for Alkr.

Next time you consider buying a gadget accessory (a laptop sleeve perhaps), give Alkr a perusal, because if you like any color in your life, you'll be barking up the right tree.

These sleeves are sold in stores in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Netherlands and Switzerland, but they can also be shipped via UPS around the world for a reasonable fee.

Where are we in this story?

On the carrier floor

On the carrier floor

Since I embarked on December 1st to develop The Nakavika Project, I've been quite inconsistent with my written postings, even though they've all published as frequently as expected. For those of you waiting to hear so much that we've left uncovered, I've got some 'splaining to do. Starting off with action inspired by Chris Guillebeau's ebook, I moved on to recount the experiences of our first steps in Fiji. Getting up to Nakavika was a full day adventure that ended poetically, while the next days involved village logistics and the acceptance of our mission.

Once we were established in the Highlands, we started getting comfortable, going swimming daily with the kids, watching shocking swine slaughterings, assimilating with our demographic, and becoming members of our host family and community. Within one week of traveling to the interior, Garrett and I journeyed back down to Suva for an internet run and returned one day later to a cyclone experience neither of us will ever let mentally slip away.

But I let my writings slip from that moment on.

Watching Mick

Watching Mick

I lost track of writing as the cyclone threatened our water source and made showering, drinking water, cooking food, washing clothes and even swimming more difficult and time-consuming. The road washed away at Namando, making it difficult for the diesel to reach Nakavika and power the generator that juiced my laptop's empty battery. Our housing situation became sticky and riddled with unknowns and inconveniences. We planned our escape to recuperate from multiple bacterial infections.

And I let my excuses eat away at my writing muse.

Instead of catching up with an explanation of our trip to Suva and Cyclone Mick, I jumped around to speaking Fijian and matters of global citizenship. I discussed the scattered happenings of our project classes with not only the kids but the youth and adults as well.

So what's the plan?

Chronology be damned, I'm going to tell you the whole scoop eventually, excluding the dirty details, which are for us to know and you to ponder about endlessly. Starting this Friday, I'll fill you in on the occurrences of my mini-vacation in Fiji prior to flying home on Valentine's Day - then I'll tap into the stories of my inland adventure.

Wayalailai

Wayalailai

After officially leaving the village on the 1st of February and parting ways with homeward bound Garrett and Jackie, I spent some time in a coastal village outside Suva, chatted with Madventurer contact Kimbo, and took a steady, pleasant ride through the Mamanucas to the Yasawa islands. Here at Wayalailai Ecohaven, I am turning my brain off to recover from two months in a different world.

After detailing these lovely happenings, I'll return to the stories of yore…Cyclone Mick, Christmas in the village, our holiday time off and so on. By the end of these tales, you'll know more about Fijian culture and mindsets than you ever wanted to.

And finally, the status of The Nakavika Project - TNP is going underground for a few weeks to undergo some serious plastic surgery. The seemingly obvious flow of progress changed and professed a need for reevaluation. Garrett and I will be working on TNP for the next month or so, crafting it into the most successful project it has the ability of being. As could have been anticipated, our expectations were somewhat off from the project's predestination.

So prepare yourself for many more weeks of tales, starting with the most recent and then whipping back in time like Tarantino. Weekly videos will continue chronologically, somewhat, with the same level of hilarity and other-worldliness.

Please continue to comment as these are the sharpeners to my writing and blogging blade.

Less Consume, More Update: Week Eleven

Today I'm flying home. I have no other quotes to share but these...not about travel but about education and ignorance.

If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. -Abraham Lincoln

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -Albert Einstein

A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again. -Alexander Pope

To be ignorant of one's ignorance is the malady of the ignorant. -Amos Bronson Alcott

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know. -Daniel J. Boorstin

An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -James Michener

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. -Thomas Jefferson

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. -Thomas Paine

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. -Will Durant

Update on Nomadderwhere

Just plain tired

Just plain tired

I'm tired, and I've smelled like a bus station bench for over two months.

After months in a highland village, weeks recharging in village beach resorts, and days talking out issues with Fijians and like-minded thinkers, I'm ready to meet my family in Florida for a wee reunion before heading back to the snow of Indiana.

The project will involve a lot of work and a lot of explaining right here on good ol' Nomadderwhere before it can become anything. But we've got tenacity and don't take this project lightly.

Also, it is with sincere apologies that I report there will be no Video of the Week tomorrow, as internet time here is too expensive and I've been too busy doing absolute squat. But check out Alongside the Village to recap the experiences we've had thus far. And be prepared for the onslaught of good stuff come this Wednesday as I lay out the plan for Nakavika Project content. There's still OH-so much we haven't told you.

Wish me luck that this flight is somewhat smooth...and without snakes.

Less Consume, More Update: Week Ten

One more week before I head back to America, flying home on the 14th. Get this - I get to enjoy two Valentine's Days this year. Let's take one more look at some travel quotes (since I don't have time to check out my favorite travel blogs) before we bring an end to The Nakavika Project.

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. -Henry Miller

As a member of an escorted tour, you don't even have to know that the Matterhorn isn't a tuba. -Temple Fielding

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. -Augustine

Travel doesn't merely broaden the mind. It makes the mind. -Bruce Chatwin

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine. -Caskie Stinnett

Travel is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy. -Fanny Burney

There is nothing like a comfortable adventure to put people in a good humor. -Peter Mayle

Update on Nomadderwhere

So the fundraiser...we made $171.80 FJD (roughly $90 USD) by selling our donations to the villagers - clothes, purses, backpacks, balloons, rings - and then doubled this amount with our own project funds to use all the profits on supplies for the dispensary. We ended up sending nearly $400 FJD worth of Band-aids, anti-biotic ointment, and more supplies than I can remember. Vita, the dispensary manager and the village first-aid guru, received the box with her ever-present gratitude.

After two months of setting up a volunteer-based project up in the Highlands of Viti Levu, it has come to our attention that changes have to be made in our plan. I'm in the process of detailing the shifts in concept for a future posting. The project will continue on but in a different vehicle, rather than through volunteers. And in a month or so, a new subdomain will be created just for the Nakavika Project. Look forward to that, why dontcha!

Less Consume, More Update: Week Nine

Once again, I fall victim to the paucity of internet in the village. I don't know what people are writing about or what's going on in this world. It's kinda nice, I gotta say. I'm instead looking inward while on The Nakavika Project. Let's make like Janet Jackson and go deep in our thinking, facilitated by some travel quotes:

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel's immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way. -Ralph Crawshaw

If you actually look like your passport photo, you aren't well enough to travel. -Sir Vivian Fuchs

They change their climate, not their soul, who rush across the sea. -Horace, Epistles

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. -Saadi

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read. -Oscar Wilde

I like terra firma - the more firma, the less terra. -George S. Kaufman

Update on Nomadderwhere

Sunday evening we came down to town via Rivers Fiji truck for some much needed rest and internet work. The three of us (Jackie Knowles has joined the project...have I mentioned that?) promised the village we would create a video in honor of the funeral week and the passing of Elias. Thus far, the video is half-way finished and 30 minutes long. We still have a lot of work to do.

We're also in the process of developing written agreements with the village and with our 0n-site coordinator, Abel. Having our main points written on paper makes things much more official in Fiji but still doesn't save us from any future headaches. Making deals and having understandings has proved to be difficult thus far. We'll see how this project pans out. Although, as much trouble as we've had with all this, the reasons for us to be here have solidified even further. There's a reason why humanitarian projects aren't covering every inch of the communities that need them. It's not easy.

Returning on Wednesday to the village, we will be having an immediate meeting the headmaster, as he has returned from school break for the first week of classes. We're hoping to discuss the needs of the school, identify things in our power we could do to improve the school, and develop the project even further.

On Saturday, we are also having a fundraiser for the project, which will function much like a yard sale. Using donations both Jackie and I brought over from America, we will provide the village mothers a chance to peruse clothing, purses, backpacks and knick-knacks at a very low price (think a $.25 USD or less). Every mother will be allowed one item per child, and the profits of this fundraiser will go toward buying fever reducer for the village dispensary. The project will also double the final earnings in order to enable more medicine to get to those who need it. The idea behind selling our donations is about teaching the mothers to invest in their child's health, not just use what medicine is free and continue to give money to their children only for candy and billiard games. We'll see how this goes.

Less Consume, More Update: Week Eight

Sadly, I'm not able to read the blogs I regularly follow, thanks to a lack of internet in the village. Instead I'm looking inward while on The Nakavika Project. Join me in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. -James A. Michener

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts. -Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

If an ass goes traveling, he'll not come home a horse. -Thomas Fuller

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. -Yogi Berra

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. -Izaak Walton

Update on Nomadderwhere

Without a doubt, the most dramatic week in Nakavika yet...

The spot where Elias last stood

The spot where Elias last stood

A 45 year-old man died of a heart attack this week in the village, and the stress of the week has caused some interesting, some negative, some unexpected changes in the village. Updates will come very soon in the form of blog posts, as this weekly space isn't sufficient for telling the stories of these surreal and movie-like adventures.

The bottom line for this project: whatever program we create in Nakavika will certainly be an adventure for the strong and the tough-skinned. This is no trip to paradise. This is true work against the odds for the good.

Less Consume, More Update: Week Seven

I've got no clue what other bloggers are up to these days, nor the latest in news or developments in...well, nuthin'. But I'm instead looking inward while on The Nakavika Project, and I am inviting you to join in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast. -Ernest Hemingway

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson

Travel is 90% anticipation and 10% recollection. -Edward Streeter

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. -Confucius

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has comes to see. -G.K. Chesterton

There is a ghost that eats handkerchiefs; it keeps you company on all your travels. -Christian Morganstern

The more I see of other countries the more I love my own. -Madame De Stael

Update on Nomadderwhere

Welcome to the weekend update with Lindsay Clark, Garrett Russell and Tina Fey.

The chief of the Namosi province announced this week that all kava drinking must stop by 10pm, in order to improve province health, productivity and family time. Noble plan, chief…I'm on board. However, when no one seems to have watches, it's going to be hard to gauge the cut-off, especially when there's no one in the village interested in ratting people out. Noble plan…ain't gonna happen.

Garrett and I found out this week there is a village "nurse" - someone with basic aid training and a government funded dispensary. She happens to be the coolest women we've met thus far up here, and we've given her all of our medical resources in order to train children and adults to find her for first aid. Throughout this experience, we've expressed the interest in finding Garrett a protege to carry on with first aid help in the village. We found it mildly funny, and a wee bit annoying, we never knew she existed until now. The project's potential has just tripled in the health department.

The Nakavika Project is gaining momentum as many talks have occurred between the village and ourselves. It looks as if, after proper introduction and explanation of the whole concept to the elders, we'll be all set for having our own volunteer program in the highlands. Details are fairly squared away, and a website is in the works. Abel will be our point man in the village and the main coordinator of all things NP locally.

Speaking of the NP, our team is not just two but three! Jackie Knowles has joined the project and is currently enjoying day three up in the village. She will be staying with Vita, the village nurse and our new best friend, along with her very smart and adorable children. They also have a cat I earned the privilege of naming "Lady Snugs" after a long petting session where I gained a friend and also determined the gender of this previously androgynous cat. Don't read that last sentence with a dirty mind…sicko.

We experienced our first fundraiser in the village this week, one dedicated to collecting funds for a village lady headed for teacher's college. The evening involved dancing, kava, Akon, island rhythms, and most likely a little fire rum. Details are to come.

Less Consume, More Update: Week Six

What's going on in the world? I haven't the slightest, but I'm instead looking inward while on The Nakavika Project, and I am inviting you to join in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

Twenty years from now you will be mor disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

The heaviest baggage for a traveler is an empty purse. -English Proverb

Travelers never think that they are foreigners. -Mason Cooley

The Promised Land always lies on the other side of the wilderness. -Havelock Ellis

He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices. -Carlo Goldoni

I have found that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. -Mark Twain

Update on Nomadderwhere

After a very appreciated vacation to Rakiraki and Pacific Harbor, Garrett and I came back to the village in full force, prepared with more resources (adult and children's books, supplies for managing money, instructional tools, sharpeners, etc.). We're making the following changes to our schedules and classes:

  • Creating weekly schedules for ourselves to feel and be more productive in work as well as cover more ground in our cultural pursuits

  • Establishing a set time for children's classes every weekday to keep from the kids lingering around all day long

  • Create and publicize two weekly seminars for the youth members and adults that will cover various topics of their interest (see The Itinerary for details)

  • Incorporate reading time after classes with the kids, which will include reading to groups of kids and asking questions and promoting individual reading if they're curious

We also came back to the village before our host mother returned from her trip home (Savusavu). I was appointed the woman of the house and had to clean and prepare food for ourselves. Garrett and I wanted to make American dishes with Fijian ingredients, such as:

  • Mashed cassava (with butter, salt and maybe a little cream?)

  • Vegetable soup (with beans and veggies)

  • Whole wheat tortillas with a bean and veggie mixture

  • Who knows what else...

We'll be back to the internet on the 14th of January! See you then!

Less Consume, More Update: Week Five

You've heard the story. I don't got no internet up where I'm living. I'm instead looking inward while on The Nakavika Project, and I am inviting you to join in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark. -Kahlil Gibran

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Confucius

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. -Ursula K. Le Guin

A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. -George Moore

Bless not only the road but the bumps on the road. They are all part of higher journey. -Julia Cameron

A good traveler has to fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. -Lao-Tzu

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindness. -author unknown

Update on Nomadderwhere

Volivoli Beach Resort in Rakiraki

Volivoli Beach Resort in Rakiraki

First things first. Check out the second issue of the Nomadderwhere Newsletter, which features sneak peaks at future written posts, travel recommendations, developments with the site and more.

Free wireless internet. Ocean views from our $13 per night clean dorm room. $2 beers and free snorkeling. 88°F and sunny with a breeze that does its job to cool our steamy bodies. World-class scuba diving a couple meters off shore. Independence, protein and the termination of our farmer's tans. Oh sweet life.

We needed a break from the village, not just emotionally or mentally but physically. Both Garrett and I have contracted minor gastro-intestional issues due to either the diet change or bacteria in the highland water. It's possible the hurricane we braved a couple weeks ago made the water source a little questionable. The river water was possibly septic, and the force of the river knocked out the village's water pipes.

While we hit up the beach this week, we're in the process of revamping our project objectives and creating more structure to our daily programs. Now that we know what works, what doesn't, what's needed and what the village people relate to, we can allocate our funds in the right direction and be more productive and valuable to the village. We'll return this week in full force.

3 Questions...do you have 30 seconds?

If you've got a moment, I created 3 quick questions to find out how to best offer and create value to those of you following Nomadderwhere. I want to know why you keep coming back and what you hope to see in the future. Thanks for your help!

Less Consume, More Update: Week Four

I don't know what's going on in the world, thanks to the paucity of such luxuries as internet or power. Instead of checking out the world hum, I'm looking inward while up here in the Fijian highlands on The Nakavika Project. Join me in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

I am one of those who never knows the direction of my journey until I have almost arrived. -Anna Louise Strong

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. -Babs Hoffman

Through travel I first became aware of the outside world. -Eudora Welty

The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist. -Russell Baker

My favorite thing is to go where I have never gone. -Diane Arbus

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. -Lao-Tzu

Update on Nomadderwhere

Oh boy. This week has been interesting - our third up in the village and one that has presented its share of cultural obstacles. We're feeling a smidge "nickel-and-dimed" by our hosts, but the main factor that contributes to our frustration comes from the lack of planning and informing. We are left out of many discussions that involve us, but we're getting our thoughts and points across slowly but surely.

This week, we celebrated Christmas in the village - the first white people ("kaivalangi") to do so in the village. Now we are on our way to somewhere touristy, beautiful and relaxing for a week or so.

When we return, we'll be revamping the project to accommodate all the new developments and needs of Nakavika's youth. It will be a real defining moment for us when we get back in January. Also, we plan on implementing these new goals and following them up with a discussion with the village adults to see if this thing could be sustainable and up for another year! We'll keep you up to speed on the progress of the NP!

Less Consume, More Update: Week Three

Maybe some day, villages in the highlands of Fiji will have internet cafes and ...wide spread power outlets. But today, this isn't the case; there fore it's a bit difficult to keep up with what's going these days. I'm looking inward while up here in the Fijian highlands on The Nakavika Project. Join me in some deep thinking facilitated by some travel quotes:

The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one's self to be acquainted with it. -Lord Chesterfield

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. -Lao-Tzu

A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other. -M.C. Richards

I sought trains; I found passengers. -Paul Theroux

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we would find it not. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Update on Nomadderwhere

The Nakavika Project is still trucking along, and not only are the children expressing interest in our services, but the youth of the community have started coming over after dinner to review the spelling of their English and expand their vocabularies. They are a hilarious bunch and make it easy to stand in front of people much older and wiser in an attempt to teach.

They've also asked Garrett about how to deal with first aid issues. These boys are rough, and the way they treat their injuries from rugby would make you cringe. Not only are we teaching them about first aid, but we're also learning about Fijian medicine and what they already use in the village (I have already experienced the benefits of Fijian medicine when I cut my hand on bamboo last week).

Garrett is going to participate in a volleyball tournament which is taking place in Nakavika this week, and afterward there will be a dance. The funds for the whole event will go toward acquiring internet in the primary school. We're definitely going to dive into that project and see what we can do to help.