Archives: Nakavika Project

Acting upon the voiced needs of Nakavika

Vilive and Samu on the iPad, Nakavika, Fiji

Most of us start off isolated. Then we discover the thrills of adventure. We get slapped in the face by the lessons of exposure, and that leads to a rapid rethinking of everything our brains had already mapped. We like to think at this point that we evolve from a tourist to a traveler. There […]

iPads and chicken slaughters bring me clarity after five years

Paterecio and Waganu play on the iPad, Nakavika, Fiji

One little boy lifted the silver bowl of chicken heads to receive its next occupant, and I snapped out of my time-traveling thoughts. I stood up and returned to Vita’s house to find that the iPad had locked away its contents from the curious kids indoors. When I unlocked the iPad, I found the following paragraph, scribed by Samu:

Washing away old worries in a stone cathedral

Alisoni in Namado gorge near Nakavika, Fiji

“This is for you, Lindsay.” Waisale stood at the top of one rock wall, arms folded, and stepped forward into the air. I photographed his rapid descent and felt my stomach uncurl of worry. Before, I feared that suddenly departing their lives without explanation would sever ties or permanently damage our connection to the kids. These fears dissolved by the time Waisale resurfaced from the bottom of the gorge.

An emotional, highly anticipated return to Nakavika

Bethany playing with the Nakavika kids at sunset, Fiji

Returning to my first lemon leaf tea in five years, I happily settled on the grass mat with a Christmas mug. I was nearly out of the emotional woods with this favorite, sweet elixir and a few cold pancakes. I sighed and scanned the room, finally noticing two photos taped to the wall, one of my mother in the snow and another of my grandmother holding my baby niece. I should have just accepted that a breakdown was inevitable.

Reunited with the Fiji of my dreams in the markets of Suva

Boats in harbor in Suva, Fiji

I reacted in amazement before the information reached my brain: Siteri was standing in front of me…at the market in Suva…spotted me the moment I arrived with no other knowledge than my flight time. I guess I could have anticipated this crossing of paths in retrospect, because we had been connecting on Facebook, little blue lines coming onto my screen from a dream I once had. Regardless of the plausibility of the chance encounter, I was now face-to-face with tangible evidence of my long and confusing stint in Fiji, a time I still chew on in my mind for more clarity and takeaways. Her name is Siteri, and she is my umbilical cord to Nakavika.

A Wonderful Message from Nakavika

Message from Nakavika

While I was on location in Mexico, driving on a dusty road to Pantaleon’s painting studio, I received an e-mail from a woman from Fiji – an e-mail that really made me happy. Thanks for the tremendous work you have done to my village. Working as a community or Public Health Nurse for the last […]

Six Months Later: The Status of the Nakavika Project

The Letter from the Turaga ni Koro

I managed to do it. After six months of experiencing, scribing, and mulling over the occurrences of my winter in Fiji, I have finally documented in true form the adventures we had in that dreamlike state of displacement. Post-vacation in the Yasawas, I took my final shower, had my final (and best) meal, and flew […]

Back to Being Just a Tourist: Day 74

Volivoli Beach Resort in Rakiraki

Gasping for relief and peace after leaving all of Nakavika in my wake, I finally turned to my taxi driver, a middle-aged, toothless Indo-Fijian with a cheeky grin ready to start some chit-chat. Once again, I had a conversation with a local that scored me points for America in their eyes, and knowing the consequences […]

Standing on Shipwrecks and Witnessing Another: Day 69

With a family in Suva

We awoke in Suva, breathing in fresh the air of no obligation, feeling the tenacious pain of our misguided attempts, and knowing a change would soon come to our group. I broke off from Garrett and Jackie in the morning to visit the village carrier, as Abel and Daiana were navigating to the coast to […]

Instant Withdrawal from the Kids: Day 63

Taken by a Kid of some Kids

One side of the sky was navy blue and brilliant with stars and a succulent moon; the other side hinted at the curvature of the globe with shades of pink. The dew making my feet squeak in my flip-flops mirrored the moisture on my eyelids. There wasn’t a wavering thought in our minds about returning […]

The Sweet Sorrow of Departing: Day 62

Walking back from the river

I opened my eyes as if they’d been closed for only a few seconds. Stains decorated the holey mosquito net, which now ensnared a circling bunch of blood-filled bugs. Though I’ve never been physically beaten up, I imagine the next morning would have felt akin to how I felt there, in that bed, feeling the […]

The Hell-raising Fundraiser: Day 61

Fijian Funeral Week

What you’re about to read is the final event we took part in, created, or witnessed in the Fijian Highlands. It occurred on a Saturday, fifteen days before we were scheduled to leave the islands and thirteen days before we initially desired to leave Nakavika. It was because of this event and the clash of […]

The First and Last School Visit: Day 59


Last I left the tales of this Fijian adventure, there was a major event that happened – one which led us to doubt the possibility of our project coming to be. After issues were resolved (in the eyes of the elders), we asked the Turaga ni Koro (village spokesman) to hook us up with a ride […]

The Danger of Not Processing the Bad: Day 55

Photo by Jackie Knowles

How does that make you feel? Go on…let it out. It’s okay to feel these feelings. Let’s talk about that… We all shake our heads at the shoulder-patting, “aww gee”-inspiring cliches from the psychology world, but there’s no doubt they come from a necessary concept. When the traumatic, the all-of-a-sudden, the shocking occurs, our heads […]

The Flow of a Fijian Funeral: Day 52

The spot where Elias last stood

It didn’t matter how many times people clarified the schedule for the funeral arrangements, they never began at the designated time. It wasn’t about timing, though. It was about flow. Only when one group assembled could they continue with the next event, and with weather that echoed the widow’s eyes, every moment was contingent on […]

Hushed Voices, Broken Bones, Loud Squeals: Day 51

Pig on fire

Jackie, you’ve come into the village at an incredibly rare time. Gare, this is big. Abel just told me Elias, Mario and Eta’s father, just died an hour before we pulled up. He had a heart attack. I’m not sure what happens next, but all the boys are stressed and silent. I asked what we […]

The Addition and Subtraction of Lives: Day 46

The spot where Elias last stood

It was odd seeing Garrett in such sour spirits on the road. The intense foot infection he contracted sapped him of his usual energy. I had no idea how to make him feel better. He needed a breather from the project and to relax in Suva for the days between doctor’s visits, but meanwhile, the […]

Feet Don’t Fail Me Now: Day 43

Garrett hanging by our view

This post was written by Garrett Russell. We rely on our bodies to work. That’s a no-brainer. Traveling on a budget often involves staying in a hostel, taking public transportation, and very commonly using your appendages to get from place to place. I have walked all over this planet, and I expect my body to […]

Independence in a Communal Society: Day 39

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Returning after our holiday, we had not only our backpacks but boxes worth of books, school supplies, and ingredients for a week of comforting menu items. Fane gave us no hint as to when she would return to the village, and we were given permission to run her household to our liking, to cook and […]

Urgency in Health and a Broken Hip: Day 36

Abel, health, arm, medicine, Fiji

Even if the only information one is exposed to is from cable TV and the local newspaper, Americans know what makes them unhealthy, and many continue to live as though they don’t. 34% of us are obese, so to travel globally and point fingers at people’s awareness of their own health seems little hypocritical. However, […]

The First Hour of 2010 in the World: Day 35

Frolicking at Uprising

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 […]

Journeys of a Lifetime in May

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration […]

Video of the Week: Nakavika Project Outtakes

Fiji 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 […]

Consume & Update: 101, Maroon, and Onslaught

Today’s post came out a bit late, but that is due to the high quality of work I found this week. I also have lots to share… How’s The List Coming? Do you have a bucket or life list running? Are most of your goals doable, or are they unattainable? Don’t you wish you had […]

How My Blog Got Me a Bonafide Travel Job


Mom, Dad, and long time readers:

You’ve seen me struggle to satiate my passion for movement for over three years. I’ve blogged about this love of travel and my desire to get paid to live this lifestyle enough to make you and me both sick. It seemed like an impossible task, but I’m here today to tell you…I did it. My blog got me a dreamy travel job. Sincerely, Lindsay

When in Raki, Dive Like the Locals Dive: Day 31

Volivoli Beach Resort in Rakiraki

This is what we woke up to. [This post is a continuation of Breaking Away to Rakiraki.] Garrett awoke me with a cheer, but I could barely move. Having not shifted an inch the entire night, my hardening body was attempting to fuse with the modest mattress like a mother to her long-lost-but-now-found son. It […]

Video of the Week: Where Fiji Meets Ocean

On a boat in the ocean around Fiji

The final Fiji experience: a week crisping the skin and exfoliating the feet on Waya Island in the Yasawa chain. Since Garrett had to head home early, I went on my own to relax, do a little Fijian research, and eventually find the best meal I had in three months – at a hostel in […]

Breaking Away to Rakiraki: Day 26

Fijian Skies

I’m up before the crack of dawn. My family is enjoying Christmas brunch. I’m a pack mule walking a kilometer down the rocky road toward a bald cavern – one that I must then traverse. My niece is probably opening her first present from Santa (or at least watching since her motor skills aren’t Olympic […]

Reviewing J. Maarten Troost’s Getting Stoned with Savages

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These days I have an unwavering compulsion to read every strong travel narrative under the sun about the destination I’m next approaching. Sadly, since I’m not always heading to Paris or New York, I often only have one choice in novel, and Fiji was no exception. The only book that reached my awareness and my […]

Video of the Week: Leaving the Village

Misty Village

Remembering our last two days in Fiji together as we left Nakavika and The Nakavika Project – gathering supplies in Suva and spending our last hours together. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

And a Flying Fox in a Palm Tree: Day 25


There’s only been one other time when my Christmas wasn’t filled with earmuffs, slick roads, and airings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And the night we left for Maui with the rest of the holiday escapists was a tad doleful as we left winter in our contrail.

Climbing Mountains for Funerals: Day 21

Photo by Jackie Knowles

Regardless of our desires to infuse routine into our Fijian lifes, the days always promised to be unpredictable. Waking up in the morning, I could lie in bed, staring at the illuminated ceiling and think: Today, I could eat something crazy, go some where amazing, end up crying, hurt myself, receive a phone call, get […]

Video of the Week: Fiji Water

Swimming in water in Fiji

When I think of Fiji water, I don’t think of rectangular bottles with untouched, artisan liquid inside. I think of the teal waters draped with vines and littered with bamboo shoots weaving through the interior of Viti Levu. We always found new ways to appreciate the water, and playing on this vine swing and wading in the hot springs were no exceptions.

Two (Extra)Ordinary Days on the Luva River: Day 20

Coming back from the river

Stir at 7:30am to the sounds of giggling children, bossy dads, and falling billiard balls into play. Emerge from half-slumber at 9am to eat a pound of crepes and cups of lemongrass tea. Wash face. Brush layer of cane sugar off teeth. Contemplate what today will bring. This was our morning routine during those first few weeks in Fiji, when we had a host family and the sole mission of experiencing Fiji before our classes began in the afternoon. Some days we scribed on our computers until they died. But what we usually opted for were outings with our host mother or the children, and these trips always centered around satiating that primal desire to cool off.

Video of the Week: A Fijian School Morning

Brushing teeth in morning in Nakavika

One of our last mornings in the village, we awoke early to join the kids at school, helping them brush their teeth and watching their military-esque line-up and discipline hour. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

Launching The New Nakavika Project Site

The Nakavika Project

Welcome to Day Four of my Carnival of Blogs, celebrating one year at! For those of you who have followed my most recent adventures through the Fijian interior, you know I’ve been working hard, alongside my project partner Garrett, to self-start a humanitarian effort focused on health and education in the village of Nakavika. […]

This year’s popular posts

The Makings of a Travel Video

I’m very happy to report Nomadderwhere has come a long way since this time last year, when I moved from a simple blogspot to a bonafide domain of my own. Since that time I’ve changed my writing style and topics, grown a readership of surprisingly many (thanks to you), won the most amazing internship known […]

Video of the Week: One Year at Nomadderwhere

Nomadderwhere Turns One!

Today is my 1,168th daily anniversary of travel blogging, but is but an infant still. Since I bought my own domain exactly one year ago, I’ve evolved my site extensively, far beyond what I was capable of from the get-go. I’m proud today to display my year’s progress and hopefully inspire you to achieve […]

Breaking Up 2009: Day 17

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Traditional Fiji is all about formalities, paperwork, and figurative curtseys. Sitting next to the Turaga ni Koro (village spokesman) one rainy afternoon, he invited us to come to the youth break-up party on Friday evening. The official invite came one hour later in the hands of one of his children. On a sheet of college-ruled […]

Reviewing Alkr’s Urban Protection Sleeve

Alkr Gadget Accessories

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. […]

Video of the Week: A Lazy Day on the Farm

Garrett doing karate at the farm in Nakavika

We’re a productive crew. Give us something to plant on the farm, or we’ll create our own activities… Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

Video of the Week: Our Favorite Fijian Pastime

Swimming in the water in Fiji

Something Garrett and I took full advantage of was the easy access to an incredible swimming spot, fit with rock jumps, mini-rapids, sand bars, bamboo for building “bilibilis” (or bamboo rafts), and tons of kids always wanting to join the fun. This spot in the Luva River is called Nabukalau, or black water, after a […]

Wai Wai Everywhere: Day 16

Garrett filling balloons

The aftermath of Cyclone Mick kept the skies gray and misty for the following three days. Nearby villages sent word of their damages; Nakavika was one of the luckier communities, thanks to their relocation. For decades, Nakavika sat in a nook of a river bend, level with the mighty Luva, until the mid 1950s when […]

Mick Chicken: Day 14

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Peeling the rain shell off my pruning body, I layered on socks, pants, shirts and hats, using every available clothing item in my bag, and walked outside to watch Cyclone Mick blow by. [This is a continuation of Bracing for the Cyclone: Day 13] Garrett and I, both equipped with our arsenal of cameras, sat atop […]

Video of the Week: The Dreaded Infection

Garrett's injured foot

After seeing three year-olds throw nails around the village for weeks, we finally saw that which we were anticipating with worried brow: someone stepped on a nail…and that unfortunately fellow was Garrett. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

Bracing for the Cyclone: Day 13

Tea time during a hurricane

Various news publications reported Cyclone Mick as a battering, vicious storm, causing a lot of devastation to Viti Levu in December of 2009. BBC showed disheartening video footage of the aftermath. Al-Jazeera accentuated the death count. The Telegraph wove together an anthropomorphic description of Mick using beastly adjectives galore. All of these articles were factual, […]

Video of the Week: Home Alone

Lindsay at the stove in the Nakavika house

Coming back from our holiday on the coast, we were the only inhabitants of our home. Enter Garrett and Lindsay, man and woman of the household. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

The Final Shower

Ready to finally rest

There aren’t many things I regularly do on a trip. I don’t always buy keychains or t-shirts to mark a new country or experience, and I’m hardly a superstitious person, with an arsenal of therapeutic exercises at the ready before each plane, train or automobile ride. I don’t send postcards from every city, nor do […]

Am I a Cultural Imperialist?

Bonafide Fijian

I got on a bright yellow bus with “Awesome” scrolled along the side of its body. I lined up behind rolling suitcases, backpacks and wide-brimmed hats to book a ticket to the islands. I arrived to five resort employees singing a Fijian welcoming song, somewhat half-heartedly. A tourist I became after months of being on […]

Video of the Week: Kaivalangis on Holiday

Frolicking at Uprising

Christmas in Fiji. The first time zone to experience 2010. We were two grateful kaivalangis on holiday… Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail