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.
Tag Archives: Nakavika Project
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.
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.
Arriving at the bus terminal, I turned right back around and got on the Portliner train to try and get as close to the ship as possible. Having not traveled with my passport, and knowing the insanely tight restrictions on boarding, I knew there was no chance of talking my way on as a nostalgic alumna. As I rolled closer, I snapped pic after pic of increasingly higher quality until I found myself face-to-bow with my former nautical home.
There are many reasons why SASers develop a lifelong love of the program and the vessel. For me, Semester at Sea changed the whole course of my life. I don’t know who I would have become without my round-the-world voyage in 2007. I certainly wouldn’t have met Garrett and Alexis, wouldn’t have felt strong enough to take my Big Journey, wouldn’t have aspired for the STA internship, and wouldn’t have landed in Japan today with my job at THINK Global School.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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
Welcome to Day Four of my Carnival of Blogs, celebrating one year at Nomadderwhere.com! 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. […]
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 […]
Today is my 1,168th daily anniversary of travel blogging, but Nomadderwhere.com 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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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, […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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
I anticipate this topic sparking some vocalization from my normally docile reading crowd, but I want to bring it up as it bothered me during my last week in Fiji. Freshly departed from all Nakavika affiliations, I sat atop a barstool for seven hours at Uprising, telling friends and barmen my stories from the Highlands […]
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 […]
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 […]
The other day I asked Abel, our friend in Nakavika, to write something for the website – as someone with the insider perspective on what we were doing there. Though he could have been persuaded to write something extra kind from my request, I think he wrote what potential he saw in his own community […]
This post was written by Garrett Russell. Every aspect of the environment in which I grew up defines who I am. My language, my customs, my values and morals all define me as a person. I am very proud of my heritage, and there are many things that I don’t want to ever forget or […]
A 45 year-old man died of a heart attack at the top of the hill near Namando river. The village was hit hard, especially his widow and eight children. The entire week was a blur of death, rain and sadness. Experience with us a Fijian funeral in the highlands… Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS […]
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 […]