" Go confidently into your dreams and live the life you've imagined"
I've always dreamt of the places I would want to experience and enjoy throughout my lifetime. Fear is something that can hold you captive in many ways but mentally , its power holds more weight than any physical resistance. I decided to live more by faith , not fear , when I left my very stable (well paying) job and took a leap high into the skies above 30,000 feet. It was the bravest thing I had ever done solely for me and I'm reminded of that leap each time I enter a new city or country ! The feeling of entering a whole new world ( cue my girl Jasmine ) and demolishing the fear/doubt vying for an appearance during my incredible ride reinforces my strength with each stamp.
My newest proud stamp was given by the Republic of Fiji. The islands scattered in the South Pacific Ocean are synonymous with paradise. I was fortunate to be introduced to Fiji , first by my friend Ana aka Fijian Princess , my friend William aka Fijian Queen and more historic information while visiting Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center. It didn't take long to confirm Fiji needed Carmey's presence!
Here's what you should know.
The Basics :
Fiji is compiled of hundreds of small islands , 110 of them actually inhabited in yet the two major islands (87 % of the population ) are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Languages spoken in Fiji are Fijian , Fiji Hindi and English but don't just be THAT American traveler , staying in your comfort zone, dive into the culture and at least learn a few words in Fijian. Lesson number one and two , hello is Bula and thank you is Vinaka! Choosing where to go can be tricky but you really cannot go wrong with any of the islets. Think about what you're looking to do and the experience that you envision while researching the islands. I stayed in the main island of Viti Levu because I only stayed in Fiji for three days and didn't have the time to venture to the surrounding islands but many do just that! There are boats and flights available to the various islands just remember when booking these transports , island time may not always mean right on time but you'll get there ! As far as transportation , there are plenty of buses , taxis and private companies who can act as your chariot.
What's the cost ??
A direct flight into Nadi (NAN) can run you well into $2000 roundtrip BUT if you're proactive with flight alerts it doesn't have to be! Sites such as Google Flights , Secret Flying and even Kayak can get you the deal you've been dreaming of. Even discount sites such as Groupon has great packages that will have you treading Fiji waters with hotel , airfare and activities included ! I lead by example and am not ashamed to say I have purchased a couple Groupon vacays to travel to Bahamas and even Dubai. The point is to do your research and be motivated to create the trip of your dreams while making it make sense for your bank accounts.
Where should you stay ??
Normally I am an Airbnb Queen but decided on the resort option for this trip. As I stated above I was in Fiji for 3 days so venturing out to another island and stay in a luxurious rented home ( plenty available ) , didn't make sense. Instead I stayed at the Radisson Blu Resort . The resort is only a 30-40 minute ride from the airport, located among many other popular resorts such as the Sheraton and Westin. Radisson was ideal mainly because it is only about a 10 min drive to the Port Marina of Denarau and like most resorts , offered several in house activities, delicious restaurants on site for your convenience , and the security of staying in an establishment catered to a deluxe stay. For 8 FJD per day , you'll have a hotel pick up and drop off on the Bula Bus which takes you around to each of the surrounding resorts as well as the Port Marina of Denarau. It worked perfectly for what I wanted which is so important . Find what works for you! Truthfully , the people of Fiji are so gracious and helpful so anywhere you decide to lay your head for those island nights , there are numerous amount of people willing to help you along the way.
Per usual , food was on my mind immediately ! I was ready to try Fijian flavors and dishes ; thankfully Fiji did not disappoint. I cheated myself out of the complete culture exposure by indulging in the breakfast buffet each morning in the resort. Complete with omelette stations , pastries , local fruit and delicacies , let's be very clear a diet was no where near the menu. The talented staff serenaded us each morning while we dined and started the day with a perfect vibe. The food throughout the day was all courtesy of the locals. We headed to the marina's restaurants and gratified in fresh seafood and desserts such as cream buns.
Beyond the water sports readily available , here are few sites that you should include in your visit to Nadi.
- The Garden of the Sleeping Giant
- Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
- Cloud 9
- Port Denarau
-Sabeto Hot Springs/Mud Baths
- Namaka Markets/ Nadi Municipal Market
-Visit some of the villages and some resorts even offer transportation to volunteer at the local schools
What Makes Fiji So Fly ?
I don't know if it was because I landed on Valentine's Day , I was there with my love or simply the island breeze but setting one foot on Fiji's soil, I could honestly say I felt at home. Not just safe but welcomed by each person from the airport , the resort and most importantly on the streets of Nadi. There's so much pride Fijians carry enveloped by their culture , their land and their traditions and so openly willing to invite you in their circle of family. The smiles are genuine , the food decadent and the culture mesmerizing. I left Fiji craving more , again allowing the pieces of fear to wash away on the ocean shores , only taking with me the confidence this land gifted me to continue to live the life I've imagined . Vinaka :)