Life is funny, one minute you are striding down a certain path, and the next, tragedy strikes like a metaphorical avalanche and the path is swept away from under you. But all the cliches are true…. out of the darkness comes the light…..as one door closes another opens…… And so it was that a disaster on the harsh rocky island of Gran Canaria in Spain seven years ago would change my life in ways I never could have imagined.
Fate, and the trade winds blew me to Fiji where I landed a job on a remote island in the Yasawas. Here I worked with a local, tradition-bound community domineered by a powerful autocratic chief, and answered to a wealthy and eccentric American billionaire (owner of the island where Blue Lagoon was filmed). It was a crazy time typified by cyclones, a coup, and suffocating heat, of sabotage and skullduggery….where cheeky spirits roamed by land and sea, and tales of cannibalistic forebears were shared over many a bowl of kava. But what i remember most is the laughter, the singing, the awe inspiring beauty and the big beautiful smiles of the Fijians who welcomed me to their island home.
Two years passed and my life became totally entwined with the community….All my friends told me how lucky I was to live on a coral fringed island, but paradise is a lonely place and slowly island fever took a grip – it was time to go. Leaving was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but knew I would come back, Fiji was a part of me and I had come to love these islands fiercely and unconditionally . And now, five years later here I am. Oddly enough, it is like nothing has changed, and memories, like the incoming tide, roll in relentlessly. My time here is brief – just one month – as I ‘resort sit’ Navutu Stars, a boutique resort owned by my amazing Italian friends Maddalena and Freddy. Actually, the timing has been extraordinary, as I am writing a book about my time in Fiji but had lost the freshness of the experience and had been thinking of ways I could return – when out of the blue Madda called and asked me to come.
I am remembering so well the isolation, and the peacefulness, it seems so incredibly still after the chaos of Bali and it has taken me a while to adjust to the pace of Fiji time. The rhythm of life is so slow here, but this is the magic.