Hard work Holiday
Blisters? Gravel Rash? Steel toe boots? Best Fiji trip ever.
As the plane touched down, I wasn’t exactly sure what had I committed to. I’d landed in a holiday destination to do anything but holiday.
What is a holiday? What are we getting away from? What are we looking for when we leave our shores? Why?
Relaxation? Rejuvenation? Feel better? Break the routines? Memorable experiences?,
All of the above .
If these are questions, the answer is often a drinking and junk food expedition by a pool. Definitely fun, but is coming home heavier, sunburnt and hung over rejuvinating?
I challenge the notion. Fortune favours the brave.
I went to Fiji, woke up each morning, put on my steel toe boots, packed 5 L of electrolytes and spent my days digging holes, mixing mortar, laying foundations and hauling 40 kg bags of concrete.
It’s changed my perspective of “holiday” forever.
Peter Hopgood, the manager of the Outrigger in Fiji who facilitated this said “You’re going to go home with the clearest head – just you wait and see”.
He was right. I feel rejuvenated, patient and excited to be home. Stronger too.
My workmate Aliki told me “The resort is not Fiji. This is Fiji. This is real Fiji.” He was right. We shared our lunch of roast beef rolls, cassava flavoured with freshly picked wild chillies and lime juice, noodles, tuna and freshly picked papaya, washed down with sweet tea and fresh coconut juice.After we ate he gave me a square of cardboard so we could let our food digest out of the heat of the baking sun. We discussed life, love, family. I was too dirty to touch my phone and the rest of my world fell away from me .
I was engaged. I told and heard stories. I learnt more about my place in the world.
Each day I got dropped off at the engineering section filthy dirty. On day one the staff were confused. By day two, 30 of them knew my name and by day three were sharing with me their stories. Real people were opening my eyes to what life is really like, without filters.
Fiji can be more than flop and drop?
I love this Fiji just as much as the resort Fiji.
I landed in Melbourne and know how lucky I am to call it home. Just before midnight Saturday I had that “welcome home honey” from my wife and a squealing “DADDY!!!” From my daughter before attempting to suffocate me with her gorgeous hug before she fell asleep again.
On Sunday we played Jenga, she asked about the photographs and the real world the resort didn’t show her. She wants the same experience. I’m going to take her. Not bad for a nine year old.
Anyone feeling bold enough to join me?
Travel agents – ask someone what they’re looking for and give them a different way to find it. A website never will. You can