LIFE ON ISLAND TIME: SIX NIGHTS IN EXQUISITE SAMOA


It was October and I was a world away in Morocco when the message first arrived from beautiful Tess. “Quick question darling, when are you home, and would you be interested in a 6 day trip to Samoa at the end of November?” It was one of those moments when your breath catches in your throat and life freeze-frames still for a few moments as the world spontaneously opens right up. Suddenly, you need to fit some kind of unfathomable magic into a new reality that felt much smaller just moments ago. Fast forward one month, and there I found myself flying headlong into a grizzly night sky from Sydney direct to Apia, Samoa. The air felt heavy; our plane rocking and tumbling in darkness through an early summer storm. I sat in the last row of the plane staring out into utter blackness, dog-eared passport in lap and three seats to myself, bound for an untapped paradise. A cluster of ten islands make up Samoa - and our itinerary included both the main island Upolu (home to the capital of Apia, and Faleolo International Airport) and Savai’i, the largest island but much more rugged and mountainous.

Samoa was just like that first surreal moment of invitation, but divinely extended across six days and nights of constant wonderment. I knew that there would be coconuts, sun, salt, and breathtaking beauty, but what I did not expect to find was such a sense of soul belonging - a deep connection and love for the Fa’a Samoa {Samoan way} so evocatively alive and deeply woven into the spirit of this country. I did not expect to be veiled in a fresh flower lei and welcomed by a five piece band at 5.30am as we exited the plane into the humid predawn, or to be greeted by Sinalei Resort staff with frangipani decorated coconuts and embracing hugs like long lost family. I did not imagine we would be serenaded with acoustic guitar strums and sweet melodies each evening as the sun slipped into the sea, or be immediately known by our first names and to share hilariously in-jokes with kitchen staff, solidified within moments of introductory conversation.

Over those six days, we lived inside magic. I saw fresh coconut milk squeezed with two bare hands before me, and the whitest sand I have ever laid my eyes on when we found ourselves anchoring for the day at a private island all to ourselves. I ate lime cured Tuna caught locally by resort staff, discovered a treehouse fit for faeries and frolicked in water so warm and clear that I could not help but sink in and immerse myself, fully clothed. I lay still in complete darkness on the hardwood floor of my villa, with waves crashing a metre from my deck, trying to process how I ended up living in such a vivid daydream, when my phone buzzed with news of the terror and devastation in Paris. On that night, I stayed there on the floor in disbelief for hours until the sun rose, trying to visualise pouring all of my love through the tiny Parisian back streets I had wandered with camera in hand merely weeks earlier. Helplessness, emptiness and unimaginable, utter gratitude all juxtaposed and mixed at once and palpable. I danced with the locals at Fia Fia night with far too many mojitos consumed and a spirit so sunbeaten and wild and free. I found tears streaming down my face, hearing the heartbreaking story of the 2009 tsunami, which washed away lives and livelihood with ferocity. And I sat utterly awestruck by the grace, and courage, and rising above of these beautiful people from such a disaster - rebuilding resorts, homes and livelihoods literally by hand. I did not expect to discover such coastlines and valleys and waterfalls and trenches and sunrise skyshows which all somehow felt like finding hidden treasure. Samoa was so many things - but more than anything, it was a place so exquisitely alive, and abundant in sheer beauty, generosity and spirit.

Here is a visual photo journal of our wanderings, and an address book of my favourite experiences, eats, places to rest your travelling head and highlights.... which, was basically every little moment. And do scroll right to the bottom of the post, where I have a special offer for YOU, lovely reader, if you wish to experience this paradise too.

Fa’afetai Samoa, you will forever and always be imprinted on my heart. x

You can follow Emma's journey's over on her blog or view her profiled talents.

#Samoa #wanderlust #passportposse #instameet #beautifulsamoa

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