Travel: An Island of Dreams; Pete Fyfe Got Back to Basics and Found Paradise in Fiji While on the Trip of a Lifetime around the World

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), November 18, 2000 | Go to article overview

Travel: An Island of Dreams; Pete Fyfe Got Back to Basics and Found Paradise in Fiji While on the Trip of a Lifetime around the World


Byline: Paul English

HAVING finished my degree, I was torn between taking the first steps in my career - or taking everyone's advice and seeing the world.

My brother had travelled round the globe after he graduated and, looking at his pictures, listening to his tales and seeing his suntan made my decision an easy one. So, I took a temporary job to save up enough money to buy into the next phase of my further education - a round the world ticket.

My main destination was Australia, but the trip took me to London, Los Angeles and Tokyo along the way before I finally touched down in Sydney at the end of October last year.

I was ready for a change of scene, a fresh challenge - and what was to be the wildest 10 months of my life.

Jobs as a barman at Darling Harbour in Sydney, a mobile phone salesman and building site labourer soon saw me make some money, and bags of new travelling acquaintances.

I even managed to get my hands dirty working on a chicken farm for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

For the best part of the year, I travelled all over the continent and tried skydiving, bungee jumping and surfing.

By the time 10 months had passed, I was ready for something different.

The best thing about backpacking is that it allows you to meet so many different people, who have so many experiences to share with you.

My flatmates in Sydney had told me about Tavewa, one of the Fijian islands in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia.

Their description of the place was simply irresistible, and I was determined to see it. So one month before my ticket was due to expire, I booked my flight to Nadi airport, and prepared to chill out.

During the flight to Fiji, after the five-hour journey from Sydney, you see some amazing sights as you pass over all these stunning islands, and cross over the reef - all pitched in a stunning clear blue sea.

I got off the flight and into the liveliest airport on the planet. It was a crazy all-singing affair, full of friendly travel agents with giant afros and grass skirts. I hooked up with one, and told her about Tavewa.

She got in touch with the resort (I use the word in the loosest sense of the word) and took the deposit from me there. I hitch-hiked my way to the little town of Latoka, which is further up the mainland Fiji coast.

Fijians are friendly and, providing you're willing to tell them something about yourself, they are happy to know you. They rarely leave Fiji, so they want to know what life is like where you come from.

From there, four companions and I boarded a 12-man speed boat, which speeded out across the Koro Sea towards our destination. I don't get seasick, but two hours on a speed boat would be enough to make the hardiest of sailors feel a bit green.

Passing through some of the 330 Fijian islands, I got a totally different perspective of the islands and the reef which we'd seen from the plane.

On one side there were these lush, tropical forests, and on the other, drier more barren islands.

It was the closest I have ever come to seeing my own tropical paradise.

As Tavewa came into view, I realised that it was everything it was made out to be.

There were long, sandy beaches, swooping palm-covered hills plunging into the crystal blue bay, and tiny wooden huts poking out through the trees here and there. I loved it from the minute I saw it. …

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