As I sit on the deck of our beautiful over-water bunglaow in one of the most universally recognised top destination resorts, I feel a little disappointed. This place has been on my bucket list since forever and I was so excited for this trip.
Don’t get me wrong… It is absolutely spectacular here and the water is a beautiful turquoise and so warm. But overall, it has been a let down. Initially, my husband and I thought perhaps our expectations were too high. Or maybe it was fatigue from the travel that was making us a little grumpy. But several days later, we still feel the same.
The feeling? Like we’re big walking wallets queued up awaiting biopsy. Even as we see new arrivals wearing their fresh leis, there’s a small part of us that pities them knowing they’re next in line for the shake-down. There is no culture to be found here. There’s just an artificial corporate flavour. The pretense is they’re so happy to have you here with an almost saccharine sweetness in their demeanour. The alternative has been to treat us with blatant distain.
Determined to enjoy ourselves, we’ve decided to just focus on relaxation and rejuvination in a glorious setting and let all the rest go. We’ve retired to our little bungalow and only venture out to eat and swim, which has made us so much happier.
After many discussions on the subject, we came to the conclusion that we are just spoiled. We live in a magnificent part of New Zealand and absolutely love our lives. We tend to work too hard and don’t always rest as much as we should, but otherwise, life is grand. Perhaps that’s why our expectations are so great when we travel. The bar is set pretty high. We’re not looking for an escape from our lives, we’re looking to enrich it further.
Our favourite place to go is Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. We were trying to figure out the difference between Raro and here, or anywhere else we’ve been. We came to the conclusion that the people of Rarotonga, where the land is ancestral and the big corporate giants cannot get their hooks in, are friendly in a very genuine way. Although they’re comparatively poor, they’re rich in culture and a joie de vivre. They value the tourist revenue but don’t resent your being there. There’s a mutual respect and authenticity present. They’re just relaxed and enjoying life, which creates a real sense of serenity and you feel like you’re part of a community. Also, it’s completely safe, no matter where you go. A local told us it is because it’s such a small island, any criminal misbehaviour will definitely get back to mamma and that’s scarier than jail!
This whole experience has really highlighted how incredible our life is. I feel so grateful for the contrast of this journey, which has brought my attention to all the many blessings in our lives. So, for that Tahiti, we thank you.