Sage and I are on our way home to Utah from the Fiji trip, and we have a one-night layover in Sydney. I had to take a quick minute and blog about Fiji—FABULOUS! That’s all I have to say!
OK, maybe I’ll say a bit more (smile). . . .
Sage came with me on this incentive trip (and she was a great traveling companion--we had a blast!), and I mentioned in my earlier blog that we arrived Tuesday afternoon without our luggage. Bummer. But we made the best of it on Wednesday by going out and buying new swimsuits and then relaxing around the pool, waiting for the demonstrators—and our luggage—to arrive.
Thankfully both showed up safe and sound on Wednesday night. Sage and I had enough time to shower and put clean clothes on (FINALLY) before heading to the welcome dinner.
Dinner was wonderful . . . delicious food, great entertainment (native Fiji dancers), and our first opportunity to honor this great group of demonstrators who had earned the incentive trip. There were 18 demonstrators who earned the trip, and everyone got to bring one guest, plus we had staff members . . . all together our group totaled almost 50. I loved the intimate size, because it gave us an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with everybody at least once, and I chatted with many people on several occasions throughout the week.
After the welcome dinner, we sent everyone to bed early—we had to be in the lobby the next morning by 5:30 a.m. for an exciting, daylong white water river rafting adventure.
Almost everyone went on this excursion, and while it was definitely a long, exhausting day (we didn’t get back to the hotel until past 8 p.m.), it was worth every minute.
The scenery, the adrenaline, the opportunity to experience and see Fiji in from that perspective was amazing! The pictures don’t do it justice, but at least they bring back the great memories.
Friday morning we met for Make & Takes and a group photo (I don't have it right now but will add it when I get back to the US), then the rest of the day was free. I have to mention the birthday gift I received on Friday—our demonstrators gave me a 6x6 album, with a page from every demonstrator in attendance. I also received cards, hand-stamped jewelry, and other gifts throughout the week; it really did feel like I spent the entire week celebrating my birthday, and I felt very spoiled. Thank you, all!
Saturday was also a free day, until the farewell dinner that night. Demonstrators spent Friday and Saturday shopping, enjoying a variety of excursions, and simply relaxing and visiting. That was our plan too, and we followed that plan on Friday. But plans were made to be broken, right? And Saturday we were a little spontaneous.
There were two excursions that had caught our eyes. The first was a hot air balloon ride, and after discussing it, Sage and I decided to go for it. We had to get up very early (we were actually through and back at the hotel eating breakfast before most everyone else was even awake), but it was wonderful!
The view looking down at the villages from up in the air was breathtaking; people, especially the children, would run out of their homes and wave up at us, calling out “Bula, bula” (a Fijian greeting much like Aloha).
We actually landed in a small village where the children ran right up to the hot air balloon. The guide explained that the winds determine where the balloon can land, and the villagers had been waiting for years for the balloon to land there, but the wind hadn’t been right until that morning. So it was fun to see the excitement of the children as they had an up-close-and-personal look at the balloon—and us!
At breakfast, Sage and I made another spontaneous decision. A skydiving excursion was offered, and we’d talked about it almost jokingly earlier in the week. But sitting there at breakfast, we looked at each other and said, “Let do it!” So we did!
I’ve always wanted to go sky diving—it’s been on my bucket list for years. I almost went for my 40th birthday, and Sage and Shanna had even planned to go with me. But one thing after another came up, and we never went. Shanna finally went with a friend a few years ago, but Sage and I hadn’t made it, so this was our chance.
Talk about awesome! I can’t even begin to describe what it was like! It has to rank up there as one of our best experiences ever. . . it was simply amazing. We were both really brave until just before it was time to jump out of the airplane door, but at that point, there’s no backing out. There was a moment of sheer panic, and then we were gone, free falling for almost a whole minute (we jumped from 14,000 feet) before our tandem divers (the professionals) pulled the chute.
Sage’s favorite part was the free fall; we actually fell through clouds and rain! My favorite part was after the chute had deployed, and we were just drifting down, quiet and peaceful, entranced by the view below. We landed on the beach, pretty much a perfect landing, and we were both about as pumped as you can possibly be. Even now, I can’t believe we did it—and I’m so glad we did!
We capped off the whole incentive trip with a terrific farewell dinner, complete with Fijian fire dancers and a children’s choir. The original plan was to have a bonfire on the beach and roast s’mores, but the weather didn’t cooperate, and the children’s choir was a last-minute substitution . . . the perfect way to end the perfect trip!
The children sang farewell songs (we didn’t understand the words, but we could definitely feel their message) and then shook our hands as they left.
The children, and all the Fijian people we met were the most friendly, beautiful people you could meet. I was impressed and touched with their sincere interest in us and desire to help us. I learned two Fijian words—Bula (I mentioned it earlier) and Vinaka, which means “thank you.” We used “Vinaka” a lot, and meant it every time!
I have to admit this trip was a little unusual. Typically I go on the incentive trip with one thing in mind—spending time with our demonstrators. That’s what my focus is, and that’s what I enjoy. These trips are about our demonstrators and what they want, not what I want! It was a special this time to enjoy our demonstrators PLUS experience some incredible adventures that I probably wouldn’t get to do any other time.
So, that was Fiji in a nutshell . . . quite a week! If any demonstrators from North America have wondered if this incentive trip is worth it, let me tell you right now—Absolutely! It was simply fabulous! Sage and I are already counting the days until we can come back. . . .