Surf Trip to Fiji

Photography by  Erica Parker

Photography by Erica Parker

Self care, what does it mean for each of us? As I pondered this concept I came across a post of Australian ladies on a surf trip, and without much thought, booked my next adventure. A surf trip, with a group of ladies from Australia to Fiji. It wasn’t until after I paid my deposit that I really paused to think about what I had done. What was I doing going on a surf trip? To Fiji of all places. Did I even know how to surf? I’d lived in Hawaii for years, but loving the ocean and going for runs on the beach was a far cry from getting into the waves off the coast of a tiny island in the South Pacific.

Five months later I found myself packed and onboard Fiji Airways, heading to Nadi International Airport. I was terrified. Up till the few minutes before boarding, I was trying to think of reasons that I could call off the trip, why I shouldn’t go. I’m no stranger to traveling. I’ve lived abroad for close to seven years, and had a passport before I could walk. But this wasn’t an ordinary trip. This was a surf trip. In my imagination, every single person would be a prime athlete, lean, toned, and ready to conquer whatever Poseidon through their way. I’ve been surfing a few times, and I’m a good swimmer, but that didn’t stop me from thinking of the 1,001 reasons I would likely perish in Fiji.

Upon walking off the airplane, into the airport, I knew I had made the right decision to experience this journey. Right away, island time, and island life took over. A lovely gentleman the resort met me, and we drove through lush island valleys, jungle, and mango trees on our way to Matanivusi Surf Resort, a small eco resort on the south side of the island. We picked up the cook along the way who was a really sweet young lady who would work at the resort during the week and come home on the weekends. I thought I would be so intimidated, I thought this entire adventure would be so scary, but it was exactly what I needed.

Day One we were up and out at the break by 6:30 am. The water was so blue, and so clear. You could see reef, fish, starfish, it was another world. I was nervous, and scared to go out on my board. But I did it. Despite images in my head of crashing face first into the reef, or breaking my board in half, I took a leap of faith. It took a few tries, but I got up and got going, I was surfing! And it was the most amazing feeling in the world. And then just like a song on replay, we did it again, every morning for the next 10 days.

Matanivusi Surf Resort is a small eco resort on the south side of the island. The staff were mostly locals from the neighboring village. Because we were there for 10 days, we got to know them quite well. Every day, they would cook fresh fish for us, and had salads and fruits. The guys would go out on the boat with us during the day, and help us with our boards. In the evening, they would hang around sometimes have cocktails and go swimming. In the afternoon the resort had a beautiful yoga studio, and we would all go for yoga which felt so amazing after a full morning in the water.

The biggest blessing? This part of the island didn’t have good wifi or phone reception. A whole week without being attached to your cell phone? Without checking email? It felt so good to unplug and just enjoy life. Swim, read, surf, yoga, repeat.

The best part were the ladies from the surf group, Surf Getaways. I’ve never been around a group of people who were more positive and supportive. Everyone cheered when I got my first wave, and encouraged me to keep going. It was truly a magical, and uplifting experience. At the end of our stay, we were invited into the town for a traditional kava ceremony. The entire village came to the ceremony, and it really felt like for an afternoon we were part of the community.

What this whole trip taught me was: live life. Every single fear I had about going on this adventure was something I made up. None of those fears were true. And actually, the opposite happened. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. After coming home from Fiji, things have changed. I prioritize taking care of myself.

What’s the point of working so hard, you forget there is life around you? What is it that you’ve been scared of doing or trying? Get out there and do it! I’m already planning my next surf trip with Surf Getaways and I can’t wait.

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Photography by Erika Parker at Matanivusi Surf Resort with Surf Getaways