Living with The Firewalkers of Fiji

Fiji Time Explained

Fun. blared over the restaurant stereo. Motivated surfers paddled out to the reef break to catch morning waves. Other backpackers yawned over their morning coffee, hiding their hangovers behind their sunglasses.

the-beachouse-1

As for me, I was on a mission.

I’d finally said goodbye to my Fijian family and made my way down the Coral Coast. I set up camp at a beachfront hostel appropriately (but none too creatively) called The Beachouse.

beachouse-hammock

Besides it stunning views and affordable prices, I chose The Beachouse because of the activities it offered. They offered surf lessons for under thirty bucks, snorkeling and scuba trips out on the reef, sunset boat rides, and hiking through the nearby jungles. It also boasted a bunch of free activities, which given my ever-dwindling budget, were of interest to me.

I’d spent all morning hunting down Napoleon. He was an employee of The Beachouse who lived in a nearby village. He was in charge of the free coconut jewelry making lessons.

napoleon1

I wanted mine. He was being elusive. Lucky for me, I’m a persistent little pain when I want something. After annoying the cooks in the kitchen, they directed me to the patio. I found him lounging in a hammock.

“Alright, Napoleon,” I chirped. “What time are you giving coconut jewelry lesson today? I’ve only got a few days left here and I need to monopolize my time. Let’s make some stuff!”

He stretched out his arms and legs. “Hmm… What time is it now?”

I looked at my watch. “Ten.”

He stood up and yawned. “Maybe eleven. Maybe twelve.” He started walking away. “Maybe tomorrow or next week, if I feel like it.”

coconut-jewelry

I waited for him to laugh at his joke. This was a joke, right? “Wait, Napoleon. Where are you going?”

He turned and waved. “Back to my village for a nap. Senga na lenga!”

I stood there, mouth agape, staring after him. What the heck did he mean ‘no worries‘? I turned to one of the backpackers who had watched the interaction. “What happened here? There are supposed to be lessons everyday.”

The backpacker laughed and shrugged. “What can you do, Hil? We’re on Fiji Time!”

beachouse-horses

Guess I still had some learnin’ to do…

31 Comments

  • Reply

    […] Fun. blared over the restaurant stereo. Motivated surfers paddled out to the reef break to catch morsource […]

  • Reply

    Ryan

    April 10, 2013

    Fiji time sounds awfully like Mauritius time! Must be the lifestyle of islanders :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 11, 2013

      Does it? I’ve heard a lot of island cultures are similar in that regard. But I suppose when you live in paradise, where do you have to rush off to? =)

      How is Mauritius treating you?

      • Reply

        Ryan

        April 14, 2013

        Rush to the beach to procrastinate!

        We are getting cyclone warnings here at the moment. The last time I was in a cyclone/hurricane was for my 4th birthday when I was actually in Mauritius!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          April 14, 2013

          Oh my gosh! Please be safe! Please message me when it passes so I know you’re still alive ;). Sounds like Mauritius is a rambunctious place!

          • Ryan

            April 17, 2013

            It passed as to the East, just had some heavy rain! Now my quest to fend off the monster mosquitoes! And snakes, frogs, crabs, giant grasshoppers, cockroaches, rats, giant snails and my parent’s cat!

          • Hilary Billings

            April 18, 2013

            Oh good, glad you’re safe from the hurricane.

            Goodness, sounds like you’ve got quite the array of creatures working against you! If you figure out a good repellent for the mosquitoes, please let me know! I can’t ever seem to win that battle. But Vicks Vapor Rub is GREAT for soothing the itching!

            Couldn’t help laughing at the cat comment. I now have a great visual of a cat sitting atop your head. ;)

  • Reply

    Jconowitch

    April 10, 2013

    That we would drive me nuts! LOL!!! Hope you got the lesson before you left!

  • Reply

    Erica

    April 10, 2013

    Hahahaha love it!
    (Though I’m sure it would be frustrating… until you got too used to it and then frustrating when you arrived back home to people demanding specific times ;) )

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 11, 2013

      Hahaha! I wouldn’t have cared had I not been on a tight schedule to fit all my fun in before I left. But my schedule meant nothing. To ANY of the locals. Serves me right for thinking it should.

      And yes, upon my arrival back, I CERTAINLY had a much more relaxed attitude than the rest of my peers. But that ‘Hankuna Matata’ phase lasted all of a few weeks. ;)

  • Reply

    seekingmonsieur

    April 10, 2013

    Hello Hil,
    As a fellow nomad, one thing you must learn is that on the islands, their time is THEIR time. After living in Maui for 9 months i learned to break away and do my own thing. That included, hikes, glider flights and jumps as well as the ease of being in a outrigger canoe. By the way, your photos are fantastic!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 15, 2013

      Haha, yes that is SO true! No thing as schedules or appointments in those places! On one hand it’s nice. But when you’re pressed for time to fit in all the things you want to do, it can be stressful. =)

      What did you do while you were in Maui? That sounds amazing!!

      And thank you. It helps to have great scenery when capturing great photos. =)

      • Reply

        seekingmonsieur

        April 16, 2013

        Besides work to support my hobbies, I joined a outrigger canoe club, hiked, took glider flights and explored the island alone and with friends. I became the photographer and story writer for the adventures that I participated in with groups. (My stories are posted on both websites). You are right, it does help to have great scenery and Maui has that without much searching. Now if I could have your secret to gaining such high views and followers I will be so happy!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          April 18, 2013

          That’s SO awesome! Hawaii has always been on my list, but I’ve always been terrified about figuring out how I would support myself out there just because it’s so expensive. One day, though!

          And you’re too sweet. I don’t really know how that happened myself, haha!

  • Reply

    gene3067

    April 10, 2013

    I was waiting for “Hakuna matata” myself. LOL

    Sounds like you’ve met your match, my friend.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 11, 2013

      Hahaha! Precisely! And now the song is stuck in my head.

      Yes, my uptight Type A personality is no match for one who could not care less about what I think!

  • Reply

    larkycanuck

    April 11, 2013

    are you still in fiji?

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 15, 2013

      No, not at the moment. Just finishing up my posts about it because there was still so much to share! =)

      • Reply

        larkycanuck

        April 15, 2013

        so where are you now?

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          April 18, 2013

          Regrouping back in Vegas! Lots of new adventures to come =).

          What part of the world are you in now?

          • larkycanuck

            April 18, 2013

            i am actually a domestic lop. that is i am domiciled in Calgary, Canada for most part of the year and lop for occasional jaunts instead of being the nomad. Got a job, family, usual trappings. somehow got to come up with ways to pay for the lop jaunts.
            but here is an interesting article i wrote.
            http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/abi-paul/northern-lights-yukon-japanese_b_3077743.html

          • Hilary Billings

            April 19, 2013

            What an awesome article!! I would’ve totally been acting like one of those Japanese tourists… Yay Canada!

            The photos you got were great! How did you get connected with Huffington? What an accomplishment!

          • larkycanuck

            April 19, 2013

            love is free up here.

            if you loved those photos then you should see the video here
            http://larkycanuck.com/2013/03/17/northern-lights-aurora-borealis-tour-in-whitehorse-yukon-canada-travel-adventures-larkycanuck-com/

            Its the first image you see. click to play.

            Huff Post got in touch. they liked my writing. but it was more of the social stuff i would write that attracted them. so i write for Huff Post Alberta which is one channel. so im doing more regional travels now. theres lots locally. we miss out.
            like have you been to Grand Canyon? The Hoover Dam? Heck, Harrahs?

          • Hilary Billings

            April 21, 2013

            That’s amazing! What a fun journey for you. I would love to write for them someday. Trying to figure out how I can market myself to them appropriately, haha.

            Yes, I have been to all of them. I’m actually going to be going out with Vision Airlines to do a sponsored tour of the South Rim shortly. So that’s exciting. =)

            Can’t wait to check out that video.

  • Reply

    gumiii

    April 20, 2013

    We call it the island time. And what is so unoriginal about a beach house called, The Beach House? Haha! Come to the Philippines and you will find that we call the white beach, wait for it, White Beach. :))

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 21, 2013

      Hahahaha! I love it. Who needs originality when you have beauty, right? Is White Beach your favorite place in the Philippines?

      • Reply

        gumiii

        April 22, 2013

        We have several around here called White Beach or Sabang and they are usually great beaches. I’m spoiled for choice really :)

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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