First, VNTRbirds want to say sorry for all the delays with the new blogs for Fiji.. The birds have been on a somewhat deserted island with no phone/ internet/ warm or drinkable water and what not. But here Kelley will explain the TUB adventures as if they just happened because a handwritten journal was kept!

VNTRbirds are in FIJI! This is so surreal and unbelievable. Waiting in the airport after the check in went quite fast since the rest of the kids in the TEAN (The Education Abroad Network) program were also showing up and introductions were necessary. They are all adventurous and stoked about this experience just like TUB.

After the 11 hour flight, which was filled with sleeping passengers dreaming of the tropical life, these girls were lead right outside – no terminal. The sun was just starting to rise and the Fijian birds welcomed us like family to the Nadi mainland. Fiji is probably better than one could ever describe. Want to know what Fiji is like? Grab a postcard, where all pictures seem perfect… that’s Fiji. Everything is bright, beautiful and green. All the surroundings and vegetation is just so foreign and bizarre.
After customs everyone was welcomed by a Fijian woman with hand made shell lays – first souvenirs. BULA! was said everywhere meaning ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’. A million bulas later TUB turned into sea birds on the 3 hour long ferry ride to Naviti Island. This is where the group really bonded and got some great scenic shots, thanks to Jaime!




All 3 full hours later Naviti arrived in sight where a smaller boat picked up the tourists (which was just the 25 person group) and brought them to the shore. The Fijians gave out beautiful Hibiscus lays and some great, fresh mango juice – paradise, yet all the kids in the program will be sharing a bunk hut/house of one room, but 30 bunks – no privacy here!


The water is teal and clear and even feels silky. There is white and black sand beaches that is some of the softest sand ever, but once it’s on you it doesn’t go away! After a few laps in the ocean, Jaime and Kelley took a walk up and down the beach watching fish jumping, chasing and eating other fish, collecting bright colored shells and messing with hermit crabs before the sound of the drum signaled for lunch. This food is some of the best food/ fresh food/ organic food these birds have eaten (sorry mom and dad, but you got nothing on the Fijians). Music accompanied lunch on this bright day and nothing was wasted.


Kayaking followed the meal. Kelley and Jaime went out on a double sea kayak to discuss how unbelievable and lucky it is to be in Fiji and how it didn’t even seem like it was real. Paddling, jumping, diving and swimming was a great way to burn off the hearty lunch, but TUB was called back into shore when the beat of the drum claimed it was tea time. Yes, tea time (with cakes).

Venturing out around the resort’s front (which wasn’t too much like a resort, but we were well catered to) was a must. Happy hour was every day 5:30 to 6:30 and since the drinking age is 18 – Happy Birds! Topical drinks and a couple Fiji Bitter beers was followed by the most epic game of beach volley ball in the world. Kelley ended up bruised and broken from dives in the sand for the ball and sometimes running into other team mates (I said it was epic!).

Once the beautiful sunset was extinguished, the Fijian men and women from the village on the other side of the mountain (about a 45 minute walk in bare feet) came to welcome the visitors with a native performance. All the music was played on handmade drums, some guitars, ukuleles and clapping. The singing was so native and exotic coming from the small group of villagers. Most of the men and women danced and sang and it was evident that they were really enjoying themselves. It was beautiful, unexpected, awe inspiring and fun all at the same time. Their moto is ‘the luxury of simplicity’ and that’s was is it; simple. Yet, not simple at all, but hard work without complaint. This factor makes it hard to miss America.
The performance was all summed up with everyone joining in on the dancing and conga lines and shouting BULA to everyone that came in a two foot radius. These birds slept like rocks afterwards.


The second day Jaime woke Kelley up at around 6:15 to search about the beach again before the rest of the crew came out. Serenity. VNTRbirds chased around sand crabs that were little buggers to see and tried to catch the quick geckos. Breakfast drums were sounded and everyone came running. Fresh pineapple, watermelon, bananas and other freshly cut fruit was laid out with cereal and coffee. TUB stuffed their face, not knowing that there was a second course coming – banana crapes to die for, mixed with warm, melted brown sugar.

Directly after breakfast TUB rented out some snorkeling gear that was only $4 FIJI. Swimming around just in front of the shore was full of some of the best reefs. The birds felt like they were in FINDING NEMO with their underwater camera following the purple, bright blue and some stripped fish, but something didn’t feel right. Slight stings and pinches kept coming and going while swimming around in the open water. Finally retiring back to shore thinking there were some invisible jelly fish, the birds found out they were attacked by sea lice. This called for a vinegar rub down – yum.

After lunch to take our minds off of the sea, Mini, our Fijian guide took us to the fields to show us how to spear throw! Everyone grabbed a spear, had a few practice throws then the competition began. Both Jaime and Kelley made it into the finals with the farthest throws for the girls, but in the end we choked, giving up our title to another. Finishing up the after lunch activities, Mini handed out water balloons. You can only guess how that ended.

Being on ‘Fiji Time’ no one really knows when something is going to happen, you just have to make sure you’re there when it actually does! Mini rounded up the group and escorted these birds on a 15 minute boat ride to another beach for snorkeling in open water. The colors are unbelievable. There is nothing like what is under the sea. Afterwards a game of throw the coconut like a rugby ball, while on someone else’s shoulders took place, but quickly turned into a game of chicken.

Happy hour came and went again with compliments of Nox, our bartender, followed up by cold showers (without compliments of Nox). Another fantastic dinner was served and the group of Americans completely out of their element sat on the beach and enjoyed the scenery.