In Tahiti: Fa’a’ā, Far Away
It’s been almost six years since my trip to Tahiti which sadly, was the worst trip of my life due in large part to the loneliness I felt as a result of the person I was traveling with. Apart from my poor choice in a travel mate, the trip was also difficult because Jave and I were in the heart of our long distance relationship at the time with me living in L.A. while he was still in Jamaica. While my nearly two week trip to Tahiti and Sydney increased the physical distance between us, it also threw a wrench in our daily communications with each other, which caused an emotional distance between us as well.
As we deplaned at Fa’a’ā International, the Tahiti airport, I couldn’t help but notice the sign as greeters awaited our arrival with leis in hand. Indeed, I felt “faaa”, far away from home and was struck by a sudden mix of emotions that left me feeling lonely and cut off from the one person that I needed and wanted to be with the most.
Despite my sadness, I couldn’t fight the intrigue that Tahiti stirred within me. While in Tahiti, I was on a sensory overload – from the sporadic cascading waterfalls viewable from the roads and the barefoot locals in the supermarket, to the egregious gas prices and the dirtiest rat I’ve ever seen scampering into a sewer as we explored the streets of downtown Pape’ete. Everything felt new and foreign to me. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about Tahiti before my trip, so I was also very surprised to encounter Afro-Polynesians with hair as kinky and skin as brown as mine. The African Diaspora never ceases to amaze me!
Tahiti is a beautiful, beautiful place. Probably the most naturally beautiful place I’ve ever witnessed. Yet, when I think back on my trip there, I can’t help but feel regretful. I know that during my short time in Tahiti, I didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all that the country has to offer. And perhaps that’s in large part my own fault because I was too busy having a pity party about traveling with bad company and I was too busy missing Jave to truly immerse myself in Tahiti. My only hope is that I’ll get to return someday – next time in sunnier weather and with sunnier company.
Have you ever allowed outside circumstances prevent you from enjoying your travels?