In Tahiti: Fa’a’ā, Far Away

Cook's Bay - Moorea, Tahiti

Cook’s Bay – Moorea, Tahiti

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!

Vaimahuta Waterfall

Feeling small next to Vaimahuta Waterfall

Tahitian public bus

A roadside blow hole

Natural tiki-like rocks along the road

Municipal market in Pape’ete

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?

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26 Responses to “In Tahiti: Fa’a’ā, Far Away”

  1. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} September 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    I totally get what you mean about long distance being difficult. This summer, my hubby and I just had a hard time finding a time when we could both talk since our time zones were 13 hours apart. Tahiti looks like a good vacation (if the circumstances are right). That roadside blowhole is cool.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Dirty, Hungry ElephantsMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel September 4, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Yeah – coordinating phone schedules with that kind of time difference is very frustrating.

  2. Salika Jay September 2, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    Despite the bad company and missing Jave, it’s good you found Tahiti to be a place to visit again. Maybe Bora Bora next time with Jave :)
    Salika Jay recently posted…10 Must-See Famous Landmarks Around The WorldMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel September 2, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      Now you’re talking! 😉

  3. Peggy August 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Long distance relationships are killer – not the easiest thing in the world. Despite the negative emotions I’m glad you still enjoyed Tahiti’s beauty, I would love to visit one day…
    Peggy recently posted…4 Days in Madrid and SurroundsMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      I hope that you get to visit someday too. Tahiti is a beautiful place and it has such a rich culture!

  4. Freya
    Twitter: HolidayNomad
    August 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Tahiti looks so beautiful, like a dream. I can imagine that it’s no fun to travel with the wrong company even in a place like that. I hope you will make it back there one day and fully explore Tahiti with the right travel companion
    Freya recently posted…The Quintessential Guide to New DelhiMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Me too – I feel like I missed out on a lot there!

  5. Marisol@TravelingSolemates August 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Dana, I can totally relate about not gelling well with a travel companion. Who you travel with really makes or break a trip and/or traveling makes or break a relationship. It was good you allowed yourself to see as much sight as you could and be able to share beautiful images of Tahiti with us. I hope you get to return with you husband and have a better and more fun Tahiti experience.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted…Under the Sydney SkyMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      I’m hoping so, Marisol!

  6. Sarah August 30, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    It’s hard to enjoy anything when you’re not in your element! Even Tahiti, apparently! I do hope you make it back one day, in better conditions!
    Sarah recently posted…Backpacking in Africa? Yes you can!My Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks, Sarah!

  7. Eduardo@Andaremos August 30, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    You do look a bit lonely and sad sitting in front of that ferry. I have found myself in this situation. Travel will place stress in any relationship.
    Eduardo@Andaremos recently posted…A photowalk thru the historic center of GironaMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      It certainly will, Eduardo. That’s why it’s so important to choose your travel mate carefully!

  8. Mike August 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Ohhhh Dana, I’m so envious and jealous! Tahiti has been my #2 lifetime bucket list since 1978. I will make it there someday. Thank you so much for this post. Your post and the pictures put a huge smile on my face when I got home :)
    Mike recently posted…My Blogging Journey Reminder, Don’t Stop Believin’My Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      Glad to bring a smile to your face, Mike! And I hope you make it to Tahiti soon!

  9. Life Images by Jill August 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    It is a lovely story and beautiful images. It certainly looks like an amazing place to visit. I hope that you will be able to return one day with the one you love.

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 6:16 am #

      Tahiti is absolutely beautiful and I’m definitely looking forward to returning.

  10. Mary {The World Is A Book} August 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a pleasant overall experience in Tahiti. But, I’m glad you were still able to share some of Tahiti’s sights. Many pictures of Tahiti are often those over the water bungalows in Bora Bora so this is a nice welcome change. Hopefully you can go back with your husband soon for better memories.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Exploring Nymphenburg Palace MunichMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 30, 2013 at 6:15 am #

      I hope so too, Mary!

  11. Arianwen
    Twitter: BeyondBlighty
    August 29, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    It looks beautiful. And you obviously got out and about a fair bit to take all those photos. I understand though. Sometimes when I’ve been travelling alone for a long time, I lose my motivation to see everything that’s on offer and when I get my energy back later on I regret not making the most of being in that place.
    Arianwen recently posted…A Scenic Journey with KiwiRailMy Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 29, 2013 at 7:05 am #

      I definitely got out and saw a bit of the island – I just know that I could’ve seen and done more if I was in the right head space.

  12. Lauren Meshkin August 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    I can completely relate. Last minute, I decided to fly myself to NYC for a quick birthday trip a few years back. Two of my friends (who were dating at the time) were the only ones that could join because it was rather last minute. Unfortunately, they fought most of the trip which left me in an uncomfortable position. It really put a damper on things but I also regret ALLOWING myself to mope around NYC because of my poor choice in company.

    Fortunately, Tahiti and NYC will always be there. Now we have an excuse to revisit :) Great post.

    Happy travels!
    Lauren Meshkin recently posted…Photo of the week!My Profile

    • Dana Carmel August 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      It would be hard enough to travel with a couple and feel like the 3rd wheel, but then if they’re fighting – yikes! And you’re so right – our less-than-ideal experiences are all the more reason to revisit!


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