The Wandering Entrepreneur In Fiji

By Yaro Starak
40 Comments

This is going to be slightly off topic from the usual business and blogging but I’ve had a bunch of people ask for photos from my trip overseas, so I thought I’d stick some up here.

As I mentioned in my previous post – Life Portability: Mixing Travel, Business and Pleasure In One Seamless Lifestyle – I’m presently doing some island hopping, making my way from Australia to Canada for a six month stay.

Arriving in Fiji

Fiji was the first port of call on my trip, a mere three hours flight off the coast from my home of Brisbane. Having never been to Fiji I was curious what the island would be like.

Yaro in Fiji

We landed in Nadi and it was hot. Nothing too extreme, but since Brisbane didn’t really have a summer this year it was the first time I had felt humidity in a while. Temperatures in Fiji are quite constant and what you would expect for a tropical island. The days max out at about 30C and the nights drop to low twenties.

Upon landing at Nadi airport and quickly clearing customs we were shuffled into a taxi with a driver who turned out to be more than just your average cabbie – he also masqueraded as a tourist guide to make extra money.

He offered us a more extensive tour of Nadi city as a detour before our hotel for an “extra fee” of whatever we felt was appropriate. We accepted and he showed us around the city area before taking us to the resort. We gave him an extra $15 as payment for the short tour, which as it turned out was equivalent to nearly a days pay in Fiji.

On our taxi tour we were informed that there is high unemployment in Fiji and thus high crime too. Nadi and the surrounding area is quite run down, old buildings and a lot of Fijians that seem to be just hanging around, which is probably because of the unemployment.

The contrast upon entering the man-made island resort area, which includes several luxury hotels, a golf course and restaurants, was extreme. Clearly there is a big division between the average Fijian lifestyle and how some tourist experience Fiji.

The Fijian dollar is about 70% of the Aussie dollar and with a tiny economy I was expecting cheap everything. That rule was thrown out after entering the resort island. Meals were $20 and up, bottled water is $8 and chocolate bars $4. If you leave the resort area prices drop about 75% – that is some serious mark-up! Even with the 30% discount on the currency exchange, it was not cheap living in the resort area.

Eating and Reading

I managed to contract a throat infection that erupted the day after landing in Fiji, so unfortunately most activities were out of the question for me. Instead I focused on low-key things to give my body a chance to recover – eating, reading, and eating some more.

Yaro eating in Fiji
Buffet breakfast every morning – lots of fresh fruit in Fiji

I went to six different restaurants, some were good, some were not so good and no matter whether it was pasta, BBQ, Japanese or pizza – it was all made by Fijians.

Bula

I’m not sure if it is because Fijians are naturally friendly or they are instructed to greet every single tourist with a traditional hello to keep the atmosphere friendly at the resort, but I very quickly learned the word “bula” and repeated it several times a day.

Bula, as far as I can tell, is sort of like Aloha/Mahalo in Hawaii. I’m sure there is more to it and I’m showing my ignorant tourist side here, but needless to say it’s a word you have to quickly become very comfortable with.

Every single time I pass by a Fijian working at the resort they let out a bula. Strangely enough, Fijians don’t seem to greet each other with quite as effusive use of the greeting, so I do feel as if I’m getting a decidedly tourist experience.

I had intentions to see more of the island away from the resort area but my body simply did not comply so I’ll have to save my exploring for Hawaii instead.

Tropical Paradise

Fiji, from the perspective of a tourist at least, appeals to those who like to sit by the pool and read or head out and get into water sports. The vibe is laid back (even more than in Australia) and Fijians seem to be very chilled to the point of boredom sometimes, but I suspect that’s just because of the monotony of the jobs they perform every day at the resort.

Yaro on the beach in Fiji
The sunsets in Fiji are amazing

Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to give Fiji a proper look around, so I’ll withhold judgement for now. Based on the resort I stayed out, I’d opt for a trip to local Australian beaches before Fiji, but that’s probably because I never had a chance to see any of the outer islands, which are apparently very beautiful.

Next stop is Hawaii, an equally beautiful place, but with a distinctly different vibe. I’ll be blogging from Waikiki next.

Yaro Starak
Island Hopping

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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40 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing some information about your personal life. I find this very encouraging and inspirational, as I am sure others do. I can only hope my blogging efforts pay off in the future as much as yours.

    Cheers

    Andrew

  • Hey Yaro – nice job with the write-up! I have spent a lot of time in the South Pacific and never made it to Fiji, so thanks for your efforts :)

    If you are heading to Waikiki MAKE SURE you go to Dukes for breakfast…you will not regret it.

  • Yaro:

    Thanks for sending pics from Fiji. I’ve never been to an island — well maybe one — the island of Coronado in San Diego — because I was born there. I’m glad you’re getting a bit of rest from everything and I think the way you’re traveling from Australia to Canada is the way to go. Hawaii sounds like fun as well. Be sure to send more pictures. I love the beach — mainstay of my lifestyle growing up in Southern California.

    Hope you’re feeling better and that you get a lot of well-deserved rest and relaxation.

  • Hey Yaro, looks like the weather is just beautiful. A great setting to unwind and get back to good health.

    Maybe I can convince my husband to go there soon too (easier said than done with 3 kids and lots of hospital visits lately).

    What a huge contrast in the resort area vs. regular life there. $8 for a bottle of water seems a bit extreme to me, and I’d hold on the chocolate myself.

    Just curious, have you noticed any other type of traditions there?

  • Nice pics.

    Last time I was in Hawaii, there was an earthquake, the power went out and the US Gov’t declared a state of emergency.

    It was still fun though. :)

  • Looks absolutely fantastic, and I have heard about the chilled out nature of the Fijians. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Looks like you’re living the ultimate blogging / internet lifestyle. I hope to get there one day. Kudo’s to you!

    – Dave

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been lurking around ya blog for a little while now and have been too shy to put a comment in so this is the 1st of many to come… oh btw.. I’m still fairly new to the net and your collaboration with Gideon on becomeablogger.com was brilliant and helped me HEAPS!! ok so I’m really here in response to your above post so…
    Lucky you, to have had the Fiji experience.. I too was there for the 1st time in Jan 08 and stayed at the Sheraton Resort & then the Radisson (I liked the Rad so much better than the Sheraton!). Better price, food and internet at the Rad! Although that could all change once renovations have been done and completed at the Sheraton Resort. I didn’t get the time to go out much, but the one day that I did, I caught a taxi ($15 – very expensive) to Namaka markets, near Nadi airport then caught the local bus ($0.75 – much better price) back to Denarau via Nadi township.
    Yes, there are stark differences between the locals and the Island and the trip between the airport and Denarau alone is an eye opener and nothing they would put in any travel brochure.
    As a tourist, Fiji is an experience and should be tried at least once. There’s a whole raft of other things I’d like to add about what I thought of Fiji however, knowing how busy your blog gets, this is more than enough… cheers and thanks.

    • Hey Jennifer – I stayed at the Sheraton too and yeah, it’s very much in need of the renovation that is about to begin next month.

      Personally I think the Aussie beaches down the east coast are far superior, so if you intend to make it to Fiji, you may as well go another three hours to Australia too.

      • Jennifer

        Hiya Yaro
        Oh I’ve been all along the east coast and yes it is lovely however, I’m here >>> Perth and I think the west is so much more beautiful and less crowded.
        Pity you were sick while in Fiji, but your summation of the place was pretty much spot on and although seeing the outer islands may have given you a more broader and maybe nicer view of Fiji, what you have written is a pretty accurate account anyway. Can’t wait to see what you find in Waikiki…

        Jennifer

  • Looks fantastic from the photos. Enjoy Waikiki – if you’re still feeling under the weather then in Hawaii then I highly recommend taking a stretched Hummer tour around the place! :)

  • Sounds like a great vacation. Over here in the US we dream about going to Australia. I think I’ve signed up for some services using affiliate links here, so I’m glad to have done my part to help you traveling.

    I’m hoping to buy the SEO book through your links in the next few weeks too. Enjoy Hawaii.

    • Lol – thanks for the support Tony :-).

      I hope those services I have recommended to you have performed up to scratch.

      • I actually joined AdSense through your blog’s link sometime last year and it has done very well (and growing). But I haven’t bought any of the expensive stuff, at least not yet …

        I almost joined Blog Masterminds too. I’m just not ready to invest more time until after I’m done with school.

  • I definitely have Fiji on my list to visit, possibly even live in for a bit. But my main motivation is scuba. I had no idea it was so close to Brisbane.

    My wife and I were just in Waikiki. You’ll find that same insane markup on things ($9 for milk!) The sunsets are equally amazing on Waikiki Beach. Scuba and snorkeling were probably the coolest things we did.

    Enjoy your trip! Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Yaro,
    I spent a bit of time in Fiji last year and while I loved the resort I had the same thoughts that I was experiencing extremely little of the Fiji lifestyle…
    So after 3 days, I wend back into Nandi, jumped on a local bus to Suva, got off about 1/2 way there, jumped out & found a much smaller & quieter resort.
    It was a million times better & everything so much cheaper…
    I can’t blame the Fijians for wanting to charge tourists top buck but once you get outside of the normal tourist resorts (something that they make it hard for you to do) everything is a lot different…
    The food isn’t the best, but the locals can be fantastic and not as interested in you for your money and some of the beaches are the best I have ever stayed at…
    Saying that, however, I found it to still not be the most friendly of places I have been to. The locals know you are are a tourist, you are on a small island & that you have no way off till your plane leaves so they try to take full advantage…
    Not too far off affiliate marketing trying to build up to your first payment threshold to make that initial payment…
    By the time I left, I was so sick of BULA, it just seemed so false…
    From what I could make out, Bula means everything from hello, good bye, f**k off to gald you are leaving but before you go will you come to a tourist shop with me and buy a sovunier, all the money you spend will go back to our local tribe…that’s when you walk around the corner, find the local market & see the exact same goods for a 10th of the price…but you drank some Cava with the guys in the tourist shop so they still chase you to buy the same sovunier for 10 times the price…
    BULA

  • So I only have one question…

    We? ;-)

  • Great read as usual Yaro…thanks for sharing. I hadn’t been in your blog for a while now, good to be back reading about you.

    I found Tahiti to be even more expensive than any of the other pacific Islands, (being Bora Bora the most expensive region in Tahiti). A small bottle of coke in the resort we stayed in last year costs $25.

    A shame you got sick those days. Hope you’re feeling much better now and ready to enjoy Waikiki…all the best!

  • Hey Yaro

    There is nothing worse than being sick while travelling… take it easy! I hope you recover soon… keep popping those vitamins. :)

    It sounds like you haven’t seen the beaches in SW Australia? They are divine and far better than any beaches over in East Australia. No high rises, no masses of people… just pristine beaches with great surf! :)

    Get well soon

    Ian McConnell
    http://Ian-McConnell.com/

  • Get well soon, Fraro! The pics look sweet. Keep em coming…

  • Yaro,
    I attended your tele-conference for WordPress. Thanks for all of the great Info. I am just starting my own weblog: “YTB Travel Chronicles.” I am looking for guest authors to make submissions to the site. This site is just for travelogs of cool trips and adventures. No politics or controversy: Just cool travel stories.

    I would be honored to include your adventures on my blog:
    http://ytbtravelchronicles.wordpress.com/

    Please let me know if you’ld like to have your stories included.

    Godspeed,

    Gary

    • Hi Gary – You’re welcome to use this article if you like, but remember you will be republishing existing content so it won’t do much good for your search rankings.

  • Looks like a beautiful place. Get a bottle of hydrogen peroxide if you can. Now *don’t swallow*, rinse your mouth with it for a minute or two. If you have any cotton swabs clean your ears with it too. Not a cure but does help. Actually the body uses vitamin c to produce hydrogen peroxide. So, really not that strange a thing to do. Just a suggestion – hate to see a damper on your trip. Look forward to more photos.

    Debi-Jene

  • Hey Yaro!

    Great pics man! I hope you are enjoying yourself. What blogging software are you using while you are traveling?

  • While you’re island hopping, I’m box hopping. Packing to move into our new house we bought. So when you’re done island hopping. Wanna help me move. Free beers and steaks!!!

  • Now I know why I want to be a 6 figure blogger, sounds wonderful Yaro, even though sun is shining down here at Tweed.

    I like your sharing of your travels. Have fun and be well

    Suzie

  • When I grow up, I want to be a Yaro.

    Hopping Islands with his laptop and doing business as usual. That’s what I call a nice mix of business and pleasure.

  • Great to see you’re enjoying the heat!

    I’ll be arriving in Fiji next week for a wedding photography job, thanks for the heads up on the currency exchange and resort pricing, definitely will be useful.

    Take Care

    • Hi Christian,
      Enjoy Fiji, it can be a great place…
      as for those shocked about a bottle of water costing $10, I used to buy mine for 20 cents! Just leave the resort if you are in Nandi or Suva & walk down the street, if going to the smaller islands, bring your own, they know they have you trapped till your plane leaves so will do their best to take full advantage…
      The resorts I stayed at in both Nandi & Suva did their best to suggest it wasn’t safe for me to leave the resorts on my own, what a load of crap…
      I had the best times outside of the resorts…just don’t get taken in by the touts trying to bring you into the tourist shop down the road saying the money you spend goes back to their village…walk down a back street, extremely safe and buy at slightly inflated Fijian prices…
      My rule of thumb was, what ever price you are offered, offer them 20% and then let them bargain you up to 25-30%
      Worked most of the time for me & i had a great time, would still prefer to go back to India though…

      • Another thing I would suggest for anyone new going to Fiji is get your mobile phone unlocked before you go. Ignore the mobile phone sales people in the airport and head into a mobile phone shop in Nandi or Suva & buy a sim card, you can easily buy a sim card for $10 which is loaded with $10 credit, you might want to top it up with more credit which you can do then or later if you need to, a lot cheaper than renting a phone at the airport….BULA.

  • Hi Yaro!
    Just wanted to wish you a happy holidays and best of luck in everything. Your blog helped me and my sister a lot in starting couple successful blogs.
    I still can’t travel like you do, but I am on the right path, partially thanks to you.

  • Looking at your fotos, Yaro, and remembering that the half of all people on Earth live 200km far from seas (2 hours on auto), I have got a desire to leave my work, leave Moscow and to to warm countries for looking more justice!!!

  • Sunscreen!

  • Yaro – don’t leave us hanging, we want pictures from Hawaii.

    The weather just changed here in the Midwestern US and now it’s sweater temperatures again!

  • Michelle

    Wow…this REALLY made me miss Fiji…it’s been a few years since I was last there. Those prices are outrages aren’t they! I remember it like it was yesterday, when my husband I looked around only to see that water was almost $10 a bottle! A REAL shocker to say the least! Thanks for the post, it’s nice to think of a tropical paradise here in rainy and gloomy seattle :(

  • wish you have a happy holidays … btw where’s your laptop ?.. not bring in…

  • i wish i could do similar stuff. i’m just going to read your advice and see how it goes :)

  • Def an inspirational post Yaro thanks :)

    Man, blogging from the beach…. heck just laptop with a global satalite connection on the beach doing ANYTHING… a true Geeks dream X_X

  • I was planning to travel to Fiji in 2010 for a scuba diving trip – do you know of any great dive sites?

  • Its been a while since I even thought about going for a vacation.Your post was refreshing.I have never been to fiji islands,but i definitely plan to go…

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