Lisa Green & James Carbary, parents of 2 furbabies, animal trainer and entrepreneur
I’d love to have our readers get a sense of who you are…
What are 3 words that describe or are important in the way you travel?
Please share one of your favorite travel experiences.
This is tough. There have been so many – Costa Rica, diving with sharks and visiting a cheetah conservation camp in South Africa, a trip to New Zealand. We’re going with Fiji. Fiji was an incredible combination of relaxation, adventures, spending time with friends and learning about another culture. It was actually two very different types of trips in one – first a homestay with a local feel and beautiful hikes and then five nights on a liveaboard dive boat.
On our arrival in Fiji we met up with four of our friends and went to Abaca village, where we spent the night with a local family. We were excited to support the village, visit Koroyanitu National Heritage Park and get to know some locals.
Shortly after we arrived we met our guide, Simmi, and he led the six of us on a big hike to a waterfall. Much of it felt challenging, vertical at times, and parts of it were like you were walking through a jungle. We were grateful to have Simmi with us. His local knowledge about the trails and hidden places along the way to stop including a spot to jump off a big boulder into the water, really added to our experience.
After hours of strenuous hiking, when we finally reached the waterfall, it was a welcome site. We took a refreshing swim and just enjoyed the moment. Simmi was intrepid – wearing rainboots and no socks for the entire hike – not a perfect set up for this kind of trek, but a lifetime of hiking left him unphased.
When we returned to Abaca, the villagers were playing volleyball in the village center and invited us to play. During our game, we heard a loud “RING” from a bell nearby. The locals dropped everything and left. We learned it was the meal bell and they were being summoned to their individual homes for dinner. So we went back to our home for the night to have dinner with our homestay family. I’m not sure what we ate, but all of it was homemade and nothing sounded familiar. It was delicious. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing with our family.
The next morning we geared up for a second hike – this time to the top of Mt. Koroyanitu. If you do this hike, I recommend you bring water and sunscreen because the first half is directly in the sun. Again, Simmi was our guide. He took us to one side that had an incredible view overlooking Lautoka, then we walked past a small cabin for a view looking over Nadi (you want to do this in the morning though because clouds come in and block your view in the afternoon).
After spending a few days immersed in an authentic Fijian cultural experience the next part of our trip was five nights on a live-a-board dive boat cruising around the islands. There were 8 guests onboard and we were all connected through our friend, Jeff. The boat was outfitted with paddleboards, scuba gear, hammocks and other water toys. We went snorkeling, scuba diving, wakeboarding or just chilled. It was a perfect combination of relaxation, activity and adventure.
One day we stopped near a beach that was straight out of the movie Castaway. A guy who worked on our boat was a skilled coconut harvester. Whenever we were anchored and wanted a coconut he would shimmy up a palm tree to get us one. He also eagerly taught one of my friends how do use the machete to cut his own coconut.
I am lucky to work with animals in my job so spending time with marine life on vacation is ideal for me. Another highlight of Fiji was that it provided a destination where I could be in the water all day, scuba diving, observing wildlife and James could hang out on board, thinking and doing entrepreneurial stuff. A perfect combination.
I think one of things I most enjoyed about this trip was that it was made up of two completely different parts. In general I don’t like to miss out on doing things at a destination. Whatever people like to do I want to do. James loves good food so I’m always seeking out great restaurants. I love to do research for our upcoming trips and find every experience I think we’ll love – whatever I can to soak up each experience, I want to try. I don’t want to miss out on anything!
What is your favorite memory from this trip?
Fiji had the biggest squirrel I’ve ever seen in my entire life and it was magical. We saw so much wildlife in the ocean. See turtles, sharks, so many fish, and I even saw squid swim by!
What tip would you give your best friend if she were going to Fiji next week?
Go in the off season. The weather may be a bit more rainy, but there are so many fewer tourists that it’s worth it. Also if you are considering a live aboard I highly recommend the Big Blue Fiji!
What’s on your bucket list?
The top of the list for me is the Great Barrier Reef and James will happily go along for the ride.