Fiji

Country #29

Not only beaches,
The regional powerhouse,
With plenty inside.

I have actually been to Fiji many times - far more than I would have imagined back in, say, 2008. My first visit was in 2009, when I was very lucky to have been offered an internship with UNICEF, in their Pacific Islands office in Suva. I spent 3 months or so living and working in Suva, and I had a great time. The work was interesting, and it was very exciting to be given an opportunity to gain work experience in the UN at a relatively young age. The diversity of the Fijian population is really amazing, and that mixture gives Fiji so many different 'flavours' to add to its appeal for visitors. Apart from exploring the different parts of Suva, I also went to a fair few beaches (obviously), and spent a weekend on Ovalau, the old colonial capital (Levuka), which was a fascinating but sleepy place with British-style buildings and surrounded by lush green hills.

Then, after moving back to the Pacific in 2015, I made many trips in and out of Fiji during regional travel. I have gotten to explore the Nadi side much more, particularly while waiting for flights back to Vanuatu. There are many beautiful areas to explore, as well as good food (at a much cheaper price than in Vanuatu!). It's quite funny how Fiji seems like a tiny island to someone that comes from the UK, but after a while in the Pacific, Fiji is actually a big, expansive, and powerful place, relatively speaking. It's easy to see why so many tourists choose Fiji, because it's easy to get around, has plenty of comforts for international visitors, and the people are friendly and welcoming. It's not quite the 'island paradise' that many people might think of it as, but it's actually got more to it than that.