Seven years ago I watched as Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky fell in love in Bora Bora. I was captivated by the overwater huts, the beauty of the island, and the deep blue water. Even through the TV screen, I could tell it was paradise on Earth. I put it on my bucket list, not knowing if I would ever get there.
Six years ago, the now-CEO of my company was putting together a business plan for the company he was about to launch. He was also celebrating his ten year wedding anniversary, and his wife really wanted to go to Bora Bora, but starting a new company and taking fancy vacations didn’t go well together. He projected some numbers and told her that when the company was worth a certain amount he’d take not just her, but the entire company to Bora Bora! He figured it might take ten years, if it happened at all.
It happened. But it didn’t take ten years. The company took off- it took two.
Two years ago, approximately 30 employees and their spouses came to Bora Bora. I hadn’t worked there long enough to qualify.
After that trip they set a new goal, again a stretch goal, thinking it would take several years to achieve. It only took us another 18 months to reach it. There were some different ideas kicked around about where- or even if- we’d do another trip, but luckily for us it was decided to head back to Bora Bora- this time with about 60 employees and spouses!
It’s about 15 hours of travel time from KC to Bora Bora- seemed quick after our road trip to Virginia and trip a few years ago to Ethiopia! We flew through LAX, took a redeye to Tahiti, and then took a small 60 person plane to Bora Bora. The Bora Bora airport is very small- we landed, did a Uturn, then taxied back on the runway we had just landed on! In both Tahiti and Bora Bora we were greeted by leis made with real, very fragrant flowers and Polynesian dancers and musicians.
Bora Bora is one of the 118 French Polynesian islands. All are small; 67 are inhabited. One of my coworkers ran around the main island last time and it was around 20 miles. Approximately 10000 people live on the island. I had planned to post a map showing where it is, but it’s so small and so far away from everything else that it doesn’t even show up when I zoom out far enough to see other land masses. It’s NorthEast of Australia and South of Hawaii.
Bora Bora has a main island, sometime referred to as Vaitape as that is the main settlement. Surrounding the main islands are several small islands- in the US we call them keys, here they are called motus. The resorts are all on motus. The airport is on the main island, so we had to take a boat ride to get to our resort. Most scenic boat ride of my life! I can’t get over how blue the water is here. The main island has an extinct volcano with two peaks. Today the clouds danced over them.
We’re staying at the Conrad, which was recently renovated and just reopened earlier this year. It is LUXURY. We were again greeted by Polynesian music on our way to breakfast. Breakfast was amazing, a buffet full of everything from chocolate pies to cold cuts to yogurt parfaits to bacon to steamed veggies. We were excited to hear our rooms we ready early.
This hotel room- HOLY COW. It’s huge, I think 1200 SF. One entire side of it is glass looking out onto the ocean, and the glass slides out so that it can be completely open. We have a covered patio with dining and lounge chairs, personal hammocks, and a dock to swim off of. Wow. The bed looks out over the ocean, and there’s a TV that rises out of this shelf box thing at the push of a button. Behind the bed is a bathroom, with a circle tub and an entire shower room with a window. We pretty much feel like movie stars!
Today also happens to be my birthday- not a bad way to spend a birthday! We live a pretty fast paced life and I’m so excited to just take it easy for a week. There are plenty of excursion options, but we don’t have a lot of plans while we’re here. I can’t wait to sleep, and read, and not make other people’s food. In my normal life I really struggle with stopping to enjoy the moments; it’s just go-go-go all the time. I don’t often get to stop and just think, to self reflect, to do all the stuff that’s good for the soul. Outside of the excursions there’s not a lot to distract yourself with; laziness is kind of forced upon you- and that’s a good thing!
Everything here is SUPER EXPENSIVE. The husband just ordered 6 cans of Sprite and after tip it was $60! A bowl of soup for lunch is $22. This island is so far away from everything that it has to cost a lot to get product here- and we don’t really have any other options. We did bring some snacks, some duty free booze, and tomorrow we plan to go to the main island and stop by the grocery store to hopefully stock up on a few things. But even that is an ordeal; it’s about $15-$20 round trip for the shuttle per person to the main island and then of course you have to carry your finds through town and get it back here.
Random funny story- when we were packing I asked The Husband if he wanted me to pack for him. He acted annoyed and shut me down. When we got here he realized he did not pack a SINGLE PAIR OF SHORTS. NOT ONE. Except for his trunks. No pants either. There are no shorts in the gift shop. Amazon does not deliver here. Luckily he wore khaki shorts for the flights so he’ll be able to go to nicer restaurants.
The weather is just so-so. It’s upper 70s and windy with intermittent rain. At first I was a little bummed about this- I had pictured a hot, beachy vacation- but I quickly decided that I can never leave this hut for the entire week and still have an excellent time. Here’s my view right now as I write:
We feel like the luckiest kids in the world; we are so thankful to be here. I feel like I’m living in a dream. I’m so appreciative of the village who is taking care of our kids and animals this week. We wouldn’t be able to come on such an amazing trip if we didn’t have people who could take care of our business at home. I feel so blessed to work for a company that treats its employees so well, not just by taking them on crazy exotic trips but by creating an enjoyable and rewarding work environment every day. I’m so thankful for a husband that supported me though a risky career change, a boss that took a chance on me, a coworker who surprised me with a massage. Sometimes I get bummed about the world- about the flooding and the leadership and the refugees and all the other million bad things I read on my news stream- but there is so much good in the world. And God’s creation is so beautiful. And I’m so excited to let go and just enjoy it this week!