Farewell Fiji, farewell Pacific, see you soon Singapore
Day 3,452 since October 10th 2013: 201 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!
(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).
Leaving the Pacific for the first time since 2019
This is yet another busy week. Even more so as we have been filming for Salomon TV day in and day out. So, this will be a short entry – of sorts
Last week’s entry: In FIJI for the 4TH and FINAL time
To say that I am ready to head home would be an understatement. That has been the case for more than seven years. As such it is very uplifting to know that the completion of Once Upon A Saga is approaching and that there might be less than 4.5 months left. I have met kind and helpful people in every country I have traveled through and that provides me with great hope for humanity. We are far from perfect as humans and the good old ” Errare humanum est” (it is human to err) is also an understatement. We are in my opinion not very efficient across this planet and we are also rather destructive. However, people seem to have a great deal of good qualities and that is something which I have witnessed for nearly a decade now. I spent enough time in Tuvalu to miss the country and its kind people. It is however really good to be back in Fiji in time to join Swire Shipping’s good ship Rabaul Chief to Singapore. She is currently making her way up to Fiji from Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. I’ve been scouting Fiji Port and still see no trace of the good ship Tala Moana and her brave Tuvaluan crew. She might not have left Tuvalu yet? As such it was a good thing the good tugboat Katea could get us this far. And how wonderful was it to stay at the Garden Island Resort for a while on Taveuni! Yes, so since Sunday Mike Douglas, pro athlete and filmmaker for Salomon, has been keeping me busy filming hours of interviews and lots of b-roll material. I like Mike – he’s a good guy and a good friend. We’ve known each other for nearly four years now as the Salomon TV documentary started before the pandemic did. A pandemic which is still ongoing I might remind you. I know because I’m scheduled to get yet another PCR test done on Saturday.
It is always good to catch up with the Ross Energy / GEOOP team in Denmark. Rasmus (in the photo) will from now on be helping me reply the many comments and messages across social media. Particularly on Facebook (64K) and Instagram (44K).
Yeah – so how about we do another one of those picture entries with very little writing compared to the regular four-page long entries. I know many of you love the long ones but it is late at night and I have been up early and to bed late all week. This was our fourth visit to Fiji, a country which has stolen a large part of my heart. A country which I have always been happy to see. A country with no lack of natural beauty and kindness amongst its people. A country of more than 300 islands which first saw humans some 3,500 years ago. A country where you can easily find a smile and a “bula” (hello). I have found Fiji a highly efficient country to get things done in relation to many things. I have never been impressed with the speed of Fiji’s visa extensions but I have been impressed by the kindness of the immigration. I am actually sad to be leaving Fiji but I am very happy to be on my way west and closer to home. I have met far too many good people in Fiji to name them all and as such I will not even try.
I made the perhaps shortest and happiest status update video I have ever uploaded to YouTube. I really think you should take a look, enjoy some of Fiji’s beauty and hear how we will reach the final countries and home.
Take a closer look at those smiling faces! That's Fiji for you!
Fiji Red Cross has always been a delight and while Fiji is not the first country we have visited four times the Fiji Red Cross is the only National Society we have made a visit to during all four visits. They are fun and they are definitely doing a great job carrying out humanitarian work across the islands. I also had a chance to visit the IFRC Pacific Office on an invite from Liz Macdonald who works there. She’s from Aotearoa New Zealand which would already be a good reason to like her. But she is also really kind. I met her at the Tuvalu Red Cross a while back. It was nice to meet with the IFRC Pacific Office which had no idea about who I was or that I had visited and promoted the Red Cross in each of the countries within their area of responsibility – and have done that in the most unique way. Just lovely. The IFRC is by the way the International Federation of the Red Cross. Anyway, While visiting the Fiji Red Cross that same day Mela asked if I would be up for donating blood and yes I was. That makes Nepal, Hong Kong, and Fiji in which I have given my blood to the Red Cross. Yes Fiji!! I gave you my blood!! ;)
Mr. Itu of the Fiji Red Cross met me outside Fiji National Blood Service and I was out of the building after only 23min having delivered 450ml A+ viking juice. Easy as that! You should do it too.
It was Hash Master Sir Big Ben who bestowed me my name No Wings. Good to see the Hashers for a last time. I also joined Crispy Cream and Up You for dinner one night last week. So many good people at the Hash.
I had my last meet-up with the Suva Hash House Harriers which is rather sad. During my third visit to Fiji I got to know them and have had many good experiences through their “drinking club with a running problem”. They meet up every Monday and as such Mike and I joined in and we brough Adam Hickman with us too. Adam recently made Fiji his 182nd country as he tours the Pacific Ocean over the next month or so. I spoke to my friend Ric Gazarian who’s a bit of a wizard when it comes to travelers and he believes it’s still less than 300 who have made it to every country. Two countries from now I will be the only one to have done it completely without flying which is mind-blowing to think about. It is always heathy to remember that we have come this far thanks to the kindness and support of people all over the world…well, except for the Vatican City. The Vatican City and its few beating hearts have done nothing to forward the Saga. But if you are from anywhere else then you can feel proud in knowing that you or someone else from your country has been a part of the success. Anyway, Adam is a cool guy from the UK who has lived in Dubai for a decade and we have been friends for a long time online. It was good to meet him face to face for the first time.
Having hot pot with Adam (left) and Mike (right) after the Hash. Adam has since visited Tuvalu and returned to Fiji again for his next flight.
That is it people. I’m rather exhausted from the many long days of this week. It is great spending time with Mike again and eating on somebody else’s budget ;) But it is generally also just really nice to see a familiar face. Mike and I are working on telling the world a story which it has never heard before. Have no doubt that this is world history. How well known it will become is undoubtfully down to how well it is promoted and shared. The world is full of amazing people who have done amazing things which we will never hear about. Will the Saga ever be well known? Well, that depends on many things. But one thing is for sure – this achievement has been hard earned and is unlikely to ever happen again. That is the story we are working on telling you and it will largely be done in interview form with some nice images to go along with it. Have a look at Salomon TV to see the high-quality productions they are behind and you will know you have something to look forward to. Uniquely the Saga’s documentary is turning into a full feature film. This week we had some help as we shanghaied Mac William Bishop whom I met last week. His partner Karolina has supported the Saga for ages and invited me to sit down with them over a cup of tea. Karolina (Poland) used to work for Maersk and now works for the United Nations. Mac (USA) is a freelance journalist who currently writes for Rolling Stone. Truly nice people and good to have Mac behind the wheel while Mike was filming out the window as I was playing my part for the running scenes. Running has been such a vital part of my mental health in such a stressful project over the years, but unfortunately there is no good footage of it. Well, there is now :)
Run Forrest, ruuuun!! Salomon Ambassador since 2022. In Salomon footwear since 2013.
I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross Energy / Geoop
If you enjoyed this blog or find that I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga welcomes funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - working above 70hrs per week again
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga