#5: Vanuatu & New Caledonia 2017

We arrived at the port of Brisbane right on time for our early check-in, and excitedly kissed our Mr.’s goodbye as we stared up the giant cruise liner titled Pacific Dawn.

Celebrating 10 years of friendship, my best friend, J, and I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate the occasion than to set sail upon the high seas on a Pacific Island Cruise! Additionally, this made the perfect excuse to tick #5 off of the Bucket List nice and early this year.

Grabbing our luggage – which were impressively very compact and surprisingly not very heavy despite our indecision over what clothes to bring (if in doubt, bring it all, right?), we stumbled into the line up outside the port’s centre doors. First in the queue, we made our way to the check-in desk quickly.

Boarding was an easy process, and we found ourselves excitedly galavanting up the gangway in a little under an hours time. ‘Bon Voyage‘ they happily wished us as we stepped over the ship’s threshold and into the spacious liner’s atrium. We quickly found our room, and dumped the excess carry-on straight onto our beds, before making a beeline for the back of the cruise ship.

One ‘Tropical Passion’ and ‘Martini’ later, we found ourselves completely at home on the decadent lounges overlooking the Port. I always seem to forget how easy it is to settle into holiday mode, and in that moment aboard the cruise liner… oh boy, was I on holidays. I couldn’t help but secretly burst with a unparalleled anticipation for what lay ahead.

We spent 10 days sailing across the Pacific Ocean, visiting four islands and two countries in total. It seemed that each destination was even better than the one before, and we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in the cultures of each. From traditional Noumea and scenic Lifou in New Calendonia, to the untouched Mystery Island and popular Port Vila in Vanuatu – we managed to fill two camera phones, one GoPro and one Canon DLSR worth of pictures between us both.

We’ve come back at least three shades darker in skin colour thanks to the Pacific Ocean sunshine, and holding close to our hearts some very special memories. I could not have wished upon a better way to celebrate friendship than with this tropical adventure to some of the world’s most beautiful islands. You can count on the fact that this is only the very beginning of my tropical holiday obsession.

You can check out the details and destinations out a little more in depth here at my Polarsteps profile (an absolute god-send when it comes to documenting any overseas holiday I promise you!).

And with nothing else to say, Vanuatu and New Caledonia – you have been a dream!

#5 – Travel somewhere new every year: 2017 – Check!

d x

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The support act. 

Sometimes I wonder what it is that places a heart and mind on two very separate pages of the same story. 

How is it possible to love something we shouldn’t or what tears us in two? Why can’t a heart change feelings as quickly as the mind can make the decision that we need too?

And what, just what, is it about humans that makes us believe that we never deserved better than that.

I have watched a close friend of mine lose the very things that made her, her… All because the word goodbye was something her heart couldn’t pronounce when her mind had tried it’s hardest to sound it out. 

Over the last three years, I have watched her effervescent personality fade into a shadow of self-doubt and insecurities all because she chose to love someone who will never love her as he should. And it makes me as angry as it does sad to know she’s limited her heart to a future with a hurt that could have so easily been avoided. 

I have been the shoulder to cry on, and I have provided the ‘happy gerbras’ and Krispy Kremes. And now I don’t know what more to do because I want to save her and I can’t. 

This is her battle. The task of pronouncing goodbye isn’t something I can teach her. She will have to learn that one on her own. 

Accepting this has been hard for me. I’m the sort of person who wishes it were completely possible to wipe him from her memory altogether so I could see a genuine happiness return to her world. I want her to enjoy life again, not to see life as a chore or simply her ‘lot in life’. 

Unfortunately though, it’s not up to me. In fact, I could keep doing my best to make it better until my dying breath – but it wouldn’t fix her. Because the fixing can only be done by her. 

This is something that I’ve come to really learn this year. People can only fix themselves if they want to, and there is no more you can do than be the soft landing that catches them on their darkest days. 

I guess I’ve realised that while this boy is the source of many of her problems, he’s also the source of her intermittent happiness. She has fallen so deeply in love with him that she has chosen to love his flaws no matter how cruelly they scar her. 

And while it is easy for me to sit here and form the opinion that she would be better off without him, it is far harder to be in her shoes. To dismantle the life that she has built around him over the last three years would be perhaps a seemingly impossible task. And I’ve only begun to try to see it from her point of view. 

She once told me that she would ‘be no happier without him’ than she is now. It was a statement that broke my heart as I watched her shuffle her feet, bluntly accepting a future where happiness may never truely become the steer. 

I have thrown myself both sides of the invisible friendship line, having offered advice in both support of the relationship, and in protest. 

I have spoken many times with her about deserving far more than he can give, and played devils advocate on many occasions in the hope she would question what her future looks like. 

And in situations like these, I’m really not sure what a good friend should do anymore. 

I guess she will figure it out. And I have already made the decision that I will be there for her in all capacity, be it with or without him. 

While it may frustrate me to see her hurt, I think it would be far worse for me to turn my back just because I don’t think he deserves the love she gives. 

There will be plenty more tears, and plenty more sugar-coated-cream-filled donuts. But this year I have made the promise to not give up on her. Because I think that’s what being a good friend means. 

It isn’t always easy, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be. And if each day I can help her find a little more of what makes her shine brighter again, then it will have been always worth it. 

d x