I Left My Heart In Samoa

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Tuisitala (the Story Teller) . Travel writer of the 1800’s and Author of Treasure Island.

Salty “Talofa” on the breeze.IMG_0083

In a humid country of cooling southeast trades you can hear the call of forever peace, that is Samoa.  A turquoise starfish understates the tranquil life of lagoon dwellers. We shelter from the surging seas and wallow in shallows so clear, invisible. I swim alongside an ancient green turtle. Float freely in a crater of bawdy, glamorous coral.

The Navigator Kings.

The ancient story tells of celestial navigators who traversed Oceania from the north. By reading the waves, the winds and the heavens they found Samoa and settled on the big island of Savaii and on the smaller island Upolu. Now, open charred fields are strewn with plates of hardened lava from a century past volcano. The jungled ridges reach to paradisical proportions and the banyan trees dominate the forested skyline.

 A Family Feeling.

Native women bathe fully clothed in the aquifers by the sea. They have walled and pooled the natural seeping springs, mingling fresh and salt on the shore line. My babbling excited child-host gambols over and under the wet  backs of our sunshine family. He is happy and revered, a future matai.

Traditional Lore.IMG_0085

On a dusty beach road of the rainforest island the scented silence is broken by a startled, home bound piglet. He darts and scrambles, squealing as we crash tackle our feast before he escapes to the shadows. Village fires send umu smoke signals. Hot rocks, yams, suckling pigs in banana leaves. We break our breadfruit together on the grass.

Tiny clams and oily redfish are the morsels of desire. Crispy fried diamonds of fins and tails. No waste. My host is generous and rightly proud of his staff. They make sumptuous our bed and fan the  heat away. They sing and laugh in a shy, happy way.

The Big Island market town is all hustle and sweat. An errant teen sneakily swipes a pair of sunglasses. His tribe take care of the misdeed in the private yard of a parking lot. He won’t repeat his action.

Spirit blends.

90 degrees in the shade of a plaited palm roof, we prepare for Church on Sunday, dressed all in white. Covering shoulders and legs in modest respect of customs and harmony. Chorals of gospel, chanting and reverence  swelter in a glorious wave of faith. We surrender quietly to the midday siesta.

Sunday is for church and football. We cheer the sweaty, winning team as they pass by on the tray back of a smoky old lorry, dogs and children jostling behind.My Heart Samoa

Evening bells played on rusty dive bottles hanging from the kapok trees, announce a time for thanks. Sit where you are and pray. Later four long bellows on a trident shell call us in for supper. Dining at sunset over water tonight with stories of friendship formed through cyclones, volcanoes swallowing the taro plantations and fierce tattooed warriors protecting their tribes from invasions of a European war.

By nightfall the singing is softer, the breeze cooler, the peace profound. We eat food from the sea and sleep in thatched huts on the beach. Dreamy, beautiful, lush and perfumed by ylang ylang and frangipani.

You are invited.

To relax on the sand, to feed the giant turtles, to hurl coconuts into powerful blowholes, to snorkel the liquid glass of fringing reefs. Divers tell us secrets of underwater lava tubes and sleeping tiger sharks in the infinite visibility conditions. “Sekia, sekia” it’s all good.

My mind is full with petals and perfume and peace. My hair is adorned with the flowers of friendship. I left my heart in Samoa.


Longitude; 13 degrees 35 S

Latitude; 172 degrees 20 WIMG_2022

Name of Airport; Faleolo International Airport

Currency;   Tala WST

Dialling Code; dial 011 + 685 + phone number

Airport tax; International

Temperature; 27 to 36 degrees celsius

Climate; Tropical all year round with a hotter, wetter season from November to April. This is also commonly cyclone season.

Languages spoken by the locals; Gagana Fa’a Samoa and English

                 Hello… Talofa or Malo

                 Goodbye…Tofa or Soifua

                 Please…      Fa’amolemole     

                 Thank You…  Fa’afetai

Distance from Airport to City; 40km

Capital City; Apialeft my heart in samoa

Local Transport; Open bus, hire car, hire car with driver, taxi and in the back of a passing truck and regular daily ferries between islands.

Local Beer; Vailima.

Food; Great food, Atmosphere and Live Music at the Apia Yacht Club. Many fine street cafes.

Affordability; Samoa can be as inexpensive as you are adventurous. And then there is the luxury too.

Visitor Highlights;

On Upolu;

  • Piula Cave Pool swim with the black fish in turquoise water below the monastery on the cliff.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and Memorial. Loved by the Samoan people, ‘Tuisitala’s’ home has been reverently preserved by his local friends.
  • Apia Markets are the biggest with most variety in cooked and fresh food and local crafts.
  • Alofaaga Blowholes on the south tip.
  • The Banyan Tree Climb near Asau on the north coast.
  • Cape Falealupo on the north west tip, witness the first sunset of everyday.IMG_2223

Our Secret Hideaway;  Manono is a speck of an island between the two main islands of Samoa. Tiny Manono is my favorite place on earth… no cars, no dogs. A real, living tropical paradise. You can walk around the island in one hour, but you  might like to take a week to call in and visit with the friendly local families. Catch a local ‘alia’ across to Manono from Upolu but book your accommodation first.

Find out about travel insurance for Samoa here.

Tell me what you think about this little Samoa story in the comments section below.

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  1. Andrejs said:

    Great! I already fell in love to Samoa simply reading your article. In my view perfectly set out information about this beautiful holiday place. I’m a big traveler. I dream of being Bora Bora, but you can also spend time in Samoa. When $$$ allows.
    Riga, Latvia

    September 1, 2015
    • Janelle B.M. said:

      Hi Andrejs, I’m glad you felt how I feel about Samoa. Stay tuned for more posts about the countries I fall in love with. Go well from Janelle.

      September 2, 2015
  2. Marina said:

    Hey Janelle,

    great website, so easy to follow and nice layout. I am also a student of WA and an avid traveler. You seemed like you got the best of the both worlds. Maybe I can combine my two passions: sailing and traveling and writing about spirituality. I just came back from South East Asia and could certainly write about that.

    September 29, 2015
    • Janelle B.M. said:

      Hi Marina,
      There is every possibility for you to combine two passions in one site. Often they compliment each other. I know for sure their is compatibility with sailing and spirituality…and travelling. They all have the wonderful uplifting feelings associated with freedom and nature. Go well my friend.

      September 29, 2015

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