It was October and I was a world away in Morocco when the message first arrived from beautiful Tess. “Quick question darling, when are you home, and would you be interested in a 6 day trip to Samoa at the end of November?” It was one of those moments when your breath catches in your throat and life freeze-frames still for a few moments as the world spontaneously opens right up. Suddenly, you need to fit some kind of unfathomable magic into a new reality that felt much smaller just moments ago.
Fast forward one month, and there I found myself flying headlong into a grizzly night sky from Sydney direct to Apia, Samoa. The air felt heavy; our plane rocking and tumbling in darkness through an early summer storm. I sat in the last row of the plane staring out into utter blackness, dog-eared passport in lap and three seats to myself, bound for an untapped paradise. A cluster of ten islands make up Samoa – and our itinerary included both the main island Upolu (home to the capital of Apia, and Faleolo International Airport) and Savai’i, the largest island but much more rugged and mountainous.