Traveling Intentionally, Modestly, and Graciously

Traveling Intentionally, Modestly, and Graciously

Kylie Deverick

Fiji Service Excursion, 2018

All photos have been provided by Kylie. Read her story below!

I frequently flip through the cream-colored pages of my travel journal, which are crammed with memories and reflections of my weeklong trip to Fiji back in 2018.

I kept receipts from the grocery store that lost power while we looked for new and interesting snacks. I kept the stunning blue, purple, and green Fijian paper dollars decorated with native birds.

I kept plane tickets and customs papers from the souvenirs I brought home. I noted every new thing that I tried, including kava, a plant that becomes a drink when the roots are ground.

My journal holds every person I met, every new experience, the impact that I believe I made, and everything I learned, so I will never forget the life-changing week I had (although, I don’t know how I could because I think about it daily)!

First time trying fresh coconut water!

Rustic Pathways truly opened my eyes to an entirely new way to travel, a way that greatly impacts the world we live in.

When exploring a new place, no matter where it is, we should try to understand it as if we were a part of it. Because we are a part of it! Every restaurant, street, city, country, and continent on our planet is connected by the fact that humans shape it every day.

Home of a woman named Shalini; we spent an afternoon cooking and talking with her and her sons about their life and culture. She made really delicious chai tea!

Therefore, we are all a part of a global community and have the power to influence it in several ways. My trip to Fiji made me realize the depths of traveling by not only seeing a new place, but experiencing the life, languages, and cultures that connect people across the globe.

Two women waved excitedly and greeted us as we drove past.

One amazing thing about traveling is that each day brings something new, unexpected, and unforgettable, even if it seems like the simplest thing.

For example, one afternoon we took a small bus and rode through hilly dirt roads to a small, one-room house (pictured below) belonging to a 77-year-old woman named Tai.

I will never forget her smile as she watched us repaint her tarnished walls and begin building a new toilet at the side of her home. She had been walking across the road to another house to use the restroom for months! Seeing how happy of a woman she was despite her living situation was very humbling, and I think the world would be a much better place if we all could be as positive as she was.

Tai’s house!

Although we could not speak the same language, we were still able to communicate love and appreciation through our actions.

Spending time there taught me so much. For example, I learned about traditional Fijian homes and clothing, how the toilet system would work (it would use soil and decompose waste for up to 40 years), and a few Fijian words and phrases such as “senga na lenga,” meaning “no worries.” This one phrase is so significant to me; I have always suffered from anxiety that prevented me from doing so much, but simply saying “senga na lenga” helped me let go of fears setting me back. By fully enjoying and experiencing Fiji for what it was without constantly worrying about the “what ifs,” I was able to push past my anxiety and realize that I am capable of so much more than I know.

Amazing view from a hike over the sand dunes!

At the end of my journal, I made a list of a few main takeaways from my trip:

  1. Always keep smiling.
  2. Let things go.
  3. Put others before yourself.
  4. Go for it!
  5. Live.
  6. Be in the moment.
  7. Happiness and family are most important.
  8. Be grateful.
  9. Always try new things.
  10. You can do whatever you set your mind to.

I know these are simple sayings and are reflective of my personal values and experiences, but they keep me grounded and appreciative. Wherever I decide to go next, I will take these with me, being truly grateful for everything, everyone, and every opportunity I have in life.

My hope is that more people get the chance to travel the way Rustic encourages people to because once you do, it will change your perspective on life, travel, and yourself. The best and most rewarding part is that in the process, you will greatly and positively impact our global community.

So thank you, Rustic Pathways, for helping me and many others travel with intent and find gratitude. I hope that in the next few months, we can get back to traveling and continue to explore the world!

Local supermarket where we discovered banana cream cookies!

Learn more about Rustic Pathways programs Fiji, or view more Alumni Stories here