Hi friends! I’m back from my long, restful, and adventurous vacation. I’m excited to be back to work, as I’m feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and have a fresh perspective. I love how travel does that. This was actually the longest time period I’ve ever stepped away from work or the blog. I think it’s something I’ll probably begin doing more regularly… hello newfound work / life balance! Someone please hold me accountable to that. Ha! Anyway, today I wanted to share some fun snippets from our trip and a peek at French Polynesia through my lens. Click through for a virtual escape to the islands, vacation recap, and for a glimpse at the beginning of my new favorite hobby: diving.
This was my first trip to French Polynesia and will definitely be back! It was a trip that was three years in the making, and I’m still in awe it actually happened. We had cancellation after cancellation, jumped through multiple hoops, took lots of tests, and travelled in taxis, planes, and boats to get to our destination. The whirlwind of planning and the trouble to get there was well worth the effort and our flexibility! The Tahitian people are so friendly and willing to share their culture (which was also a great opportunity for me to practice my French), the food is incredible, and the water color ranges from the most unbelievable aqua to sapphire blue. Naturally, I made Emmett take a photo alongside the water (pictured below) to compare it to the color of his t-shirt… although I have no idea what’s happening with his pose.
It truly feels and looks like the island paradise you’re accustomed to seeing on screen savers- photos really don’t do the color palette justice! I kept taking my sunglasses on and off to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.
We began our vacation with a day & night in Tahiti, followed by a couple days in Huahine, before boarding our sailboat in Raiatea. We were most excited about the boat and sailing. It felt like a fun adventure and unique way to see the islands.
We spent the majority of our trip on the water, sailing, exploring the lagoon, and scuba diving multiple times each day. It far exceeded my expectations, and Emmett & I both agreed that we’ll be chartering a boat again someday for future beach vacations.
This trip was an absolute dream… diving, fishing, exploring secluded beaches, snorkeling, hiking jungle ruins, discovering off-the-beaten-path local spots, and just treating everyday like a new adventure. That’s our kind of vacation, and I have to say- Emmett, myself, and our two friends did a pretty good job planning an epic vacation.
We swam with tropical fish, sharks, manta rays, and explored the reef & coral gardens. I even descended on my first shipwreck dive (Nordby wreck)– which was my favorite dive of our trip. It was an early 1900s ship and I enjoyed imagining what it looked like when it was floating on the surface, in tact. I wish I had good photos of it, but the visibility was poor. You can catch an IG story of it here.
I definitely unearthed a strong excitement for diving. I know some of you love diving too (I’m looking at you, Danna!). It’s really too bad we don’t live near the ocean… all the more reason for me to convince Emmett we should save for a beach house renovation someday. Interesting fact- before I decided on a career in design, I thought about exploring marine biology. Basically, I lived my best life in the water the entire vacation. We even got picked up in the dinghy after a couple drift dives… that felt like a cool moment.
Emmett and our friend, David, took their GoPro cameras underwater, so I can’t claim the beautiful underwater photography… but I do think I’m going to sign up for a scuba photography class. We’re pretty close to getting our advanced diving certification after diving so much on our trip, and an extra curricular course is necessary- I’d love to expand and play around with getting creative underwater! If you’re a diver or underwater photographer, I’d love to hear your recommendations.
Emmett and I (as well as our two friends we travelled with) are the type of travelers who crave adventure and enjoy trying the local favorites. One thing we were most excited about was discovering les roulottes– or local Tahitian food trucks. In fact, we loved the food so much- we went back a second time on our last day, during our airport layover…. just to have one more local dinner. I’m not going to lie- we didn’t ever eat at the photographed truck below (we opted for the trucks that offered local fish), but this one looked the prettiest for a photo. Haha! I highly recommend the Chez Dominique truck for the chao men and poisson cru. You can also visit small rum distilleries, pearl farms, vanilla plantations, and other interesting local industries. We squeezed in as much as we could, but the roulottes were a highlight!
After parting ways with the boat that was home for over a week and saying goodbyes to our new local friends, we landed at the most recognizable French Polynesian island (the one you always see in photographs!), Bora Bora. I’ll admit, the resorts are filled with couples celebrating momentous occasions and honeymooners, but having a few restful days at the end of our trip was a nice change of pace and the perfect way to bid farewell to the islands.
The over the water bungalow definitely felt luxurious. We stayed at the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora, for those who messaged asking for details.
The view was really beautiful, and we had a private pool (we shared a bungalow with our friends)– which was pretty wonderful for lounging & relaxing after all of the diving… though I probably spent more time floating & swimming in the lagoon. Not having an ocean nearby our home always makes me spend as much time in the saltwater as possible when on vacation.
Of course the designer in me also picked up a lot of inspiration from French Polynesia. As you might expect, the use of rattan, bamboo, teak, grasscloth, lightweight linen, palm fronds, and textural woven materials was abundant.
Instead of coffered ceilings and bulky millwork, I really appreciated the use of woven palms and rattan installed on the ceiling as a decorative treatment. The majority of the window treatments I noted were sheer, white panels that looked lovely blowing in the soft ocean breeze. Everything felt very lightweight, appropriate for the climate.
Typically, I’m always eager to come home at the end of vacation, but closing the chapter on this special trip was bittersweet. Perhaps it’s because we hadn’t travelled internationally in SO long, but I was sad to leave. It also reignited a passion for exploration & travel, learning about new cultures, discovering newfound places, trying new food, and embracing new hobbies. Last year certainly taught me to enjoy and appreciate these moments because we never know when our next chance for new experiences will be.
Let me know if you’d like any specifics, if you’re also planning a trip to French Polynesia in the future! I’d be happy to share additional info. If you’re a diver, I’d highly recommend the dive shop Hemisphere Sub in Raiatea… our crew loved Julien and we’d be lucky to dive with him again someday.
I think French Polynesia would be a versatile spot for whatever type of vacation you prefer- luxury, adventure, relaxation, etc. There are plenty of ways to customize the experience based on your wants & needs- I think that goes for any trip though!
Emmett & I are already dreaming of planning our next big getaway for 2022. Do you have any fun vacations you’re looking forward to or are excited to plan for the future? We actually have one more beach trip planned (that is rapidly approaching)… we’re meeting my siblings for family vacation. It’s the first vacation we’ve all taken together (ever!) and hopefully it won’t be the last. I’m excited to squeeze my niece and nephews after not seeing them for a few years! Are family vacations a thing or tradition in your family? If so- where do you like to meet? Do you travel well with friends?
I’ve got some fun blog posts lined up for the remainder of the month, and I’m excited to get back to work. We rolled up our sleeves and made some progress on my office renovation over the weekend, and I ordered more materials for our entryway. I’ve got quite a few painting projects and posts to share in the coming weeks that I think will be helpful! Let me know what other types of posts you would enjoy reading this summer, and I’ll add them to my list. Thanks for being here!