My worldtrip highlight: Vanuatu

Always I get asked: “What was the best thing of your worldtrip?” There is not THE ONE thing, the whole experience makes a to a lifetime memory but one thing really impressed me on my 9-months-journey and this I want to share with you.

The country with the happiest people

For two weeks I visited the island state VANUATU between Fiji and Australia. I knew local Vanuatu people through a fruitpicking job in Australia in 2013. Four years later I visited them on their island called Epi. After a few days in the capital “Port Vila”, I took the ferry to Lamen Bay which was an adventurous eight-hours-journey with almost just locals and challenging because of my seasickness.

I arrived on Epi and felt like in another world like back in time or something like a paradise with very friendly people. My friend Melanie picked me up and brought me to her house where I slept in a little Bungalow. Quickly I learned that it is not all paradise. The island people are harvesting almost all of their food, they go gardening and fishing and in the end the whole day is about feeding the family. It is a different society, not comparable to Germany where we have everything anytime we want and only think about self-realization and money. It is a hard life in Vanuatu, they don’t have the chances as we have, everywhere they want to go has to by plane or boat and that’s expensive. Every week big ships from Australia and China are importing all the other things the people can’t get on the islands. On the other hand it is admireable how simple the people live there and how happy and modest they are with their lifestyle.

One day on Epi, Vanuatu

In the morning we wake up with the sunlight, time is relative. For breakfast we get some fruits like pomelo and coconuts from the garden, then crackers or bread from the shop or what the locals always eat: rice. The kids go to the school in the village. My friend Melanie is a primary teacher for the smaller children. All of them starting from the age of six learn English next to their island dialect and the national language “Bislama” (sounds for me like children or African English), from there on they speak three languages! In total there are 115 languages spoken in Vanuatu. After school they play in the nature, no smartphones or electricity. The whole energy come from solar panel on the roof but only if there is enough sunshine. We didn’t have electricity for three days because it was so cloudy. In the afternoon the family prepares the dinner. Often they eat Yam (big white rout like potato) with fish, chicken, some vegetables and maniok. After the dinner the men are often meeting to drink kawa together, a drink from a pepper root which tastes digusting but makes your mouth numb – it’s like the Vanuatu drug. In the house the kids sleep together in one room, sometimes together with the parents.

The thing I admire the most, is the way the Vanuatu people treat nature. They don’t destroy it, they live with the nature. I think that is why the people are happier and more friendly as well. They like to share and to enjoy the time together. Tradition and family are the most important things. A lot of them are Christians as well. They don’t possess a lot, materialism is not that important but they are happy with their lives.

Do you wanna explore Vanuatu, too?

After one week on Epi, my friend John and I took a boat to the next island “Ambrym” to hike to an active volcano and explore the nature (video below). More about this adventure and all my tips for travelling, budget and the questions where to go and what to see you can read on my page about “VANUATU”:

Or watch my VLOG about the life on Epi Island with my local friends:

And the VLOG about hiking Ambrym volcano:

6 thoughts on “My worldtrip highlight: Vanuatu

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