Two courageous parents, one spontaneous decision and 10, 770 kilometres later, 6-year-old me found myself growing up in Fiji. I loved the move, the chance to reinvent everything. Truthfully, I find myself constantly falling in love with new environments. Playgrounds, campgrounds, the mountains, a tiny cafe I pass by, a Volkswagen van driving by on the highway.
I can walk endlessly through the streets of a residential area; each house I walk by is a new place to me, a wondrous mystery. I wonder when each house was first built, what events transpired to find the builder at that exact spot on this earth, what families return to it every night, labeling it home.
To ensure clarity: I’m not a stalker.
I pass by these houses just noticing each, momentarily, as a dream. I’ve lived in eight houses so far. It doesn’t matter much what they look like; after a few days the houses on your street take a concrete form, always looking the same. Walk deeper into the residential jungle and you could be anywhere- B.C., London, Wellington. You’ve never seen these houses before. You start to notice little things: a gnome peeking out from under a bush, a handcrafted pirate ship nestled between the highest branches of a tree, LOOK UP: a roof almost invisible behind the expansive, godly branches of an old tree. It fills me with awe, what we humans can create. I guess I recognize houses as vessels-safe bases from which we create our lives. So I flock to new places when I need hope.
In Fiji I ranged barefoot through hot sand and up coconut trees. I played with hundreds of hermit crabs, probably torturing more than a few over my three years as the hermit crab girl. I’m still not sure if they can breathe submerged underwater in a bucket for long periods of time but I witnessed no casualties.
A seldom-known fact about hermit crabs is that they can change their shells as they grow. I think the hermit crab is an appropriate symbol for me as I enter the mind-blowing stage where I begin to create my own life, embodying my love for travel, adventure, change, and a simple way of life.