You have just won the lottery, an obscene amount, in fact, which means that money is no longer an object and the world is literally your oyster.
You close your eyes, clasp your hands with joy and inhale deeply - that country you have YET TO VISIT, that one elusive destination that you have dreamed of witnessing in person will soon be welcoming you with open arms.
WHAT AWAITS YOU?
A leisurely and luxurious cruise around the Caribbean? A first class ride on the legendary Orient Express? Your very own hideaway island? The Himalayas by helicopter?
But I suppose the most pertinent question of all is:
WHY HAS THIS PARTICULAR DESTINATION CAPTURED YOUR HEART, SOUL AND IMAGINATION?
Can I tell you where I’m going? I’m going to Tonga. The Kingdom of Tonga to be exact. One hundred and seventy unspoiled islands of breathtaking beauty in the South Pacific.
The deserted white beaches, vibrant reefs and pristine waters, whilst highly alluring, are not, for me, the main attraction. Only one thing would make me endure the wretched 1d 6h duration, 2+ stops flight. Nope, not valium - the Tongan people themselves.
I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter many Tongans and Pacific Islanders throughout my travels and I’ll be darned if they’re not the friendliest, most welcoming people on the planet. They exude warmth. Simple as that. Even in photographs for heaven’s sake - look at them!
I just want to step into the picture, throw my arms around these beautiful ladies and shower them with Ginger Warrior love! And I’m convinced my affections would be reciprocated willingly and with genuine tenderness and endearment. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that Tonga is otherwise known as The Friendly Islands, having garnered this affectionate sobriquet from Captain James Cook: he arrived there for the first time in 1773 and received the warmest of island welcomes.
Life in Tonga appears to be unhurried, unabashed, unagressive (except, perhaps, when performing the Tongan War Cry and accompanying dance which is reminiscent of the New Zealand Haka) and unapologetically happy.
And I will get there one day, I am sure of it. And without the lottery because I’ve yet to actually buy a ticket.
You've got to be in it to win it. :)
Ginger Warrior, over and out.