Our Travel Stories, World Schooling

I’ve fallen in love ❤️

I knew that would get a few people’s attention!

Tour Guide and Boat Captain ‘Albert’ from Rarotonga, Cook Islands

….Ok, Ok, maybe not with him, (although he is rather BEAUTIFUL!!!) but I have fallen head over heels in love…….with Polynesia!!! The islands, the people, the culture, the art, the lifestyle, the rituals, just everything.

I am completely ready to take the oath and say “I do” so that Polynesia and I can live together happily ever after. (I am not quite so sure immigration and visa departments may view my love affair in the same way, but an exchange of energies has already taken place. I have taken a little piece of Polynesia with me which I shall carry forever, and in turn I have left a piece of myself there too.)

My love started in New Zealand, meeting the Maori people, I just loved their way of living and the fact that even though New Zealand has become colonised and richly diverse over the years, many maori people still live very much within their original traditions and lifestyle and are incredibly proud of their heritage, history and culture.

Visiting the geothermal living Maori village, Rotorua, New Zealand

Then came our transpacific cruise from Auckland to San Francisco, which was to become one of the most enriching and life changing experiences of my life. We were originally due to visit 10 Polynesian islands, however due to a change of Port schedule and then Cameron being poorly we only got to go ashore for 6/10 islands but what we saw we absolutely loved.

I probably knew less about this part of the world than I did any other part of the globe, and I certainly never realised how much there was to learn (plus I had never even heard of Melanesia and Micronesia!!) Visiting Polynesia and the people has been a magical experience in itself, but being part of a fully immersive cruise (known as EXC In-depth) aboard Holland America Lines M.S. Maasdam has been amazing and far beyond what I expected it to be. Having specialists onboard to talk about Pacific arts, culture, anthropology, oceanography, geology, biology, music. photography, foods and so much more has just been amazing.

Dolphin watching expedition with Dr Michael Poole – Marine Biologist specialising in Whales & Dolphins. (Moorea, Tahiti)

Such an incredible learning experience all round, but for me as a mum exploring world schooling, every day I have found myself saying “this is the way I want to educate my son” I have seen him widen his knowledge and interest so widely and engage in new things I never thought he would do, he has has tried ukulele and tahitian dance lessons, sat through fascinating lectures, and been hands-on learning new art techniques such as Polynesian lashing.

Onboard MS Maasdam, learning the skill of polynesian lashing from Tongan Artist Filipe Tohi (EXC In-depth lecturer)
Proud of his finished artwork

Polynesians of the South Pacific Islands are not led by corporate lifestyles, material possessions or even time, but rather by a love for one another, a generosity of friendship, and by celebrating each day with simplicity and yet with inspiring richness.

I am beyond grateful to the people I have met on this journey, but especially the cultural ambassadors and lectures aboard the MS Maasdam whose knowledge, wisdom and passion has been nothing short of excellence and have allowed us to explore and understand these islands and their people with so much more depth.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I would love, love, love to see Holland America Line to extend this in-depth programme to include the younger generation of travellers and the many, many parents who world school their children. This is the BEST education I could ever wish to give my child,

For us now, we only have a few more days of this particular part of our journey left before we sail into San Francisco and disembark the ship. I thought at the end of 24 nights at sea Cameron in particular would have cabin fever and be chomping at the bit to get off – but No, he has loved every second of this voyage and doesn’t want it to end yet. However the next couple of weeks in San Francisco are going to be another very special chapter in my life and I cannot wait to show Cameron around this city which will always hold a piece of my heart.

After that though we will be turning back on ourselves to spend time in Hawaii and I have to say I cannot wait to immerse ourselves even deeper into the beautiful polynesian culture, this time in the northern part of the pacific ocean.

My heart is full at the moment and I feel so grateful and so blessed. The journey continues – filling us deeper with abundance each and every day.

With EXC In-depth lecturer Hilary Scothorn, specialist in Pacific Art History & Polynesian Quilting

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