George Leigh Mallory said it best. The legendary British climber kept on trying to reach the top of Mount Everest in the early twenties, a time when achieving this feat was thought to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. People kept on asking him the same thing; why on earth did he keep trying to conquer the world’s highest mountain? I can imagine what the guy felt like when he answered them; ‘Because it’s there!’
Ever since I was a kid and got my first world atlas as a present for my birthday, I wanted to see and experience the most mysterious and (often) faraway places. In 2000 the first goal was achieved when I spent almost a week in beautiful Iceland. Then, in 2002, came Greenland; followed by the Faroe Islands a year later.
This year has to be more spectacular though. Together with my best friend Bauke I’m planning to make my Pacific dream a reality. More precisely: we want to visit all the independent island nations of the South Pacific. We can’t be bothered much by the Cook Islands, Niue or Tahiti (although the last one does appear on our list as a stopover destination on our way to Easter Island…yeah yeah, I know that’s a Chilean territory, but come on…when do you get the chance to see that?). We want to see Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati and all other small countries lying in the world’s largest ocean. Family, friends and co-workers all ask the same thing: ‘why the *beep* do you want to go and see those insane places?’. Simple: because they’re there!
Mainly because they’re ‘real’ nations, they have some sort of magnetic pull on us. Had Niue been independent, that would probably have been on our list as well. Anyway, planning such a trip is (like most prolonged trips are) a time-consuming affair. After some brainstorming, we decided to start off in Australia. Basically a no-brainer; it’s the place you have to go to in order to reach the Pacific (and it’s no punishment going there anyway…).
We’ll spend about ten days or so in Sydney and on the East Coast, before getting on a plane in Brisbane, heading for our first island nation, Nauru. And that’s where the fun begins…