Michelle Talemaitoga

Current Rock of Residence:

Vanua Levu, Fiji

Island Girl Since:

Birth or 2013

Originally Hails From:

Australia (a big rock)

Michelle has always lived on a rock – from the world’s largest rock, to the world’s most heavily populated collection of rocks, to her most recent rock habitat – the hub of the South Pacific – on the rock nation of Fiji.

A childhood vision of living near beaches, eating mango, pineapple, roasted chicken, avocado, and coconut, with palms swaying in the sea breezes has never come together as a whole in reality, but has been peppered throughout her life. The best beaches were in Australia along with macadamia nuts and the best avocados. Mangoes, coconut, and pineapple are a-plenty in Fiji along with those coconut palms swaying in the breeze. And the roast chicken? That’s a Sunday lunch tradition from the days of her grandma. So any place that has an oven, roast chicken is on the menu.

Michelle has lived in the capital cities of Australia, Indonesia, and Fiji. The city populations she was surrounded by went from 330,000 to 28 million to maybe 200,000. She was never a city girl, so this succession of cities in her life was all about circumstance, not choice. Her next move was the complete opposite – to “the village.”  Population less than 100. Three hours by bus to the nearest town. No running water. Occasionally there is power. No internet and occasionally there is phone reception. Lots of lessons to be learned here.

Michelle has blogged about her experiences on two of those rocks – Blog 1 and Blog 2 – and her village learnings on a Facebook page, Today in the Village, for all to see.

Michelle has worked in a myriad of industries – hospitality, construction, retail, education, the not-for-profit sector, development, corporate, and government.

More recent job roles include feature writer, communications specialist, accountant, teacher of English as a foreign language, and mother of five. Michelle rarely shirks opportunities for development and change.

Join her as she recounts daily life on a rock while you come walk with her on the volcanic shores of Vanua Levu.

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