Vanaka Vakalevu Bucket List Publications, Fiji Part 3


Some of you may or may not remember that a year ago this past July (16 months ago) I won airline tickets to Fiji (read here), on Bucket List Publications, offered by Fiji Airways. Let me be clear about this: I did not win those tickets by merely entering my name– I worked my cici off, to win that contest! It was not easy, and I was facing a giant wall of doubt and mockery at the hands of… well, almost anyone who knew what I was doing. “Are you serious? You’ll never win those tickets! Everyone knows these things are rigged,” chided Smart Guy. Yeah, real smart, guy. “Mom, are you crazy? You’re never going to win!” and “Mom, this is ridiculous! You’re wasting your time!” Um, that’s why you’re Middle Man and Little Man, and I’m the Secretary General– the CEO– Queen of the Universe… and the winner of a trip to Fiji! And you guys… are not! Na-na-na’boo-boo!

So let me tell you my secret to winning the tickets:

I set my eyes on the prize!

           I lost sleep! I skipped meals! 

                       I worked my “cici” off!      

I re-Tweeted, Liked and posted on Facebook every single time that Bucket List and Fiji Airways did anything. Any. Thing! If they burped, I re-Tweeted it. (Pretty much the truth) I went back and made sure I’d crossed very T and dotted every I. But the thing that I did over and over and over again, was play a memory game that Fiji Airways posted on their website. Every time I did any one of these things, I got a point toward winning, and playing that game was my golden ticket. Remember that card game, where all the cards are face down and you turn 2 over at a time, and try to make matches? They had that game on-line, only you were matching Fijian phrases, airline images, all things Fiji or Fiji Airways. I must have played that game 1,000 times in the three weeks of the contest– at least! I woke in the middle of the night and snuck out to my laptop. “Are you seriously playing that game again?” Smart Guy was sure I’d lost my mind. I had.

When I was in college, I saved and saved and went to Australia for three months. Back then, I swear, no one (no. one!) seemed to know where Australia was, and no one I knew could understand why I wanted to go that far away. I had my reason (one day, I’ll write a book). But, I was dirt poor. I saved enough for the airline tickets and a little more working three jobs and doing nothing else (but school), but not enough for the stop in Hawaii or Fiji that was offered. Both of those places were so exotic to me, but entirely out of my reach at the time. I stopped in the airport in Honolulu (staring out the window at what I couldn’t have) and flew over Fiji, but I didn’t get to see either. I was twenty years old, and I set my sights on getting there one day. Since then, Fiji has remained a dream.

Then Bucket List Publication’s creator and diva extraordinaire, Lesley Carter went. She posted such incredible stories about her trip– filled with beautiful pictures and exciting things to do. Fiji had been on my Bucket List since 1983, and her posts just stirred my desire to go. When she offered an incredible contest a few months later, I was on it! Like white on rice. Like lint on velvet… Like a red- head on determination– Me. I was going to win.

I played and I played.

           I then, I played some more!

                           I dug in–

and was willing to forgo food and all other pleasures until the contest was over. I worried about it day and night, for the duration. In fact, two days before the contest ended we were going out of town (no wifi) and I was beside myself– sure someone else would steal it from me. On the night before the contest ended, we came home and I tried to make up for two days lost– playing until my eyes and fingers hurt. I was willing to stay up all night to win those tickets! In the morning, fairly early, I got an email from the contest… “The contest closes at 4pm EST today; however, you are so far ahead, it is entirely impossible that anyone else can win. You can relax; we’ll send you details later. “

Um, really?! I was flabbergasted.

I read that email several times, and for a few minutes thought it might be a trick. Could it be someone out there trying to trick me into losing my edge– another competitor? I double- checked and was told that I had in fact won. I’ll tell you, no one in my house was laughing after that… nope, they were groveling. Every family member (my husband, my kids, nieces, nephews, siblings, aunts, uncles), most of my friends, and countless blog readers told me why they should get to go with me. There were some pretty good pleas being bargained!

I took Smart Guy. After all, after nearly thirty years of marriage, it would not have gone down well if I’d taken anyone else, and, he’s my smart guy. We had to put it off for a year, because we had an exchange student the year I won, but this October, we finally went. It was an incredible trip; it was magic! I didn’t jump out of planes, as I’d envisioned when I commented on Bucket List’s posts. I’m chicken in Fiji too, it turns out. I didn’t go dirt biking or anything else crazy. We spent two weeks just reconnecting and totally loving every thing about Fiji and its people.

And here’s what it all looked like:  (Warning: images are a fraction of the actual fabulousness and 1/2 as blue!)

The trip was worth every hour I spent, winning those tickets!

I owe it all to Bucket List Publications

and Fiji Airways. We might have gone… someday. But someday often become a long time away, and that often becomes never. As the temperatures plummet and life gets busy again, I can look at the wonderful photos and dream of hot, beautiful beaches with my guy. Giant thanks to Lesley at Bucket List, I checked a 31 year-old dream off my bucket List.

Vanaka Vakalevu Bucket List Publications and Fiji Airways!

*     *     *

Make me smile; and HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Time is running out! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  © 2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.


About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Beautiful places, Beauty, Blog, Blogging, blogs, Goals, My world, Natural beauty, Nature, Snorkeling, Tales From the Motherland, travel, Wonderful Things and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Vanaka Vakalevu Bucket List Publications, Fiji Part 3

  1. gorgeous photos. So glad you won and thanks for sharing!


  2. Australia, Fiji, Iceland, Denmark(?)….I bet you have never been to Muleshoe, Texas, Miss I Won Leslie’s Contest and Got to Travel to a Very Exotic Place. 🙂

    I love Leslie’s blog and I really like it when you write about your travels, Dawn. Now, if I can find a way to get un-dirt poor myself, I might write about my adventures! To Muleshoe, Texas, of course. (Yes, there really IS a Muleshoe, Texas)


  3. Lynda says:

    How wonderful and what dedication you have!


  4. Pingback: Vanaka Vakalevu Bucket List Publications, Fiji Part 3 | ugiridharaprasad

  5. Cathy Ulrich says:

    So glad you won the tickets, Dawn. Fiji is on my bucket list, too. I would love to go diving there – maybe someday soon! Wonderful photos! And I’ve really enjoyed your travelogue. Your win was richly deserved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cathy. Honestly, I felt a bit guilty winning, when I have traveled to so many wonderful places… but then, I let that go and had a great time anyway! 😉 If you go, you will have to do an entire post of photos; I’d hate to get one at a time!


  6. Mike Lince says:

    This story puts the whole contest in perspective. I love your commitment once you set your eyes on the prize. I remember how happy I was for you when you announced you had won the prize. The photos are beautiful, and from your descriptions, I am sure they barely scratch the surface for how magical Fiji was in person. Thankfully, your talents as writer provide vivid detail for the 100’s (1,000’s?) of us who drool at the thought of experiencing what you got to see firsthand! – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jgroeber says:

    Oh, how I love this! I love when a deserving person wins something, not just someone who always tries to win everything, but someone who dreamed a dream… and then made it REAL! What a fabulous journey, both literally and literately. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Jen! I really appreciate that. I know there are so many people who really “deserve” this, and again, I had mixed feelings about being that person… but it was so wonderful! I think it was a prize I needed right now. Thanks!


  8. Dawn, Terrific photos! I’m so glad you shared with us. 🙂 — Susan


  9. ME says:

    I’m not getting in your way when you want something! Thanks for the opportunity to escape my cold New England weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lesleycarter says:

    I’m so grateful to have you as a reader and a fellow travel enthusiast. You are absolutely wonderful and I look forward to reading about all of your adventures to come. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Hawk Eye II Pilotur Watch Winner | Bucket List Publications


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