In search of Pippi Longstocking

by Mimmi Dahlström

This story is part of our 'Romantic Travel Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Nattu.

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My whole childhood was influenced by the strongest girl in the world and her father, the king of a small pacific island. Her name was Pippi Longstocking and her mother was the world famous children’s books writer Astrid Lindgren. The Swedish name for the South Pacific is Söderhavet. Not many Swedes go there and travel information is very hard to find. For example the fact that Söderhavet is nowhere to be found. On any map...

For my 50th birthday, my husband gave us a trip to the small islands that had been my dream for so many years. With a little help from Google and different travel sites, we soon realized that the South Pacific covers 30 % of the world’s total area! So exactly where in this very huge water area was this paradise island located? Days and nights with Google led me to the same pictures, over and over again. The pictures showed the most blue lagoon one could ever imagine.

A private island blog spoke about Condé Nast Travel Magazine and their hunt for the most beautiful beach in the world. That blog showed the same pictures that I had seen. The blue lagoon. A deserted motu (small island) in the famous Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands. My island! The island of my dreams! The only problem now, was that it was deserted.

No hotel... no nothing...

More searching led me to another blog. A blog with an email address to “the owner of the cabin on that small motu”! Three hours after sending my request, we had booked our own private island in the South Pacific. The island with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Four months later and 36 hours of travelling took us to my childhood dream.

The old gardener on Aitutaki got a bit confused when he heard we were going to stay on that small little island. He said, "People don´t normally stay there". Then his face broke up in a big smile and he continued, "You´re gonna have a great time out there! But there are some things you must know before you go". Like how to open a coconut with a stick, how to heal the pain if stepping on a stonefish and some other essential South Pacific survival knowledge. The island was in every bit what I had dreamt about and imagined.

Married for over thirty years, we were not, the typical target group for the South Pacific, where 80% of the tourists are "honeymooners." But that stay made us realise that we had finally gotten the honeymoon we never had had.

No words can ever describe the beauty of the island. The view from the veranda, the walks between motus, the dinners around a campfire on the beach, the fresh fruits, the extremely blue waters and all the love and all the laughter.

And the name of the island? Look at some of our survival videos and you will find out.

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