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Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 12:44 AM   #1
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Another guy who "gets it"

I recorded a program on the DVR that was part of a series called “Radical Sabbaticals”. The subject was Richard Evanson, a man who made millions by his early 30’s in the cable television industry. At the age of 36 he found himself out of shape, drunk, getting divorced and miserable. Rich as hell, but utterly miserable.

While travelling in the South Pacific he met a guy in a bar and bought a 500-acre Fijian island from him. Soon after he decided to go live on the island to become a hermit, because, deep down, he was “afraid of people”.

Just moments being dropped off by helicopter he met a local islander who went on to become his best friend. Evanson hired the man and later some other locals to help him restore the island (it had been deforested by a herd of goats the previous owner kept).

A few years into the project, Columbia Pictures used the island to film Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields. Evanson built a couple of huts for the film crew to stay in and eventually continued building what would become a very exclusive, couples only resort. 14 couples at a time, prices start at $1,600 a night with a minimum of 6 nights.

Evanson went on to marry a Fijian and have a family. He has gone to incredible lengths to be a good steward of the island and the wildlife as well as the 2500 people who live in the area (100 work for the resort). He has built schools, medical facilities and regularly brings in outside doctors to provide first rate medical care for his neighbors. He has set up a trust to keep the island in its current state for 500 years.

Watching how he interacts with his employees and neighbors was interesting. I'm not sure how the profits are distributed, but it looks like Evanson is running a family business and all of his neighbors are part of the family. He moves so easily among them, working with them to run the resort and rebuilding the island's ecology and improving their economy while keeping the good things of their traditional lifestyle. He seems to have lost his fear of people. He's easy going but has a vision and goals that he seems to be very focused on.

Near the end of the show, they filmed Evanson and his family playing in the water. He did a voice over talking about what it was that he thought was important in life. He said that we’re all here for a very short time and should make the most of it. For him, that meant that he wanted his kids and neighbors to remember him after he was gone as having been “an okay guy”, and that he had done his part in trying to make some part of the world a little bit better than how he found it.
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 07:03 AM   #2
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"

Wow! Talk about an inspiration!

Hopefully the recent coup in Fiji will not affect him and the island.
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 07:58 AM   #3
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"

Nice place for all those ERs who happen to have an extra 15k to drop on a week's vacation!

Actually, if you're ER and want to experience the south pacific lifestyle, there'll be lots of good, cheaper ways to do it. Come to think of it, I don't remember anyone here (except perhaps ShokwaveRider?) who has been or is planning on going to the South Pacific. Isn't that the classic stereotypical early retirement thing to do? Chuck it all in and go hang out in the South Pacific for a year or two? Any good South Pacific travel stories out there from this group? Maybe we're all too drawn to our high speed internet connections to want to bother these days!
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 09:06 AM   #4
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"

Great reference on the common theme: ER is about setting your own way forward, making life form from your vision and energy. Perhaps so many of us were burnt out on the job, in my case not so much from the work but from the lack of self direction that was behind it. I do not cope well with corporate agenda's, and find much of what large companies do more socially dangerous than valuable.

There will always be a higher need in each of us. ER at its best is the ability to make the choices to pursue these needs in the spirit of an adventure without a boss demanding you spend the weekend compiling a useless report when you want to go to the beach.
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"

Originally Posted by ESRBob
I don't remember anyone here (except perhaps ShokwaveRider?) who has been or is planning on going to the South Pacific.
DH and I went to Bora Bora several years ago, it was really nice. One day we were riding bikes around the island (its only 17 miles IIRC) and my tire blew out one the non-touristy side of the island. A man and his 6 children gave us a ride in his pickup truck. The kids were shocked by my blue eyes, so I know they hadn't seen a lot of the foreigners that visit. I thought then that it must not really take a ton of money to live there as long as you don't stay in the fancy hotels. We could go there and learn French while taking in the beautiful scenery everyday!
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"


I suspect that the tourist industry and the government have conspired to jack up the prices to foreign tourists.

Ripping off tourists and out-of-towners is a game that is played all over the world.
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"
Old 12-06-2006, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Another guy who "gets it"

DW & I are big fans of the South pacific. Our first trip was to Tahiti, Rarotonga and Fiji. Our next trip was to Rarotonga & Aitutaki. Then we went to Tahiti and most other French islands including the Marquesas. We really like Rarotonga, we made friends there and expected to go live there until the grandchildren came and changed those plans. We also liked off islands in Fiji without electricty, we would have kava with the chief and there was a lot to like about that country. I am aware of the political situation tthere and hope to visit again when things settle a little but before the tourists return.
It is very expensive gettingt to the islands and between the different national entities. But once there you can generally live cheaply and the people we met are genuinely warm. Tahiti is particualrly expensive, about the cost of living in Paris. But you get great snorkeling, French food, and topless beaches, so maybe its worth it.
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