It’s a long way to travel but for one duo from Stuttgart in the south of Germany, they reckon the beauty of Samoa and her people make the travel worth it.
Kerstin Pelzer and Julian Hammerstein are on a world tour and they arrived in Samoa as the nation was gearing up for her 56th Independence celebration.
Before arriving in Samoa, they visited south, central and north America, Hawai’i and Canada. But they didn’t just stumbled upon Samoa.
“I’ve always wanted to come to Samoa,” Julian said.
“I read a lot during travelling and before as well. I think the first time I heard about Samoa was just somewhere on the Internet. While reading about the country I really got interested about the people, the life and the happiness.
“I also read once that here in Samoa the happiest people in the world are living. So we made the decision together to see this place.”
One of the problems that people find is that after they read about a certain place, their expectations are heightened only to find the reality disappointing.
For Julian this has not been the case.
“Actually my expectations have excelled,” he said. “From the first second we arrived, it is something very different. At the airport there have were some musicians to welcome us. At the baggage control, we had a nice small talk with the security guard.
“In South America we got used to the drivers, which come after you to try to get you in the car. Here if you said no that was enough, which is really nice.”
Having been on the road for the past six months, Kerstin describes Samoa as the probably most beautiful place they have been to.
“I think a lot of people here do not really appreciate the landscape and place they are living in, because they have it all the time in front of them. For us this is paradise and one of the most beautiful places all over, if not the most beautiful. The local are surprised, when we say that, because for them it is so normal.
“I think here is something like the perfect paradise, because we read that here are no dangerous animals, it rains a lot, what allows almost every fruit and plant to grow. You get everything you need from nature here.”
Is there anything they don’t like?
“Maybe just the mosquitoes,” laughs Kerstin.
“Here it is so much more relaxed. Where we stay at the Faofao Beach Fales, it happened sometimes when they say dinner is going to be at 7pm. So we have been on time, but it actually started half an hour later, that is absolutely normal and as well good like that, no stress. Very relaxed and quiet people, not stressed at all this is a huge contrast to Europe.
“The people here are searching the eye contact and then smile all the time.
“No matter where we have been going to, if it’s to buy a sim card or at the bank, everyone has been so relaxed, not like back home. They help you out and give you some advise. Through all these actions they seem to be happy.”
Tourism-wise, they prefer Samoa to remain relatively under developed.
“I think there is a lot of potential here in terms of tourism. But at the same time I am asking if you really want that.
“We have seen beaches crowded with tourists and then the place lost its beauty. I think tourism makes a big part of business here to getting richer, but if that makes them more happy?”
Kerstin added: “I like it exactly because it is not touristy. Everything is normal like the locals know it. We enjoy the empty beaches. Maybe a bigger offer of activities, like snorkeling, surfing or something would be nice.”