Bula (pronounced boo-la) — a Fijian greeting usually said in a sing-songy voice with a big broad smile.
Hoop — To hold together or support. To encircle.
Bula, my name is Jennifer. I’m a Canadian journalist who is always on the lookout for a chance to travel or live overseas.
My interests include: international conflict, social justice and indigenous issues, archaeology, history, photography, and always great writing and reading.
So far, I’ve lived in Suva, Fiji; Dublin, Ireland; New York City, USA; and across Canada, including: Halifax, NS; Moncton, NB; Winnipeg, MB; Vancouver, BC; and currently Toronto. I’ve also visited the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Northern Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Italy for work and pleasure.
Of all the places I’ve lived and visited, the place that will always have the firmest grasp on my heart (apart from home, of course, in Nova Scotia) is Fiji.
I lived in the capital of Suva during the drawn out civilian-led coup in 2000 and worked just down the street from where the members of Parliament were held hostage for 56 days.
Every day, I walked to work past military checkpoints and soldiers armed with automatic weapons. Supporters of the coup were also always on the move nearby. I moved 13 times during the conflict and always had my suitcases packed.
I also visited the Solomon Islands in 2000 when it was wracked by ethnic conflict, really a civil war on the island of Guadalcanal, and was amazed by the humour and compassion of the islanders, in particular the women of Munda and the sisters of the Church of Melanesia in Honiara who welcomed me and entertained my questions.
These experiences, as well as my work editing travel writing for newspapers across Canada, have left me wanting more from the travel writing I read.
It is my hope this site will create a place where I can share these experiences with like-minded adventurers (including my friends scattered around the world) and encourage others to write in with their stories about the unusual places they’ve been and the people they’ve met along their journeys. I envision a friendly circle. A bula hoop, if you will.
As the Fijians say, vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.∗
PS: If you’re interested in my professional background, please visit my LinkedIn profile.