Crowd Funding, Glamping, Divi’s…

New words for the vocab? Absolutely! So by now you know our place will be called Divi’s… and I spoke about the Glamping Huts in an earlier blog (Glamorous Camping). Have you heard of Crowd Funding yet? If not, here you go…

Crowd funding is one of those new great ideas that would not be possible without the internet and social media. The Idea is that you engage one of the crowd funding websites, we chose ‘GoFundMe’ and write your story and invite the people in your circles to fund whatever your cause is. Some people use it for charity, some for helping out a person, or a family who has gone through a tough time, and some to raise money for a new venture or business. I am sure there are more, but they are the ones I know about.

For us it is about a new business. If you have not seen our blog please check it out ( ). We have purchased the leases of 2 beautiful blocks of land near Mangaliliu in Vanuatu. We decided urban life on the Gold Coast Australia was not for us anymore. We wanted a new adventure!

We are building a bungalow to live in, or rent out as a premium B&B offering, a Wine and Tapas Bar and some Glamping Huts in the rainforest. So where does the GoFundMe come into play? We are offering a heavily discounted 2 night stay in one of the Glamping Huts including Breakfast for just AUD$100, that’s per room not per person! Once we are up and running and the Glamping Huts are taking bookings, they will be about AUD$250 per night.

By spending AUD$100 on our GoFundMe campaign, you will actually be helping to build a Glamping Hut! You will be part of the adventure. So come and share a little piece of paradise with us.

Check out the GoFundMe page… I have just added a short video, they will go up quick so I’ll keep you posted with more photos when I can, as Scott has mentioned the internet is very slooooowwwww…. and it it almost impossible to upload photos.

See you soon



The internet struggle continues …

After loading the Wine & Tapas and Bungalow shortened video walks I shattered our data limit! In the last week it has taken minutes to download an email … bring on the 20th June when our data allowance is restored … that is our understanding anyway.

So Darleen and I are in Port Vila using free Wifi with lunch at The Office Pub.

Remember, this video was taken on 23rd June 2016.

We were so excited. To walk through the actual building that Darleen designed, and we have been developing in our minds over the last two years was incredible.

Enjoy the tour …

Next week (hopefully) part three, the first glamping hut.

Love Manhaliliu at Vanuatu … Scott


The internet in Vanuatu has been the biggest challenge so far.

At last, I have been able to upload a short video clip taken on Thursday 23rd June 2016. I took a 10-minute video walking around the two blocks. But … the file was too big for the internet we have at Mangaliliu. We even went into Port Vila one day and tried to use free Wi-Fi at a bar in town over lunch, but that didn’t work either.

Now that I have chopped up the 10-minute video into smaller clips, over the next few days I plan to upload them to update you on our progress.

Check out the link:

Three weeks today … and loving our piece of paradise in Vanuatu.


It’s getting very real now!

The buildings are out of the ground…

Pictures are the best way to tell this story… We have been here for a week as of tomorrow afternoon. When we got here the Bungalow slab had been poured and had a couple of rows of blocks in place. The foundations had been poured on the Tapas Bar. A week later the Bungalow has 9-10 rows of blocks and the walls are up to floor level on the Tapas Bar and the fill is arriving tomorrow.

We spent a day clearing the areas for the first 2 Glamping huts, Scott did a fantastic job with his ‘kinfe’ (machete) slashing through the bush. I’ll do a separate blog about that day!

So here you go…

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow 8

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow Monday 4

Bungalow Monday 

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow Monday

Bungalow Monday

Divis Vanuatu bungalow 10


Divis Vanuatu Bungalow 9

Bungalow Monday

divis vanuatu Bungalow Thursday

Bungalow Thursday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar 2

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar1

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar 3

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 4

Tapas Tuesday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 6

Tapas Wednesday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 7

Tapas Bar Thursday

Another update in a few days to follow, they are going really quickly! I guess with 10 guys on the site it is do’able.

The slab for the tapas should be down by the end of this week.




Darleen and I landed in Vanuatu around 3pm on 20 June 2016. A step closer to realising our dream by moving into our neighbour’s house at Mangaliliu, Bob’s house – three blocks from our building site … perfect.

At the block on Tuesday morning (21 June 16), I was met by a ‘village elder’, who explained he was very concerned construction had commenced on our blocks, but no one was employed from the local village. An interesting exchange on our first full day at Mangaliliu!

This is what had previously occurred … on Friday morning (10 June 2016) the same elder closed our worksite and sent all the workers home for the day, for the very same reason. Our amazing builder Richard (Rabco Constructions) organised a meeting with the village Chief that afternoon, explaining how he won a contract to build for us, and that he wasn’t under any obligation to employ anyone from the village.

We did not purchase the land from the landowner, we simply purchased a 75-year lease that started in 2012. Our understanding from the lease – we did not have to employ anyone from the land owner’s family or the village in construction. But we did once we started to operate a business on the land.

As it turns out, our understanding was correct, but in our absence (we were back in Australia on 10 June 2016) Richard agreed to employ two local villagers to keep the project moving forward. Over the weekend their position changed, as the local villagers did not turn up on the work site Monday (13 June 2016) to start with Richard!

Well, here we were dealing with the same issue again on Tuesday morning (21 June 2016) with the elder. After:

– listening to his concerns for the land owners and local villagers,

– explaining our understanding of the lease regards construction,

– highlighting the sooner construction can be completed, the sooner we can employ local villagers in the business, and

– suggesting we meet with the elder and Chief that afternoon to talk through our project,

I closed the discussion by explaining we needed to talk with our Builder, and the elder departed.

After an update on progress from Richard (builder) Darleen and I headed into town to see Immigration, Shefa Council and the Land & Environment office.

Driving through the village on the way to Port Vila, the elder stopped us to explain he was happy with what we were doing on the land, and there was no need for a meeting with the Chief that afternoon … well there you go!

In town we didn’t have much luck, the key people we needed to see at each office were not to be found. But before heading back home we did receive a phone call from one of the departments, saying the documents would be finalised and could we come and collect them. The caller explained he was the person authorised to sign the documents, and informed me he was a family man, leading the conversation in the direction of a little sweetener … I simply said we could sort that out when we met that afternoon.

At the meeting we were taken to a private office, received the certified documents, and I explained when I submitted the application, ALL applicable fees were paid. Nothing more was said and we departed happy.

We were warned that we would be constantly tested by the locals!

Getting accustomed to life in paradise … Scott.


It’s full…

It is the 19th of June today, I flew back to the Gold Coast on the 5th of June. It was strange being back. Right now I am in Sydney with my eldest daughter Sam, visiting my parents, and my lovely friend Melissa, who I’ve known for 30 years. We also hand lunch with my brother Scott and his partner Jo.

My Scott worked this week just gone and we both fly back to Port Vila on the 20th June. This time we both have one way tickets as we are activating our residency visa’s! Very exciting.

I spent most of the 10 days on the Gold Coast shopping and seeing friends, I think we were out for dinner all but 2 nights. We also took delivery of the solar panels and Scott had to work his magic again to fit them in the container. I had not been out to the container since flying in and when Scott opened the doors that morning, I thought ‘there is no way we will fit these panels in…’ Scott pulled about a third of the container back out as he felt it could have been packed better. So we had the flatpacked kitchenette and half the stainless steel flatpacks, and heaps of other stuff out on the driveway. The guy arrived with the box of solar panels on the back of a ute, we had to take them out of the massive box one by one to unload them, lean them against the container and then squeeze the box into it’s spot in the container (up ended), then load them all back into the box. All but one got back in the box!

Darleen in the container with the solar panels

Darleen in the container with the solar panels

The panels themselves are not as heavy as I thought they would be, only about 15 kg each. But when you have to handle 30 of them twice, they get very heavy!

Scott then went to work finding the right bits for every nook and cranny… he really is the 3D puzzle king! He got it all in and then we had room left so he said I should order the chest freezer… it arrived 2 days later and it got in too! So the container is now officially full and ready to be shipped to Port Vila.

In my next blog I will have lots to share with the progress of the building, will do that in the next day or so.




In and Out of my Comfort Zone

Being an another country is always exciting for me… so many new things to see, taste, experience… We arrived on the 6th of May this trip and Scott flew back to the Gold Coast on the 16th. So I have been here by myself for almost 3 weeks. Before he left we bought our car/truck and like it or not I have had to drive around on my own, on the wrong side of the road, up steep slippery hills in a very large Ute (it is a 3Lt Manuel Diesel Isuzu Ute).

I have to say it has been a little lonely being here by myself. I fly back into Brizzy this afternoon, I quite like having time to myself, but 3 weeks is too long without Scott. We will both be back on about the 20th June and we are renting Bob and Kelly’s place as they have to go back to Gladstone for a few months to sort out some business stuff. It will be so good coming back here and living at Mangaliliu, with Scott.

Food shopping here is different… if you can find things items you need you automatically find yourself converting the prices back to AUD. I guess that will wear off eventually…? A very large portion of the community is French, so many of the stores carry French products, which is great, but sometimes it is hard to work out what it says on the packet! I speak no real French and no Bislama. Most of the Ni-Van’s speak at least 4 languages, French, English, Bislama and their village dialect, which apparently can be completely different to Bislama.

Some of the fruit and veg is foreign, some just a little different to home. You can buy things that are imported from Australia and New Zealand like Broccoli and Zucchini and Capsicum, but they are very expensive, so we will have to grow whatever we can and find ways to use what is available instead of buying whatever we want at any time of the year.

The bugs! In the room there was a constant invasion of teeny tiny brown ants, they would be all over a plate in a matter of 10 minutes unless you rinse the dishes straight away. There was a Gecko living in the room, I did see it a couple of times, I don’t mind their little chirp and hopefully it chomped up any rouge mozzies that found their way in. Centipede’s let themselves in under the front door every night. It was a little disconcerting to crunch one underfoot in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.

Out at the block I have been fascinated by the garden skinks, they have iridescent tails in blue and green, so pretty. And when you go down to the little coral beach and stay still for a while you will see the ground moving with hundreds of small hermit crabs.

So things are really underway now, the foundations have been dug, we are moving again (out to the block when we came back) and we have put in our application for an Environmental Impact Assessment for Divi’s, which apparently we should have done when we applied for the building permit, but no one told us that. It should be almost done by the time we get back.

Our shipping container is almost full and should be leaving the Port of Brisbane on the 1 July.

All in all I think we have made huge headway in the last 4 weeks, I don’t really want to leave when the building is about to come out of the ground, but it was booked months ago, before we had a builder. It will be good to catch up with family and friends for a couple of weeks, but when we leave the Gold Coast on the 20th, I have no idea when I will be back in AU. We will activate our Vanuatu Residency visa’s when we come back next time.

It just challenges your mind when there is so much new stuff happening around you constantly… and I love it!



See you in Paradise…