Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Royal Davui Resort’s Christopher Southwick

This week, we had a yarn with Royal Davui Island Resort’s owner about the ‘Bula Spirit’, vodka rations and how he lost his marbles long ago.

What are you reading?

How to Install a Generator for Dummies. It’s riveting – I can’t put it down. Looking forward to the sequel, How to Lay and Care for Grass.

What are you watching?

My vodka rations depleting at an alarming rate.

What are you listening to?

My amazing crew! Each night, after a hard day’s work, our little crew come together with the ukulele and a bowl of kava to relax and unwind. However, I leave the singing to them. Otherwise, it would be a form of punishment.

What are you cooking?

I grew up in Fiji, so right now I am enjoying relearning the nostalgic Fijian recipes I was raised on.

However, I am excited with learning how to make authentic Fijian curry. I’ve nailed the curry; however, my roti is a work in progress. With a little more practice, I’ll get them round as opposed to the current irregular shapes I’m creating.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

With 10 acres to roam, Royal Davui is the best outdoor gym and I am having no problem getting my steps in, averaging 16,000 a day. Very different from the typical guest experience of sipping cocktails or visiting the spa.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

I lost my marbles many years ago, but keeping in touch with my immediate and travel family reminds me that this is temporary, the travel bonds are thick, and we will get through this.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

The Bula Spirit is far more than some marketing tagline – it’s a living/breathing element of Fiji. The resilient spirit of the Fijian people in difficult times like this is really something the world needs.

Yes, things are hard, but our little island is filled with screams of laughter throughout the day because Fijians firmly believe in making the best out of any situation.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

I’ve actually learned that I have far more patience than I thought I ever had (those who know me are roaring with laughter at this comment!).

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis? 

We work in the greatest industry and are surrounded by some amazing people. The human connection that we share is what makes the bond so strong.

So, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, download Zoom, have a virtual drink and lean on your travel family. Together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

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