Each year, my co-founder Amri Kibbler and I make time for our annual mother-daughter “workcation.” it’s a chance for us to bond as friends and co-founders while nurturing the friendship between our daughters. This year, we set off for the magical island paradise of Tahiti. As I imagined our trip, I imagined an exotic land filled with beautiful people, lots of sunlight, and those bungalows over the water we’ve all seen on IG. Tahiti was everything I expected, but it was also so much more.
Experiencing a new culture firsthand and learning about its history alongside my daughter added a layer of depth to our trip. Tahitian culture is rooted in the beliefs, legends, and experiences of the ma’ohi ancestors who first inhabited Tahiti and the other 118 islands making up French Polynesia. Stories are told through tattoos, surfing is more than just a sport, and Mana—the life force that connects all things—is revered.
Outside of learning about Tahitian culture and history, I’d say as a busy parent the biggest and most pleasant surprise was getting there. With French Bee, a new airline founded in 2016 that began offering flights from San Francisco to Tahiti in May 2018, we were able to go to sleep on the flight and wake up in Tahiti in 8 hours after taking off. Best of all, since we were coming from NYC we made the San Francisco extension a fun pitstop instead of a long travel day. French Bee’s luxurious flight experience made the trip even more enjoyable, with an incredibly attentive and kind cabin crew. They went out of their way to make the girls feel comfortable, and the French airplane food did not disappoint. Even the blankets and eye masks were more than I expected.
As soon as we arrived, representatives from Tahiti Tourisme were ready to greet us. They brought us straight to the ferry to the gorgeous island of Moorea. Any Moana fans out there? This island is where she’s from, and it’s every bit as stunning as the Disney movie would lead you to believe. Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa hosted us, and we quickly discovered that the resort is an absolute dream for families—parents and kids alike! Outside of a beautiful pool and private beach, they had snorkeling right there, kayaking, paddle boarding and wait for it, free lunch for the kids! How nice is that?
We spent our days lounging about in the morning, then going for some excursions in the afternoon. One day, we got up close and personal with some beautiful Manta Rays, the friendliest fish we’ve ever met. They came up and gave the girls kisses! We learned that pineapples actually grow from the ground (who else assumed they grow on trees?!), saw how vanilla is made, and learned about Polynesian traditions.
Every day we spent there was magical and there was nothing more special than being in a beautiful place with my best friend. Plus, not only are our kids old enough to begin really developing their own appreciation for other cultures and an appetite for adventure, they’re able to self-occupy for nice long stretches. It was one of the first trips with the kids where Amri and I both felt like we really got to relax. We ended the trip with a one-night stay at the Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, where we wished we could stay forever.