By Torie Temple
|Brandi and her husband wait on the dock at the Bora Bora Airport for the water taxi to take them to their hotel.|
Originally from LaGrange, Brandi Miller currently lives in Germany with her husband, a professional basketball player, who signed a two-year contract to play in Munich. They have spent the last seven years traveling and living in exotic countries for leisure and career. Brandi has experienced language barriers, extreme cold, and more than unusual driving techniques, but among the good and the bad, there was a piece of paradise…
“Germany is actually my favorite out of all the countries we have lived in,” Brandi says. “There are a lot of Americans in Germany, and people speak English, which makes it easier to live here.”
Before Munich, Brandi and her husband lived in Berlin, which she describes as more of a tourist area compared to Munich, where you can get to know the culture. “We went to Oktoberfest [in Munich],” Brandi says. “There were easily 20,000 people in one area with most of them passed out on the ground, and when they sobered up, they would go back for more.”
It hasn’t always been easy or entertaining for Brandi to live in another country. “We lived in Siberia for a while where no one spoke English and the temperature was negative 30 degrees,” she says. “We were given a driver to get around because of the driving conditions. I rarely saw a car accident in Europe, but I could look out my window in Siberia and count the car accidents down the street. It happened so often that after an accident, the drivers would just get out of their cars and walk away.”
Out of all the countries Brandi has traveled, there is one — a piece of paradise — that made a lasting impression. “We went to Bora Bora for our anniversary last year, and I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth. I would definitely recommend it.”
|Brandi took this photo while in a village on the way to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.|
|Beach bungalow at Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort.|
This South Pacific island is just northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia and is best known for its blue lagoon and the dormant volcano Mt. Otemanu. “The water was waist deep really far out, and it was so clear you could see rays and the most beautiful tropical fish,” Brandi says. “The weather was a perfect 75 degrees the whole time we were there, and the beach and resort were never crowded.”
While in Bora Bora, Brandi stayed at the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort in an overwater bungalow, which is a thatched-roof island house built on stilts in the lagoon. These huts have a private deck and a glass floor or glass coffee table to view passing sea life.
|Overwater bungalow at Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort.|
|Brandi takes in the view of the overwater bungalows while sitting on the beach at their hotel.|
With the glassy water and a coral reef that surrounds the island, it isn’t a surprise that snorkeling is a favorite activity among tourists. If you visit, Brandi recommends checking with the resort to take advantage of water activity essentials. The Le Moana offers complimentary snorkeling equipment, canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. “We did a lot of water activities,” Brandi says. “I didn’t work up the nerve to go snorkeling, but we did paddleboard and did some shopping at the market.”
The Le Moana hosts markets within the resort that feature handcrafted goods and demonstrations that show how these crafts are made.
Brandi says another interesting activity was taking a scooter ride around the island. “You see huge mountains with tin huts everywhere,” she says. “We saw people living their daily lives — cooking outside and polishing their canoes. I thought it was so interesting to see the locals living off the land surrounded by expensive resorts.”
|Brandi took a scooter ride around the island. The mountain seen in this photo is in the center of the island. Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu are the two peaks that form the mountain.|
There are other ways to take an island tour. ATVs and 4×4 safaris can transport you back in time as you pass cannons and barracks abandoned by American soldiers at the end of the Second World War when the island was used as a military supply base.
Along with the sun, Brandi also soaked in some culture when she attended the resort’s theme nights. The sounds of drums, guitars, and ukuleles fill the night air during the Polynesian shows that accompany a buffet dinner.
|Brandi is in the city center of Vaitape, which is on the west side of the island and is the largest city on the island. Most of the local markets and shops are located here.|
Traveling motivated Brandi to become a travel agent in order to help others plan a dream vacation. “I’ve only been a travel agent for about eight months, so I am still new to it,” she says. “Surprisingly, I book something for a client four to five days a week just off referrals. I have always loved to plan trips, so I decided to get certified as a travel agent to stay in the loop.” (You can email her here).
Brandi also started an online women’s shoe boutique, while she was touring the world. For her, she says, the world is inspiring.
What is your favorite vacation? Share it in the comments.