la Orana! My name is Emeline. I’m a French, salty soul born in France and currently living the expat dream life on the beautiful island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, with my beloved husband. Even though I grew up in Paris, France, the ocean and beach life have always been big parts of my life because my family had a holiday home on the Atlantic Coast of France.
My parents taught me how to love and respect nature and I have always been fascinated by sea creatures. Deep inside of me, I knew that one day I would live close to the sea. So living on an island now is just the best dreamy way of life I could have ever imagined. I feel blessed to live in Tahiti.
Living the Dream Expat Life in Tahiti
I had never been to Tahiti before deciding to live there! I just dreamed of this place a lot (as many people do I guess). After my first expat stint in Thailand, where we lived for a few years, my husband got a job opportunity for an amazing luxury resort on Moorea, Tahiti’s sister island.
When he told me about the possibility of living on an island, I was so excited and felt like: “honey, my suitcase has been ready for this day since the day I was born”! One month later, he was on a plane and I followed.
My life in Tahiti is the opposite of what I have been used to as an urbanite – but I love it! I have never felt so close to nature as I do here. So, what does a typical day look like for me in this paradise? Well, for starters, I wake up early at around 5:30am with the sun and the birds singing, then I practice yoga for 15 minutes and have my breakfast made of fresh fruits.
As a blogger and jewels designer, I put on a sarong and start working from home on my terrace. At sunset, I walk to the beach to enjoy the peaceful vibe and stunning colors of the lagoon and sky. Each day in Tahiti offers a different “firework” display in the sky and the colors are insanely beautiful!
Alone in these beautiful waters I practice meditation. This is how I regain my energy and express how grateful I am for everything that life gives me. Then I go back home and cook dinner for my hubby and I. We eat our meal – often raw or grilled fish with vegetables and rice – while watching Netflix.
In Tahiti, people go to bed early. At 9pm we are asleep, rocked by the sound of the waves breaking on the reef and watching the stars straight from our bedroom window. It’s certainly not a bad life in French Polynesia!
I love living here and the simple way of life is the best aspect. Sharing fun moments with friends, enjoying fresh fruit straight from the tree, and the freshest fish imaginable, immersing in nature everyday and encountering amazing wildlife, not having to put on makeup or having outfit struggles – these are the things that I love most about living the expat life in Tahiti.
Biggest Challenges of Expat Life in Tahiti
The first two months of being an expat in Tahiti had its challenges. I have to confess that I had some struggles dealing with some of the local life realities: the public transport barely existed (not very simple or reliable), the food was limited in choice and the cost of shopping was high, and also the social and physical isolation of being on an island. But I adapted very fast!
What made it easier is that Tahitians truly are some of the most welcoming people on earth. If you act with a warm heart, with humility and respect, then they will be happy to share so much with you. So, with this in mind, it’s not difficult to make new friends and immerse yourself in the culture a bit.
My Best Memory in Tahiti: A Singing Whale
It wouldn’t be easy to pick a favorite memory. I mean, what could I say?! All the dancing memories, all the people I meet and share amazing life stories, the beach parties with friends, the crazy landscapes; the white, black or pink sand beaches, my first shark encounter, the once in a lifetime experience of staying in an overwater luxury villa in Bora Bora, etc.
Okay but let’s just say my best memory was my first encounter with a singing whale! My best friend, a wildlife guide and I were sailing offshore and then all of a sudden the breath of a whale! The captain stopped and we observed this peaceful giant for a long time. After around 40 minutes, our guide gently entered the water and gave us the sign to do the same.
You need to enter the ocean smoothly so as to not bother this peaceful animal. We slowly swam some meters and he appeared, swimming underneath us in our direction. The whale stopped and started to sing louder. It was so powerful that your entire body could feel the vibrations. I was speechless! I still feel emotional today when I remember this moment.
Top 5 Places to Visit while Living in Tahiti
- Bora Bora: Who hasn’t heard of the Pearl of the Pacific? All French Polynesian islands have stunning lagoons but Bora Bora’s is just another level. Regardless of the weather conditions, it’s a must-see!
- Tuamotu Islands: I’m absolutely in love with these islands. There are no crowds at all and you are pretty much alone everywhere you go. It’s just like the Robinson Crusoe book. A very special and romantic place.
- Rangiroa: The island where you can swim and play with dolphins!
- Tahiti: Tahiti itself has a lot of beautiful forest landscape scenery. Can you imagine swimming in a crystal-clear calm river in the middle of a tropical forest with a majestic waterfall just behind you? And don’t forget the lagoon and black sand beaches! Tahiti is the island where you can find one of the most mythic waves in the world – in Teahupo’o. This is the place to be if you want to watch surfing gods do their thing – people like Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina, Michel Bourez and others.
- Moorea: Tahiti’s sister island is the perfect place for wildlife encounters: stingrays, black tip sharks, sea turtles, spinner dolphins and whales.
Fresh Fruit and Food of French Polynesia
The food in Tahiti is different from the food in France because of the limited choice and expensive price for imported items. Here you can’t find too much French cheese or wine! But there are fresh fruits like papaya and mango which are picked straight from trees, fresh coconut water, fresh fish and handmade fresh coconut milk. The keyword here is fresh!
Who needs anything more, right? However, you still have pizza and burgers just like everywhere else. Except here your fishburger will be prepared with the most deliciously fresh fish, so the burgers are definitely better in Tahiti!
Tips for Living the Expat Life in Tahiti
The best advice I can share with people looking to move to Tahiti would be to stay humble and keep in mind that this country is not theirs, people have just allowed them to live there. Don’t try to find what is familiar in your home country and don’t try to change the local way of life here.
Adapt and share with the locals. Expat life in Tahiti is a once in a lifetime experience, so act with an open mind and a warm heart. Bring good vibes and smile often. This will make things smoother. Just a final couple of words: life is short so follow your dreams and enjoy the shaka way of life!