“After 5 years of hitchhiking twice from Croatia to French Polynesia, I summarized my whole experience in the book “What’s Wrong With You?” My book is a combination of real-life stories and travel tips that explain how to hitchhike numerous boats and a helicopter, how much money is needed for a five-year journey, how to make money while traveling and what’s like to hitchhike such a long distance as a solo woman. There are chapters about sex, love, and everything in between – along with the fears, risks and a psychological aspect of it all. The end of the book takes an unexpected and quite incredible turn.”
This is a short intro to Ana Bakran’s amazing book and really spectacular story about her 3,8 years hitchhiking mission to get from her native Croatia to Bora Bora in French Polynesia. This was back in 2016.
Just a few months later she hitchhiked across the Pacific back to French Polynesia for 14 months while writing the book that was published last year.
Today she lives on the island of Nuku Hiva in the South Pacific where she started a new project “Cannibal Art”.
I got in touch with Ana, and here’s a bit more about her amazing book and her new life, new projects in French Polynesia.
Ana Bakran. On Indie.
Hey Ana! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these few questions.
So, your amazing book “What’s Wrong With You?” is out for a year now. Looking back, how important was your decision to get out of the comfort zone and start your hitchhiking mission to Bora Bora that will years later result not just in this inspiring story of yours presented in the book, but a new life that you’re living now in Nuku Hiva?
It was very important to me and detrimental to the life that I live today. All the hardships of the journey have turned me into a tough cookie to crack and gave me a strong appreciation for nature, so living in one of the most remote islands in the world doesn’t come as difficult.
Today I’m facing the challenges of living and running a business in a culture that’s very different from my own.
Both of my long hitchhiking journeys have given me valuable life lessons that I use today.
You guys started a new project called Cannibal Art – Handcrafted ancestral and modern Marquesan designs, right? Can you tell us a bit more about that?
I started Cannibal Art project with my fiancé Tangy to express our mutual love for nature and the amazing Marquesan culture. Tangy was born on Nuku Hiva Island and he’s driven by a great responsibility to protect and promote his culture that was banned for a long time by the missionaries.
He mastered his art of carving through watching his late father’s traditional techniques and practicing till he polished his talent to perfection. Together we make modern and ancestral Marquesan designs which we display on our website www.cannibal-art.com and deliver worldwide.
Suppose life is really simple and really rewarding when you live on an island in the South Pacific comparing to (city life of let’s say somewhere in) Europe?
It’s very simple, but not easy and it’s incomparable to city life in Europe. Life on the island in the South Pacific looks incredibly beautiful from the outside and the people blinded by stunning photos they see on the internet often call it paradise. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful, but living here is not easy. Neither for the locals nor for “the outsiders” who are dependent on the modern way of living.
One must really love nature and stay connected with it in order to thrive here. People often find it too difficult to stay long term. I love it though.
Tell us about the future 🙂 Can we expect more books coming out in the future, maybe?
I’ve been working on a new book for a while now, but that’s going to take some more time to ripen. What’s coming up in a near future is “Hakaui Adventure” which is a guided hiking adventure with Tangy and me over the mountain to a very remote, but a stunning valley of Hakaui – which is the location of the tallest waterfall in French Polynesia, clean river, a beautiful black and white sand beaches – as well as our home. We will take the visitors to our home and integrate them into a local way of living.
They will be able to see traditional carving, how we make our art, cook with us local dishes, learn how to open a coconut, make coconut milk, make a natural hair shampoo, make light out of a nut…and more. There’s no road, no cars, no internet, no shop, everything is solar powered – and our planet-friendly. More details will be shared on Cannibal Art website www.cannibal-art.com and we hope to meet you soon in our little paradise.
Photos: © Ana Bakran / Cannibal Art