Aiga: Samoan for Family

Recently I had the opportunity to travel internationally for several shoots and one of the places that I was fortunate enough to visit was Samoa; easily the most beautiful place I’ve been.

Think Hawaii on steroids with even more smiles, greetings, gardens and coastlines. While I’ve always been a fan of international travel and have lived abroad for several years, it always amazes me how similar we all are. We all smile in the same and in Samoa, it’s common to be greeted by nearly every stranger you pass. Even young children from small villages will run alongside your car smiling and waving with excitement that the community has a new visitor. What a feeling that gives a person.

Samoa has completely different social customs and it was interesting to consider this when directing multiple video shoots. As a female producer/director in the US and UK, I’ve never had to earn the respect of a chief (or anyone) to gain permission to shoot in his village! But it really is a common formality to demonstrate that, as a visitor, you are respectful of Samoan culture.

I feel that travel and learning about other cultures is one of the best way to get to know yourself. One thing I learned about myself through my travel to Samoa is how much I value smiles, greetings, and family. I especially appreciate my new Samoan Family. My new Aiga.

--Carly Jean

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