But the women soon became friends and spent every day travelling around the island with their thumbs out.
“It’s been a good way to travel. We have met some really nice people,” says Beier, who worked as an au pair (family childcare worker) in New Zealand before coming to Rarotonga. Ksiazek accidentally left her phone in one of the cars they hitched a ride in, and thought she would never see it again.
But she says they were amazed when the car owners tracked her down and returned the phone.
“All they knew about me was that I was Polish and that I was staying at a backpacker accommodation. But they tracked me down and returned my phone. I was so very grateful to them. Those are the kinds of people we met.”
Ksiazek has been working in Auckland as an engineering analyst and plans to go on to Fiji for a holiday before travelling on to Australia for another year of work. Martin, who works in fashion content marketing, says she has always been interested in the culture and style of the Pacific Islands. She was inspired by the clothes the lead character in the movie Moana wore and has visited a number of eastern and South Pacific countries including some that provided inspiration for the movie.
“I went to a lot of countries including Fiji, Samoa, and here.”
Plans to add Tahiti and Hawaii to the list of tropical islands she has visited before returning home to London.