Pebbles of Light
Pebbles of Light
018 Finding Simplicity in American Samoa || Melinda Clayville
/

Melinda Clayville documents her family adventures in American Samoa under the handle AmSamFam on Social Media and YouTube. In this interview, she shares a few of the things they learned as they moved their family of 5 across the ocean.

PEBBLE OF THE WEEK: In one of my favorite talks, “Choose Ye This Day to Serve the Lord” by Julie B. Beck, she states, “I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight. Years ago I began using a system that works for me, and maybe it will work for you. There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down.” 

Take some time to think about your schedule pre-pandemic vs mid-pandemic. Are there things that you are comfortable not adding back into your schedule as we re-enter normalcy? In what ways can you make your life a bit more simple?

RESOURCES

Affiliate Disclaimer – As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we may earn advertising or referral fees from qualifying purchases. Thank you for supporting Pebbles of Light!

Find Melinda and AmSamFam:

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN6Kca5I5zTVkUrMVccikDA

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/amsamfam/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmSamFam

AmSamFam’s Bookhttps://amzn.to/3ghwWTC

“Choose Ye This Day to Serve the Lord” by Julie B. Beck – https://womensconference.byu.edu/sites/womensconference.ce.byu.edu/files/juliebbeck2010.pdf

Joy in the Covenant by Julie B. Beck – https://amzn.to/3aou2IV

 

This episode on YouTube 

Follow Anne:

Website: https://annemaxson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pebblesoflight  

Instagram: @PebblesOfLight

Support Pebbles of Light by visiting our sponsors:

This is an affiliate link for Betterhelp Counseling Services. I receive a commission when people use this link. Go to https://www.betterhelp.com/pebbles for 10% off your first month of convenient, affordable, and accessible counseling services.

Shine Cosmetics: https://www.shinecosmetics.com/?afmc=AnneM10   (**Always get 10% off with code AnneM10)

See Good Days Shop: https://see-good-days.myteespring.co/  (**Always get 10% off with code AnneM10 at checkout.)

Anne: [00:00:00] I am so grateful to have Melinda Clayville from Am Sam Fam, here with me today on the podcast. Melinda, do you want to give a little bit of background about you and about your family and why you are the Am Sam Fam?

[00:00:10] Melinda: [00:00:10] Sure. Let’s see, where do I start?

[00:00:12] I’ve got three kids. Daughter and two sons and we are MCM fam. That’s the name of our brand. And it stands for American Samoa family. So my sound kind of weird because we are not from American SAMO. We are not Samoan. We are from mainland us. But we moved here to American Samoa a few years ago and we just immediately fell in love with this place really took, we really made the effort to get out and explore and just to really get to know the history and the culture and the whole Island itself. So we decided to start sharing our adventures and our life here on the Island. My husband, Nate, he’s the one who came up with the name.  I had told him some names and he’s like, how about an Sam fam?

[00:01:10] Like done. I love it. Perfect. We are Amsterdam fan and we just share our adventures around our Island and what life is like here.

[00:01:22] Anne: [00:01:22] So what was the process that you ended up there? How did you end up moving?

[00:01:28]Melinda: [00:01:28] It’s a great story. So we have to go back a little ways. My husband grew up in LA and for some reason, they went to a Samoan ward in the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. And so he was just surrounded by. Polynesian people, Samoans and Tongans. He spent his childhood, you know, with these friends and just really, really grew to love the Polynesian people.

[00:02:01] He always wanted to live somewhere in the South Pacific. Fast forward. Years and years later, we are married. We’ve got kids we’re living in Idaho and, you know, he had a good job. Life was good, but we just felt like, it wasn’t completely, there was something, there was just something off about our lives.  We went just the two of us on a vacation for our 10th anniversary. We went to this little Island, ROA tan of Honduras. And we met this family there. It was husband, wife, and two little boys. We started talking to them and we’re like, well, that’s so cool that you brought your boys all the way down here for a vacation, because they were actually from Ukraine and were like, What made you decide on this place?

[00:02:57] And they said, well, here’s the thing. We’re not just on vacation. This is our life. We have been traveling around for about six months now and we just live on the road. We just move from place to place. And the moment I heard that, I just thought. That sounds incredible. I didn’t know you could do that with kids.

[00:03:22] I want to do that with my kids. And so  I thought a little bit obsessed with this idea. And so we came home from our vacation and. We talked about this all the way home on the long flight back. And I said, we’ve got to find a way that we can do that. And so at the time we were living in, this brand new house that we had had built, it was, our little dream home and we were paying way too much for it.

[00:03:54] And still every weekend was,  was spent working on the house. Keeping it nice putting in landscaping and all this stuff. And we were spending all of our time, all of our money and we just, it felt kind of like a prison like this house we got into it because we were really excited about it. And then we were stuck there.

[00:04:17] And so when we came home from this trip, we said, you know, what, what would happen if we just sell our house? Let’s just, let’s start getting rid of some of our stuff and let’s sell our house and let’s try to do with less, having less spending less. Let’s see what happens there because we definitely can’t travel the world when we’ve got a mortgage and we had credit card debt and we had student loans and we had all of this tying us down and holding us there.

[00:04:51] And so we sold our house and with luckily it was, the market was right. And with the equity, from our house, we were able to pay off all of our debt. And so all of a sudden we didn’t have, you know, this anchor of the house holding us in one location and we didn’t have this debt holding us back.

[00:05:15] You know, the money that we earned each month was ours to do what we wanted with him. And so we bounced around ideas of what we could do. Nate had a good job. And so he wasn’t really ready to just quit his job and start traveling. And who knows what, you know, what the economy would be like or what it would be like when we got back from whatever trip we took. And so he kind of vetoed the whole, let’s just pack up and leave and see where the wind takes us for the time. And so we looked at different things we thought about, Oh, we could go here and Nate could go through a master’s program or.

[00:05:57] We looked at like, there’s this website work away where you can go and like work on somebody’s farm and you get room and board. And so we were just looking at all these different options. We thought about getting an RV and just traveling around the States, we actually got an RV and we kind of started playing with that.

[00:06:19] And then, I don’t know if you remember, there was, it was the winter and it was awful like. Yeah, I think it was, yeah, it was like weeks, or I dunno, maybe not a full month, but it didn’t get above zero. I remember we were at Nate’s grandma’s house and I turned to him and I said, Nate, this time, next year, I want it to be somewhere warm, not like we went on vacation to somewhere warm, but it’s time I want to move and I want to be somewhere warm this time. Next year. I don’t want to go through another winter like this.

[00:06:56] So that link led us to thinking about, okay, let’s be serious about this. Right. About that time, the movie Moana came out also, it kind of lit a little fire in Nate and it reminded him. What are we doing? Looking at all these different things. Where’s the one place that I’ve always wanted to live. It’s the South Pacific.

[00:07:22] And so he started looking around, he looked, you know, there’s a Samoa and Tonga and some of the other islands it’s complicated with visas and everything. And so he realized, Hey, there is. A U S territory out there. Let’s look into that. I’m a us citizen. This could really work. And so he reached out to a director of one of the government agencies here on the Island and said, you know, this is, this is my, job title.

[00:07:57] And these are my qualifications. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in hiring me? Well, the director wrote back and said, you’re not going to make as much as you make there in the States. He said, that’s okay. As long as it’s, a fair wage, we can live on less.  We’re looking for, you know, a simpler life and we are pretty minimalistic.

[00:08:23] And so we can work with them. And so the director wrote back and said, you know what? We are looking exactly for you. When can you be out here? Basically? That’s how it happened. And so within a month, Nate was here. He took off to start the job. I. Finished closing up and finishing everything in the States with the kids  and

[00:08:48] Anne: [00:08:48] answering all the questions.

[00:08:49] Are the people saying

[00:08:50] Melinda: [00:08:50] you’re moving where yeah, I know that like in Africa or something? No, that Somalia. So yeah, that’s part of it when he realized, okay, I want to do American Samoa. He came to me and he said, So Melinda, I’ve been thinking, how would you feel about moving to American Samoa? And that was my response where I don’t know where that is.

[00:09:18] I actually, you know what? I don’t even care it’s out of the state. So we get to do something. We get to go on an adventure. We get to let our kids experience something different. Done. Sign me up. I’m ready to go right now. But yes. There was a lot of where are you going and why, how long have you going to be gone?

[00:09:39] And so we came here on a two year contract and we are about to hit four years. Almost from the moment we like stepped foot onto this Island. We just fell in love with it. And we love the people. We love the pace of life and we love the Island. We love the ocean. It’s it’s like when we came home, when we came here,

[00:10:07] Anne: [00:10:07] Oh, that’s a great way to put it.

[00:10:09] I love that. So was it a hard transition? Were there things that were really. Difficult either for you or for the kids?

[00:10:18] Melinda: [00:10:18] Yeah. There, there have been things along the way, for sure. So Dave one was the time difference, obviously, you know, kids, don’t kids don’t operate.

[00:10:31] By the clock, they were up at like 3:00 AM and I’m still going, wait guys, I’m like jet lagged here, but we saw a beautiful sunrise that morning. But more than that, I’d say the hardest adjustments here. We came here thinking this is a us territory. This is American soil. And technically that’s true, but in reality, this is really a foreign country here. They speak another language and so a lot of similarities, we have the same currency we drive on the right side of the road. Hmm. I’d say a lot of the people, maybe even most of the people here do speak some English.

[00:11:22]We’ve definitely, been able to navigate just fine only knowing English, but there is still some language barrier,  through moving here and the kids especially have. Dealt with that the most through school. So I homeschooled the kids for the first year, just because I didn’t know about the education system here.

[00:11:48] And I had heard it kind of some horror stories about it. And so it was also new to us. So I just homeschooled them for the first year. And then after that we enrolled them into public school. And one is a required subject all the way through elementary and middle school. And so the kids know way more Samoan than myself.

[00:12:14]And a lot of times, especially in the younger, younger grades, fewer of the students are fluent in English. And so a lot of the times the teachers will teach in on. And that’s just what they’re used to, especially in the public schools here, we’ve had our kids in two public schools and in both public schools, our kids have been the only.

[00:12:38] They call us, Polanyi’s like white. Oh yeah.

[00:12:41] Anne: [00:12:41] It’s on the movie. The other side of heaven.

[00:12:45] Melinda: [00:12:45] Oh, Oh yeah. That’s right.  So our kids in both schools, they’ve been the only Paul longings. The teachers are just used to being able to teach in Samoan. It happened more than once where the kids would come home from school and I’d ask them about homework and they’d pull out this worksheet.

[00:13:00] All the instructions are in someone and I’d say, well, what are you supposed to do with it? I don’t know. She explained it in Samoan. Well, then you have to raise your hand and ask. And so, yeah, that’s definitely been a challenge and it’s gotten better, but we still encounter it from time to time.

[00:13:23]Another big adjustment. It is, to be completely honest, the climate. So we were looking for somewhere warm year round and we got it. Well, what I didn’t realize. I had been in hot and humid climates before, but I’ve never been anywhere like it is here. It is humid to a whole different level here.

[00:13:52]It’s and it’s every day, it, you know, there is no changes. Seasons. The difference between summer and winter here is about five degrees. My goodness. Yeah. So it’s literally hot year round. It’s literally summer, all year round. We don’t really call it winter and summer. We’ve got the rainy season and less rainy season before it really you’ve got like cyclone season and not cycling season.

[00:14:24] And so I’m just as far as I’m a runner. The first time I went out running, I, again, I had these expectations and moving here, I thought, Ooh, we’re going to be at sea level. This is going to be amazing. I’m going to go out there and like, PR like get my best time. And this is going to be great for my working out.

[00:14:46] But humidity is so heavy that I ran like a mile and I was like, What is going on. I can’t do this and I didn’t run for months after that, but luckily our bodies have acclimated and it’s much better now. And there is still some days I’m like, Oh my gosh, I can’t, I can’t deal with this heat and this humidity.

[00:15:13] And I just have to go find some air conditioning somewhere. But luckily that’s one thing that, you know, our bodies are resilient, especially the kids’ bodies. They adjusted really quickly. And, and it’s just part of life now.

[00:15:30] Anne: [00:15:30] Yeah. In what ways has it been a blessing in the lives of your kids to be there?

[00:15:36] Oh,

[00:15:37] Melinda: [00:15:37] in a really, really great ways.  Like I said, when we were there in Idaho, before we even went on that anniversary trip, we just felt like something was not right in our lives. You know, we had the house, we had the cars, we had our kids, they were going to good schools and we had them in sports and, you know, it felt like we were doing everything right.

[00:16:03] And yet still, it just felt like this wasn’t the life that we really, really wanted. And we moved here and we just slowed down and we spent more time outside. So this is another adjustment. When we first moved here, the internet was. Crazy slow. Like you couldn’t stream Netflix.

[00:16:32] And so we got rid of our Netflix subscription. You couldn’t stream like anything. So we got rid of all of our subscriptions, our monthly subscriptions. I don’t even know how many TV stations they have here, but it’s mostly in San Juan. We had a hard drive with some movies on that we would put on every once in a while, but we just, we really unplugged when we got here and we would.

[00:17:01] Go out and just enjoy the Island. We thought we were going to be here for two years. And so we said, okay guys, every Saturday we are going to be either at a beach or at a waterfall or a trail. We’re going to be out somewhere exploring this Island because we only have so many Saturdays. We basically have a hundred Saturdays to do this.

[00:17:25] And so we’re not going to waste any. And so we really just started reconnecting as a family and finding a new love for getting out. And, my husband he’d be working and I was homeschooling the kids. And so I would just take the kids on my own to go hiking. I’d never would have done that back in the States because I didn’t see anybody else doing it.

[00:17:54] But here, it was a whole new place and I was excited about it. I wanted to go out and explore it. And so I’d say, well, what else am I going to do? So I’d pack up the kids, we’d pack lots of snacks and lots of water. And we would just go out and find new places to explore.  Okay. So our kids are like full on Island kids.

[00:18:19] Now they go everywhere without shoes. They just live outside. They’re always, up a tree here in the water or just. Playing outside, whatever they would do inside. Not to say that they’re always outside,  but we have found a lot more excuses to go outside here, I guess.

[00:18:45]We’ve made the priority to really enjoy this Island while we’ve been here. Yeah. The other thing that has been really great. Is just the opportunity to see and to experience what it’s like to be the minority, which is not always easy. And it doesn’t always feel like a good thing.

[00:19:08] Some days it can be really hard and some days it can feel really lonely and frustrating. But I’ll tell you this, the people of American Samoa are the friendliest people I’ve ever met anywhere. I’m not saying there aren’t friendly or people, but as a whole, like. Day two of being here. I used to have this blog and I started writing about our experience here on the Island day.

[00:19:38] Two of being here. I said, you know, I wrote about our first impressions of being here on the Island and the friendly people made it on that list of like five things. It was one of the first things we noticed is we’d be walking down the road because we didn’t have a car at the time. At least people would like honk and wave and Oh, hi.

[00:20:03]And so many people would stop and say, Oh, where are you going? Oh, we’re going to, you know, wherever well, hop on in. We’ll give you a ride. And, you know, especially coming from the States, I’m like, Oh, scary. No, I’ll keep my kids right here with me. I’m going to keep them safe. But it’s just the way things are done here.

[00:20:24] And so we hop in the back of the truck or we’d climb into somebody’s car and I’d say, well, where are you? How far are you going? Oh, I’m going to here, but don’t worry about it. We’ll just take you all the way. Like people were going out of their way to help us in so many ways.  I mean, I could give you so many examples.

[00:20:44] The one of the times I took the kids hiking. We were looking for this trail that we had never done, and there was no marking for the trail. There were some people over here, I went over and I asked them if they could point us in the direction of this trail head and. These two teenage girls, they said, Oh, here we’ll show you.

[00:21:07] Is that okay? That’s nice. So we get to the trail head and they start walking down the trail. I said, Oh, don’t worry. Don’t worry, girls. That’s okay. We I’m sure we can find our way. They said, no, it’s fine. We’ll just, we’ll just come hike it with you to make sure you don’t get lost to make sure you’re okay.

[00:21:24] They just hope the whole trail with us just to help us out. And so it’s just so many things like that. There’s a phrase, friends are the family you choose. So we don’t have family out here. We are really, really far away from our family. When we moved here, we moved here knowing no one, we didn’t have any connections to this place.

[00:21:48] Other than my husband’s emotional connection, we didn’t have any personal connections. We knew not a soul. And yet we just instantly found. Family here.

[00:22:01] Anne: [00:22:01] I love that. So you guys started sharing your experiences, like you said, on the blog and now it’s kind of grown a little bit. How did, what was kind of that process of going from blog to now?

[00:22:11] YouTube. And there’s another exciting thing coming out in about a month, a month from when we’re recording. 

[00:22:18] Melinda: [00:22:18] So one thing we realized really quickly when we made the decision to move down here, we started looking online for information about what it was going to be like living here and there wasn’t much, there were a couple of, we found a couple of blog posts from these teachers who had come here. As part of this program, they had come from the States to help with the teaching here on the Island.

[00:22:49] And they were like five years old or something at the time. And then we found a couple of YouTube videos, like two or three YouTube videos. One that was here. And it was this guy from, I don’t remember somewhere in Europe and he had nothing but bad things to say about this place. And one was just. It showed this family going and finding these tide pools and playing in the ocean and it looked amazing, but it was like, I don’t think there were any words or anything.

[00:23:26] It was just music behind it, but we were like, okay, that looks awesome. And then we found one that was like, Over in Samoa. So we’re American Samoa. There’s some Osama, which is independent SAMO, and it was something from over there. And we thought, okay, they might be pretty similar. We might have some idea of what it’s like in American Samoa by watching this one.

[00:23:50] And so there was really, really no information out there about life here. And so that’s really where it started with me sharing our experiences on the BLI is we. The fact that we just wanted to help. We just wanted to be able to help people who might be looking at coming here, whether it was to move or to visit so that they would.

[00:24:15] Have resources to be able to find information online, to know what they were getting into, to know how they could prepare for the move or the visit, what they would need to be able to, you know, visa passport, immunization.

[00:24:33]All the basics. And then also, so when they got here, they could, you know, just hit the ground running. They would know. Where to find the grocery store, where to find the hiking trails, where the good beaches are and all the things that we didn’t know. And we had to, you know, figure out the hard way.

[00:24:49] And so it started out with that. And then we had always talked about, you know, we should really turn this into a YouTube channel because it’s so much more fun to be able to, you know, experience it along with somebody, but we never did. And then,  So the thing that you were alluding to, there was something that I thought about doing the whole time we were here and that was writing a guidebook for the territory.

[00:25:19] There was fun printed back in like the seventies or something that was so outdated that it was really not helpful anymore. And so. I, you know, I kind of had it in the back of my mind, like this is something that the territory needs and nobody else is doing it. I’m pretty good at writing. And so I should do this one of these days, I put it off, I put it off.

[00:25:49] And then we, when we were getting close to the end of our two years and we thought we were going to be leaving, I thought, okay, I’m either going to do it or I’m not. If I am, I just need to go for it, whatever it turns out, at least I’ll know that I, you know, put the effort in and try to do this.

[00:26:06] And so I started writing it and to do that, I literally just like drove every inch of road on this Island. We completed. The rest of the hikes that we hadn’t gotten to. I had this checklist of all the things we needed to do to say that we had done it all. And I just started compiling it into this book, collected all the information yeah.

[00:26:31] About passports and visas immunizations, what the healthcare is like here on the Island. What. Food is available. What medical concerns, you know, like you need to watch out for this in the ocean. If you’re hiking on the trails, this is what you need to watch out for. This is what to do. If you get a centipede steam, or  anything that somebody might have to deal with.

[00:26:59]I started researching it and compiling it into this book. And so, as I was finishing that up, I thought this has been an awesome,  project. Let me back up during this time we made the decision to extend and we realized, okay, we’re not going home anytime soon. This is at least semi-permanent. And so, as I was finishing up the book, all the writing and compiling and everything, I said, this has been so awesome.

[00:27:32] I have loved exploring the Island in this new way. I need another project like this. And so Nate said, well, we could always go for the YouTube channel, which was intimidating. I was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t want to have my face on,

[00:27:53]Our kids fight too much or, you know, whatever. I had all these hesitations about doing it. And finally I said, whatever, it let’s just do it. Let’s go for it. Let’s just, let’s just start putting it out there. Maybe nobody’s even gonna watch it. And so I don’t need to worry about out there anyway.

[00:28:14] And, and so we started it and. It was really surprising. So we started this channel, same thing, really as a resource for people who were in our same situation, who were looking at moving here or visiting here, and we wanted it to be a resource. So they knew what to expect. And really soon after starting it, we started getting comments on our videos from people who either had lived here and moved away or their family was from here. And maybe they had never even been here. And so many comments from people saying, thank you so much for showing us our Island. Yeah. I been back for 25 years or that’s. Oh, that’s my mom’s village right there that you just showed.

[00:29:07] I’ve never actually seen it. Thank you so much for showing me my heritage and my Island home. And we were really surprised and very, very humbled by this response that we definitely had not expected. And. People started saying, Oh, go check out this beach. Or, or could you please show this village? And so we got so much feedback that we were kind of like, okay, I guess this a thing we better go all in. It was all new to me, video editing and shooting video and, you know, angles and audio and all the stuff that goes into it. But I really found this thing that I didn’t know that I would like, but I have really found that I love it. It gives me a lot of fulfillment to the whole process of making the videos.

[00:30:12] And then  it’s such a blessing and it’s just very fulfilling to know that I’m doing something that’s making a difference in.  Even one person’s life, but in so many people’s lives, who, especially since COVID, our Island has actually been shut down since last March.

[00:30:34] So we just passed the year Mark where our borders have been closed. And so there are so many people who have been. Who got stuck off Island. And we have had so many people saying, Oh, I just, I miss it. I’m stuck here wherever they are. I can’t get back home. Thank you so much for keeping this piece of home coming into my life.

[00:31:00] And so I can still see the places that I know and I love, and, Oh my gosh, that was my cousin. You just shown. And you know, there’s so much of this. And so it’s been really fun, but also. It’s felt so great to be able to help people out in this way.

[00:31:15]Anne: [00:31:15] Yeah. And I mean, plus the videos will be great for your kids to look back on.

[00:31:19] Do you know what I

[00:31:20] Melinda: [00:31:20] mean? Yeah. That’s so true. That was. Part of why I started the blog in the first place was I feel it was in one way a journal of our family’s experiences and this YouTube channel has just taken it to a whole new level. It’s a video journal of life and our adventures and our misadventures and everything that we’re experiencing here.

[00:31:45] Anne: [00:31:45] Awesome. What have you learned about. The benefits of living a simpler life while you’ve been there. You’ve talked a little bit about slowing down and, but as a mom, like how has that brought you kind of a little bit of peace and calm in order to, to just move through that?

[00:32:01] Melinda: [00:32:01] Yeah, it’s a great question. First off, I’ll say. Living a simpler life and slowing down takes effort easy to get caught up. Even here on the Island where it’s a slower pace. I still sometimes find myself getting caught up. Like I should be doing this. I should be doing this. And I have to remind myself that no, you don’t need to be doing any of those things.

[00:32:31] You know what you need to do? You, you need to. Get up every morning, you need to be there for your kids. You need to be there for your husband. You need to take care of yourself and be there for, you know, if, if somebody else is in need. But those were like the basics. Anything on top of that is something that you’re choosing to put into your life.

[00:32:57] And so the, The choice to slow down has been an incredible blessing for us. We have probably , like I said, during those first two years, we were thinking we had a limited number of Saturdays. And so we prioritize spending every Saturday together as a family and doing something. That, you know, making memories together as a family and doing something that we would always look back on and say, Oh, I remember when we lived in American Samoa and we did this or this happened and whether it was something we would laugh about or something that we would cringe at, it was all making memories together as a family.

[00:33:49] And like you asked, just from a mother’s point of view, I have, even though we’ve put our kids into school, like taking that first year, homeschooling my kids, I. Came to understand them and came to know them in such a new and different way. And in a deeper way, I understood each one’s learning style. I understood how they reacted to stressful situations in a new way and how they interacted with other people, their peers, adults, because I was around them 24 seven.

[00:34:35] So I understood them so much better. So even now that we put them into school when they are struggling with this thing or that thing, I know them so much better. And so not that I’m perfect. And not that I always have the answer or the solution to solve their problems, but I feel like I’m better equipped to help them.  Find a way through whatever challenge is coming and not that that takes away the challenges, but hopefully it’s, you know, helping them to be more prepared for. You know, the big, scary world out there,

[00:35:16] Anne: [00:35:16] bigger problems that come later, right?

[00:35:18] Yeah. Where can people find out more about you and find more about family? Find that YouTube channel where can work in the listeners

[00:35:26] Melinda: [00:35:26] find you? Oh, well, yeah, we’re definitely on YouTube. YouTube is where we are most active and everybody can find us. You can look up and see him. Fam all one word, or you can just look up American Samoa and there aren’t too many people doing what we’re doing here. There are a few YouTube channels that have popped up since we’ve been here, which is great, which is awesome to get different perspectives and to be able to see other people’s experiences. But there still aren’t very many. So you search I’m Sam fan or you search American Samoa on YouTube, and you’re going to find our videos.

[00:36:04] We’re on Instagram and Facebook, same thing at Amsterdam fam. We’ve got a website which is an Sam fan.com. We’re just everywhere. And Sam fam and then yeah, the big news is that, what let’s see, it’s the end of March. So next month. Our travel guide book to American Samoa will be available on Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback.

[00:36:35] So whichever way you like to read your books or learn your information,  however you like to digest your books it’ll be available.  Ebook first, I have realized that self-publishing is actually a complicated process. It’s been a really good learning experience for me. And so the ebook is actually available right now  and then the paperback will be available soon sometime soon. Yes, hopefully really soon. 

[00:37:11] Anne: [00:37:11] Awesome. And I’ll link everything in the show notes, how to find you and the books and all the things.

[00:37:16] So the last question on this podcast is always the same. The purpose of pebbles of light is to celebrate those relationships that have helped to brighten our path and in turn, help us to light the paths of others. So who are one or two people that have placed a pebble of light? Wait in your

[00:37:31] Melinda: [00:37:31] path.

[00:37:32] That’s such a good question. The first answer that popped into my mind was that couple that we met back on our anniversary trip. We have stayed in touch with them. And it’s funny because you know, for them, they were just doing what they do. They weren’t looking to be out there inspiring anybody or anything, but just hearing their story completely set.

[00:38:01]Our lives in a whole different direction, in a direction that I would never, ever want to change. It has led us to where we are. We spent, maybe a week getting to know them and yet  their influence and their example has just made such an incredibly huge difference in our lives.

[00:38:23] Just showing us that there is. Not just one way to live that we get to choose our lives and we get to choose what we prioritize in our lives, you know, at least to some degree or another. And it’s been a lesson that I am so, so grateful that we learned.

[00:38:41]Anne: [00:38:41] Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. I really loved getting the chance to reconnect with you. We haven’t seen each other. In what, four years you said. So it’s nice to just chat and get caught up a little bit, and I’m excited to be able to share a little bit of your story and have more people find you and follow you and see all those cool adventures you have with your kids.

[00:38:59] Just diving into the ocean all the time and just having a blast out there in American Samoa.

[00:39:04] Melinda: [00:39:04] Thank you. Yeah. Thanks for, thanks for having me on here. And this was a lot of fun to reconnect. It’s good to see your face.  And just to catch up and, and thank you for sharing our story.

[00:39:16] It’s something that we’re passionate about. And I always say, I don’t think this is the life for everybody, but I think that everybody should make sure that they are choosing the life that they are. Right.

[00:39:28]Anne: [00:39:28] Awesome. Thank you. All right.

[00:39:30] Melinda: [00:39:30] Thank you