Monday 3rd December 2012
Cook Islands competition winners
It was a tough decision but the winners are finally revealed
It has been a long and tense week of waiting for our Cook Islands competition entrants and an even tougher week for our judges, Macca, Ben Keene and Backpacker Becki.
The Cook Islands are the best kept secret in the Pacific Ocean so we asked you to share your best kept secrets to win two weeks on the islands. Some of your secrets made us laugh, some made us cry, some were shocking, some wowed us with your photography skills and some were just plain weird (yes, Dave Brett, we're talking to you!)
After watching all the videos and reading all the fantastic blogs, the judges made the difficult decision and named the winners.
And finally, (drum roll please), the two lucky gapyear.com members going to the Cook Islands are Flora-Rose and Pocketrocket82.
Flora's goal to live life to the fullest and find happiness was something we could all relate to. It was through her travels that she learnt to use her fear against itself and push herself to do new things.
"Facing my biggest fears became the only way I was to end the dreaming and fearing and begin living my life properly and honouring what living life should be." If that quote doesn't make you want to travel we don't know what will!
We spoke to Flora to find out how she felt about winning her trip:
"Wowzaa! I've never won anything like this before, so it feels like I've won the lottery! I was so shocked when I saw the email I had to read it ten times before it started to sink in! I am excited to get stuck into everything and report on all the amazing experiences that I'm sure the Cook Islands has to offer. The thought of spending two weeks on a tropical island makes me giddy - it's the stuff dreams are made of! It genuinely means the world to me that I have won this opportunity to travel and explore and I can't say thank you enough to everyone who read my blog. Today, I feel blessed."
You can read Flora-Rose's inspiring entry here.
Marta's story touched us all. She really opened up in her blog and you could see the emotion in every line. It was a fantastic story that made for a really good blog and everyone interacted with it. Hopefully she'll be able to come up with an idea like that while she's in the Cook Islands.
"I was on my way to do some grocery shopping and an email popped up on my phone screen... It said: 'You're going to the Cook Islands!'
"As you may know a little bit about me from 'my best kept secret' blog I burst into tears instantly and had to get out of the car to do a little dance (no I wasn't driving!)
"I can't wait to tell my mum and dad and share the news with all my friends! I am absolutely over the moon!
"I just can't wait to report back and experience the culture! What a perfect cure to your post gap year blues! I have only been back for four months..."
You can read Marta's best kept secret here.
Jessica was our third winner and has won a stunning black pearl necklace made from pearls that grow in the clear waters surrounding the Islands.
"I had a great time compiling an entry for the competition, but with so many fantastic entries I never thought I'd do so well! I'm glad everyone enjoyed it and thought it worthy of 3rd place. Congratulations to the winners, they're going to have an incredible time!"
Luke Plastow was our fourth and final winner and we were wowed by his photography. Luke has won a copy of one of our favourite books, 'Unforgettable places to see before you die'.
Congratulations to all our very worthy winners. We can't wait to follow Flora-Rose and Pocketrocket82's journey when they travel out to the Cook Islands.
What did you think of their entries? Let us know on the message boards.
If you're thinking of going to the Cook Islands then head on over our Cook Islands country section for some advice and information.
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