Tomai reached over and, taking my hand, pressed a saltwater pearl into my palm.

1. Ticket

Crumpled UTA air ticket, arrival Papeeti, Tahiti, July 12, 1976. The Journey begins.…

2. Travel Guide

Tahitian Travel Guide complete with photos and information about each island. It notes that Tahiti lies in the South Pacific halfway between California and Australia.

3. Love Letters

Photo of Neva and Penrhyn Islander Tomai resting on top of a pile of his letters. The very last letter, dated 1977, was sent to her parents in California asking permission to marry her. At the time, Neva was in Australia.

4. Fan

The hand-woven fan with pearlescent shell lies near the

5. Shell Necklace

ornate shell necklace. Handmade by the Penrhyn Islanders, items like these were traded for the food and supplies necessary for survival on their remote, outer-Cook Island.

6. Notebook

Neva’s small notebook filled with poems and odd details of her journey. It survived thousands of sea miles and the occasional swim in the bilge.

7, 8. Souvenirs

From the marketplace of Suva, Fiji, the hand-carved Madonna and hollowed native flute were inexpensive, but priceless remembrances of the journey.

9, 10. Australian Map & Boomerang

Traditionally used by Aboriginals for hunting, this intricately designed boomerang is a remarkably efficient tool.

(*The material splayed underneath the memorabilia is one of many hand-painted pareus Neva wore on her journey.)

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