Chronic ill health led Robert Louis Stevenson, famous author of Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, to embark on a series of voyages around the South Seas. He finally settled along with his family in Western Samoa, where he became a well-loved figure, striding around like a “demented stork” according to one observer. He died in 1894 at the age of 44. It is still possible to visit his house, Vailima, and if you are fit and willing, to labour up the rough hewn path built by devoted Samoans to carry him to rest at the top of an extremely steep hill. When I was there I was alone in that uniquely peaceful spot, with a wonderful view down over the coastal town of Apia.
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