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Pleasant Book on Pleasant Island

It is often said that seeing the world through a child’s eyes reveals its magic. For Alex Akimov, a 12-year-old in Russia, that magic was found in a geography book that sparked a lifelong fascination with Nauru. 30 years later, his dream is realised.


Pleasant Book on Pleasant Island


After 30 years of waiting, a visit to Nauru achieves a childhood dream and results in a beautiful book.


It is often said, if we could see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything…


And so it was in 1994 for Alex Akimov just 12 years old, living in Russia, the biggest country in the world, when his teacher presented him with a Geography book as a prize.  

Its fascinating pages contained a wealth of information about countries around the world, including one which captured his childhood imagination - the country of Nauru, far away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Little did Alex know, that at 42 years old, he would launch an exquisite book of his own, profiling Nauru through his own images of the country which had fascinated him for over three decades.

“I still remember very well how as a child I used blotter paper and a pencil to make a copy of a map of Nauru from an encyclopedia "Countries and People" published in 1979.


“I traced that map using pencil and blotter paper, placed it on a projector, and using another blotter paper made a larger copy. Then I used coloured pencils to show topography and pens for the ring road, railway and labels.

Over the next few years, Alex copied other Nauru maps, accumulating more information 
and many drawings, but always wishing to one day visit the tiny country and see it with his own eyes.

“Even when the internet emerged, I started looking for everything I could find online about Nauru but still the main source of information was to be found in libraries. 

“I travelled to Germany and went to several libraries, where I found articles and books published on Nauru during the German rule at the beginning of the 20th Century. So my information collection kept growing, including copies of some quite rare documents not even possible to find online. 


“I even have a rare collection of old maps of Nauru – some of these maps are not even known on Nauru itself.


Remarkably, on a return visit to Russia to see his parents, Alex found that his parents had kept his old schoolbooks, including the precious geography book that started it all, along with his collection of over 500 maps. 


Not very long after, he finally  touched down in Nauru, landing in a place he knew intimately, but had never seen.


“I tried to visit in 2000 and again in later years but for various reasons it was not possible to go. As I continued to research how to travel to Nauru, I discovered many challenges, and began to think I would never achieve my dream.


“When I finally made it to Nauru in 2023, it was a wonderful experience, and I planned to stay 
5 days, but soon found that 5 days was not enough. 

“I flew to Marshall Islands and Micronesia and then returned to Nauru. I changed my ticket and ended up staying four weeks in Nauru, where I was very warmly welcomed.


“I decided to make a small Instagram page called ‘Nauru Travel Guide’ about what it takes to get organised to travel to Nauru, and to also share my own photographs and reels. 


“Ultimately it grew into quite a source of useful information. 


“With the encouragement of new friends I had made in Nauru, especially Kenneth Openheimer and Alamanda Lauti I was later inspired to turn my NGT content and collected information, into my own travel book,” he said.

On the 30th year anniversary of his fascination with Nauru, Alex presented the first copy of his published book “Pleasant Book on Pleasant Island”, to Nauru Consulate General  Mr Ruston Kun in Brisbane.

“They call Nauru a small country with a big heart and that is very true,” said Alex.

“You arrive and feel immediately at home. You are immediately accepted and the local people do this so effortlessly, it is completely disarming.


“This is true of all of the Pacific Island nations I have been to, but of Nauru in particular - maybe I am a little bit biased, because of my passion for Nauru, now over three decades!


“So publishing the book is not a commercial project or a product, it is a physical manifestation of my childhood dream. It is the best gift I have ever had in my life,” he added.


“If it can be of use to someone, be that in Nauru or wherever else as a gift or a reference book, I am happy to share it,


“I hope that that travellers everywhere can understand that Nauru is much more than a speck in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, or a box to tick to say you have been to every country in the world.

“I have now visited three times and I am still discovering.


“I have been asked many times how this fascination all started, and all I can say is this word ‘Nauru’ was in my life for my whole life, for the entire time, and I expect it will be for all the years to come.”


Head to Alex's Instagram Page for some spectacular images, fascinating history, and travel tips on Nauru.

Nauru: "Pleasant Book on Pleasant Island" (@naurutravelguide) • Instagram photos and videos


Thank you Alex!


Consulate General Ruston Kun and Alexander Akimov

Posted by Nauru Airlines on June 10, 2024