7 Reasons Why Coaxing a 4 Inch Cockroach from my Bathroom in Fiji Made Me a Better Blogger

July 16, 2014
The scene of the crime. Fiji Freddy Wuz Here. No pictures though; Freddy's not a fan of the cockroach-a-razzi.
The scene of the crime. Fiji Freddy Wuz Here. No pictures though; Freddy’s not a fan of the cockroach-a-razzi.

I don’t mind bugs much. I do however get a little freaked out when I see cockroaches roaming the premises. Especially when the cockroaches in mention are 4 inches long.


We’ve seen monster roaches in Penang, Malaysia, flying mammoth roaches in Battambang, Cambodia and some hefty cockroaches in Koh Lanta, Thailand.


Nowhere have I seen roaches as big as they are in Fiji.


For reference, I went online not 5 seconds after releasing our friend – let’s call him Fiji Freddy – into the jungle….aka…..our front yard…here in Savusavu, Fiji. Yep, I went online to find a version of a good old ruler.


From the tip of his impressive antennae to the ends of his spiked legs, the dude was 4 inches. What a brute.


Anyway, they get so darn big here because wildlife is fairly sparse. We’re on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Factor in that mongooses brought here to control rats have wiped out many species of snakes and other ground nesting birds which would prey on roaches, and that makes for some Monster Island type creations.(inserted for Godzilla fans, remember Mothra and King Ghidorah?)


Blogging and Cockroach Removal


Rewind to the incident. I cruised into the bathroom early in the evening. I saw a large, foreboding figure traipsing through the bathroom, casually taking his paces on the shower floor.


I was floored. This sucker was BIG! As big a roach as I’ve seen on earth, and I’ve lived for many years in more than a few tropical hotspots with some heavyweight critters.


After taking a deep breath and assessing the situation I knew he needed to be removed from the shower floor, pronto. Can’t have him tap dancing on my head during the night, as some roaches are apt to do.


I grabbed a dustpan, slowly moved toward the little/big guy, and gently moved the pan toward him.


I removed Fiji Freddy by calming coaxing him onto the dustpan – I could feel his weight when I picked him up – and tossing him into the front yard after skillfully moving by Kelli like a fine mist (she don’t like cockroaches much).


How in the heck did Fiji Freddy make me a better blogger?


First off, kudos to my friend Dave Humphrey for planting the idea seed to write this post 😉 OK, on to the reasons.


No Panicking


I’m no Zen master but around roaches – and damn big ones at that – I usually don’t panic….too much. Sometimes I get a bit antsy, but overall, I intend to stay calm and follow through on that intent.


This was the case when a cockroach ran all the way up my arm in Hoi An, Vietnam and when a big sucker cockroach ran all over my chest, face and head in Pak Nam Pran, Thailand. I kept amazingly calm through both situations.


Last night I remained calm when Freddy made an appearance in our bathroom. Blogging from paradise, I’ve had plenty of practice removing these guys, along with:


  • Baby scorpions (Costa Rica)
  • Centipedes (Bali)
  • Large spiders (Bali)


….from our homes. No sweat, most of the time.


I remained calm to get the job done and out he went into the wilderness. I could have panicked and become paralyzed with fear but that wouldn’t have helped the situation.


I brought this vibe with me when I wrote my post the following day, and voila; the energy carried over into another successful post. Not panicking provides you with a bunch of blogging benefits.


Bloggers, you can’t panic when:


  • The internet goes out
  • Your subscriber base dwindles
  • You’re generating little money through your blog
  • You’re not receiving any comments
  • You’re getting no social shares


Panicking does you no good. Detaching from outcomes helps, as does calmly assessing where your blogging problem is and how you need to solve it. Keep cool bloggers, and proceed, to succeed. Thanks Freddy for the blog post idea BTW…..


Appreciate Beauty Even if It Takes Some Digging


Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Freddy is the result of HUNDREDS of millions of years of evolution. His kind was around when dinosaurs were around. That my friends, is quite amazing. Stunning really.


When humans are extinct Freddy and his brethren will be running around, no doubt, because they are survivors.


A closer look at them shows some impressive armor, and a set of antennae that are ridiculously effective in helping FF get around through the pitch black jungle nights here in Fiji.


I find them fascinating creatures. I see the beauty in them. I may have to look a bit beyond any fears regarding their appearance but I can dig out the beauty and appreciate it.


I see beauty in my new blog and post, on a face-value basis but I also see the beauty in receiving thoughtful comments, and overall, having an incredibly powerful medium through which I can make friends and inspire folks from all over the globe.


I appreciate this more each day.


Bloggers, appreciate that you can write a post, and publish it, and reach so many folks. Appreciate your comments, and each cent you make through blogging, because it is a precious gift, this blogging/internet lifestyle gig we have….whether it’s part time or full time for you.


See the beauty in it all.


Size Matters


Damn. Freddy caught my attention. Size mattered in that case. I couldn’t miss him.


3 weeks ago when we landed in Nadi I noted a 5 inch long beetle at the airport. Wow. He was beyond huge, the type of bug you see Jack Hannah wrangling on some late night talk show.


Bugs of this size are eye-catching. You can’t take your peepers off of them.


Ditto the longer, more in depth, pillar type posts I’ve been writing. I’ve posted a few of these bad boys here on Blogging From Paradise and lo and behold, just yesterday the folks over at Hootsuite just had to send me a tweet letting me know how much my Hootsuite review post rocked.


That wasn’t happening with a 400 word short piece. Nope, you gotta bring out the big guns to warrant the attention of the big dawgs. Size matters. 2,000 to 2,500 to 3,000 word posts – or higher word counts – snag the attention of authority bloggers, the casual blogger, and heck the dude walking in off of the cyber street for the first time.


Google also vibes heavily with pillar-styled posts. They feel size matters too. So if you’re creating a post in the first place, think big. Think online resource. Size matters.  Write longer, pillar type posts to generate the most attention, and to draw in readers.


Accept Things as They Are


Living and blogging in paradise I simply had to accept I was not in New Jersey anymore.  I would meet up with poisonous snakes, or centipedes, or monster cockroaches, or aggressive touts.


I was bound to face stuff I never saw in NJ because although paradise IS paradise, you’re going to face stuff you never faced if you haven’t lived in paradise before.


I’ve accepted this for the most part but at times, I’ve struggled a bit with being sick because of substandard cleanliness conditions in India, patiently waiting for a bus in Vietnam, for 2 hours (for no apparent reason), being bitten by one wild man and punched by another in Kathmandu, Nepal,  or being aggressively stalked by street hawkers in Bali every day, after I explicitly tell them – nicely of course – “No thank you, not interested”, day after day.


This has nothing to do with other people and situations and all to do with me, and I get it. Most times, I embrace it all and I am smiling.

I accepted standing by a pig, incognito. Didn't hurt me.
I accepted standing by a pig, incognito. Didn’t hurt me.


I accepted that being in Fiji, roaches would be huge. I knew they were big, but not this big. It’s a bit disconcerting going to sleep at night knowing these monsters are around because I once had one tap dance all over my body in Pak Nam Pran, Thailand, while I was sleeping.


Anyway, I saw Fiji Freddy in the shower last night and figured, it is what it is. You can’t avoid seeing huge cockroaches in Fiji. Point blank. It’s part of the reason why this place is so clean, unspoiled, and stunningly pristine.


Ditto folks, for blogging. I had to accept things as they were when I decided to close my blog last week due to a number of circumstances. I was happy to change and felt excited for a fresh, clean start, to begin this blog intelligently, but it took at least a few seconds for me to let go the idea that 3400 posts I’d created were sent off into the ethers the second I did a redirect to here.


Oh well, letting go precedes growing. I’m happy to grow and feel elated with my decision because hey, I had to embrace things as they were and my old blog was on the way out for months….I just needed to release on it.


Bloggers, embrace any situation as it is. This means you can always improve, and get better, and aim higher, and you can always rock out this blogging bit, and you can even be my neighbor in paradise but if you’re making the same mistakes day after day, you’re doomed.


You’ll fail for years or forever, unless you embrace things as they are, by admitting to yourself that:


  • You’re not writing frequently enough to improve your blogging skills
  • Your blog has no clear direction or theme
  • You’re not connecting with leaders
  • You’re making a number of core mistakes


Embrace these realities. Failures are events, not people, and if you can embrace your failures you’ll be free to do what it takes, to succeed.


Be Present


I was present the moment I saw Freddy. My mind raced ahead a little bit but I wrangled the Monkey Mind, and returned to the moment. I worried that Kelli may see him. I worried that he’d fly away, or scamper away at a Carl Lewis like speed, but he calmly stepped onto the dustpan I placed under him because I was here, and in the now.


My presence of mind sent off an energy which told FF not to panic. If I was fearful, or scared, and allowed the lower energies to take over my mind then good old Racing Thoughts Syndrome would have sent my mind into overdrive, I’d stop being present, and the cockroach would likely have gone haywire.


I also couldn’t have found a solution; impossible to do so when you’re in a state of panic.


Be present.


Lack of presence of mind creates many of the world’s problems. Fear, hate, distrust, anger and suffering grow out of a lack of presence of mind, by large numbers of people.


Happiness, health, wealth and balance are the products of presence of mind.


Bloggers, I’ve learned more about myself and my blog, and life, by being present. Tools like meditation taught me to be in the moment, to embrace my fears, to rein in my excitement a bit, so I could create and connect like a champion.


Being present helps you identify mistakes you’re making, the solutions you need to put into practice and the blogging mentor who’ll point you in the right direction.


If I learned one thing in paradise it’s to meditate for at least 20 minutes daily to remain present, which cultivates my peace of mind, balance and poise in the face of blogging – and life’s – obstacles.


Placement Is Everything


This one struck me on a few levels. I delicately placed Fiji Freddy the cockroach on the edge of the dustpan. Then, I placed him in our front yard, outside of the house, solving our roach problem. I also found him in the right spot, cornering him in the kitchen shower to cut off his sources of retreat.


I avoided a potentially uncomfortable situation by working the angles and getting my placement down.


Freddy would have sprinted away if I tried to use force to sweep him outside of the room violently. No finesse, only force, and force negates. If I tried to cover him he’d have felt suffocated, would have panicked, and scattered away.


I picked up the dustpan and placed him gently on the edge of the pan. Then when he hung on tight, I moved him calmly to the front porch, then I tossed him onto the front yard into the jungle.


That’s home to him. Placing him in the jungle gives him the best chance to survive.


My new blog is ALL about placement. Check out the obvious opt in form up top. This helps me build relationships with my audience. Subscribe. Build those bonds. I’ve shared a bunch of travel pictures along my sidebar. This is branding 101 and a major league tool through which I inspire my audience.


Placement plays such a huge part in blogging. Keep your opt in forms above the fold. Design a branded, eye-catching banner for your header. Use images to draw readers to your content.


Post a clear cut call to action at the end of each post. Ask questions at the end of posts to increase engagement. Ask readers to share your post at the end of your posts.




You Can Write About Anything


I often hear how I draw parallels between some darn interesting topics but honestly, I just observe and relate. I watch and connect. I recount my experiences at the end of the day. After listing out a few neat situations I narrow down the list, pick one, and connect the experience to my blogging niche. More appropriately, I connect to blogging from paradise.


For me it’s a piece of cake. Freddy the Fiji Roach was post fodder the moment I sent him on his merry way. Easy peasy. I watch, I connect.


You really can post about anything, whether it’s how removing a 4 inch cockroach from your bathroom in Fiji makes you a better blogger, or how a motorbike accident in Bali made you a better business person, or heck, you pick the situation from your life and correlate.


I’m accustomed to blogging about some pretty neat experiences while globetrotting – see, removing 4 inch roaches from my crib – but you can blog about anything whether you’re:


  • A working dad
  • A stay at home mom
  • A blogging teenager
  • A world traveling blogger
  • A senior citizen new to the online bit


I don’t care who you are; if you’re human, you have some 50 to 100 experiences to recount each day. Hone your mind. Pinpoint your concentration on the short stories you’re experiencing each hour of the day to find a wealth of blog post ideas.


After you list out your experiences, choose 1 which lends itself to an in-depth post and correlate to your niche.


Think of the experience and connect it to your area of expertise. Prosper.


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Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He can help you become a full time blogger with this eBook.
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  1. Who’d a thunk it, right D? 😉

  2. Dortum Says:

    OMG… the title was really really intriguing! Nevertheless, the article is great. Never expected cockroaches could one day be handy! 🙂

  3. I left another thought.

  4. I imagine you are a bit immune to them in your lovely region, Renard 😉

  5. [ Smiles ] Ryan, believe it or not, I am not intimidated by cockroaches; they are quite common where I am located (Which is in the Caribbean).

    However, I do not want them in the same room with me when I am blogging.

    Thanks for another fabulous post!

  6. Michelle, not quite as big, but they are getting there 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. Michelle Says:

    Are these comparable to Madagascar hissing cockroaches?

    I think the way you wove blogging into your roach encounter is both interesting and insightful.

  8. Wow Jackie, these suckers are something else. Robert was a champ!!

  9. Ah Ryan, you’re too kind to say not long at all. Really 2 months??? 🙂

    So the roach that had so kindly accompanied me back from Greece was just sitting there, not bothered at all, happy as Larry. I tried hard to compose myself, but given that both myself and my Mum could not deal with a spider in the bathtub, without a good deal of screaming and running in and out of the room, that wasn’t easy.

    I went to tell her and she couldn’t believe it, given that my rucksack had been there for a month. (BTW in my favour the clothes I had worn in Greece could not be worn in Ireland – due to the big difference in weather conditions :)). She analysed the situation a bit better than I could. She got a jar and somehow managed to get the roach into it. Then we went to the bathroom. That’s when things got pretty crazy.

    Being Irish, we don’t encounter roaches in our own country normally. They don’t fancy the climate there I guess. So we weren’t really that knowledgeable about this species. We had no idea how evolved they are.

    My Mum threw said roach into the toilet and flushed. She was quite happy with herself, having kept her composure relatively well under the circumstances. She had put the toilet seat cover down before flushing. So more or less rubbing her hands together in satisfaction, she opened the toilet up again and Robert the Roach was there, entirely unharmed, kind of floating around …still pretty happy as…

    She thought ok, somehow or other he managed to avoid the flush. Well I can’t remember how many times she flushed again, but it was quite a few. And each time the exact same scenario, Robert the Roach was still there, very much alive and unperturbed.

    We couldn’t believe it. After a bit of brainstorming we decided to take Robert out of the toilet bowl and see if stepping on him would do the job. We managed to get Robert out to our back garden and put him down on the paved patio part. Neither of us could do it. I guess the thought of the sounds of crunchy, squished roach, and in the back of our minds that fear of would he survive it anyhow…put us off. So instead we decided to put him into a watering can and re-think the plan.

    My Mum went to the local garden and DIY store, the man there knew her and couldn’t believe the situation. Anyhow, he recommended some incredibly strong substance and we poured it over Robert. Even with that he took a day or two to entirely stop moving. R.I.P. Robert.

  10. Ahhh! that’s nuts Jackie. 1 month? Not long at all; I sometimes go 2 months before unpacking stuff, only because I still live out of a suitcase when I’m back in the US, too. That is crazy, crazy. These roaches are evolved life forms. Gotta hand it to them. Looking forward to part 🙂

  11. Well Ryan, they say size matters …and some say that size doesn’t matter – so really it’s all about quality not quantity. And I reckon that this is a debate that could go on for a long time. But I never measured the cockroach in my life …I never felt the need to …

    All I could see was this huge living thing in my rucksack. Yes!! I had brought back a cockroach from my first working stint abroad. What makes the story worse …or better …depending on your perspective, is that I had been back in Dublin for about a month before I had the heart to unpack.

    Now I can imagine some people thinking that this was pure laziness, but no, it so wasn’t. It was not wanting to admit I was back in a city that I adore, but whose weather doesn’t adore me!!

    So I eventually got myself to doing the deed of unpacking my rucksack. And sitting “pretty” and happy on top of my favourite dress, was a huge, healthy cockroach.

    The story of what I and my Mother did next is for another time ….

  12. Hi Catherine, Wow, no roaches in Sri Lanka? You must have been aligned with the roach gods. We saw a few in Colombo. Great point; some long posts are drawn out and repetitive. As for mine, I re-read, and watch myself, but in most cases the words flow smoothly so I feel clear writing 2500 words or more, making it a solid post with no fat to be trimmed. Thanks so much Catherine 🙂

  13. Catherine Says:

    No! no, no, no, no and no. Thankfully, I have never seen a 4 inch cockroach. Fiji is now off my list of ‘Places I would love to spend time relaxing sometime in the future’.

    One reason I have no real urge to return to Spain is because the darned place is roach infested. Crawling ones, flying ones. Yuk! Never saw one in Sri Lanka though, so perhaps that is my paradise isle.

    I know Google loves loooooong posts, but not every long drawn out post is worth reading. There can be too much repetition written, just to make some supposed word count.

    I’m so glad you survived Freddy, hopefully he won’t be back anytime soon.
    Off to read why you threw away 3400 blog posts.

  14. Alliwilson, I agree with that. Freddy, and nature, help make the world go round. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Alliwilson Says:

    You know its amazing that one of the nature creativity made you into blogging. That creativity with whom communication is impossible through words. We must be thankful to Freddy as it is because of Freddy, we are able to ready your blogs and can communicate with you.

  16. Wow Angela that’s a crazy story. Even 1 inch sucker crawling on you can create sheer terror in just about anybody. I myself had 2 tap dance all over me; it was not a pleasant experience. Value matters most, so true, whether 2500 or 500 words. I just dig the 2500 because Google does too 😉 Thank much Angela, you too

  17. Hi Ryan,

    Your headline caught my attention with intense curiosity! I’ve never seen a 4-inch cockroach before. But once, a 1-inch cockroach crawl in my arm while I was sleeping and I SCREAM LOUD!!!! My poor husband was startled just trying to get some sleep that night from his heavy duty from the hospital. He got mad at me for waking him up and I said I couldn’t help but scream because it startled me.

    My daughter is extremely petrified of cockroaches, she starts hyper ventilating when she sees them, and they’re only 1-inch. Imagine what 4-inch could do to her, she would’ve fainted by then. Anyway, what a great analogy in writing!

    Content is King and Google likes it big. But to me it’s not much of the size that matters. It’s “whatever it needs” to deliver the message what matters the most. Some of the articles I read are redundant and going it over and over which I find it boring, putting me to sleep. Perhaps in podcasting it’s not as hard to listen to longer ones because there are no screen I have to stare for a long time. Just audio. And I can close my eyes on this while listening.

    Anyhoo, thank you for sharing us your experience! Happy Sunday!


  18. Oh Sherman I know exactly what you mean. You just see the situation, and learn not to add a label, so the emotion is sapped out of it. Then you can be objective, and can get the solution you need. Wow, I reckon they were pretty darn big down there too, like Nathaniel’s experience in nearby Arkansas. Thanks so much for sharing buddy and have a great night!

  19. Hey Ryan,

    It’s all because of Freddy huh!

    The thing that stuck out to me in this post is to not panic. In my case, and I guess everyone, when you panic, you cloud and block yourself from reasoning and new ideas.

    When this is done, then you can’t move forward. Sometimes you have to focus on what just “is” then looking at what it’s capable of doing. You know what I mean?

    I had some experiences with cockroaches when i was going to school in Louisiana. I use to wake up with them LOL… but I still kept on moving forward and laughed at the situation later. Staying in constant motion of moving forwad as you learn and grow is what it’s all about.

    Thanks for sharing and the great analogy!

  20. Catherine, so happy to hear that 🙂 I too panic here and there when my laptop goes out, or the internet is unreliable. I usually do a good job of bringing my attention back to peace and that silver lining you’re mentioning. Thanks much for the share, and have a great day.

  21. Hi Damien, Jotting down notes immediately is a critical task for bloggers. Having your Smartphone handy helps a bunch too. The key is to record quickly, to breathe life into the idea, and you’re guaranteed to become prolific using this strategy. Thanks for the awesome comment, and watch out for those swarms 😉

  22. Hahaha, That is quite awesome. A 4 inch cockroach? Can’t say I have seen one. Honestly I wouldn’t mind seeing one. As long as it isn’t a swarm of them I am fine… The biggest insect in the world wouldn’t bother my compared to a swarm of anything. Even ants… Especially Ants..

    You really can write about anything. It is good to have a pen and paper, or smartphone like myself to take down awesome ideas to write about. If you want to be a successful blogger, you have to keep yourself inspired by the world, just like an artist does.

    Lately, I have been noticing emotions and reactions of others. Comparing with my own emotions and reactions, and jotting notes for articles related to this.

    The world is your drawing board, and when we become confident with ourselves, our abilities are endless.

    Thanks again for this awesome perspective!

  23. 4 inch long cockroaches?? Now that is a reason not to go to Fiji….lol.

    Learning not to panic is definitely something I need to work on! In the past couple of weeks my computer died, my internet access has been screwed and I have been trying to run two blogs. It has been difficult! Yes I did panic (a little), but like you say…did it achieve anything? Absolutely not!

    On the positive side…I now have a back up computer to use in case this happens again 🙂 There is always a silver lining!

  24. Wow Nathaniel, I imagine you saw some pretty impressive cockroaches down in Arkansas. In New Jersey they were not too impressive, if we even saw them. Too many people not enough nature. Great points all around; detaching, and keeping calm, and enjoying the process makes your blogging experience so much more pleasant. Thanks Nathaniel, for your kind words and for stopping by.

  25. Ryan,

    I am loving this blog. I am so glad you are back online. I have seen some huge cockroaches in my day. I was born in the country in Arkansas and they seem to be everywhere.

    I like your views on becoming a better blogger and especially the not panicking aspect. Many times as bloggers we do panick when we lose some of our followers or we are not making money online. If we stay consistent with what works all of that stuff is temporary in my book.

    For me I try to find mentors (YOU) who has been there and done that and then follow your guidance. That has definitely worked for me. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Harleena that’s so interesting. We had the same experience in Koh Lanta, Thailand. A 3 inch cockroach would just sit in our bathroom every night, barely moving. In the morning, gone. Then when it became dark again, he shows himself. Such an interesting parallel, and like you said, they do no harm so I figure, no sense doing anything except coaxing them out or perhaps, letting them be. Thanks for sharing Harleena, you too 🙂

  27. Kevin, hey I hadn’t thoughts of that, thanks for the tip 😉 Actually, even though my vegetarian days are behind me – I need meat for some sustenance – I just hate killing things. Even mosquitoes, I try to have patience with. LOL….they are kind creepy looking sometimes…..I myself am a bit terrified of centipedes, but I haven’t seen any really big ones yet. Thanks so much Kevin, have a great day.

  28. Kevin Duncan Says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Count image captions, I count 2,623 words in this post.

    Pillar post indeed!

    My wife would freak out if she saw a 4-inch roach. And you know what? So would I.

    Goodness, that thing was a monster! And it forces me to tackle a delicate subject and ask…

    Why did you let Freddy live??

    “If he found his way into our home once, he will do it again,” I would have thought.

    Seriously…simply writing this comment I’m worried there is a roach somewhere near me…getting ready to jump on me.

    Thanks for the nightmares, Ryan.

    (Seriously, though. Nice post! Way to get a 2,623-word idea from a roach sighting. Impressive!)

  29. Hi Ryan,

    I love Freddy I must say who inspired you to write this post 🙂

    Ah…never seen a 4 inch one, but yes, we do have a 3 inch permanent member in our bathroom, who just doesn’t leave no matter how many times we gently show him his way out!! He does no harm, just loves to sit in one corner and shows up at night time only, so we got used to him too, as you said bloggers accept things and change easily.

    I like the way you have done up this blog, Ryan, and are always sharing your experiences and relate them so well to blogging. You are absolutely right, there is a lesson to learn each moment, if we could only keep our eyes and ears open, and that’s where awareness and meditation help a great deal.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂