I miss you, Maldives

I can’t quite believe it’s March already. The last 2 months since leaving Maldives have jumbled along, and although there’s been some wonderful moments (such as the much-overdue and longed for reunion of Mr Italy and I), it’s been a little uneventful and well, cold.

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Maldives truly is a magnificent natural paradise. I miss her soft, warm, white sand caressing my feet as I walk besides her glistening waters. I miss her strong palm tree’s standing proudly. Her wondrous underwater world, her busy little side streets, her golden Mosque’s, her friendly people and those beautiful children who turned “a day at work” into something truly meaningful.

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I often find myself trying to persuade people to visit her, in particularly, to explore the true Maldives, and stay in a local island (or several). It saddens me to hear that for the majority of people, a holiday to The Maldives (or anywhere, in fact) is just a dream. It’s an idea right at the bottom of a very long list including “pay off the mortgage”, “pay off the car”, “fix the *insert item- perhaps dishwasher, washing machine or boiler*”, “save for pension”, “save for new house”, “save for kids future”, and so it goes on and on and on.

I can hear you shouting, “Well it’s easy for you, Miss no-house, no-kids, no-commitments!” And maybe it was easy, too easy really. I was lucky enough in March last year to be given a chance that would change my life forever.

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Before Maldives, I didn’t realise I could travel permanently by living and working abroad, which would allow me to explore a whole plethora of countries and live several different lives. That door in my mind, not only was it tightly shut, it just wasn’t there. So as I move forward on this twisty, bumpy ride through life, I am eternally grateful to Maldives. She opened me up so I could see all the possibilities around me. She gave me time to sit by her sea and ponder big questions. She introduced me to some of the most incredible and inspiring people I’ve ever met. She was so outstanding that I just had to photograph and document her here on my blog, which amazingly, has found it’s way to you.

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I’m now living and working (teaching English) in a small town quite close to Naples, Italy. There’s her mouth-watering food, her outstanding views of the Amalfi Coast, there’s museums and art, music and language, there’s the delightful people I live and work with who make me wish I was Italiana myself… but… (and this sounds so ridiculous) it’s awfully cold here. It’s cold and the days are looong. I seem to work or be preparing to work constantly throughout the 6-day work week. I even have dreams about work- papers to mark, lessons to plan, those flashcards I need to colour and that photocopy to make for the boy without a book. It’s all work, work, work. I too worked hard when I lived in Maldives, but felt far more rewarded there than I do here. Off to a resort one weekend, diving on another, meeting new people all the time and really engaging with the local community, feeling like my presence really made a difference.

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Perhaps it’d be different if I had moved somewhere more lively, or had lived in the city of Naples as opposed to a deserted town, but I’ll never know. I guess living abroad is somewhat of a lucky dip. Still, I’m very blessed to have been granted a teaching position here in Europe. It’s a challenge, (I teach 12 different English levels/ages, prepare students for exams, have 25-30 classroom hours between three different schools and spend about 10 hours planning/preparing), but what is life without a little challenge? Experience is crucial for folks like me who can’t stand routine. Not to mention the fact I don’t have a degree. It was thanks to Vietnam that I could live in Maldives, and thanks to Maldives that I could grow as a teacher and make it here to Europe, earning a very nice monthly salary and stuff my face with as much pizza and mozzarella as I want.

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Last week I took the circumvesuviana down to Sant’Agnello, the stop just before Sorrento, and found my way to the sea. The panorama was fantastic: the waves crashing down below me, the lights of Sorrento out to the left, and Naples across from me- my job and home, far out in the distance with Mt Vesuvius looming behind. The air was fresh, not humid like it once was. But I longed for that humidity, for the hot sun on my skin. For evenings so warm you can wear a skirt and leave your jacket at home. You sit under the stars all night with friends. Or you dance with them in the warm rain. You spend more time “doing”, learning and growing. And as beautiful and blue as the sea was there on the coast, it wasn’t her shade of blue. I stood there feeling gratitude for my life and wonderful man by my side, but I couldn’t help missing her, the way one misses a person.

I hope I’ll see Maldives again but until then, she’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I urge you to visit and explore her hidden depths and truths (or any place that you’ve always wanted to go), because in doing so you’ll explore the depths of yourself, too, just as I did.

The bluest and most beautiful country I’ve ever seen, a country I once called ‘home’:

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“Blue, the most human colour. Blue lips, blue veins. Blue, the colour of our planet from far, far away.” – Regina Spektor, Blue Lips

Hi! I’m Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I’m an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I’m using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

15 Comments

  1. Hi Sarah,
    I just spent three weeks for work in southern France, and I know exactly how you are feeling. Europe is so COLD in the winter. It was even snowing there a week before I arrived. Hopefully will the spring arrive soon. After almost 3 years as freelance pilot for FlyMe have I signed a permanent work agreement. My friends have been asking why I still want to work there. Your blog answered it all. How to see you there soon!
    Magnar

    1. Hi Magnar, long time no speak! Wow that’s great news! I’m sure it’s a decision you won’t regret 🙂 Sarah

  2. Hey sister after long time i have read your blog post..i hope you are in good health…miss the trips we have been in maldives..

    1. Thank you for reading, Siraaj. I miss the trips too! Thulusdoo was probably my favourite- oh, actually, I think it was the day out on Mazim’s boat with Jana, Lee, Laith and everyone! Sandbank olympics! Ah, great times.

  3. hi sarah, i was the first time in december 2014 in maldives on local island maafushi and felt totally in love with the maldives…next week i go again and make some island hopping like guraidhoo, fulidhoo, gulhi and of course again maafushi…i like your blog and hope to hear more 🙂 thank you, grazie, shukuriye 🙂

  4. Wow the Maldives look magnificent. I’m sure Italy can’t be all that bad, even in the cold.. If you think it’s cold there try Northern Sweden (gets up to -40C). I am longing for a beach life after that winter! At least it should be warming up a bit in Italy now! 🙂

    1. Woah, how is -40 even possible?! You’ve got thick skin Sab- adjusting to the cold is definitely something I need practice at. Today we had lovely blue skies, it’s just a shame my work hours are too crazy to really enjoy it! Still, I shouldn’t complain. 🙂 I’ve just taken a look at your blog- you’re quite the traveller! Excellent photos!

  5. Hi Sarah! I really enjoyed reading your blog on Maafushi since I am interested in going there to visit in the fall this year. Thanks for sharing your experience on it! /Claudia

  6. Hi Sarah, thank you for your blog. It sounds so lovely in the Maldives. I have a question. My 21 year daughter (she is both French and Canadian) has been offered a job in a resort in the Maldives. She is nervous to travel so far away from home and living on a small island. I have been checking out everything I can to be able to encourage her and help alleviate her stress and take on this amazing opportunity. I’m wondering what you would say to her about this travel opportunity. Is it easy to meet people? Thanks

    1. Hi there! I would say that it depends which island it is (in regards to its proximity to the capital and to other islands). It also depends on her timetable, for example, will she have much free time? Sometimes resort jobs are tough because it’s a 6 day week leaving only one day which isn’t enough to get away from the island. However, some resort workers are able to save their free days and take them together: the bad news is that it means 20+ days working straight, but then 4/5 days free to leave the island. There are hundreds of expats in Maldives and she can easily contact them through Facebook groups such as “Expats in Maldives”. I found it incredibly easy to meet people, especially if you take up water sports, diving, etc. I hope that helps!

  7. Hi Sarah! I’m set to spend a month in the Maldives this November. I’ve been reading a few blogs and happened upon yours and is a great read, thanks! I was wondering if I stayed in one of the resorts for a few days, do you know if I have to use their speedboat transfers to and from, say, Male? Do you know of good guys within the city who I can rent for the day to go explore the northern area like Bathala Island?

    Thanks!

    1. Hello, wow a month will be lovely! Often resorts include speedboat transfers to and from Male in the total price, but depending on the resort these can be up to $200!

      I had a look at Bathala and it is a resort. From personal experience there isn’t too much to “explore” on a resort. Why not have a look at some local islands? Then you can arrange transfer with the guest house on the local island, or even take the public ferry for a couple of dollars. I would speak to guest house owners about renting boats etc, as they’re the guys who know everyone! My friend Siraa is a guest house owner in Hulhumale and should know the right people, if not to travel far away then at least around Male atoll. I travelled to most local islands via public ferry and then took a short transfer over to resorts. You can find Siraa at info@travellodge.mv and the public ferry schedules at http://www.atolltransfer.com/#!ferry-routes/c1jxp.

      Good luck planning- I’m incredibly jealous!!

What do you think? Let me know!

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