Its now almost a week since I landed on this beautiful island and I have every intention of staying exactly where I am until I am required in the Indian Ocean for a 4 day live aboard dive trip on 8 March. I have a fantastic flashpacker beach hut with a view to die for (as previously noted on this blog – will spare your jealousy by not posting the photo again). A white sand beach. A blue/green bay. And a whole lot of peace and quiet, which is just what I need at this stage of my journey. Time for reflection and an opportunity to day dream about what the future might hold.
My days roll something like this: wake at 5/5.30am as the sun starts to peep over the mountains, throwing light into my bedroom (windows on 3 out of 4 walls); lie in bed for a few hours, dozing, day dreaming, reading, checking the news (war, famine, disease, financial woes – snore); 9am shower and dress; 9.30am walk a few strides to the beach restaurant linked to my bungalows for breakfast (key strategic decision: one espressor or two? This morning was a 2 espresso kind of a day on account of my encroaching illness); approx 11am to 3pm a mix of sunbathing, reading, playing guitar; 3pm late lunch; 4-8pm see above comment for 11-3pm; 8pm dinner; 10pm sleep. The odd day I mix things up by throwing in some snorkelling or scuba diving, but that’s pretty much it. Bored? Absolutely not.
Last night was full moon, and this is one of the key islands hosting the famous ‘full moon parties’. I resisted the urge to head there myself – drug-fueled beach parties and single white women travelling alone don’t mix well, I suspect, so as per usual I was tucked up in bed by 10pm. Hilariously, there was the tiniest of full moon parties on the beach outside my hut – basically about 4 or 5 people have a quiet drink. They were still there when I woke at 5am but had gone after I had finished snoozing an hour or two later. How very civilised. When I woke, I looked out of my window and saw a perfectly round orb lighting the sky – full moon indeed. I thought to myself it would make a fantastic photo, but in my sleepy and flu-y state that’s as far as that intention went. There was, however, a lovely sunset last night that I captured to slightly redeem myself in the eyes of my readers, who are no doubt thinking I am rather lazy after reading this post. Exhibits A and B:
I have spent a very happy couple of hours over breakfast, watching the sea and taking in the sights of the beach’s early morning guests. Mothers and their small children, prancing around naked with a sense of pure wonder and joy at being in and by the lapping waves. Puppies playing, jumping on one another, getting bored and moving on, tails wagging furiously as anyone approaches in the anticipation that they might offer a) a belly rub, b) food, or c) companionship. Boats chugging into the harbour carrying visitors and fish.
After 2.5 months travelling on my own I am exhausted so this island retreat is very well timed. Travelling alone, it turns out, is wonderful. You go where you want, do what you want, and meet so many more people along the way that you would do if you were travelling with a companion. But it is tiring and more stressful – I have been solely responsible for everything from where I go next and how I get there to where I stay and what I do when I arrive. When you are feeling tired/ill/not in the mood, you still have to do all the haggling, make all the decisions, and solve all the problems that inevitably arise. There have been a few moments when I would have happpily handed over responsibility to someone else.
It’s also a time for reflection as I near the end of this amazing adventure. I have quite literally savoured every single minute and feel so very very lucky to have been able to take time out – some punctuation between two lives, two worlds, old and new. It’s with a heavy heart that I will come back; it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this feeling of freedom, release and adventure. I do wonder how I can hold on to that feeling, how it can become my sense of gravity rather than a momentary blip. No plan forthcoming, as yet, but it’s a work in progress.
I have so many reflections on what I have got out of my journey and what I want for my life going forward, but this is not the place for their airing. With just over 2 weeks left now, things are finally starting to come together.