Five years is a long time, but we made it to the infamous sabbatical that our company offers: a month of PTO to international destination(s) you’ve never been before. With COVID border closures and our already hefty list of ‘been tos’ it wasn’t the easiest to find locations or flights but those were surmountable obstacles. After all, we had to make lil sabbatical worth our time before we sabbatiquit.
Getting to the Maldives was quite the adventure. Before we even left, each one of our original flights was cancelled. Then, having stop on the way to O’Hare for a last minute rapid COVID test, getting not one but two drinks spilled in my lap in the first few hours of a 13 hour leg to Dubai, clearing customs on no sleep, and waiting four hours to get into air conditioning, I mean airbnb.. excuse me, villa. Regardless, it’s been worth every second.
We are certainly not doing the Maldives the way most people think – no overwater bungalow, resort buffets, or bottomless mai tais – because of the hefty price tags, lack of adventure, and Chris’s inability to muster up some decorum. La Due guest house on Thulusdhoo has been our relaxation station for almost a week. After a hellish four months of work to start the year (really most of the five years), it’s been a godsend to be on island time. Waking up, eating, and exploring whenever our bodies feel like it.
Part of our goal has been to learn how to relax again so this first week has been pretty light compared to past trips where we’d smash in as much fun in the small amount of time we’re given off. We still tacked on advanced (Krista) and rescue (Chris) diver certs with daily sightings of sharks, grouper, turtles, and rays courtesy of Sea Star Divers.
We also gave fishing our best shot one evening, but unsurprisingly we were not successful with the Maldivian hand reel method, except for chum daddy Scawn, who managed to catch the boat. Thank god they planned for our incompetence so we could still have an amazing dinner!
One thing we normally revel in traveling is the food (we are only one of the species of whales you can find in the ocean :). The island was a bit of a rollercoaster though. We dropped right into a to-go box of hotdogs, scrambled eggs and beans on the first morning. Perhaps you could call it a low budget English breakfast (bangers, beans
and mash)? And while we love some fried noodles, curry, and tandoori chicken pizza but after six straight days on rotation, we couldn’t have been more excited for some variety in my life.
Still, getting to the end of the week and not having the existential dread of going back to work was more than worth it. I’d eat brekkie hot dogs every day for that kind of unbridled happiness. And things are only looking up going into a week long liveaboard through the central atolls.