Thursday, August 22, 2013

Boredom- A State Bigger Than Texas/The Art of Doing Nothing

Dear Readers,
I apologize for the massive delay in posts this time around. To be completely honest, it's been even harder to write about traveling while living on this single speck in the middle of the Indian Ocean than it was while living on a single bed in my childhood bedroom.
So far working in the Maldives has not been what I expected. Yes, I get to wake up every morning in a natural paradise,
I run the 1.8km length of my island before teaching my morning fitness classes either at the pool
or in my Jungle Gym.
I like to take time out of my day to further my Ashtanga Practice on the yoga platform,
Steal coconut slices when no one is looking,
("Help Yourself" is a message intended for the guests and not me...clearly.)
And on my day off, take advantage of the incredible ocean habitat by going SCUBA diving or searching for whale sharks on the top of a Dhoni [a traditional Maldivian boat].
My job has given me the amazing opportunity to meet and train people from all over the world, but when I first arrived on the island, the resort was not very busy so I found myself occupying free time by practicing skills in which I was so devoid of talent that I previously evaded them for embarrassment's sake. Nonetheless, when you're on an island in the middle of nowhere, things like table tennis, pool and darts seem like fantastic [albeit humbling] options to kill fill some time.
(My first and last bullseye. Beginner's luck, indeed.)
Although the leisurely perks of my job are nice, I'd be lying if I said that my arrival to this island was stress free. There was one enormous anchor that continued to weigh down my time here- BOREDOM.
My grandmother used to say, "there is no such thing as boredom because you can always find something to do." I definitely think she made a legitimate point, but then again, Grandma never lived in the Maldives.
To say the island I live on is "small" is an understatement. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from tip to tip. There are no cars. No roads. No nightlife. Nothing. Just ocean and sky out here. As much as I was warned via Internet forums that living and working in the Maldives was boring, I thought that my years longing for retreat from the daily grind of Western society warranted the challenge.
Of course, I can see the benefit of living so far removed from my New York City life. I was frequently overwhelmed there by the sheer amount people, buildings and sensory stimuli. I even developed my own source of city survival skills out of an intense relationship with my noise canceling headphones and a few alternating playlists of Enya, Ekhart Tolle and Lama Marut. And I cannot deny that I am more than grateful that for the first time in years, I do not need to worry about income and housing.
Despite the intense challenge in my first few weeks here, I looked at this environment as an opportunity for growth instead of an obstacle for stagnancy. Many people referred to life on the resort as living in a 5 Star Prison but as I began to reframe my thinking, I came to realize that prison only truly existed in the mind.
(My best friend, Maiwenn, made fun of me extensively for uttering such a crunchy-granola-existential statement, but then she put on a onesie and played the ukelele for me in a ski mask, so I think we're even.)
The more comfortable I grew in this environment, the more I began to appreciate the small big things I received here, like waking up at sunrise to train people in a gorgeous millennium pool,
riding jet skis with friends on my lunch break,
and creating my own version of Happy Hour by swimming in a lagoon at twilight.
Life is quiet at the moment, but I know it will only temporarily stay this way, so I am lapping up the luxury of my working retreat from the West.
As I've clearly demonstrated, I'm not certain how frequently I'll be posting blogs here. However, I'll do my best to update any time something interesting happens or if I'm able to take the odd weekend and travel to another island or country in the region. Till then, I am sending you all some island sunshine and Indian Ocean kisses to boot...