The month of January is a very unique month of the year, fresh starts are welcomed by some and life choices are questioned by others. Whether you create a New Year resolution or plan world domination, there’s something about the first month that naturally inclines us to be nicer to ourselves. The fresh year makes us more positive and productive whilst, in turn, sees us pay more attention to our health and mental well being.
It comes as no surprise to me that one of the most popular months to visit the Maldives is January, the weather is at it’s worst in the west and it’s best in the Indian ocean so people travel the the idyllic islands for the perfect winter escape. In search of a week or so of pure uninterrupted relaxation and recuperation.
Often when people travel to Maldivian islands there is a reserved consensus that the tropical vacation choice is desirable only to wealthy people who are uninterested in the ‘REAL’ side of travel and just want to indulge in the five star luxuries on hand at the prestigious island resorts. Seasoned travellers talk about the lack of culture and things to do in The Maldives, judging those who chose a lavish stay over a more rural exotic location. I have personally heard people mentioning that however pretty the islands may look it’s simply ‘Not for Me’ as ‘There’s nothing to do but lay on the beach’. Well, duh! As incorrect as that statement may be, isn’t that kind of the point?!
For travellers to socially ‘shame’ or question others motives for wanting to holiday in The Maldives always shocks me because in my opinion, there are few more powerful luxuries in life than carving out a week of time that is purely for yourself. Each resort in the Maldives will vary with most hotels offering far more activities, eateries and spa treatments than anyone would be able to fit into a one week stay but the reason I personally adore spending time there is for the very reason that you can, quite simply, do nothing for the entire duration of your stay. There’s a tranquility in the air of the Maldives that after visiting over 47 countries, I have yet to experience elsewhere.
As a creative, my personality is very prone (as most in my position are) to anxiety attacks and high stress levels, I often describe my mental state as ‘having too many tabs open’ and it’s very difficult for me to actually ‘switch off’ for long periods of time, yet from the moment the sea plane touches down there’s a feeling of Zen that delightfully and welcomely flows through me. A feeling that stays with me until I leave my precious paradise.
In a world where switching off for just a few moments a day is all most of us are privy to, spending a week in an idyllic location can be just what the doctor ordered. Some experts in fact argue that stress is our biggest health risk and relaxing where possible can do so much for your well being and creating a healthier you. Studies have even shown that chronic stress can kill brain cells, and even prevent the creation of new ones. With similar information widely available and shared, how is it that a week of relaxation is nowadays deemed as a ‘waste’ of travel?
Whilst exploring new countries and enjoying learning about new cultures and traditions is one of the mean reasons I travel, I am also in a position to know the benefits of travel can be appreciated in many different ways. Being able to truly appreciate your surroundings in the mediative state that a small island can cast over you is also a learning and gratifying experience of being able to see the world.
We’re spending so much time on our ‘holidays’ frantically running around trying to fit everything in, whether it’s a trip to a Balinese temple or a boat trip to a hidden beach, it’s as if we’re desperately trying to prove and showcase that we are ‘covering off’ a certain location. Sometimes leaving a destination more knackered than when we arrived! How many of us set out for a week away armed with an itinerary and saved gallery of instagram pictures to re-create? What ever happened to enjoying each moment live? It’s almost impossible not to maximise your stay if it’s somewhere new and exciting, I am the worst for ‘cramming in’ as much as possible into one trip but maybe that’s why I love the peacefulness of the Maldives so much.
In the Maldives your time is stretched and your ability to relax heightens your senses. The bats and birds flying overhead are noticed and the smell of the sea air is appreciated, the salt in the sea water is tasted and the colours of the sunset adored. Precious moments that you unassumingly make time for.
From cooking classes to water-sports, scuba diving to island hopping excursions there actually is so much to do in The Maldives, though, if you don’t do anything other than relaxing on the beach there’s no sense of missing out and that feeling of contentment whilst being abroad is slowly being factored out of our holidays, just as it is in our everyday lives.
Pictures and DayDreams made at Conrad Maldives.