“Perfect!” That’s how we both respond each time someone asks about our stay in Kurumba, Maldives. It’s rare to use that word in so many things in life from ‘how was your day?’ to ‘how’s your marriage’ and I can count on one hand how many times we’ve used it in our travels…but this one, this one was perfect! From the minute we were escorted onto the Kurumba boat at the airport to the minute we stepped foot on it again at the dock for our return; it was spectacular!
It took a bit of planning to decide where to head in the world for my 40th birthday and our 5-year anniversary. We knew we were looking for palm trees and sunshine, but what we got was so very much more. In tangible notes, we got six days in an island paradise with a beach bungalow complete with both indoor and outdoor shower, private beach, inexplicable scenery, and gorgeous surrounds.
As is with any adventure, it’s the intangible gains that are transportable and the ones that are truly able to change the direction of your journey. You know, they are those little bits of wisdom that creep into your subconscious in the midst of a mid-afternoon beach nap or while searching for the best angle from which to photograph your favourite palm tree. Those, along with the countless photos of a beautiful Maldivian paradise are what we have taken away with us from this extraordinary holiday.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a completely ‘beach’ holiday. A few days here and there in the past four years, but our last actual beach holiday was time spent in Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti as part of our honeymoon. Before that, together we spent a week in the Dominican Republic but since it’s been more adventure and travel on our journeys. For anyone who ‘knew me when’, my holidays were always ‘beach’ related. Every break I had in school I’d head to a warm, sunshine-filled beach to recharge my batteries and follow the sun on its continual path.
Cancun, Turks and Caicos, Martinique or wherever the wind would take me found a beach with my name on it to escape the bleak New England winters and keep my feet in perpetual flip flops. That trip to New Zealand in 2005 changed everything and a more travel centered holiday lifestyle ensued. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just the way it has been and it’s been really interesting to watch the travel transform. But for this special occasion, it took minutes for the two of us to decide – beach it is!
Our island oasis surpassed all of our expectations. Our chairs were numbered so no one had to search for the best spot. Heels weren’t even welcome on the entire island. Interaction with locals and historical tours of the island were readily available. An international feel was universal in language, conversation, culture and food. Dressed up was a sundress and flip flops and nightlife meant a game of air hockey or watching the stars from a seat next to the Indian Ocean while live music played in the background.
Walks, breakfasts, snacks, fun in the sand, chats, yoga and some water activities filled the days and naps were ever present. French fries were delivered to the beach followed by a complimentary chocolate cake on my birthday. Yoga was available and plumeria (my favourite flower that has no stamen or pollen and doesn’t bother my asthma/allergies one little bit) were omnipresent and outdoor relaxation palpable. This was exactly what I was looking for and an absolutely perfect spot to celebrate a milestone.
I remember when we first started dating and there were the nay-sayers who couldn’t fathom an international courtship. “How will you ever know it’s real”, they asked. And then there were those who told us point blank that our relationship together wasn’t reality until we had done laundry together. Really, you can’t make this stuff up! We still remember the comments and continue to do our best to debunk them without paying much attention. It was here, on our beach chaises in the white coral Maldivian sand that we solidified even more knowledge about our relationship and the things that make us tick. I can’t tell you how nice it is that at 40, I can tell you I honestly feel comfortable in my own skin and am sure of what makes me happy. Those are the gifts of the Maldives-the ability of time to learn, to think, to relax and to be-aside from the delicious chocolate cake and heaps of photos-that’s what I’ll take with me.
It’s been reaffirmed that I do enjoy the simple life. I am sure that I am happiest with my toes in the sand and the sounds of waves lapping in the distance. I know that I’m lucky to have had so many amazing experiences around the world and can’t wait for the next adventure. I am comfortable with the knowledge of wonderful people in our lives and am most at peace when pulled into a snuggle by my husband. I don’t wish for riches or monetary wealth-but the chance to healthfully exist, see the world, be happy and know that I’ve made someone smile. I’m at ease spending a day at the beach and knowing that the next one will be just as great as the last. I’m blissfully happy in my marriage and look forward to each day we get to spend together. We smile when we see each other and will continue to work towards a day where a traditional job and lifestyle is not needed and travel and time can be at the forefront of our existence.
This is what I found in the Maldives. As always, the whitecaps of the waves and the ripples on the shores give me the answers to life’s questions and deliver wisdom beyond that of anyone I know. Yes, there was yoga, chocolate, palm trees, snorkeling and photos, but there was also introspection, time to chat and most of all to just sit. We may have spent six magical days in the Maldives, but they have provided gifts that will continue far past the day of our departure. Thank you, Kurumba, Maldives, for a most memorable holiday and a spectacular 40th birthday celebration.