Making friends - who wants to go to the Maldives?

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Instead of a hometown my address growing up read "MD of Foothills", the nearest town was 8km away has a population of 2,500. I had the same friends when I was three years old that I did when I graduated highschool and as soon as I could, I left and didn't really look back. I found a university on the other side of the country, hopped on a plane alone and spent the next four years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I will be honest, my first year was lonely to say the least, I never have enjoyed drinking, haven't ever tried illegal drugs and my preferred bedtime is 9pm - apparently these things aren't very popular in the university dormitories. So I started working at a yoga clothing store, and then at a yoga studio. I immersed myself in this world and eventually found my people. I learned a lot about myself there, as as Neuroscience undergraduate I believed that I was a purely logical, scientific person these relationships gave me space to be a little bit more creative. I befriended photographers and musicians, eastern medicine healers and the kind of people like Jeremie, Brian, Taylor and Bryde who went on to start some of my favourite podcasts(shameless plug at the bottom of this post).  The friends I made in that time are to this day some of the most inspiring and supportive people in my life, but not only that they taught me a lot about how to make friends and that the one of the best parts about being an adult is figuring out just how both big and small the world really is.

So... a few years ago when the twin brother of Brian, Dennis, sent me a message on instagram that he wanted to fly from Dubai to see the Canadian Rockies I submitted a vacation request with work to show him around. What I did not realize at the time was that Dennis and I had actually never met, our mutual friends list was long but somehow our first meeting was when he snuck into the guest room of the house I was staying at in the middle of the night for a few hours of shut eye before a 3am wakeup to watch his first Moraine lake sunrise. The week went quickly and we became fast friends. 

A few months later I left my "big girl" job and decided that one of my first adventures would be to the Middle East, I had already planned on spending a few days in Dubai and had a trip to India booked with my best friend from University.  I sent a message to Dennis and his partner Abbey asking if they would be interested in doing something together, apparently my tour guiding skills were up to par and they agreed. We spent a few weeks tossing back and forth ideas for what we should do and where we should go. We wanted somewhere amazing, but it had to be close to Dubai to eliminate too many travel days(Dennis was running low on vacation days at work) and we also wanted somewhere none of us had visited (which was perhaps our most limiting factor at this point). 

Abbey had spent the past few years in Dubai garnering yoga teacher trainings and building a name for herself within the yoga community both in the Middle East and on a global scale through social media. One of the services she had started offering was guest-teaching classes and workshops at resorts. When she and Dennis asked me if I would like to go to the Maldives and work with the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort I was ecstatic. A few short weeks later we were leaving Dubai en route to one of the most beautiful places in the world.  We played on the beach, swam in the ocean, Dennis learned how to shoot underwater and I took my very first astrophotograph! I could write for days about how this trip should be on the top of everyone's bucket lists... but I think that the photos speak for themselves.

What are the Maldives?

  • The Republic of Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea southwest of Sri Lanka and India.
  • There are over 1190 Coral Islands within its 26 atolls - around 200 of the islands are inhabited. 
  • It is the world's flattest country with some of the best scuba diving in the world. 

Packing list:

This trip was really hard to pack for, the elevation is hardly above sea level and the temperatures were in the 30's (Celsius). I used my friend Jill from The August Diary's beach vacation packing list as a skeleton, crossed my fingers and this is what I ended up with: 

  • Swimsuits, I brought enough for two a day. I don't think this was necessary but I did change out of my wet clothes every day at lunchtime. 
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Casual sneakers
  • Denim shorts
  • Athletic shorts
  • Tank tops and t-shirs - I kept it simple and brought only white, it kept me cool and paired easily
  • Dress for dinners
  • Beach Backpack- I am a huge fan of Atlas Supply Co backpacks for anytime I am not on a mountain
  • Straw Hat
  • Light Scarf (coming from a trip in the Middle East this was already in my bag and came in very useful)
  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards 
  • Tripod - with no civilization in sight this was the perfect place for me to learn astro-photography
  • Sunscreen (Iam obsessed with this Tinted SunBum Face Stick with SPF 50 for my face, and I also brought Sun & Earth natural zinc sunscreen out of Australia- I am paranoid about skin safety)
  • Insulated Water bottle
  • Books
  • Suitcase

shameless plug for my favourite podcast(s):

I could write for days about how much I love this podcast, how proud of these three I am and how important I think that their message is but instead I will just steal their own words:

Sickboy Podcast is hilarious, ridiculously insightful and absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease! The show started with three best friends who recognized that when faced with difficult situations, illnesses and diseases, people tighten up, they get awkward, and they simply don't know what to say. Taking the lead from Jeremie's life long battle with Cystic Fibrosis, the boys help people understand that sometimes the best way to deal with illness, disease and life is simply to laugh. Join the conversation every Monday over on iTunesSoundcloudGoogle Play or wherever you get your podcast fixin's

And if you're looking for something a little bit more PG13, Jeremie and his wife Bryde have a really fantastic podcast:

Turn Me On Podcast is a no hold barred conversation bout what it is to be a sexual being in the world. Hosted by Jeremie and Bryde, a married, poly, adventurous couple who love to talk to people about s-e-x, the conversation is geared toward getting real about pleasures of the flesh with intelligence, humour and maybe a little pillow talk.