Finally some ‘ME’ time! Part 1
After spending the best part of two decades ‘single parenting’ and awaiting the 18th birthday of the youngest, I reflect on the demands that have been placed upon me and wonder how on earth I have survived !
I find myself seeking out more and more ‘me myself and I’ time quiet often preferring to spend time in my own company rather than in the company of others, finding solace in the calm and quiet that I have so longed for during recent years.
I begin to dream about the feasibility of being able to make travel plans, having only my wants to be mindful of. After the initial feelings of guilt, I embrace this new way of thinking and find myself working on breaking the emotional restraints of ‘Mum guilt’.
I spend a considerable amount of time day dreaming about where I would go and what it would feel like to be travelling solo. I realise that if I am lucky I may only have 40 years left in which to do all the things that I want to and I acknowledge that time is running out, which instils a certain amount of ‘middle aged’ panic !
There are numerous conversations with the offspring about my plans to book my first solo overseas trip and I am happy with their response which is supportive. After spending time in my own thoughts and accepting that it’s ok to behave so selfishly, I find myself pondering the pros and cons of taking the jump and booking my first international adventure. One dark rainy Saturday evening in January 2017, I pour a large glass of Chardonnay, fire up the laptop and begin my research.
As snorkelling is a big part of any holiday for me I am keen to make sure that wherever my first destination is, it has to be up there in terms of snorkeler’s recommendations. I have friends who are ocean lovers and had already asked about their favourite snorkelling locations, Mexico, Egypt, The Caribbean, Indonesia, Hawaii and The Maldives, were all thrown into the mix.
There was something about the Maldives that fired a spark in me, possibly the reality that as the sea levels continue to rise, due to climate change, these islands will not be around forever and I decide that if I really do want to go, then I need to go sooner rather than later. I begin my research and find there is more to the Maldives than I initially thought.
There are literally hundreds of islands, most of which are inhabited, with the tourist islands pretty much split into two categories. The first are the bigger island resorts that have a big price tag attached to them as they only offer all-inclusive packages and then the smaller islands, which after the tsunami in 2004 were encouraged to open their doors to tourists offering B&B accommodation as a way of helping the country recover from the devastation that was caused.
I realise that this was going to take longer than a couple of hours on a miserable Saturday evening and so revert to looking at what flight options were available when travelling from Manchester to Male, which is in the North Male Atoll of the Maldives otherwise known as ‘Kaafu’.
This airport at Male is literally a strip on land in the Indian ocean and visitors are ferried to and from the islands via Dohni (small ferry)/Speedboat or sea plane…… I work out that it’s more expensive to travel direct from Manchester to the Maldives and after some exploration I find flights that will take me to Colombo (Sri Lanka) with Emirates where I can stay for 6 nights and then return flights from Colombo to Male with Sri Lanka Airlines at a much lower price than flying direct.
This route is appealing as the money that I would save in spending less time in the Maldives will fund the time spent in Sri Lanka……..I begin to get excited at the thought of visiting both these countries and with another large glass of Chardonnay and a rush of adrenaline, I find myself staring at the confirmation emails from both Emirates and Sri Lanka Airlines, wondering……………..‘how on earth did that just happen?’