03 Nov Maldives
MALDIVES-NOW WITHIN YOUR REACH
They say that travelling leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller. Don’t listen to what they say, go see it for yourself.
Ignited by such wanderlust-inducing quotes and moulded by an intrinsic passion to collect memories, I set out on an on the spot expedition, uninformed yet uninhibited.
I am off with a backpack, with ideas and information as mix matched as my travel clothes. The family had expected something like this from a frustrated adult so the only challenge was travel-the most exciting part of the journey.
My dream destination was Maldives. Yes, that little country down there with pristine beaches and clear water. Yes, it was a good choice indeed. But, if it wouldn’t have been for arrival visa, the thrill of this trip would have been long lost amidst lengthy paperwork and patient planning. Tickets and hotel booking has been made so easy and convenient because of online websites and travel sites. Just the right amount of empowerment a woman would want for a solo trip. The flight was somewhat tiring since it was a connecting flight from Mumbai to Kochi and then Maldives. But again, the fatigue and boredom was taken care of by extra comfy neck pillows, on-air shopping and random chats with strangers. Travelling alone was not a bad idea after all, if one knows the art of small talk.
I was greeted by a tranquil afternoon sky with clouds assuming varied shapes.Normally, when you land up in a strange place, currency exchange,transport and accommodation is a big problem. But the tech-savvy girl that I was, all my hotel bookings were done even before I got my arrival visa. Uber made the transport entirely convenient and peaceful.Nowadays, you’ve got these Forex cards, which make money exchange so simple. Travelling indeed seemed no more a hassle but a leisure retreat.
I had chosen a water bungalow to stay in for two nights out of my seven-night programme. For the rest five nights, I used this app ‘meetup’ through which I could literally get couches (houses) to spend the night. The thing about couching that appealed to me the most was the adventure of staying with random strangers, making new friends. With Google maps, trip advisor and other such apps, locating places to visit and other happening places in the city were always on my daily to-do list. And how to forget, they also have 20-minute ferries these days that can take you directly to the main city. Goes without saying, I tried all these wacky rides also with equal enthusiasm!
Underwater tourism is a very interesting trend that I noticed here at Maldives. Apart from scuba diving, snorkeling, there is underwater dining at Ithaa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort and at Anantara Villas at KihavahHuravalli. Subsix at Niyama resort is the first underwater bar while Lime spa at Per AquumHuvafenFushi is the first underwater spa. A fine combination of luxury and liquidity indeed!
The water bungalow is an exotic combination of astonishing aquatic allure and superior sojourn. The market places were lined with not only indigenous goods but also a variety of foreign brands that made me realize how globalization has affected even the smallest of countries. Religion was also not excluded. Despite being a devout Islamic state, there are now private resorts on almost all islands that have an atmosphere of their own. Cruises are becoming increasingly popular, just as solo trips like mine are!
Throughout the trip, I realized that travel blogging has been the new trend off late. People taking pictures and videos of different adventures and maintaining a travelogue is a new craze in recent times. Apart from technological changes like cable car rides, water-skiing, bikes, desert rides, underwater adventures, etc the latest track has also reflected in broadening of the sphere of travel from luxury to retreats, healthcare, spirituality, business, romance, education and freedom, just like in my case!
Subtle yet noteworthy changes include the availability of foreign exchange and a detailed comparison of flight rates for the most budget-friendly air faring. This leads me to actually ponder on the fact that tourism, banking, economic development, culture, society, all these variables are so obliquely interdependent that even we lose ourselves in understanding its nitty-gritty. Static or dynamic, one thing that is going to remain the same is that travel will never go out of vogue and so, novelty ought to spread its wings around it just like wildfire engulfs a forest, the only difference being that the former will never have negative effects.
‘Thou art an ideal traveler only if thou chooseth to visit all different varieties of feats offered.’
I lived by this self-made commandment and thus, made this trip worth a novel memory.