Searching for Paradise: Welcome to Island Life

In the third installment, the author talks about the reality of life in paradise.

This is the third installment of Searching for Paradise, the author’s personal account of living her dream of moving to the beautiful island as the resident yoga teacher at a luxury resort. Find part one here, and part two here.

I wake up at around 5:40 a.m. every single day. Not because I want to, but because my assigned room is right outside the island mosque, and the morning prayers are my alarm clock … one that has no snooze button.

Welcome to island life!

The sun rises at around 7 a.m.here, so my early morning alarm allows me to witness the moon and stars fading from view as the sun comes up. This is my favorite part of the day.

Most of the time, I’m grateful that there’s something that wakes me up on the dot without fail, especially after nights I get so tired that I forget to set my alarm and I happen to have an early yoga session to teach the next day. And then there are the other times — times I want to sleep in a little longer. But since I’m already up, I might as well go for a morning run, right?

My days here start with a run around the island or a sunrise yoga practice. The view is always worth getting up early for.

It still looks desktop wallpaper worthy, even when it rains!

After having a bit of time for myself in the morning, I am revved up and ready for work. I teach anywhere from two to seven classes a day, six days a week. I’ve never had to teach this many classes a day back home so it does get quite challenging. There are also times I have to teach on my days off since I’m the only yoga teacher on the island, and when a guest wants something at a luxury resort, we give it to them.

 

Life is simple.

I had been dreaming of this kind of life — waking up in paradise to do what I love and get paid to do it. Living on an island with white sand, turquoise water, and clear blue skies punctuated by puffy white clouds — yes, that’s my idea of paradise. I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and that’s definitely what I got here.

Days off are spent on the staff beach – which is an eight-minute walk from my room.

There are no cars or motorbikes on this little island. You can jog around the island’s perimeter in less than an hour, so we get around on foot, bicycle or buggy. There are no massive buildings here. Come to think of it, the last time I stepped into an elevator was six months ago! There are no malls, movie theaters or clubs, either. And while there are several restaurants for the guests, they’re quite expensive and we don’t usually eat there.

They say you never forget how to ride a bike. Uhm. Let’s put it this way — I was very rusty and needed a lot of practice.

 

Come to think of it, we’re pretty spoiled.

The guest villas sit on the perimeter of the island, and the staff in the heart of it. We have a team village here — complete with a café and bar!

I thought I would get a dose of how hard it would be to live on my own. That wasn’t the case here. We are provided with air-conditioned rooms, bathrooms with hot water, and we don’t actually have that many chores to do. We don’t need to cook because the staff canteen serves breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner — all buffet-style. We don’t really do the laundry often because we can pick up fresh towels and bed sheets whenever we need them, and our uniforms are washed and pressed for us every day.

We also have a football pitch… which I used for the staff yoga session.

I was on such a high for the first month — there were so many people to meet, and there were a lot of things to learn. However, once the initial high fades and routine finally sets in, reality starts to hit. And boy, does it hit hard. Because while this may seem like the perfect setup on paper, island fever is a reality we all have to deal with. What you let into your mind and heart can make or break your spirit and totally change your experience — even in paradise.#

About the Author

Joanne Ignacio

Joanne Ignacio

Joanne left the corporate rat race for hosting on TV, and eventually left that to pursue teaching yoga full time. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 (ERYT500) level instructor recognized by Yoga Alliance and is currently the resident yoga instructor of a luxury resort in the Maldives. She enjoys scuba diving, running, weight training, wakeboarding, surfing, stand up paddleboarding, and playing football during her free time.