21 June 2015

pause on the pangalan

T R A V E L & L I F E S T Y L E || Pangalan, Madagascar

Apparently, if asked to describe our lives the majority of us would say it was busy. This little four letter word then leads to us all wanting a well-deserved break because it can all get a bit too much. I feel you all, there's a lot going on, I've been there, I am there. This past week has seen a couple of friends embark on Ramadan and it's got me thinking about why more of us don't actively choose to take time out to just be [or simply feel guilty when we do]. Relaxing, taking time out, having a break shouldn't just be left for holidays and yoga classes. If it is, then we'll never be able to truly switch off when we get the opportunity to. All of this reminded me of the last time I was out in Madagascar, when my mum surprised me with a trip "to the beach". After a five hour drive, we arrived at this super remote village on the side of a large canal [the Pangalan], about to board two small river boats to our paradise destination for the following few days. It was genuinely in the middle of nowhere: an island with a canal full of caimans on one side and a vast ocean full of sharks on the other. I had no choice but to switch off, and I was really grateful for it. The constant go-go-go of city life can genuinely be hard to let go of, which makes you realise how valuable that pause really is.

click on for more photos to get into zen mode for the week!

The island we stayed on had literally nothing but coconut trees and huts. A dream destination created by a retired couple who had decided that doing nothing at retirement just seemed like a silly idea. So they bought the land, cleared it and built some humble abodes to live in. There is no electricity, no wifi [eeep!], no grid-anything. Water for washing was gathered from the canal [toilets are 'flushed' with a bucket] and we had to bring some solar powered lamps with us for light [charged in the day and used at night]. Time was spent talking, teaching, telling stories, eating, playing dominoes and going for walks on the beach. Sounds romantic, it was. The dawns and sunsets were particularly stunning, and my favourite part of all was how humble everything felt. Going back to the very basics can be a little daunting [I won't lie] but it's amazing how quickly we can adapt.

No excuses then [me included!]. The next time your diary is "getting filled up" and you're feeling busy: review, re-evaluate and switch off. You deserve it. 

hope you've all had a restful weekend.


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