COUNTRY 11 – Maldives:  An Indian Ocean Paradise

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul. – Wyland

                                                                    

                         
For a beach-lover family like us, Maldives is paradise! Fine, white beach, beautiful Indian Ocean! Two weeks of magical surreal days in this country did stir our hearts, inspired our imagination and brought eternal joy to the soul. Wyland articulated quite clearly what we got from the Indian Ocean!

Turknoys in Maldives

 

We stayed in a private island for five nights at Gangehi Island and needed to take the seaplane to and from Male. The sea plane ride is the attraction! Such experience to look down at the Indian Ocean and see clearly the deep blue sea, dolphins diving out from oxygen, spurts of water we can only assume from whales! Riding on sea plane, landing straight on the deep, blue Indian Ocean, we can always feel that euphoria when the wind blew our hair and we step out of the sea plane! Such a dream-like experience, the kids were shouting out with glee!

Sea plane to Gangehi Island from Male! We really dont mind doing this again…and again… God-willing!

 
Gangehi Island and sea plane Trans Maldivian Pilot

Snorkeling and swimming in the Indian Ocean, watching sunrise and sunset, enjoying our water villa, chasing wild terns and herons by the beach just in front of our private villa, running around in the white, pristine-like sand, the rain showers almost every hour all throughout the day, the sea breeze, the magnificent view. Such relaxing moments and memorable family bonding times, priceless!

Our beach villa for five days.. swoon!

 
exploring the island in the middle of the Indian Ocean

Exploring the city of Male and the nearby beaches is also a paradise in itself- even better because most of the beaches are free! Public transportation are boat, not buses. Kinda like Venice with their water taxis, but hey, we’ve been to Venice and with the ocean adventure, we’ll pick Maldives over the City of Venice anytime. Seriously. We did claim we are beach-lover bunch!

Huraa Island – best things in life are free! free public beach all day!

 

Himmafushi Island – free beach, all day fun!!

Vilinggili Island – another free beach, another day!!
Hulhumale Island – yet another free beach! We live every day!
Maale – The Capital City of Maldives!

Oh, how we love to come back again to the Indian Ocean! We intend to. When our youngest will be old enough to dive with us, we will dive the Indian Ocean together as family. Because we don’t live only once. We live every day! When one milestones is ticked off the bucket list, another wish is added, milestones to look forward to. We believe, it is not by accident that people are surrounded by bodies of water. Ocean makes us feel the life more, empowers us to live, not once, but every day!

The Beach is our School #worldschooling
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Let’s Be Busy Being Alive 

“He not busy being born is busy dying.” –Sings Bob Dylan 
 
Every time we visit a new country or a new place or do new activity together as family, we always have that feeling of vigor, of expanding our horizon, of being reborn (in a non-radical-religious-kinda-way!)

The feeling of excitement when we stepped out of the plane and enjoy the first breath of fresh air of the country! Lots of possibilities, places to see, lots of milestones to share with kids!

The feeling of accomplishment when we perform new activity together, no matter now trivial, the exhilaration of fresh ideas coming to mind, fresh feelings of tons of possibilities shared with kids! 

It makes all of us come alive.

When we arrived at Gangehi, Maldives from the seaplane to the boat going to the island, we can still vividly hear the gasps of WOW from all the passengers, it’s like we were almost in the paradise island! Well, the island is a paradise. Gangehi is one small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean isolated surrounded with nothing but water and white, fine sand. The parents were so busy admiring the islands that the kids almost fell off the ocean from the plane! (True story – but kids are good swimmers, no harm done!) Out of breath with the view, panting with excitement, every now and then pinching ourselves to make sure that it’s real, all nerves yearning to catch up with the logic of what is happening. Euphoria – that’s a nice busy feeling.

Setting foot on Gangehi Islands in Indian Ocean for the first time with kids!
Exactly the same feeling our family felt when we stepped out of the airplane from Stockholm to Kiruna, in the Artic part of the world. It was almost midnight, the snow everywhere, the freezing temperature, looking up at the bright sky hoping to see the Northern Lights. Again, the parents were so busy admiring the snow-covered airport runway that we didn’t notice the kids sinking their feet to the depth of the snow. (Again, true story! They did however, find this funny and kept running mindlessly around like their parents, despite being undressed in a very cold weather!) The faces of the kids, giddy moments together, definitely a treasure to remember for the rest of our living moments.

The morning after arrival at Kiruna – awesome moments with family!

Again, exactly the same feeling we had when we experienced our first family cart-carabao ride around the village in Indang we call home in the Philippines. Kids and parents shouting with joy and excitement looking at familiar green environment and feeling euphoric seeing goats, chickens and banana shrubs! The adrenaline rush, the blissful moment of being occupied with activity so routine and trivial for some, yet so special and memorable for our family.

Carabao Ride in Indang! Home Sweet Home Adventures!

 

That exact same feeling, although a bit challenging to replicate in our day-to-day life as expat family in the desert, we always try our best to feel alive, to be exhausted with happiness and not boredom. We find bliss in sand dunes, so we always seek the thrill of admiring the desert with kids especially at high temperature and humidity! In the desert, we feel busy dreaming, busy feeling the euphoria of experiencing life surrounded by sand and  dust yet with so much comfort magnified by love and blessings of the country we live in.

 

Brown is our Green when in Qatar! Exploring is always blissful
Every day we open our eyes are God’s gift. Each day we don’t do things that make us come alive is an injustice to this gift. 

Every day is too precious not to be busy living. Such a waste to be busy dying! 

Let’s Be Busy Growing Everday. It takes full commitment to growth!

THIS IS IT?!

 
It is better to travel than to arrive. – Buddha

#turknoys #turknoytravels100 #country9 – up and around Mt. Everest, enjoying the view from top, on a plane. For now. “The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
 

“This is it?!” – This would make the top 5 statements the Turknoy kids say all the time whenever there is a travel landmark or bucketlist we aim to go.

“This is it?!” whispered Turknoys Dad when reached Venice. This is an overrated touristic city. Yet, when the rained poured and the city of Venice overflowed, he was thrilled like a 3-year old while ranting about the cold and wet feet we had.

‘This is it?!” said our eldest daughter, sarcastically, on top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world when she just saw brown everywhere and desert view below . Yet, she was shrieking in delight when inside the elevator especially when the floor level reached about 100!

 “This is it?!” shouted our son from the top of the Eiffel top while we are all in awe looking out the gorgeous view of Paris. What a classy and posh city Paris is, yet our five year old was not impressed. Yet, he was ecstatic playing under the Eiffel Tower and amazed with the architecture of the tower while climbing up the tower.

“This is it?!” shouts our youngest curly baby pretty much all the time. Yet her laughter inside the trains, planes, cars, if she is in a good, non-sleepy, non-tired mood, is very priceless mixed with the laughter of all family members.

It’s the travel, the journey. Most of the time. Not the destination. Not the arrival. 

#turknoys #turknoytravels100 #country11 Exploring the Indian Ocean and atolls of Maldives in a sea plane going to Gangehi Island! An awesome experience, seeing whales and dolphins and clear blue ocean deep! “The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot

This is it?! That’s not it! There’s always more to it. All the time. It’s the travel. 

The Birds And The Stars

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”  – E.E Cummings
 

Have you ever seen someone full of eagerness to learn that they kept on trying and practicing to their heart’s content and when they get to learn the ideas they wanted to comprehend, they shrieked carelessly out of pure delight?

“I got it, Mommy!”

What a remarkable statement that is for a home educating family. When traveling to new countries, that statement with different world scenes as backdrop, where they claim to learn something in an out-of-box method, is beyond an awe-inspiring statement.

Those moments are contagious. We can’t help but feel ecstatic about whatever they are learning, whatever is important for them to learn. The songs they want to sing and how they sing it.

Experienced riding one of the world’s oldest ferris wheel

Insert the image of Archimedes running naked around town, shouting Eureka! Eureka!! He has found the answer!

We don’t really get that passionate inside the four corners of our classrooms, do we?

Traveling and home educating shares the same purpose for our family. Song birds singing in their natural habitats. Finding their songs and unleashing the power of their music. The passion, the bliss of singing under the brilliant stars!

inside the world’s first ever submarine !

Oh, the stars!

The stars mean different things to different people. Shining stars, their brilliance is simply magnificent, twinkling the night away.

“Someday, I want to be a star!” becomes a popular dream for everyone. There are gazillion stars up there trying to outshine each other. It’s a beautiful sky. But as e.e Cummings noted, there are no dancing!

Institutionalized. One word we learned as we embarked on our family goals. One word we started to detest and shield our kids from. Yet one, we can’t run away from. One word we defines as “No unique dancing allowed.”

During our school days, remember those times that we have to excel at examinations to show the administrators, our parents and classmates that we are shining brightly because we are top of the class or we got several awards and medals? Was it really that important?

We have been there. Top of the class, lots of medals. Not really that relevant in the real world.

We’ve also seen students who were bad at math and staying extra hours to study to ace a test over practicing violin or traveling on a summer vacation.

Shine bright, stars. That is what stars are supposed to do, isn’t it?
 
 
Institutionalized. The lazy way to dream, copy the dream and goals defined by the institutions and live the happy, mediocre lifestyle.

There are lots of bright stars but only when the sky is dark. The system is dark.

Our family is part of the system, we can break free for that, but for this period, the system prevails. We can only hope that there will be revolution in the future to free our stars and let the dancing starts!

 
For now, we travel and learn as a lifestyle. There will be “dark” moments. We do what we can.

 
Everytime we have those Eureka, song bird moments from our kids, we are taught again and again, (and again..and so on!).. that anything worth learning can’t be taught. Stars can’t make their own bright lights.
 

The birds, the birds create their own happy songs.
 

Happy singing birds over brilliant stars. Why not? 

 
Happy singing!

turknoys preferred classroom! Awesome white sand beach at Maldives.. did we mention this is a free public beach???