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20
Feb
2017

Lessons from the Maldives

I have always wanted to travel. In high school I ventured around the U.S. on debate trips and that was the beginning of a yearning to explore and see the world. When I was 22 years old I decided to to go to India to study yoga. When I was 25 years old I set off on an around-the-world trip that lead me to find myself reborn. I’m an American, not quite an ex-pat, although I have often spent more time out of my native country than in it. Maybe I could be considered a citizen of the global yoga community more than anything else. Travel is a passion for me. I believe it expands your horizons to see and experience the world in all its beauty. When we simply surround ourselves with an enclave of people who think and look like we do the world gets smaller. While not everyone has the financial means to travel to exotic locations, the spirit of travel is one of inclusiveness. I share my travels on my social media so that people can share the journey with me and perhaps share in the expanding view of the world that really has one message—we are all the same, meaning, we are all human beings that yearn to love, laugh and be happy. We may dress differently or speak differently but our heats are essentially the same. Whether you’re eating a salad a spicy curry or an empanada our feelings get hurt when someone we care about rejects us.
 

When I landed on the island of the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi in the Maldives I literally had to pinch myself. This beautiful island paradise is actually better in person that the pics. What you see online doesn’t do justice to the island nation in the Indian Ocean. Just southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the Maldives is comprised of twenty-six coral atoll archipelago islands formed atop the subtmaine mountain range called the Chaos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge.  The 350,000 local citizens of the Maldives are devout Muslims and the biggest structure on the main island city of Male that also houses is the airport is a giant mosque. They pray five times a day and local island have no alcohol. While the beach was amazing—an absolute paradise—what was perhaps even more amazing was the international harmony of the staff and all people in the Maldives. Christians, Hindus, Buddhist and Mulsims from many different nations welcome guests from all over the world without any hint of intolerance or exclusion. Perhaps this was a harmony achieved only for the tourist show, but it made a deep impact on me. In a time great division in the U.S., the Maldives left me with a feeling of hope that a world of inclusion and multiculturalism where different faiths, colors and creeds can work and live side by side may yet still be possible. But then again, who wouldn’t be happy when you have this pristine beach and endless aqua waters as your backyard?

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