• Countries Visited: 37
  • Travel Wishlist: Norway, Finland, Eastern Europe, Galapagos Islands
  • Locked down in: The Maldives

If you’re reading this thinking you wish you were in Maldives during lockdown – the reality of it is paradise can still feel like prison too if you aren’t careful.”

Our year began like any other for us – spending 4 months in Australia before a small adventure this time to india before heading on to our regular season in the Maldives for the remaining 8 months of the year.

Covid started to hit india while we were there so we made the executive decision to leave early so we wouldn’t get stuck there and miss our work. Little did we know just how badly the situation would become.

We did 2 weeks hotel quarantine on the resort we work at (confined to only our room) and as soon as we were released the resort announced it would be shutting down for 3 months minimum and we were stood down from our positions until further notice.
This was a huge shock to us, but we bit the bullet and decided to wait it out for when work would return after those 3 months. The entire Maldives went on lockdown and covid hit the main island fairly hard. Fun fact: Male is the most densely populated island in the world with around 143,000 people living in a very small space.

We spent those months on a skeleton team at the resort helping maintain the resort and the land. We had rostered teams between maintenance, raking the island and reclaiming land by pumping sand & piling it around the island. Another fun fact for you: the maldives are expected to be the first under water due to global warming. So reclaiming land has become common practice.

The work kept us busy long enough but it was certainly a mental battle more than anything. With so much uncertainty going on in the world around us we were becoming increasingly worried that things would not return to normal this year at all. The resort and maldives stayed locked down for many months longer than expected and there was only 2 repatriation flights offered during that time by the government. We couldn’t make either of them as our work needed us to stay put, optimistic that work would resume before the end of the year.

We eventually opened in september and had a small number of guests able to travel from europe and the states. Seeing those first people was definitely a shock to the system after so long of being completely isolated. And certainly a welcome change! We were able to negotiate some sort of a salary for the remaining 2 months of work albeit a very small one- but it was better than nothing!

If you’re reading this thinking you wish you were in Maldives during lockdown-  the reality of it is paradise can still feel like prison too if you aren’t careful. When everyday is the same, trying to find new ways to walk around the island, unable to leave at all, with the same food day in & day out. It is pretty easy to go “troppo” as they call it.

Despite all of this we have felt extremely grateful to have been here during our lockdown. Our only issue is the lack of support from the government as we are unable to get home and facing many flight cancellations. We are sadly still affected by the passenger caps and deeply disheartened by the government’s attitude and lack of assistance to bring its own citizens home.

We have witnessed staff here from the philippines, india, sri lanka and others all receiving ample support from the government and tireless efforts to bring all of them home and leave non stranded. Our colleagues have left and since returned and can’t believe we have been here on the same island for the past 9 months (and counting)

I truly hope help arrives soon for all of us australians missing our families and trying to get home to be with them. All in all our lockdown experience was a positive one, but we are certainly ready to get home and enjoy the simple pleasures of a home cooked meal, anything other than fish, rice & curry and being with our loved ones.