We are a little further away from January then I would like to be able to post this blog, but I figured why the hell not. I have just returned from a fabulous adventure to a destination, I had come to accept, I would never be able to visit. It is funny how life works, to trust in way of the world is something I have learned to do. There is a trend going around called ‘the law of attraction’ but is this not the most basic form of witchcraft? To put an idea out into the universe has been done for an age. Us witches may use some ingredients and tools, but ultimately we are all using our energy to manifest things in our lives. I find it fascinating that still the vast amount of misconception towards mine and many others beliefs.
Anyway….I digress. At the end of January 2018, I travelled to Hannimandoo in the Maldives and what a spectacular place it is. Before leaving I did go through the internal struggle of ‘how to support a place which seems to be in self-destruct mode’, which I am sure most Earth lovers will do. I have seen the programmes on the island piled high with rubbish, their issue with recycling, overfishing and bleaching of the coral reefs. They are making progress slowly on some problems however other issues appear not to be being dealt with. My solution to this problem was the hotel we chose aptly named The Barefoot Eco Hotel. Its principles to follow Ecotourism by uniting sustainability, conservation and involvement in the local community. My partner and I came to the conclusion that this would be the right fit for us, as it held at its core are the ideas that are so important for our future.
After finally accepting the name ”Barefoot” was quite literal, I left my shoes behind in the room not putting them on again until it was time to leave. A wonderful feeling of being connected and grounding to the Earth during the everyday. Food was grown locally and homemade in the hotel, the power was from solar, even the water was treated and bottled by the resort itself. Importantly recycling was encouraged and you are asked to take what rubbish you can due to the waste problem the Maldives has. It was quite frankly honest, refreshing, pure and gives you access to such a beautiful location without impacting heavily on the environment. A hipster’s idea of heaven but more importantly a mindset which merged with our beliefs.
One of the most shocking facts I learnt while over there occurred while informing my friend about the number of bugs on the island it is, after all, a tropical location. She has also been lucky enough to travel to this destination but her reply will stay with me forever, “what bugs, there aren’t any?”. Confused by this response I told my boyfriend what she had said. He explained that in mainstream resorts use pesticides through the forest/resort areas to get rid of any unwanted insects. All I can say is I found this heartbreaking, I can’t say I am a huge fan of insects but how arrogant of a species are we to do that. That is total and utter disrespect for Planet Earth, what would Gaia say to that?!
To go slightly further back in time, at the beginning of January I completed my PADI Open Water qualification so I could dive while there. I did this in England, in a 4-degree lake and (which I am incredibly smug about) earned myself the reputation of a badarse. I had to wear a (not so) dry suit, hood, gloves as well as all the other diving equipment. It was hard, cold, incredibly difficult to move and I fell over a number of times needing help to stand back up but I am so proud of myself for doing it. This allowed me to experience the underwater world in the most incredible way. The North of the Maldives has been the last place to be policed against large fishing boats of China. The wildlife has had the opportunity to get back on its feet for the past five years and it is getting there but still requires a little more time. Despite this all the dives I went on were fascinating, I could spend hours watching fish go about their daily business. The most impressive was Filladhoo Wreck dive. It is a 3132-ton freighter that sank of the edge of Filladhoo island on 4th June 1963. Although devastating at the time, it has become an environment for underwater wildlife to thrive. It was, quite honestly, like swimming in a fish tank.
What an incredible journey this was and I know I am blessed to be able to visit such a beautiful place in the world. For me, this has reinforced the importance of thinking about how our actions affect the future of this planet. And I will try to hold this in the forefront of my mind as I am sure every Pagan does.