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  • Writer's pictureBarefoot Bookseller

A Slice of Island Life

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

So, it’s officially been a week on Soneva Fushi, (we’re not counting my week in quarantine). I’m very glad to say that I have really enjoyed myself over this past week. There’s still that lingering social anxiety, which is probably expected moving halfway across the world. I already missed out on one opportunity to get involved with the island because of it – which I regret because it was related to singing! – so I knew I needed to do something on my first day off this week.

Days off – of which you only get one so use it wisely – are lovely on the island. Most hosts take Sundays and guests are aware of this. Along with the fact that a lot of people depart on Saturday and new people arrive Monday, there’s a gentle lull about the island that really makes you aware of a slower pace of island life.

Even better, there’s no pressure to actually do anything. Days off are important, so if you want to go out and have some fun in the sea, or take a trip to the spa, or even just get some food and sleep, anything and everything can be done.

I originally didn’t know what I would do. I expected to just go over to the host bar, grab some lunch and lounge in my room for the rest of the day. However, towards the end of the week, I was invited by some of the others to go paddle boarding.

Cue Social Anxiety stage right.

My brain’s first reaction was ‘Oh that should be fun, yeah, let’s do that.’ The follow up reaction was ‘OH NO! People! I don’t want to do that!!

I was prepared with all my excuses of why I would have to cancel last minute, I was ready to be like ‘Oh such a shame, work calls, maybe next time!

But that’s completely against the logic of why I applied for this role in the first place. The point was to go out and do something, try and drag myself out of the burnout I had found myself in. Not to mention this blog was supposed to be about things I had done on the island outside of the bookshop – and getting the bookshop going had taken up my whole week meaning I hadn’t DONE anything outside of it.

So, the Social Anxiety had to exit stage left and paddle boarding it was.

Unsurprisingly, it was a good evening out. We set out at around 5. The sky was overcast, thankfully, and the sea was perfect for floating. I see a lot of paddleboarders out at sea back home in the UK and I can’t bring myself to do it. The cold of the water takes your breath away. But with this temperature, you just want to stay there for hours, bobbing and drifting and swimming. I greatly regret no bringing goggles or a snorkel, because the waters were those perfect crystalline shades of blue, rippling between turquoise and azure. That will be my next task for another day off, going snorkelling because I want to have a nosey down there with all the fish – one of my friends had been out that morning and saw a turtle!

The paddle boarding itself was fine. I have only done it once before, and I didn’t stand this time. Partly because I didn’t trust my balance in the surf, and partly because I was paddling over coral and didn’t want to land on the stuff. Because, as it turns out, that stuff hurts your feet!!

We paddled a couple of hundred metres, following the shoreline until we reached a little stretch of beach that wasn’t in front of villas and then pulled the boards up onto the sands or went further out. I moved my board onto the sand to swim and discovered coral attacks you!

Yes, alright, it doesn’t move, nor did it actively play a part in my injuring myself on it, but I have some pretty aggressive wounds on my feet now from scrambling over that stuff to get out to deeper water. It’s made walking around on the sand after very unpleasant because I didn’t want anything to get in the cuts – especially the DEEP one on my toe, which is now being dramatic this morning and giving me a small limp.

But, battle wounds or not, I shall be out there again when I can find the time. Once you’re past the coral, that deep blue is exactly where I want to be. I had forgotten how much I liked swimming until then. Swimming pools and cold seas don’t really do it for me. But tropical oceans? Perfect.


Seriously, I'd forgotten what is was like to swim in warm seas. Other than salt water going up the nose and seeing fish jumping out of the water while being swooped at by birds - making me wonder if one of the sharks was in the area - it's pure luxury that I need to repeat as often as I can while I'm here!

Until next time




Grahame Massicks
Grahame Massicks
Dec 20, 2020

Since you are already comfortable in water you must learn to scuba! The Maldives are one of the best places on the planet to dive and I am sure that one of the instructors there can accommodate your training with your schedule. Snorkeling is great as an intro but you can't beat getting up close and personal!! Turtles are but one of the vast array of amazing wild life the inhabit those waters - just wait until you see manta rays, whale sharks, and go shark diving when you have the confidence. You might also consider investing in a pair of booties - not just for corals, but the sand gets so hot mid day - you wont regret it!


Nov 26, 2020

What a lovely first week for you . I’m pleased Alice will be joining you

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