Island Life

Dreamy island life … the sun, the sand, the surf, the sunblock! This is a reoccurring day dream for me and when the temperature drops, the first thing I want to do is have a sunny sultry getaway. Who doesn’t right?!

During my NYC single gal days, I jetted off every NYE somewhere warm & sultry. While it is most people’s dream to see the glittery ball drop in Times Square, most New Yorkers want to escape the city. Maybe it’s the frigid temps, the long dark days, or the crowds everywhere – whatever the reason there is a always a cheap flight somewhere sunny.

Memorable NYE’s have been spent in Belize, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, St Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba, Anguilla, St Martin, Virgin Islands, Miami, Argentina, and many trips to Mexico. Yes, before I moved to Edinburgh, sunk my life savings into buying the flat and well before the wee sleep wrecker arrived, I got around! Let’s just say it didn’t take much to convince my girl gang to hop on a cheap flight for a weekend (or hopefully longer) to any of these locals.

There was the bungalow we rented up a very long bumpy dirt path in Costa Rica that had killer views down to the beach (and a racoon who liked to swim in the pool). The yoga retreat set deep in the rainforest of Puerto Rica that had a 10pm lights out & quiet policy (that we got kicked out of). The super friendly family run & beachfront hotel in Belize (read: someone’s home not hotel). The golden lemon, a quirky “off the beaten path” foodie getaway with black sand beaches in St Kitts. The time we tried an all inclusive resort in Mexico and nearly banished our friend who convinced us to give it a go (cheap & cheerful, not).

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Liznylon enjoys the sunset in Palau

What’s my fave place?! … tied for most exotic trip is Palau, a divers paradise smack in the middle of no where. If you aren’t a diver, you probably haven’t heard of Palau. Before meeting my friend Jenn, I was completely clueless and at the time I considered myself a travel junkie. Jenn had spent much of her youth in Palau and after 9-11 decided to give up city life and move back to Palau. When she announced she was getting married, a few of us had enough frequent flier miles to make the trip. I of course slept through my flight and had to use even more miles to fly the following day (ugh). After flying the most direct route New York to Hawaii, Hawaii to Guam, Guam to Palau and 32 hours later I was in paradise.  I’d never been or seen anything like Palau.

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Rock Islands in Palau, pic by Originaldiving.com

It is a collection of 300+ islands, many uninhabited, the bluest of blue waters and the friendliest locals. It’s largely undeveloped and that is what makes it so special along with UNESCO world heritage status. It really does look like this, no photo enhancement, pinky promise. Palau has done something really cool – the Palau Pledge – a world first, where all inbound visitors are asked to make a promise to the children of Palau to preserve the environment. The pledge is stamped into passports & visitors are asked to sign it, so no pleading ignorance.

This was just passed in December 2017 and it is the first legislation of its kind in the world. Hopefully other countries that rely so heavily on their vibrant, rich, and beautiful natural environments will do the same.

I used my time on Palau to get my PADI divers license and learned from a couple who both gave up corporate life to life the dream of running a dive resort on the small sandy Carp Island. After 10 days studying theory, daily practice dives, exams, skills tests and other underwater feats – I passed! The trip was all about the wedding & diving, so it didn’t matter much that we stayed in a basic apartment (with a scenic terrace of course).

 

Maldives is tied with Palau. Yes, it was my honeymoon with the Scotsman. These trips couldn’t have been more different. Ha ha, yes, the obvious. Where Palau was minimalist, functional and undeveloped – the Maldives was high style & design, lush & luxe 5* resorts with drool worthy interiors, only to be outdone by deliciously decant food & luscious drinks.  There are 200+  5* resorts in the Maldives, literally everywhere.

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Huvafen Fushi, Paradise found in the Maldives
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I did yoga on that pavilion every morning (as one does when in the Maldives) 🙂

Both are definitely “trips of a lifetime”. Those trips where you save up airlines miles for years to offset some of the cost. Places where you can only go during the “off off season” and it’s still outrageous. Places that I’d happily beg, borrow & steal to get there again but is unlikely unless one of those lottery tickets comes up a winner. Most of my “normal” island trips were far less glamorous, yet all were sunny, sultry, and sandy.

My childhood was spent on an island, okay – not as sultry & glam as these, but it was a beach destination. If you are wondering, it’s Long Beach Island in New Jersey. My mom likes to joke that a seagull dropped me off at the house when I was born, not a stork.  I guess that’s why I’m obsessed with bright sunny days and the perky punchy happy colour yellow. Casual beach vibes always remind me of family & my childhood.

So today’s crush, lust, and stalk is anywhere that has warm sultry temps, sunny skies, and white sandy beaches. Tell me …

Tell me … What’s your fave sunny sultry beach getaway? xx

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