Have you ever experienced island life and worked on a remote island? During the last years, we have spent time on different islands in Thailand, Indonesia and the Maldives. Since one year we live and work on the small island Pef in the middle of Raja Ampat. Scuba diving is spectacular and the dive sites in Raja Ampat are amongst the best in the world. The landscape is breathtaking and the resorts are little places of heaven on earth. But what if routine sneaks in and starts to dominate our island life in paradise?
How is it to live in paradise? Is there always sunshine? What are the disadvantages of living on a small resort island? In this blog post you will find answers to this questions and reasons for our decision to leave paradise.
Raja Ampat is the place to go for nature lovers and scuba divers
Whenever we talk to scuba divers and tell them that we live and work in Raja Ampat, we see some eyes sparkle. Raja Ampat is one of the favorite destinations for scuba divers from all around the world.
There are many reasons for that. The dive sites are breathtaking. The biodiversity is much higher than in most other places on our planet. The landscapes are stunning and the big masses of tourists have not arrived yet. We really love Raja Ampat and we enjoy every single dive. That’s the reason why we compiled 25 of our best photos from Raja Ampat in our last blog post.
So why did we decide against staying in Raja Ampat and move on.
The routine becomes our enemy on the island
Our island life revolves primarily around our guests. We work in a small resort with a maximum of 18 guests. Our private life is of secondary priority and our presence time very long.
After a few months on the island the wonderful world starts to fade a little. Paradise suddenly becomes a commonplace; routine creeps in, begins to dominate life and becomes our new companion.
Exactly this routine is poison for us. It makes the time fly by.
Every day the same routine: Breakfast, morning company formation, accompanying our diving guests to the boat, pick up the diving guests from the boat after the dives, lunch, afternoon dives, meeting to discuss the next day, dinner, hitting the pillow.
It‘s not quite as dramatic as it sounds. There is some variety in our working days and for us the island life in paradise is still better than a nine-to-five job back home. Yet the working week also follows a routine.
- On Monday we have a day off. What a start into a new week.
- On Tuesday evening we have happy hour where we invite our guests for drinks and snacks.
- On Wednesday we very often schedule day trips to dive sites further away from Pef.
- On Thursday evening we have a small goodbye party with music and dance for our leaving guests.
- On Friday afternoon we say goodbye to the guests that are leaving with the transfer boat to Sorong.
- On Saturday afternoon the new guests arrive and in the evening we have an information meeting.
- On Sunday we kit out our new arrivals with diving equipment and do a check dive at the house reef.
- … and on Monday it starts all over again with a day off!
The days, weeks and months are passing by. We feel like staying still, we are stuck, we are frustrated and we are getting itchy feet again.
Over the last years we have become accustomed to a life dominated by change and variety. A normal life with a nine-to-five job and the daily routine is a horrible thought for us. We need to explore the world, discover new places and learn about different cultures. We want a life full of change and variety. Get away from the safe harbor. Jump into life.
Life on a small island is very limited
We do not really miss anything materialistic on the small island. But still, after a while we start to miss our freedom and feel trapped. The resort is very small and personal. Too personal for our liking. We barely have time for us and our partnership. We are always there for the guests. That’s our job. Our working day starts between seven and eight in the morning and ends at the earliest after dinner around nine in the evening. Lunch and dinner we have on a long table together with the guests, so even during these breaks we are there for the guests. It’s not possible to have a private conversations or leisure.
One day a week we have a day off. That’s the only time where we have time for us and our partnership. We can take care of our personal matters. Reading and writing emails, writing posts for our travel blog, have discussions in private, do some planning for our next vacation and skype with our parents. Sometimes, we also take the time to explore the island by kayak or do a dive on the house reef.
The island Pef is quite large. It stretches over almost two kilometers in east-west direction. The major part of the island is not accessible due to dense jungle, mangrove swamps and limestone cliffs. The entire resort is situated on a 400 meter stretch of beach on the west side of the island. So the island life is limited to a small area and we are greatly limited in our activities.
A trip to Sorong is a welcome change from the island life in paradise
Every few weeks, we join the transfer boat to take the leaving guests to Sorong and pick up the arriving guests from the airport. Sometimes we are lucky enough to spot whales or dolphins during the boat ride to Sorong. These are unforgettable moments. In the evening we arrive in Sorong and the next morning we pick up the arriving guests at the airport and then, we start our trip back to Pef again.
Living on an island for a year is enough. Our feet are itching and we need to move on.
We have lived and worked on a small island several times already. In the Maldives for example, we stayed three years in total. There, however, we had a lot more free time and so we could enjoy the advantages of living on a small island much more. Relatively quick we realized that we will probably not stay more than a year on Pef. Life on this small island is just too limited and work life balance is just way out of balance. The attendance time is just too long and the little amount of spare time we have for us and our relationship is not enough.
Our work contract has to be renewed after a year but we have decided against a renewal and will leave. In February we have been on Pulau Pef for one year. We will stay until May to have enough time to transfer our work to our successor.
We really love Raja Ampat and we enjoy every single day and dive but we have to move on. It was a great year. We learned a lot, had a great insight into the local culture and once more learned how precious life is.
The decision has been made: „We will move on“.
Yes, we leave paradise. What next?
Do we look for a new job in the tropics or on another island? Do we go back to Switzerland and look for a nine-to-five job? No. We want to travel again. Be free. Explore the world. Experience new cultures. Face new challenges every day. Luckily we still have a lot of dreams, ideas and fantasies. Now it’s time to start living our dreams again.
We got itchy feet and it’s time to continue exploring the world.
Currently we are sorting our dreams and ideas. We write everything down on paper and try to structure our wild thoughts. The perfect distraction from our daily routine. Whenever we find time, we do some research, write down different alternatives and try to come up with a rough plan.
As soon as we sorted our ideas, we will let you know about our crazy travel plans. But you can be sure that the next years will be interesting and there will be plenty of material for blog posts.
Can you imagine to live and work on a small island? Or have you already lived on a small island? Do you have your own experience about island life in paradise? Share your story and let us and our readers know about your experience.
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