I'm back to the 9-to-5 (more like 8-to-7) grind, and looking back at this trip comes with a bittersweet heartache. I've always dreamed of a remote island gateway, and the Perhentian Islands couldn't have been more perfect. It is the most simple yet beautiful place that I have ever been to.
Coming from busy metropolitan cities, the calm was unsettling at first.
"I feel anxious. There's nothing to do here."
"You mean besides enjoying the beach, the sunshine, the amazing views, and life in general?!"
"I'm not used to just relaxing."
"Chill out, man."
It's easy to feel like having a busy, jam-packed schedule gives your life purpose. It isn't until you slam the brakes that you actually have time to breathe, evaluate why you're running so fast and what you're actually striving towards.
Needless to say, we acclimated to the island culture pretty quickly after the first day. The next three days passed by both quickly and slowly, all in a dreamlike blur. I've never felt so content in my life.
We swam with sea turtles (life long dream come true!), tropical fish, and sharks. We got bit by hungry/greedy tropical fish (who knew they had teeth?). We (wait, just I) got bit by mosquitoes. We watched rainbow colored sunsets and the lightning storms that followed shortly after. We waited an hour for each meal because efficient service was nonexistent on these islands. We got chased down by an enormous kimono dragon. We befriended the local snorkeling guides. We became lobsters by sitting out in the strong sun for too long without sunblock (oops!).
Even just a month later, I look back and can barely convince myself that all of this happened. I discovered a completely different reality and I can't wait to go back.