Ko Samet

May 14. 20.52 Thai time.

We have arrived. Ko Samet is the tropical magical chilled out little piece of wonderland that my little brother has spent years travelling to discover, and I just plonk right into it from rainy England. 

And after a two hour drive from Bangkok, a half hour leisurely sunset boat ride (surrounded by stacks of cabbages, a crumpled tarpaulin and a pile of passenger bags), followed by a very bumpy taxi jeep ride – from the winding bustling scooter filled streets of the main bit of Ko Samet, to the dark jungly bit dense with insect sounds and the clang of speedbumps – we arrived at this gorgeous Sangthian beach resort, where my brother quickly dropped my stuff at his cabin, put my oat milk and tofu in the fridge, and we came down to the beach bar where he immediately jumped on stage with his guitar to join the owner, Magan, and the other performers there. 

And so I sit on my beanbag chair, at a low table, with a huge freshly opened coconut on a plate with a straw, as the most delicious warm breeze swishes over the crowds of happy drinking people at rows of tables under fairy lights and palm trees with a soundtrack provided by my brother and his friend who owns the place. 

It’s too fucking beautiful. 

May 15.

I slept. 

Like 10 hours. Feel all wierd now. Very peaceful. Maybe too peaceful. On a little walk along the beach on my own this morning I realised I was sad.

Sad for the people I love who aren’t here. Who don’t get to share this. I keep taking photos – people asked me to – but I’m reluctant to remind everyone they aren’t here. The stunning sunshine and warm breeze, with the constant sound of gentle turquoise waves on soft white sand, the tropical birds in these jungle trees, the strings of yellow blossom hanging over the path, orange petals dotted around the sand, purple flowers bobbing over the flagstones, it’s all just too beautiful. Why would I want to show people in England that they don’t have this?

And so I spent a very chill day leisurely meandering around the various resorts along this East half of the island, some with my brother, some on my own. A little concrete path winds through the chalets, bars and restaurants of the beach, nestled between pink blossomed trees and palm trees and statues and mini temples and sun loungers and signs about respecting nature and leaving only footprints. A plate of vegetarian Pad Thai accompanied one beach, a coffee was enjoyed on another, and all with this unreal beautiful warm breeze off the pristine turquoise sea lapping at the beaches of all these little oases of hospitality and smiling Thai people. I spent one hour sitting on a rock with my feet in the ridiculously warm water, another hour on a bench watching the waves, and a couple of hours talking with my brother about the nature of reality. 

As I made a heart out of the orange petals on the ground, he sat on a rock gently asking me to explore how much of what I think is real is simply my thoughts, and how many of my thoughts are my own? ‘Thoughts happen to us the way smells happen. They just arrive and we decide how to respond. We live on the idea that I am my thoughts, but what if there is no thinker?’

Every now and then I get a glimpse of his metaphysical mind, of the sense of emptiness and simplicity with which his life is a magical experience of unfettered unpretending authenticity. It’s nice to be near it and get snippets of it but I am far from living into it.

For now let me settle for an acceptance of the fact that life is bigger and lovelier than I have let mine be, that the nature of existence could be something higher and more profound than I have been worrying about, and that if I sit still and listen to myself long enough I might get in touch with something that provides even the slightest hint of a direction to clarity and peace.

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