Submission for Travel writing scholarship 2018 in Argentina, with Worldnomads.com (http://bit.ly/2FoYUIE).
The floor made of sand creaked rhythmically under my feet. Ocean breeze flowed through the invisible walls, surrounded by the island’s lush jungle paths. Giggling, they were building secret spaces among the comfy cushions, ignoring my presence. I was marveling at the world that was unfolding before my eyes. I’ve been dreaming of this place for more than two years. Arriving felt like remembering everything I knew and somehow forgot.
„Miss, what are you looking for?“ „The treehouse,”
I replied to the voice behind the mangoes. “Oh, it’s just there”,
Mon said, pointing at the sign “Welcome home.” Home it became, with Mon’s delicious massaman curry, its remote location, misty mountains and travelers from all walks of life. The Earth was singing. Or was it my five-year-old heart?
Ever since “The Beach”, the book by Alex Garland, I wanted to find a piece of paradise as Richard did. What I found was worse. It was real. Life was lived above the ground, 80 meters from the Long Beach. Marilyn was in charge with her daughter Jessie. I feared her eyes for they were deeper than the ocean where the glowing plankton swam. She fed us with homemade yoghurtt, cooked ginger and stories such as, I remember Jimi Hendrix playing…
The little treehouse community consisted both of travelers and the cockroaches. Days were filled with taking care of our home and each other. Whether it was watering the plants, dusting the bookshelves or making mojitos in the bar, the treehouse was filled with sweat and something else that did not belong to human origin. Everyone seemed genuinely happy.
Koh Lanta was an escape for starved generations. Barefoot and curious, we were finding calm and joy in ordinary. Matt the Englishman was a craftsman, constantly competing with the wood destroying bugs. Franco was a coffee guy. Nothing could match that simple, shocking excitement of a cold bamboo shower and Franco’s coconut “café” in the morning. He carried smiles in his pockets.
Did the Sea Gypsies, who have occupied the area for hundreds of years, feel what I felt in this tropical heaven? The journey of the sun reminded me that all things have an ending, but I did not want to leave. I felt like I belonged.
“You see that island there?” “Yeah, it seems quite distant.” “Have you ever seen The Beach movie?” he continued. “So many times”quietly I replied. “Well, that beach is just there”. The traveler dusted the sand off his shorts and left.