Weekly Journal

A Writer’s Studio Inspired by Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Waterfalls

22nd June 2017

I used to hate hikes when I was younger. Hearing my mum yell, “Kelsey, time for a family hike!” was the equivalent of listening to a massive wet sniffle (which is possibly the most repugnant sound in the world). As I grew older, I gladly opted out of family explorations and instead shoved ketchup chips into my mouth and watched The O.C for the 1000th time. Meanwhile, my family was meandering through the curves of dirt paths and marvelling at the rolling landscapes below. And there I was thinking that Ryan Atwood punching someone was way more interesting than a stupid view!

My metamorphosis towards understanding the wonders of nature began when I enrolled in University as an English Major. During my studies I was reminded of the Romantics – Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

The fresh infinity pool atop Na Muang.

“These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs / With a sweet inland murmur.” – William Wordsworth from “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.”

Now, when I think of freedom, I think of the wild, where an array of trees dance to the rhythm of the wind, where waterfalls cascade over stones pouring into a cool pool of relaxation, where my mind is carefree in creativity. It’s my writer’s studio. Strangely enough, I never found much inspiration from an empty ketchup chip bag and The O.C (although both are great!).

I took my love for outdoor adventures to my internship in Samui where I’ve discovered a variety of natural creative venues. My current favourite is Na Muang waterfall, which is walking distance from The Castle.

“Here, it’s easy for my mind to travel alongside the songs of the jungle towards the beginnings of brand new stories and ideas.”

“For oft, when on my couch I lie/ In vacant or in pensive mood, /They flash upon that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude; / And then my heart with pleasure fills, /And dances with the daffodils.” William Wordsworth from “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

Let me briefly tell you how to get to Na Muang from The Castle! 

First, I picked a handful khao tom mud or banana thingies (the name a couple of residents and I so creatively developed for this tasty breakfast delight) from Hua Thanon’s local market, and then the journey began alongside Samui’s ring road. Trekking beside roaring traffic isn’t the most romantic of settings, but add a friend or two and an engaging conversation and you won’t even notice the cars and scooters zipping by! The first turnoff is about 5km to the right. Once I hit this spot, I continued journeying past the mass tourist groups and attractions and towards the hike via a short wide dirt road. After 10 minutes of walking, I reached an area that divided into two different roads. The upper road leads you to a place where you can pay to hike, but I haven’t yet taken up that option. I hear it is also a beautiful, highly-recommended expedition though!

I took the path that goes downwards towards a little hut with refreshing beverages. I kept walking past the hut, towards the path that leads upwards to the waterfall. Although, if you prefer, you can choose to take a quick dip and splash in the water at the bottom before continuing up.

Up the path along the waterfall, there are several places to stop. Take just two steps off the trail and you’ll find yourself engulfed by the gleaming freshwater pouring over rocks. Go ahead and take the Nestea plunge, and then continue. I’ve noticed that most tourist groups fail to make it to the top, so if you crave silence, keep on trekking!

Once you’ve reached the top, you can cool off in the natural infinity pool. From there, when you face forward, you’ll find yourself gazing at layers of fauna met by the glistening sea, and when you look behind, you’ll witness a sparkling waterfall.

Here, it’s easy for my mind to travel alongside the songs of the jungle towards the beginnings of brand new stories and ideas. And, when I lie in my bed afterwards, I can close my eyes and reminisce on the vibrant landscape and whispers of the flowing stream. The memory is bold and wins the battle over unnecessary thoughts trying to destroy my lane of creativity and peace!

One of the many refreshing waterfalls pools you can dip into during your journey to the top of Na Muang.

“Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets / Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Dungeon”

I still remember reading Coleridge’s poem “The Dungeon” in class, where he discusses how nature possesses the magic to heal prisoners far more effectively than a secluded cell does. It’s true that – for all people (I think) – bathing in natural tranquility calms the mind more than most would’ve ever imagined.

When I’m surrounded by a portrait of greens, blues, and greys, my thoughts come to life. I no longer feel the need to drift off into an alternate lala land wishing to be somewhere else, because in those moments, I know I am exactly where I need to be. It’s weird!

I’m thankful that Coleridge and Wordsworth brought so much to light on the true power of the outdoors and how it can inspire an unending stream of creative thought. Since studying Coleridge and Wordsworth, I’ve walked many hikes of my own and yes, even family hikes. Now, with this newfound appreciation, perhaps I’ll write a fanfiction of Ryan Atwood, Seth Cohen, Marissa Cooper, and Summer Roberts frolicking in nature – how inspiring would that be? (No one would skip a hike for that show).

Perhaps you discovered your writer’s studio long ago, or are still searching for the perfect place to relax and write! At The Castle, we have nearby waterfalls, sandy shores, and cosy creative spaces in-house for rainy days. Contact us HERE if you are interested in joining us and want more information on activities nearby!

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