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The ship anchors at the pier. We’ve barely taken the first step on Koh Kood Island in Thailand: the bag they give us says “No News, No Shoes”. We take our shoes off, which we won’t see until we return. Supposedly a small act that has a huge effect. We create the base to let ourselves go so we can feel the common ground under our feet, and sensitize our perception. We seek balance through our senses and allow ourselves to be embraced.
A slight sea noise whispers in our ears, and is enriched with the superficial sounds of the surrounding fauna. Our feet feel the cold stone, the warm wood, and the warm sand beautifully envelops our bodies. Energy flows, each sensation seems to have an infinite effect. My gaze wanders over the sea. The horizon merges with the infinite blue tones, turning like an occlusive kaleidoscope.
My wine glass breaks the sunbeam into a spectrum of colors. The palette seems congruent with the fresh, regional ingredients of Thai culinary art. Chi is my mental partner. While the wind blows decisively, my eyes wander inside our villa, embedded discreetly in the island’s flora and fauna. There is no visual or emotional dividing line, almost all the materials used come from the island. And so, the intimacy between man and nature peaks while being subtly accentuated with luxurious comfort.
The interior is exterior and vice versa. Soon, the view becomes a stage: the sound of a falling coconut and the glow of the fireflies are our half-passive protagonists. Time and space become relative in the Soneva Kiri Universe. Only the wandering shadow witnesses that our bodies are succumbing to the earth’s rotation and every precious moment in the present throws us into the future.
Because only the spiritual encounter between today and tomorrow, between you and me, can awaken the consciousness and sharpen the senses. The environment becomes a resonant chamber that maintains us in our comfort zone and challenges us at the same time. Where am I? Where are you? What should the future be like? Soneva Kiri launches this message to help us adopt a sustainable meaning, giving it an inner space and composing a thought to develop it beyond our visit. We feel trapped within ourselves, moving from an alleged mental passivity for spiritual recovery to imminent activism. The mind is excited. Yes, we’re more attentive. Yes, we understood.
How does Soneva Kiri manage to sharpen and sensitize one’s perception? Luxury and sustainability can create a powerful tool. Luxury demands exceptional creativity as well as high quality. Sustainability strives to achieve longevity. Both, in harmony, break the common horizon of vacations and take us further. Because sustainable action isn’t defined solely by the “me and the now”, but in the “we and tomorrow”. The first idea comes to us through the Soneva Kiri Resort, through the integration of sustainability into the project. They manage and treat the water to quench our thirst; a self managed eco-plantation with hints of permaculture feeds us; and the Resort itself offers ethical jobs to the local population.
But sustainability can’t only be thought of locally. That’s why it reinvests in several international projects that offer help to those who cannot help themselves. For example, Myanmar Stoves Project or Restaurant against Hunger (see these stories in our online magazine).
My mind is at a zenith. The present does decide the future. Loving something means respecting it, protecting it and encouraging someone or something to grow, even beyond itself. This is how we feel right now.
For the last time, I feel the fine sands of North Beach between my fingers. I take his hand and I know this is a special moment, under the countless stars that watch us and the countless grains of sand that lie under my footprints.
_ _ __ _ ____. I return to my everyday life. How can I preserve a moment in its entire purity: a word, an image, a note, a caress? A fragrance flows smoothly when I unpack my suitcase. The trigger jumps and captivates me. It’s my memory’s salvation. It powerfully transports all my senses towards calm, beauty, love, somewhere between the “me” and “we”. Instantly, the blurry colors become sharper. The silence becomes stronger and the story comes alive again: Koh Kood, Thailand—Soneva Kiri.
+ Words and Photos: Jens Wittwer