I rarely experience bliss. Bliss is, per definition, a state of mind reserved for only the most exquisite of experiences, and a subjective one at that. One person might experience it whilst eating a hearty meal, others by listening to a song. For me, bliss is evoked by a combination of calming sensory experiences, tranquility, and a disconnect from my hectic life.
I experienced this whole-heartedly at The King’s View, Sussex. There is little more appealing than waking up to the gentle sound of the waves, tropical bird sing and rustling of palm leaves swaying in the wind, as the morning sun shines through the bedroom window. For me, as a chaotic creative who mentally juggles a thousand thoughts, staying at The King’s View allowed me to come back to my senses….literally.
For one, I am health conscious, but often lack the time and energy to prepare nutritious food that does not taste like a wall. Marie, the amazing waitress/cook/mother/sister and superhuman, prepared for me delicious meals tailored to my weird preferences. Can I get a tropical fruit salad with African omelette? Of course. Can you grill organic fish straight from the Atlantic Ocean to perfection with a side of steamed veg and fried rice? No problem. Marie smiles warmly at every odd request and then gets the job done.
Sense of taste: satisfied. How about the other senses? My tactile experience, again, had to bring me into my own defined state of bliss whilst trying to improve my health. The King’s View has a large open terrace with a “King’s” view of the beach. Perfect for a morning yoga session, with the ocean breeze cooling me as I did my sun salutations. Right when I finished, Marie (the angel) came with my breakfast. As I munched on an orange watching the view, it hit me there and then. Sierra Leone is an undisturbed paradise. I let this thought settle in and watched the colourful fishing boats set off into the Atlantic. On my right I could see the mangrove-flanked river flow into the sea. The sun warmed my skin. All I could hear was birdsong and wave. My mind had turned silent as something inside me started to itch.
It was time for me to work.
Perhaps a bit unexpected, with me trying to relax and all. But environments can have a strong effect on the ever-churning mind of a writer. The tranquility + astonishing surroundings + fresh food x nothing to worry about equalled inspiration.
No distractions, fast internet, and the sea at my feet; I was on fire. In the two days I spent at The King’s View I got more work done than I’d normally do a week, which is an accomplishment in itself. But what made this remarkable, was that by the end of the day I felt recharged instead of depleted. So I used my remaining energy for a sunset swim, took off my top (there was no one there anyway), and floated chest-up in the river, watching the Kingfishers skid over the water.
Before I get accused of painting a romantic picture, I’ll share with you the down-side of things, or warn those of you looking for a fancy resort on a party beach. The rooms are basic to western standards, and good for Sierra Leonean standards. Sierra Leone lacks some basic infrastructure other countries have. This means that things you might consider as standard (such as A/C), are actually a real luxury here. The King’s View has A/C, hot water showers and fast internet. But do not expect a marble-tiled bathroom with a tropical-rain shower-head and singing water angels.
As it is a family-owned, locally run business, things happen with a personal touch. Perhaps if you prefer the professionally detached style of slick/chique hospitality, this might not be the place for you. But for me, this is exactly what attracts me about The King’s View. It’s a home where I can unfold, unwind and soften right into the caring hands of the friendly Sierra Leonean staff.
Stock up on fruits and veg, The King’s View; I am coming back soon.