Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Relaxing Birthday Celebration at the Hostel in the Forest, Inspiring Daily Peacefulness

For my birthday I wanted to get away to the peaceful hostel where the trees sway in the breeze like a seductive whisper. "Come back, whhsssswhssswhsss" they call it my dreams. Pulsing, throbbing, beckoning. The Hostel in the Forest is my new favorite place in the world and the only thing stopping me from living there is my lease, my wonderful roommate who wouldn't come with me, and my macbook pro being a necessity to make a living- a machine they probably wouldn't like plugged in to one of their staff huts.

This time I could only snap photos with my broken smart phone, I'm waiting to get a new DSLR battery charger in the mail. Living without my SLR is torture! I feel like I have a limb missing and I wanted to photograph some abandoned spaces, kitschy Halloween things and crafts sooner, grr! Yet, it was nice to take a break from pedantic photo capturing and relax without feeling the need to capture every single moment of the trip. We stayed in "The Turtle Room"- a cute clandestine cubbyhole that along with "The Mushroom Room" is unobtrusively tucked beside the laundry area. It was a tad chilly (for us, got to 53 or so those nights) so we were grateful to stay in a space a bit warmer than the tree houses which are less insulated.

I loved seeing ample pumpkins on the front porch upon arrival!

There was lots of reading in the heartbreakingly gorgeous and peaceful library, trail exploring, making, and resting. Engrossed in Stephen King's Carrie, a stack of books beside me, I realized I hadn't felt this relaxed and contented in months. After franticly running around (right up to when we left- I had to pack orders, write, clean and take care of "last-second business" that dragged on for 5 hours!) it was a much needed break. I felt like I was gently swaying side-to-side like being cradled...yes I know this sounds insane, I swear I wasn't drinking special hippie kool-aid, drinking, or taking drugs. I was just so relieved and at peace.

The library is our favorite space at the hostel and I'm inspired to carve out some type of "no work/no tv" studios nook full of books in my apartment and future homes. A quiet shoes-off space for relaxing, reading, and writing.

This stay was quiet and cool. We explored more trails than the last visit, but not all of them. I love how we'll have something "new" to explore with every stay at this rate. There's still more T-Trails, photos to take, the lake and pool to swim in (clothes optional), and nearby driftwood beaches and more to drive out to.

During this visit we explored "The Corral" which houses guests when all the tree houses and rooms are full in true hostel-style. I was surprised to discover what was on the top floor, though.

There was an art studio! Filled with ample supplies, yarns, inspiring books and completed works, surrounded by the peaceful trees. A dreamy space to create.

A couple of sheets concealed a couple more bunk beds in the back of the art studio.

The ceiling hosted a giant art piece.

The Corral downstairs was surprisingly appealing, I'd imagine it would be fun to stay here with different guests from around the world.

Of course I had to test the hammock for a while. For Science!

I loved the string light and all of the quotes on the bed, floors, and wall left by past staff  members and guests.

The Disney freak in me loves the quote from Mufasa to Simba from The Lion King. At my now
advanced age of 28 [hyperbole] I actually think of that one from time to time. "Look inside yourself.You are more than what you have become." - indeed, time to get cracking and make things! Sorry Mufasa, I'm working on it! I'll return the Pride Lands just don't haunt me from the grave anymore! Aaaah...!

I loved the little sink in the corner of the room. Ramshackle, but in perfect working order.

And the bookshelf in the front of the room replete with dinosaur toy and a huge stack of National Geographic magazines to enjoy. I love how this place encourages so much reading and nature exploring. Life should be more like this.

At one point during the trip my boyfriend AJ announced that he must mysteriously disappear for thirty minutes or so. I was confused and a little twitchy about the secrecy of it all but he surprised me with a birthday fruit platter! (He overheard me tell my mom on the phone that I didn't want to eat a conventional birthday cake. Trying to keep more consistent with my healthy eating. Don't get me wrong though, if someone had bought me a birthday cake instead I'd have eaten it. Guiltily, but still.) He put a couple candles from the room on it for me to blow out.

And all the beautiful fruit was devoured in one day. 'Twas a very sweet gesture and I actually didn't see it coming. I think I'm still on-edge and adjusting to having such a sweet boyfriend.

My camera died but a trail to the "mystic willow" was recommended, I was told it holds another secret to the hostel's beginning. The trail took us to a porch that once belonged to a couple that lived behind the hostel that the original owner became close friends with. When they died he moved the whole thing to face a beautiful willow tree. The sweet tribute story was left in a hammock on the porch for visitors to read. Rocking back and forth on the hammock AJ said "sometimes I don't believe you're real, it's too good, what's the catch." - oh the sappiness! This is stuff I couldn't repeat aloud, I'm 12 going on 28 when it comes to sappy stuff. Ew, gross! Too cliche! Look at pictures of trees, forget I said anything:

The trails inspired me to get out to nature more. I can't wait to do some wild herb, berry, and flower gathering.

The main building here (where you check in and where the kitchen lives) houses a big book of literature on how the hostel was created that I'll read in full with the next inevitable trip.

I ran out of time/light to take photos of the hot bath we took in the middle of the woods. (Not seen above, that's another shot of the pool.) There's an area with a deck, shower, and big retro tub called "The sexy shower". We took two hot baths underneath the bright stars and later walked to the lake at night. The indigo sky was velvety, illuminated with clusters of twinkling stars. The black trees shiloetted on the horizon were reflected in the lake. It was a stunning tableau that looked like a painting come to life. Here, while singing back and forth on a swinging bench we wished the whole world could be like this. We considered how others came into the bathing area with us after their lake swim to wash up and no one was ashamed of the nudity and how free and friendly it could be, but also agreed it's nice to have the juxtaposition and the mystery. It's nice to a have a choice between chaotic urban life and peaceful living and to go back and forth and reap the benefits of both.

And now I have a beautiful image to go back to when meditating. When times are tough I can close my eyes are remember the peace at the hostel. I'll bring its lessons with me to the home and remember to go out and explore more, keep the TV off more often than not, create, read, and really live. I also left with more ideas for cooking creative vegan dishes, everything served for dinner was delicious. The travelers we met were equally inspiring, one was living the dream and biking the whole country. (And commenting it on Crazy Guy on a Bike an awesome journal site for bike travelers around the world. I'd love to do the same!) It was a lovely way to spend a birthday. We'll be back for you, hostel!

For those who missed it, I have a post on my first visit to the hostel that shows more of the space and information on staying there here
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  1. wow - that looks like a truely fantastic place! thanks for sharing all the photos, which are good just as they are.

    1. No problem, it was relaxing just to "revisit" via the photos :)

      I forgot to include a link to my original post on the hostel which has more info on how to visit and better photos:

  2. I never saw a place like that before! Very serene. The fruit was great....but I have to admit, Id rather have some cookies! :-)

    1. Indeed :D I think he'd have bought some if he knew about vegan options at the grocery store but the only one nearby probably had none. I give him major points for trying to keep to my unreasonable diet, haha. We've chomped on homemade raw vegan pie and banana bread to make up for the denial. ;D

  3. What a beautiful and peaceful place to visit! I love the library and the studio! I bet it was great to get out and enjoy the outdoors!

    1. It 'twas :D Can't wait to get in more relaxing time but for now, running around like crazy trying to finish as much as possible constantly.

  4. That place looks wonderful. So peaceful.

  5. Happy birthday girl! I really wanna go to this magic place right now =))) oh your bday cake swas super yummie!

    1. It 'twas :D A lot of the other guests were calling it magic too, it was super peaceful. Wouldn't mind living there at all.

  6. Sounds like you definitely have a romantic man on your hands, in my relationship hubby is the romantic not me. How sweet he got you a fruit plate! He listens to you!

    1. He does, it's shocking to have a guy that listens and remembers the little details, rare in the male of our species! I've always been the less romantic one in relationships, I deduce that I'm overly pragmatic/cautious to let go with it, but I'm trying.

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