Breathing life into an empty space with fate, love, chocolate, cocktails and coffee

Breathing life into an empty space with fate, love, chocolate, cocktails and coffee

The Road Less Travelled is a world-famed book that has been celebrated by the Washington Post as ‘not just a book but a spontaneous act of generosity’.  The author Dr Peck explores loving relationships and leads the reader onto a path of serenity and fullness of life and ultimately how to become one’s true self.  A passionate Scotsman chose to read this book in his youth, together with over seven million others: it helped him forge his path of discovery and sharing with a creative audience through performance and art.

Peter Dougal, originally from Scotland, grew up under the bleak iron rule of Thatcher.  His appetite for the arts led him to study for his Masters in Literature and Theatre at the glorious University of Glasgow.  By day he studied, and by night, as a theatrically passionate lover of chocolate, cocktails and coffee he worked in a bar to pay his rent.  Dougal later hopped across the border to the vibrant northern English town of Manchester where he continued his studies to become a teacher.

His home for the next eight years was Chetham School of Music, a fortified manor house built on the site of Manchester Castle.  Humphrey Chetham founded the school in 1653 as a charity school; it has had several classifications throughout its history; since 1969 it has remained Chetham School of Music, where it educates talented students between the ages of 8 and 18.  Each student has entered the school as a result of an intensive audition: they receive a full academic education, which runs in parallel with music and theatre tuition.  Dougal was asked to create, from scratch, the theatre department, which would increase the self-confidence and performance skills of the students.

Dougal met Warot Petcharoen ‘Pat’, his now-husband over their mutual love of chocolate, in a bon-bon café in Manchester.  Petcharoen, originally from Koh Samui, was studying in the United Kingdom to perfect his English.  Dougal became despondent with teaching as educational boards were becoming more paper-driven and full of politics; he felt that the creativity of both students and teachers was on a downward spiral.  The couple began to articulate their dreams and started planning their move to Koh Samui.

Enter stage left: The Road Less Travelled.  Quite possibly one of the coolest restaurants and bars on the island.  Smooth jazzy sounds bounce around a warm environment that is clearly a project of love and passion.  Its vibes envelop you in what feels like a nurturing cocoon.  Locally the restaurant is fondly known as RLT, is a little oasis that allows its guests to indulge in healthy foods, sexy coffee, seductive chocolates and cakes and some cheeky, yet beautifully blended cocktails.  Petcharoen’s family are the master chefs behind the scenes in the kitchen, bakery and chocolatier.  RLT was the original Petcharoen family home for decades; built on the foundations of his grandmother’s kitchen is the modern restaurant kitchen.  A spectacular case of serendipity and devotion to a culinary journey.

RLT is a nucleus for holidaymakers, resident expats and locals alike and has fast become a hub for creative souls.  The Road Less Travelled rapidly encompassed the thespian side of Dougal's dream.  Now firmly on the map for exciting art exhibitions, it is also a centre for performing arts: 'found space {creative}' was born, together with a cosy 40-seater theatre.  Two floors above the restaurant lies this private space that accommodates invigorating group performance sessions, creative theatre and seminars.  These teaching sessions vary from pop-ins to extended eight-week-long courses.  The building has undergone a complete transformation and redesign, the innovative interiors and quirky accents blends of the couples love of the East and West harmoniously. 

Dougal is thrilled to discover a diverse range of talent that has been hidden away on the island and the overwhelming attendance to his courses; “Creative abandonment never felt so good.  We focus on creative breath, truthful expression, depth and duologue: encourage total liberation and joyful release.  This is not therapy; it is therapeutic” he says.  “Each artist has a platform in which they express their journey, RLT offers a safe and nurturing environment for all artists.  It’s all about finding your truth”.  His classes are diverse and bring many different nationalities and age groups together.  Performances are varied and irresistible.  Quite simply, The Road Less Travelled is a little haven of magic.