I am very pleased to provide a sneak preview of what I consider to be the best contemporary insight into the essence of Bali – as seen through the stories of 14 Balinese residents – beautifully compiled by writer Clare McAlaney and photographer Trish McNeill. Unknown to me at their time of writing, the authors included a chapter on Conscious Travel which I have re-posted here. Please view their original post here and Facebook page and wonder through their site to stimulate your appetite for the book.
I was honoured to be asked to write the Forward which I am posting below in the hopes it will make you beat a speedy path to the RESERVE NOW Section as it’s a sensory delight and full of wisdom, hope and humour.
FORWARD TO BALI SOUL JOURNALS
Bali Soul Journals is no ordinary travelogue. It’s a tapestry that weaves storyteller, story, image and reader into one rich fabric – a precious insight into the essence of a unique place.
Wrap this fabric around you (and it will drape around your shoulders like a silken shawl) to experience a contradictory array of emotions as all your senses are mysteriously activated. Awe, admiration, sadness, curiosity, wonder, pride, hope, despair, compassion and determination will likely be just some of the feelings evoked by the stories of an island and its people struggling to maintain its integrity and avoid a cultural unraveling.
Bali Soul Journals joyfully and gently educates – as in “draws out” – the conscious traveler who yearns to be a participant not voyeur, welcomed guest not tolerated consumer, contributor not exploiter. Bali’s sensuous landscape and profoundly rich culture come alive through the journals of fourteen Balinese who daily must balance economic imperatives with a compelling need to keep their cultural fabric intact.
Author, Clare McAlaney, and co-photographer, Trish McNeill, successfully immerse readers in a virtual experience of Bali from the inside out, enabling them to hear stories that cannot penetrate the plate glass of a tour bus or compete with the din of musak, megaphone or motorcycle engine. There’s a gentleness to the writing, suffused with hope and belonging, that is quintessentially Balinese slowing your breathing, relaxing your shoulders and drawing you into the mystery beyond the temple walls,
Bali Soul Journals is the perfect inspiration for conscious travelers. The guide models a way of seeing, being and behaving in a place that could deliver a sustainable livelihood and enhanced dignity to the host while enriching and transforming the guest.
This publication arrives at a critical tipping point in the history of tourism. By turning what are sacred places in substitutable products (i.e. commodities), mass tourism has undermined its ability to create sustained wealth and well being. Only by celebrating the uniqueness of each place and re-weaving the many and various threads that comprise the complex yet delicate tapestry that is Bali, can both guest and host alike benefit from future encounters.
There’s no denying that Bali stands on a knife edge – mass tourism’s juggernaut is pulling apart so many of the threads that hold its fragile culture together. This book is both a rallying cry for visitors to wake up to the challenges their presence creates and an invitation to help co-create a more harmonious, respectful way of being together.