When I first came to Bali, I called it “the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia” in my head. Of course, this is not exactly true. There is no emerging tech-scene or anything like that. But the atmosphere was close to how I would imagine Silicon Valley, in a romanticized way.
There is a massive variety of people around. Holidaymakers for one, but also bloggers, start-up creators, digital nomads, stock and cryptocurrency-investors, yogis, backpackers, hippies, artists, leaders of workshops, builders of spaces, creators of experiences, seekers of spiritual growth and retirees. Most people were several of these things at the same time, and more.
Many of these different cultures revolved around the local co-working spaces. I had never been a part of the co-working space world before, but really enjoyed it once I experienced it. The melting pot of ideas, perspectives and stories was crazy, and I never tired of it.
On top of that, local businesses and initiatives keep popping up as well. There are all the food options, of course, with the amazing Balinese food mixed up by cuisines from all over the world – also benefiting from an incredibly rich landscape of international entrepreneurs who open up food places left and right.
But there are also experience providers for tourists, deeply integrated in local communities, that showcase the traditional Balinese lifestyle and spirituality, offer bike tours and cultural dance, and teach about farming methods. On top of that, Balinese art is legendary, especially wood carving. Here, too, the diversity was staggering.
It may have been this vibrant and diverse atmosphere that inspired us to make Bali the home of our wellness retreats. First with a team of international entrepreneurs and then independently, we created a program to tap into the diversity of the island and share an experience that deserves the name. Built on principles of regenerative tourism, self-actualization and freedom, this retreat is one of the best things we have ever created – and much of it was thanks to the things we learned on Bali.
While there were also problems on Bali, including shithead tourists, plastic pollution, freshwater depletion, and other things, it is also thanks to the vibrant nature of the island that people have already begun to tackle these problems in effective and grassroot ways.
So, it is safe to say that things were and still are happening on Bali (or would be, if not for the pandemic – it cancelled our first full retreat for the year last May). I, for one, cannot wait for things to get going again. Who knows, maybe we can even do another retreat!