13 May, 2016
Through many years of travel and at 35 having a little bit more maturity on my side, I have found myself changing my perspective on how I choose to live, how I travel and the consumer choices I make. From the clothing and products I purchase to the footprints I leave on the land I travel too and how this affects the people who inhabit it. I have found a shift from 'should' and 'would be nice' to - 'I need to do this'.
In yoga, we use terms like karma or refer to the concept that 'we are all one'. During my recent trip to Bali, this hit home more than ever.
I wrote about my passion for ethical fashion and my wakeup call on the We'ar clothing blog. You can read it here.
On this trip, I was so well looked after by the Balinese who worked as hotel staff, drivers and in hospitality and who more-than-often went above and beyond. This was my third journey to Bali and I was astounded by how much tourism had increased. But what really astounded me was how little some of local’s lives had changed from the 'benefits' of this tourism on the local economy. I don't know the in's and outs and can only go by what I personally experienced. I know there are different kinds of happiness, as pointed out by one of my good friends who has been travelling to Indonesia for many years. "Joy and contentment do not come from money" she reminded me. There is, I guess, a lot we can learn from each other. And there are many shades and colours to every situation. But my moral compass had been shifted and the decision made that my happiness shouldn't come at the cost of another. In the goods and services we purchase, at a minimum, the conditions should be ethical. But what is is 'ethical' you might ask?
A recent the study was commissioned by Baptist World Aid grades different clothing manufacturers and has made it easier for us to make ethical choices. You can read more about this here. The good news is that in New Zealand, some more affordable chains were graded B+ like Country Road and Cotton On, but others were not great including Karen Walker who got a C. It is fantastic that grading like this is making it easier for us to make good consumer choices.
But what about travel? As you know in the future I will be launching JL Escapes with my first Escape being based in Bali in 2017. I have made the decision to have an ethical component to this business. All of my accommodation and activity choices will be based on companies that are local, or companies who are aware and making efforts to give back to the local economy and people. When we travel a percentage of the trip will go into upward mobility and education to the place that we are travelling too. I believe that it is wonderful to travel, but in doing so we made both positive and negative impacts. I believe we need to give back and ensure that as tourism increases, so do opportunities for education and business.
In yoga, we believe in karma, as yoga comes from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The Balinese are mostly Hindu, their daily dedication and rituals are interwoven into their lives with such a sense of poetic grace. The dedication is so intricate and has a beautiful attentiveness to detail. Karma is seen as the consequence of your actions both in this life and past lives. In this life we can shift this karma through our actions, our present doing, through our karma yoga, the path of selfless action.
In yoga, we also believe that 'we are all one'. We believe that we are all connected and we are all same. You could be that taxi driver, you could be the seamstress, and you could be the guide who once had aspirations of a higher education. We are no better, no more deserving than anyone else. We are we and we are one, humee hum brum hum.
Josephine is an Auckland based yoga teacher. AYL is blessed to have Josephine currently teaching on our Autumn term of classes on Tuesday evenings. You can follow her on Facebook here.