THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
THE SAYULITA WELLNESS HOTEL AND RETREAT YOU NEED TO VISIT ON YOUR NEXT TRIP
Tucked-away in the Mexican jungles, this family-run seaside retreat with access to a hidden Sayulita beach is the sanctuary that will help you decompress and connect with nature
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: La Joya
05 May 2023
Wake up to the sound of the waves greeting the shore and the songs of the birds flying through a cloudless sky. Drink your morning cup of coffee overlooking the coconut palm trees that guard the aquamarine shores of Sayulita. Take a dive in the pool and allow yourself to disconnect. La Joya is a paradise tucked away in the jungles of Mexico where nature meets freedom to create a space that feels like a dream.
The wellness-focused amenities in La Joya allow visitors to follow their own pace when they design their stay. Choose between yoga classes, surf lessons or go for a run on the beach. If you are looking to decompress and enjoy a relaxing stay, the complex offers a spa with a hydrotherapy circuit, infrared sauna room and even a steam room which are all available for the guests.
As it is a family-run business, it is important to the hosts to ensure that visitors can experience an authentic stay at La Joya. John, Christina, Julianna and their cute dog Lily are happy to recommend places in the area where travellers can explore, places where they can sample the local cuisine and their favourite health and shopping experiences in Sayulita.
The seaside retreat offers between 12 and 17 ocean view rooms which will guarantee a tranquil and unique experience. Regardless of whether you are a solo traveller, you want to organise a getaway holiday with your friends or you are planning a couple's trip, the retreat will satisfy your needs. Between the modern Bungalows, the French windows in the luxury Villas and the open terrace space of the Casitas that is ideal for welcoming the sunrise, guests have many options to choose from.
A big focus for the retreat is creating a space that feels as much influenced by nature as possible. The team has thought the details through so even your shampoo, conditioner and body soap are made in the area with organic ingredients. The food served in the boutique hotel is organic, fresh and healthy. Enjoy colourful smoothie bowls, homemade tacos, sweet grilled pineapple and delicious breakfasts made from locally sourced ingredients. The menu varies and is trusted to skilled chefs and their team who manage to capture the essence of Mexico in every meal.
If you are looking for a sanctuary for your next trip away, La Joya is the place to book your stay. We caught up with the team to talk about what they love most about Mexico and what inspired the idea for the retreat.
‘‘Focusing on making sustainable choices where possible as a label is no longer optional in my opinion, it's mandatory. We all need to tread lightly and be more conscious & this especially goes for the fashion industry. The future of fashion is slow & thoughtful.’’
Becs, founder of balm wears for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine
NOMADSofORIGIN: La Joya is a unique retreat that gives travellers the opportunity to connect with nature and completely switch off to take a break from their busy lifestyle. What inspired your vision for the retreat?
La Joya: I don't personally identify the brand as being bohemian chic, but the island roots probably give that kind of vibe! My inspiration for designs come from so many different places but I'd say I'm primarily inspired by vintage everyday fashion. I grew up thrift shopping and it has always been a huge passion of mine so incorporating that into my label was so very natural.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Between surfing, hiking and exploring the local sights, there is lots to do in the area. What are some of the less-known spots in Sayulita that you love visiting on your days off?
La Joya: This is a tricky one because I truly love them all! But my most frequently worn pieces would definitely be the yin yang clogs, hemp suit & scoop singlet. Ohh, and the sorbet linen pieces for when I'm feeling nice and colourful!
NOMADSofORIGIN: What is your favourite thing about Mexico?
La Joya: Being based in Bali absolutely contributes to the slow fashion soul of my brand. I've lived in Bali full time since 2018 and only launched balm wears in April of 2021. After being here for a while and seeing the opportunities I had to be able to follow a dream of starting a small label while simultaneously countering detrimental fast fashion & providing opportunities to some incredible humans it seemed like a no brainer to give it a go. I work solely with independent makers and their families, not with a factory, so everything is done super slowly and in small batches. Additionally, since Bali is such a hub for production, I've been able to creatively source lots of deadstock fabric to assist in being more conscious. I honestly don't think I would have started balm wears anywhere else!
Close to the Beach
NOMADSofORIGIN: La Joya is like an oasis nesting between a forest of palm trees and a coast of secret beaches. What role does nature play in the overall experience at the retreat?
La Joya: Since the pandemic left us all pretty limited travel wise it encouraged me to explore a lot more of Indonesia vs. international travel, which was an absolute dream. I cannot recommend this country enough! Indonesia has so much more to offer other than the hustle & bustle of Bali. Otherwise, I've always been someone who follows the beach life dream for travels so a few other personal faves are Sri Lanka, Mexico & Nicaragua.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Guests can choose to stay in luxury villas, elegant casitas and cozy bungalows. La Joya seems to be centered around the idea of building a community. Is that an important part of the business?
La Joya: Yes! Thanks to One Tree Planted it is so wonderfully simple & accessible to give back as a brand and pay it forward to our mama earth - I think in this day and age if you're running a business and not giving back to our planet in some way, shape or form you've really gotta check in. Focusing on making sustainable choices where possible as a label is no longer optional in my opinion, it's mandatory. We all need to tread lightly and be more conscious & this especially goes for the fashion industry. The future of fashion is slow & thoughtful. Many more people are beginning to see the true detriment of massive fast fashion brands on both the environment and human rights and are thinking twice about where their clothing comes from - as this awareness grows more fashion brands will need to follow suit and begin to operate more consciously (I HOPE!).
NOMADSofORIGIN: The stunning retreat is located in the heart of Mexico. How is the local culture incorporated within the experience?
La Joya: I wouldn't say I have one fashion icon in particular because I'm always most in awe & inspired by everyday style of people out in the world day to day, more so when I lived in a city, but from the island life following photographers like @thesartoralist who capture everyday street style showcasing people with unique style gives me my fix!
Follow @lajoyasayulita on social media.
NOMADSofORIGIN x La Joya
This interview appears in NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine print #06 The Trailblazers Issue