All posts tagged: featured

Sand dunes in Mongolia

Travel notes from Mongolia

Mongolia is a place everyone should visit, maybe even more than once. It’s a crazy little country with 2.8 million people. More goats than people. We are going through a climate event right now which has caused huge rains in the Gobi Desert. The flocks keep growing and the goats become cashmere. The sheep become dinner. But the people there live an amazing horse culture like many places in the world; I think there are more horses than sheep. The horses are beautiful. They race them and have all sorts of Mongolian rodeo tricks, like jumping from horse to horse 16 times in 20 seconds. They live for their horses. They live in ger (yurts) which can go up and down in 45 minutes. They move with their flocks. But things are sadly changing. The Soviets decimated the culture, destroyed the Buddhist libraries and culture. They tried to make communal farms out of the desert. Their tentacles are still there; it’s really a ‘carry your own bag’ culture. The people are really lovely. Sleeping in …

Ubud kids selling garbage to Sampah Jujur

Ubud schools joining the fight against plastic with Sampah Jujur

Public schools around Sayan in Ubud, Bali are starting to take advantage of their trash problem. Sampah Jujur volunteers Ibu Kadek, Pak Ketut and their son, Gian, also part of the Green School family, have been visiting a few schools around the Sampah Jujur HQ in Sayan, Bali, to share the news that Sampah Jujur is now buying plastic to be recycled. Today, SMP N 2 Ubud (a public middle school) and five SD (public elementary schools) are partnering up with Sampah Jujur to sort their trash and get cash in return for their recyclables. Sampah Jujur, led by John Hardy, hosts a trash walk every day (except for Sundays) starting at 7am from Bambu Indah. Many individuals that share a passion to make Bali cleaner and plastic-free joins the trash walk and help to sort their trash haul into different categories of garbage. Sampah Jujur HQ is located in a traditional market in Sayan and next to a public elementary school, so local residents have started to ask questions and learn what it is all about. …

Trash walking in Tulum

Trash walking in Tulum

Tulum beach survived the seaweed die-off plague, where the ecosystem changed and Tulum beach was unwalkable for many months. Coming back and seeing it in pristine condition was so nice, but when you start walking down the beach, further away from the hotels, you start to see bottles and other things. I had meant to take a trash stick and bag with me, but didn’t get organized in time. Walking on the beach, I just couldn’t contain myself. I found a plastic bucket and then some rope; so I fixed the rope to the bottom of the bucket and started picking up trash. I noticed a lot of trash had handles. And then there was more rope, so before I knew it I had 200 pounds of trash which I was towing down the beach. People would actually come out of the jungle and help me pull it for a while. It was so heavy, I finally dumped it right in front of the Tulum hotel. Sebastian Sas (founder of the amazing Nomade property in …

Sampah jujur kids

The business of buying trash with Sampah Jujur

Sampah Jujur is an initiative based in Baung, Bali, to create an economy for plastic and other waste.  Started by John Hardy, the initiative began as morning walks picking up trash around the neighborhood.  Meeting at Bambu Indah in Ubud most weekday mornings around 7-7:30am, people walk, collecting items for recycling and reclaiming garbage from the paddies, streets and streams, bringing them to Bambu Indah, where the trash is sorted and picked up by the garbage buyers. In early 2016, Sampah Jujur (Honest Trash) created a stall in the local Sayan Market. The stall offers to buy trash from people working in the market and from the general community at fair prices.  In a few months the community (including kids from local primary schools who have saved their garbage for the week) has brought over 2,500 kilograms of plastic, metal and paper to be sold at the market stall! Sampah Jujur has also installed compost and recyclable bins in the market and now has over twenty compost piles. If compost is sold this could mean a …

Sumba beach

Travel notes from Sumba

Just returned from Sumba, on a trip to see the progress of The Sumba Hospitality Foundation‘s campus currently being constructed by Ibuku. Sumba is the most magic island. Beautiful people, beautiful beach and a beautiful place to stay- Nihiwatu. The property of Chris Burch and James McBride. They have two things you can’t miss- Rice Island, which is literally a hill in the middle of the biggest rice field you’ve ever seen, complete with lunch on a hill. Walk there in an hour and forty five minutes. It’s a journey, really beautiful. The next thing you do is called Spa Safari– another walk through the most beautiful, untouched Sumba, through a traditional village, until you get to the ricefields flowing down to the sea. Spa Safari is your own small safari house, with a small table set up for lunch for two beside two massage tables and a delicious bed for many things. It’s beyond romantic. A place you shouldn’t miss. -JH With Chris Burch. Shots from The Sumba Hospitality Foundation‘s campus, a work in …

Green Village Bali

A dream of 108 houses to go with Green School

Living in Green Village  is a unique opportunity to let your kids walk to school through the forest rather than commute 45 minutes or more each day. We are very committed to this dream of a green community right next to Green School. Come and be a part of it. There are houses available for sale and available for rent through the Green Village. -JH Green Village  stands for a community and a lifestyle for those who care about nature and appreciate its magnificence. Its real estate offerings are more than just unique properties; they are a promise of a sustainable future. Set along the terraced slopes of the Ayung River in Bali, Green Village is a master-planned community of eighteen dramatically unique homes, hand-constructed by the Ibuku team. Each home is custom designed and rigorously engineered to embody the inherent strengths and versatility of bamboo. Located within walking distance from Green School, Green Village encompasses all of the architectural innovations, sustainable principles and artisan craftsmanship of the world famous campus. A few of the Green Village homes …

China's round earthen houses

How to build a tiger proof house

John went to visit the earthen round houses of Yuchang. Amazing houses, closed on the outside with no windows until the 3rd floor because of stories of tigers coming into the houses and killing people. -JH From the Wikipedia page: Yuchanglou (裕昌樓) is a five-storey tulou located at Nanjing County, Shuyang Town, Xiabanliao Village. It was built in 1308 Yuan dynasty by the Liu family clan. It is one of the oldest and tallest tulou in China. Yuchanglou has been nicknamed the “zigzag building”, because the vertical wooden post structure is not straight and perpendicular, but zigzags left and right. It was built that way due to an error measuring the building materials. But in spite of this apparent infirmity, this tall tulou withstood 700 years of natural elements and social turmoil.   Yuchanglou’s outer ring is 36 m in diameter and boasts five storeys, with 50 rooms on each floor, 270 in total. Each of the 25 kitchens on the ground floor at the back half of the circle has a private water well beside its …

Japan in winter

Revisiting Japan with my 19 year old

If your 19 year old is loving her monoculture, what do you do to open the gates? Take her to Japan. It was such a pleasure to see her experience Japan having never been there and it is so different to anything she’s ever known. I started in Japan in 1975. Japan is like everything I’ve never seen.  In a sense, it is a monoculture, but  it is such a hugely diverse place. It’s full of hidden magic. Full of beauty. It is still a world of artisanship- they’re even taking on the Scots by making the best whiskey in the world. Tokyo sunrise.  We stayed in the Park Hotel in their art rooms. Uber in Tokyo was amazing. Give your location, a nice car comes, drops you off, no money no going around in circles. The subway was also invaluable. Do as the locals do and zone out for the ride. Lost her soul in the subway. Confused Carina hitching. The Tokyo Station Hotel. Tokyo winter fashion shoot complete with heater. Antique textile shopping at …