The Atlas


7 Sep

Japanese Boro Textile and Indigo Traditions

The art of boro is one born of necessity—agricultural and working class families prolonged the lives of their clothing and cloth possessions through meticulous quilt-stitching to strengthen them, and via patching holes with scraps of fabric. Over the years, the resulting textiles have become sought after pieces and exquisite, patchwork fields...

22 Mar

Meditations #72

Mystery and Magic. Magical is the splendor of our earth – its colors and formations, and its endless diversity. Mysterious is what remains untouched and hidden to us – a valley or peak, and the subterranean caverns of our dreams. Photographer:  Ryan Deboodt Soon Dong Cave, Vietnam

16 Feb

Meditations #71

Hugging the coastline, their hand-sewn ships ran with the trade winds, laden with dates and dried fish, mangrove poles, coconut oil, pearls and slaves.  For millennia, they plied the incense route, a maritime cat’s cradle of ports and straits and pirate coasts, weaving together a babel of languages, religions and customs into a glorious trading...

24 Jan

The Empty Quarter

When I was in my early 20’s, I shared a tented camp for many months in Kenya’s Maasai Mara with my first husband, a filmmaker.  We lived a very local life amongst the Maasai.  One day, as I was tending to chores in our al fresco kitchen, I looked up to see a very tall, older man approaching on foot with two Samburu youths.  No one was...

18 Jan

Zighy Bay – Oman

aerial view of Zighy Bay and Zighy Bay Six Senses Resort The approach is vertiginous, whether you descend by driving or by paragliding.  Tucked in to a perfect crescent of a beach on Oman’s Musandam coast, Zighy Bay Six Senses cannot help but take your breath away, so perfectly blended is it into this starkly beautiful, bone dry landscape....

17 Jan

Ras al Khaimah

On the road to Oman, we pass through one of the 7 Emirates, Ras al Khaimah, the most fertile in the country.  Quieter than Dubai, Ras al Khaimah has lovely beach and water, and its desert is greener than that of Dubai.  It is poised to become another major tourism destination for the European market.  Currently, there are three charters arriving...

16 Jan

UAE: Dubai and Around

    Burj al Arab profile behind Jumeirah Madinat   One’s impressions of places have so much to do with who you travel with, what you see, weather and your own state of mind.  My last visit to the Arabian Gulf – four years ago this month – lasted but a week and was divided between Oman, Dubai and Doha.  It was warm...

5 Oct

Meditations #68

Sacred tatoos, magical, mystical supplications for divine protection and blessings. Etched onto the body, they wrap the naked in a sacred skin, an invisible armour, an indelible reminder of the right path. Photo:  Dan White

2 Sep

Notes from Shanghai

A room with a view – the corner suite at The Peninsula on the Bund looks across at all the iconic buildings of Shanghai.  Deliciously comfortable, with superb service, amazing restaurants like Sir Elly’s and Yi Long Court and one of the best spas I know – Tony’s foot massages are sybaritic – I would look no further. Typhoon...

20 May

Meditations #64

In the narrow places of life, it is important to be still. In those precarious moments, we need a steady walk and an absence of noise. We need to seek a wider perspective and to stare our options squarely in the eye. There are places on earth that lend themselves to this.  Photo:  Rebecca MacGregor Kumaon, Indian Himalayas

24 Feb

Snaps from an Indian Visit

The colors of India I have just returned from a two week trip to India and Bhutan, a trip that had as its focus the state of Madhya Pradesh, located in the center of the country and known for wonderful cultural sites, pretty countryside, a rich rural life, and tigers.  I was there to find tigers and to visit some of the safari camps, most notably those...

14 Feb


Behind and up the hill from Amankora Paro are the fired remains of Drukgyel Dzong, a 17th century fortress that saw battle between the Bhutanese and the Tibetans on one of their numerous engagements that took place in centuries past.  An easy stroll across open fields and past village houses, it is a magical place to be, sitting by the large prayer...

9 Feb

Vana Wellness Retreat

It was a long trip – 26 hours from my frozen door in New York, via Dubai, New Delhi, and Dehradun – that ended with a nighttime arrival at Vana, a year-old wellness retreat secreted on 21 acres of sal forest and planted fruit trees in the Himalayan foothills. What a remarkable place! Built by the Singh family, it became the private passion...

19 Jan

Amanpulo: The Gold Standard

Pamalican Island floats serenely in the Sulu Sea, one hour’s flight south of Manila.  Virtually embraced by a reef and overlooked from afar by a handful of muscular, verdant islands, you cannot help but think of it as blessed.  This island nation, after all, is extraordinarily vulnerable to the forces of nature and, yet, here she sits, basking...

16 Jan

Pangulasian Island, Palawan

I have been traveling through the Philippines on the first of what I hope will be other reconnaissance trips or “recces”.  For Americans, it is a long way, but the carriers are good (I flew Cathay via Hong Kong) and the world into which you drop is strangely familiar though, perhaps, not so strangely when considering our mutual histories....

28 Jan

Sailing The Seven Seas

Some of the most beautiful sailing areas on the planet occur on the Seven Seas – Banda, Timor, Celebes, not to mention gorgeous Raja Ampat.  This has traditionally been the lurking ground of the ruthless seafarers of South Sulawesi, the Bugis, who dogged the routes of English and Dutch trading ships.  European sailors may have feared the Bugis...

11 Jan

Goodbye to Bali

We spent our last night in Bali at the Oberoi, one of the oldest hotels on the island and still one of the loveliest.  Who would have known a quarter of a century ago that beachfront, rice fields and gardens would become the invaluable scarce resources they are today.  The Oberoi may look a bit old fashioned now, but sunset from its beach is still...

3 Jan

Ibu Goes to Candidasa

“Ibu Lisa,” called Sempan, “can I help you?”  I’m on crutches and am learning fast that there is no better place to be handicapped than here, where simply the smiles – let along the many proffered hands – could keep me upright.  Sempan and I are going on an excursion today to Candidasa in the East where AmanResort’s...

2 Jan

Good Morning Bali

You could have blindfolded me, turned me around in both directions 100 times before leading me outdoors, and I would have known exactly where I was.  Not all tropics smell the same. This magic isle mixes the humid, the decay, the lichens and frangipani into a concoction that, to me at least, seems unmistakeable. Good morning Bali. I spent my first...

1 Jan


I am spending this New Year’s Eve winging my way to Bali.  I have rented a house in Seminyak and will be meeting my family in a few days for a week of fun.  While I have skipped through Bali in the last years, I am looking forward to catching up with friends and surveying the changes which, ominously, are alluded to in everyone’s emails....

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