About Soul Journals

Book front and back_MOCKUP

As recommended in National Geographic Traveler

Don George writes “…a hot-off-the-presses read written by Bali resident Clare McAlaney with photographs by Trish McNeill, presents a sumptuous exploration and evocation of the heart and soul of contemporary Bali.”

Don George is an editor at large at National Geographic Traveler and  author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. He has also edited several award-winning travel-writing anthologies, including Better Than Fiction.

See the book trailer – click here!

Bali Soul Journals is the first in a series of books showcasing the beauty of people around the planet.  Its intention is to inspire tolerance, love and empathy through a series of interviews with people who know and love Bali. Bali Soul Journals also observes cultural symbols and daily rituals, from food to music and spiritual beliefs, to the way people live their lives, highlighting the importance of preserving the essence of Bali and what makes it unique. Featuring beautiful photography, come with us on a journey into the heart and soul of Bali.

For the conscious traveller, whether in the country or in their armchair, Bali Soul Journals brings understanding and connection, and a mindset of hope, abundance and inspiration.

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The first book was published in November 2013, and will serve as a fine complement to Things you need to know about Bali.  Things you need to know gives you the low down on how to have a fabulous holiday in Bali, to be an aware traveler and therefore, one who gets home safely, without incident. Soul Journals explores the island on another level as author Clare McAlaney and talented photographer Trish McNeill (Trish McNeill Photography) search out the heart and soul of Bali. They do it with your eyes – the eyes of a tourist, rather than as an expat. What do you see or miss? What are they saying? And answering questions with real life experiences, such as “can I visit a ceremony and take photos?” Rather than just tell you the answer, we use video that gives an immediate sense of the warmth and welcoming natures of Balinese.

Come with us on this journey. First, through our blogs and then, with our book featuring stunning images of beautiful Bali.

For distribution and sales enquiries, please fill out the form below. Thank you for your interest. Together, as guests who travel this globe, we can see the beauty and inspiration in our hosts and make travel something that enhances, rather than takes.

About Creatavision Publishing

Soul Journals and Things you need to know books are published by Creatavision Publishing – bringing authors’ visions to life and to sharing the wisdom of others with a greater reach, helping them connect with the heart and soul of the planet to create a higher vibration of learning, love and acceptance.

Soul Journals connects with ordinary people who have simple but extraordinary stories that are shared for the expanding of our consciousness on this planet.

In the words of  Justin Francis, who describes the future as being ‘deep’ travel – getting under the skin of a place. We already seek out authenticity – real experiences rather than fake culture packaged up for tourists – but travel in 2020 will go further. It will be about the appreciation of local distinctiveness, the idiosyncrasies and the detail, the things that make a place unique and special. It will be as much about the smell of fresh spices in Kerala in India and the colourful tailors of Hoi An in Vietnam as it is about rediscovering the exotic and locally distinctive closer to home.

Join us on this incredible journey, which as they say, is starting with the tiny two steps called Things you need to know, and Soul Journals. Fittingly started in Bali, one of the planet’s most unique and spiritual places. Selamat jalan.

Bali Soul Journals is part of the upcoming series of books by Things you need to know. (www.thingsyouneed2know.com.au)

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9 thoughts on “About Soul Journals

  1. echoes of Bali, echoes of your book I like ++++
    “sensory and at the upper edge of consciousness”
    “Bali holds a special mystic, sthg that few can articulate, and that most take in through the senses”
    -qualifying Bali to the common
    “the hut in the middle their only shelter
    the noise of the clappers keeping birds off the treasure”
    -poetry of image and rhyme / beautiful

    still 3 questions for now to the author out of a passion for knowledge, no criticism at all : is -sugar goes further than vinegar- a native English speaker idiom or did you make it for the book? would be so accurate for the Balinese waow

    -even animals seem more vibrant- here, it s so true but particularly as for the cows, that are so beautifully thin and rather looking like deers, which you didn t mention at all pity, this is most striking and delighful though, not the roosters that I would appreciate an extinct species sorry

    As for Balinese nawa sanga, you mention p.39 the symbols and colours of the directions, yet not matching with those p.61 concerning fabrics. Maybe different symbols to different arts, right?

    And PS last but not least from a French lady, yet first citizen of the world, you mention their cuisine, that s exactly the kind of wonder you cannot promise to the traveller. Tahitian, Thai, real Vietnamese are really good but Balinese no way. I suspect you being too much in love with the island to be honest about it. Or this is the only thing you tried outside Australia? Is Australian food so bad! I doubt it. The only very good meal I had in Bali was in the Villa Manouria, Padangbai, made by “their locals” for Barong ceremony or at times in places where foreigners add a touch of their culture to it whereas everywhere in Thailand is succulent for instance.

    Thanks for the book ++++


    1. Dear Christine, thank you for your comments. As they do say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for me, the rooster is part of the fabric of Bali, even though nowhere close to extinction. The cows are lovely too. I am uncertain what you mean about appreciating an extinct species over a rooster, as I would not be able to experience it, nor photograph it.

      There actually is a deer on Bali. The Javanese deer is on the north west of the island, on Menjangan Island. It is not extinct, nor native to Bali, but is beautiful. On the back of the book, you will notice it says it is the first in a series, and there is much more to capture and journal. The Menjangan deer is in my next book, the Bootongs of Bali, along with some ducks, geese and the White Starling, to name a few. We have photographed some cows but they didn’t make this book…the next one, I promise they will.

      I have travelled extensively throughout Asia, so your assumption that I have not left Australia is narrow. I have been to Paris, and must admit that I prefer the food in Indonesia, but it is a question of taste, yes? I love Vietnamese food, but prefer Cambodia, have you tried the French twist they put on their food there? But do I love Balinese authentic food? Absolutely yes. Rick Stein has created a wonderful cookery book, Far Eastern Odyssey. He exemplifies how we can find culinary delights throughout the region, and as a food expert, Bali is one of his favourites. I do hope that the traveller enjoys their food as much as I do and will understand why I don’t compare it to other regions…this is after all, a book about Bali!

      The reference to the colours comes from several sources, and yes, there is variance. Thank you for noting it. I will visit with the Professor of Hinduism at Denpasar University before the reprint, which may well provide explanation why there is variation. One was sourced from a book on Balinese textiles, written by a Professor, the other is called Bali, A Travellers Companion, which explains the Mandala can be expressed in three, five, seven or nine points. Both books are by persons with more education on Hinduism than I, but yours is a valid question, and being curious, I will now pursue the answer!

      I am afraid I don’t understand your comment regarding sugar and vinegar…this is an English saying, meaning that being kind is far more effective than being angry or bitter. I am not sure I can be so in love to become dishonest. The journals are through my eyes, and those of locals, and of course, the photographic eyes of Trish and I. I hope the magic of Bali has been captured, and am looking forward to continuing to seek out the beauty, no matter where I am on the planet, in future editions.

      Thank you again for your comments, which you have spent much time on. They are appreciated for their honesty.

      Best wishes,


      1. How nice of her to write such a long comment. I was thinking she meant that she would prefer to see roosters extinct, perhaps for their noise?? And it sounded to me that she hadn’t heard of the saying about sugar and vinegar and was wondering about the origin of it, or whether you had made it up for the book.

        Haha, she really doesn’t like the food! Fair enough, each to their own.

        Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 00:57:12 +0000 To: trishmcneill67@hotmail.com


  2. Thanks Trish, you got it right.
    And heartfelt thanks Clare for your answers, for teaching me the right name for sarong, and about lumrah and alus Balinese and for page 180 now, a prayer for the dying :

    “Ceremonies are tied to community and Gods are tied to ceremonies. They protect the powerful vortex and spirits that reside in the depths of the earth, the crisp air of the mountains and ebb and flow of the waters of Bali.
    If the rivers which are the source of the Holy water become clogged with garbage, they will one day dry. What replaces this spiritual source?
    As rice paddies turn to dust and stately villas and restaurants are constructed, villages lose acces to ceremonial grounds and beaches.
    The Subak falls apart and the ceremonies that once bound the villages are no longer needed…
    Children go through motions, not understanding the meaning of their culture. Rice is received on foreheads to mark the end of the ceremony, rather than connecting with the gods and spirits that are present.
    Artisans villages become nothing more than a reason for a bus trip, which clogs the streets of Bali in a desperate attempt to take the next photo, get to the biggest temple or check into the next stunning restaurant”

    So I’d say yes “keep the heart and soul of Bali alive”, cause Bali is this canang that the rest of the world is failing to give every morning, therefore failing to receive the best back from the Niskala.

    And even if hindouists believe that everything has to fade and vanish cause it’s the law of impermanence that they willingly accept, all the more so since this is the Kali Yuga, proper age to degrade and dark age of the earth, Bali is a sacred prayer, and to lose it would leave anyone of us who has met its magic with a great sense of loss and sudden emptyness. It would be like losing the most powerful mantra of all, losing our universal spiritual langage.
    I remember somebody telling me in 2006 that Bali was still in the silver age, no wonder its name, the Island of the Gods. What Bali kept alive is our common legacy as human beings with sikut awak, the measurement of themselves between heaven and earth.

    I’m learning to make canang and offerings, maybe we should all learn, maybe it is our role to acknowledge who we are now, and give thanks for Bali’s self offering so far. Tat tvam asih


    1. Hi Christine,
      Please let me refer to you in the first person this time haha. I didn’t realize that went straight to the website!
      I am heading back to Bali later this month and I can’t wait. I love your words, they crystalize everything I think about Bali too. Thank you so much for connecting and keep any eye out for the updates later in the month and early June. We are off to take more photos and experience the Bali that we love.
      Amicalement, Trish x


  3. LLGV Trish Love, Light & Good Vibes. I’ll keep an eye.
    I finished the book and enjoyed last 40 pages the most.

    I just had Melukat water purification with Resi, think the 2 of you might know. Otherwise try one with her next time. This is Healing Bali.
    So here after are the details just in case.
    I suppose you know Balinese version of Ramayana about the creation of Bali by Hanumam bringing parts of the Kailash in those seas instead of the sole Sanjeevi medicinal plant Rama was asking for saving his brother’s life. That s why the whole island is a healing place…

    Ida Panditha Mpu Budha Mahaseri Alit Parama Daksa, also known as Ida Resi Alit, was born I Komang Widiantri on March 14, 1986, in a small farming village in the central highlands of Bali. She lived as an ordinary girl for the first twenty years of her life. At the age of 20, due to external events, she fell into a deep depression. Ida Resi Alit’s uncle, a village Mangku, concerned for her wellbeing, introduced her to meditation and yoga to soothe her. As she started practicing, the girl who had no previous spiritual training or deep desire, began to have out of body experiences and download information during her practice. She was instructed to perform a special ceremony, the meaning of which she did not understand. At the ceremony she fell into deep unconsciousness. She stopped breathing and her pulse was gone. Her family wailed, crying and reacting hysterically, scared that she had died. Ida Resi Alit has no memory of this time. At 2am she started to regain consciousness, to be able to blink but not to talk. Then she saw a laser, like a bolt of lightning in the sky, and found herself able to fully return to her body. She slept until the afternoon and when she had awakened spiritually. Soon after she was ordained by the highest authority, the Hindu Dharma Council, and she became Bali’s youngest and only High Priestess.


    1. Lovely words Christine, you have expressed it beautifully, as Trish said. Keep an eye out for Source Quarterly next month as there is a feature article in it on the tiling/ceramics village of Bali, just near my home. There is just so much to absorb here, I need a lifetime! Being naturally curious, there is more to learn. Thank you for sharing the story for other readers of the thread. I had not heard the story before in such detail. There are many stories of this nature, Bali is indeed an island to revere and respect. Blessings, Clare


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