Join Chip Conley on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 11am PST to chat about the mystery and magic of international festivals on the AFAR Facebook page. Chip founded Joie de Vivre, America’s second largest boutique hotel company, in 1987 and served as CEO for 24 years. A successful author and speaker, he’s now traveling the world from festival to festival, and reporting back as AFAR’s special correspondent. His website, FEST300.com will launch in the spring.
Chip’s investigation of festivals around the world took him last year to Bali, where communal ritual is an omnipresent aspect of life. This springs from Bali’s rich cultural and religious traditions—a harmonious blend of animism, Agama Hinduism, and Buddhism. Bali’s festival culture finds unique expression in the form of the village odalan—as Chip explains in a recent AFAR.com Highlight, “The village odalan is the most foundational festival on Bali. Every 210 days (the length of the Balinese calendar), each village celebrates the anniversary of one of its temples. Since there are more than 20,000 village temples on the island, this translates to about 100 odalans a day. The odalan usually lasts a few days with dancing, feasting, mythological characters in costume, and, of course, multiple gamelan orchestras.”
Within the United States, Chip attended the 2012 Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, and, in keeping with the fiery ideals at the festival’s core, felt its transformative power once again, reflecting on his own beginnings as a young entrepreneur. “Twenty-five years ago, in my mid-twenties,” writes Chip, “I created a rock ‘n roll hotel out of a notorious, inner city, pay-by-the-hour motel. I called it The Phoenix after San Francisco’s official city bird—a mythological metaphor for the city that rose from its own ashes after the 1906 earthquake and fire. I was hoping this name would foreshadow the renaissance of a formerly hostile hostel … it worked.”
This week, Chip will be posting Wanderlists from his travels to Turkey and Israel. And over the next year he’ll be globetrotting to faraway places including Mexico, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, England, Egypt, Morocco … and more. You can follow Chip’s journey via his profile on AFAR.com, and we hope you join us for Chip’s Facebook chat on Thursday!