BaliSpirit was founded in 2003 by Meghan Pappenheim, as an online directory of socially conscious businesses for the Bali community. It emerged as a reaction to the devastations felt from the terrorist attacks that shook Bali at the core in the beginning of the 2000s.
The bombings in Bali took place in the tourist areas of Kuta (2002) and Jimbaran (2005). At the time, many mused that tourist hedonism was to blame and the island went through a massive internal cleansing ceremony.
Within a few months of the first bombing, Bali had lost its tourist trade and as a result the entrepreneurial Balinese were suffering huge financial losses. Passionate about helping the Balinese and their SMEs bounce back, Meghan visioned up the BaliSpirit website, worked with a few of her dear friends to create it and reached out to every Balinese or expat business owner or non-profit founder she knew whose work and business was socially conscious, eco-friendly or culturally celebrating Bali and got them listed on the website.
At that time Meghan’s goal was to stray away from the ‘hedonistic’ nature of tourism and lure the socially conscious, culturally sensitive and eco-traveler to Bali. The goal was to be together, in one place, to properly represent Bali as a group of people who really cared about the Island. As time has passed, Bali’s tourism industry has grown and shifted tremendously and BaliSpirit has had to shift with that growth.
To this date, BaliSpirit remains the only website of its kind, providing a centralized registry of Bali’s leading holistic venues, services and activities on Bali and continues to represent a community supporting local businesses united with a mutual love for Bali, culture, health and spirituality.
In addition to launching the BaliSpirit website, Meg and her Ubud born husband, Kadek 'Dek' Gunarta, have manifested and continue to maintain a wide range of Ubud area community projects and Ubud based small businesses that support local outreach projects. These include, but are not limited to: Ayo! Kita Bicara HIV/AIDS (an HIV & AIDS awareness and education program) and Bali ReGreen (an economically and environmentally sustainable bamboo reforestation program for villages in Bali).
Dek is a deeply spiritual man and his deep grounding in the Balinese culture and its spiritual values makes him an ideal community leader and together, they are able to find balance in the east and west.
25 years and two kids later, both Meg and Dek are committed to their family, the prosperity of their community, and the island of Bali. Every project they undertake embraces Fair Trade principals and strives to protect the environment.