Backpacking alone overland by bus and train through China, Tibet, Nepal, India and Pakistan for 16 months with a total monthly spend of $100 was possible in the 1980’s. Noodles and naan were inexpensive and sleeping in train or bus stations was free. Carving a line through Asia, I managed to do a lot with a little. Somewhere during that sojourn I remember seeing a travel brochure with a photograph of an over-water villa in the Maldives, which oozed luxury and chill. I imagined myself there but hopefully somehow, without having to pick up the tab.
Enter Joe Polito. In 1999 the Oberoi Resort in Lombok, Indonesia would soon stage its grand opening. The event manager suggested to Joe, the GM of the resort, that an Artist-in-Residence was exactly what the festivities required. Joe agreed with the vision and opened the door to a six-week stint in pampered luxury where I painted, staged an exhibition and connected with hotel guests. It would be the first of dozens of incredible opportunities Angie and I have had across the globe, staying in some of the world’s finest hotels in exchange for something we love to do- paint and share. I’m not exactly sure how I manifested a dream I had 35 years ago. But this article by Sonia Tan at Happy-Ali will put some legs on the story. I hope you enjoy it.