Thursday 30 October 2008

"Near the River' series to launch "The Artist's Haven' with Rob Pepper

near the river logo:
"The Artist’s Haven - 23rd February - 8 March 2008"
- Rob Pepper and Aimie Littler join hands with TBY to draw River Nila:

The Bharatapuzha, also known as the River Nila, is the lifeline of Kerala. In many ways, it nurturued Kerala's culture, literature, science and ethos. Malayalam language itself was born on its banks. Many famous writers, singers, folk and classical artists still live in villages that the river embraces right from Kalpathy in Palakkad to Ponnani in Malappuram district.

Says Jnanpeeth award-winning writer MT Vasudevan Nair: "For me, Nila's significance is greater than that of the greatest ocean in the world. Much of my inner and external life is associated with the river Nila and Koodallur village located on its bank. The Nila and and Koodallur together form the backdrop for many of his novels, short stories and screenplays. In a sense, the Nila has inspired and brightened Kerala's mindscape. Today, the river appears to be choked by the needs and greed of modern civilization and is reduced to a mere trickle. Its tributaries are dammed to oblivion, channels sucked out by commercial interests, cool forests on its catchments butchered to satisfy consumer needs.

Death of the river Nila would mean an insult to a long line of writers, performing artists thinkers and sages who live on its banks and nurture Kerala's spirit, thoughts and dreams - in short, the very identity of Kerala.

Pic: Artist Rob Pepper
'Near the river' is an effort to direct the spot light onto a unique river valley civilization. Into its third year, ’Near the river’ provides an opportunity for art and culture inclined travellers to sketch a river that is often the thread that weaves lives and traditions in an ageless manner.

The Blue Yonder is partnering with London based Artists Rob Pepper & Aimie Littler for a two week art retreat along the river in Kerala. While working with Rob and Aimie, the travellers will get an opportunity to work with local artists as well. The travel with local interpreters will give insights into the uniqueness of the region and the group will be capturing this through drawing. The tour will conclude with a two-day exhibition of the images captured by the travellers in one of the leading art galleries in Cochin and / or Bangalore.

As a traveller this will be a great opportunity to explore the river and its associated culture whilst becoming an integral part of the local culture. Only a group of ten artistically inclined travellers can be taken on this group. The trip starts on the 23rd Feb for two weeks. Part of the proceedings from this trip will go towards supporting Nila Foundation. Contact us for the prices and more details on this amazing opportunity.

About Rob Pepper & Aimie Littler

Rob Pepper & Aimie Littler work out of their art studio in Islington, London. They’ve been working together for thirteen years on many artistic projects from international exhibitions, public art commissions, human rights campaigns to workshops with disadvantaged teenagers.

Rob Pepper is the artist maker and is a member of the Academic Board and a Senior Tutor at London's Art Academy. He creates large scale paintings, intimate drawings and his work has adorned album & book covers. Aimie Littler is the director of the Not For Profit Organisation "The Truth Isn’t Sexy" which works on the prevention of human trafficking. When not running this she conceptually develops the artwork, edits their publications and curates the many international exhibitions they have had over the years.

Together Rob & Aimie co-facilitate the Drawing Room which has a growing following in London. These art workshops focus upon an enjoyment of the artistic process and the nurturing of a happy group. They believe the creative impulse needs to be acknowledged as an important part of ones well being and it is this philosophy that they will be bringing to the new relationship with
The Blue Yonder.

© The Blue Yonder 2008

11 Nov Responsible Tourism Networking at WTM London

To celebrate the first Responsible Tourism day at the WTM 2007, Your Safe Planet and The Blue Yonder got together to bring individuals and organisations who were pursuing Responsible Tourism. This gave opportunities for many grass-root level operators to meet up with the market and vice-versa. Last year saw more than 100 people from countries ranging from Australia,Belgium,Canada,Hong Kong,India, Kenya,Malaysia,New Zeeland,Norway,South Africa,Sri Lanka,Sweden,Thailand,UAE,UK and USA amongst others coming together to celebrate Responsible Tourism.

It is a pleasure for us to know that many of them are working together now and have become a part of the growing network on Responsible Tourism across the world.Considering the success of last year, we are getting together once again on the 11th November 2008 in London to celebrate responsible tourism initiatives from all over the world.

We invite you to join us in London to network with the Tour Operators, Grass Root organisations, Media, Policy makers and all the flag-bearers of Responsible Tourism. We look forward to seeing you at the cocktail bar for networking.

Venue Abacus Bar,
Time 1900

Block the evening of 11th Nov 2008 if you are in London!If you have a new initiative to be launched in-front of crowd that understand Responsibility in Tourism, then this is the space!
Please RSVP on our facebook group.

Event coverage on Travel Mole UK. Read more here.
© The Blue Yonder 2008

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Travel Scholarship to River Nila

Kick start your travel writing career by going on assignment to Kerala, India. You will enjoy a 10 day tour with The Blue Yonder, offering unique insight into the River Nila civilization. Then, after touching base with your travel writing mentor - David Stott, you will hit the road for 10 days reviewing and writing for the Footprint India Handbohok!

For more details check the announcement:

World Nomads launches Travel Scholarship to Kerala!

Go on an assignment to Kerala with Footprint Travel Guides! Kick start your travel writing career by going on assignment to Kerala, India. You will enjoy a 10 day tour with The Blue Yonder, offering unique insight into the River Nila civilization. Then, after touching base with your travel writing mentor - David Stott, you will hit the road for 10 days reviewing and writing for the Footprint India Handbook!

The River Nila offers countless opportunities to witness thrilling folk performances, far beyond the tourist trail. Photo © David Stott

Assignment brief from :

* We'll fly you to India from your country of residence. You need to be available between February 16th and March 7, 2009 to participate on the Blue Yonder Tour and Footprint travel writing assignment.
*Your Kerala journey with The Blue Yonder will give you unique insight into the River Nila region. With a focus on sustainable tourism, the tour is specifically tailored for the lucky scholarship recipient to inspire your travel writing , and you will be personally escorted by a TBY interpreter.
*The ten day tour will include interactions with musicians, folk artists, bell metal workers, potters, sand miners, fire worshippers and ritualistic healers. You will also be planting saplings at the 'Traveller's Forest' a community driven eco-restoration project.The tour will be based on the age-old tradition of story telling that reveals the uniqueness of the region and the importance of rivers for a sustainable life.
*After touching base with your mentor - David Stott, you will research, review and update essential travel info including accommodation, bars & restaurants, entertainment, shopping, tours, activities and transport, as well as searching out those local secrets that travellers want to read about.
* Your mentor will be at hand to offer guidance, but essentially this is your assignment; you will travel on your own for this part of the journey so you must be comfortable travelling solo. David will assign you a specific local area based on your travelling experience.
* The fruits of your labour will feature in the new edition of the Footprint Inida Handbook, placing your foot firmly in the door of the elusive travel writing industry!

Assignment location:

While Kerala is ranked as a top ten destination in the world, some parts of Kerala still remain unknown and unvisited. The river Nila, the longest river in Kerala (209kms) offers one of the most unique cultural experiences as it has an ancient and steeped in tradition river civilization. Be it the classical Kathakali or ritualistic folk art forms or temple festivals or literary traditions, you can trace a definite and indelible impact of the river Nila in each and every aspect.

The recipient of the Scholarship, along with the best entries will be published on the website on January 23, 2009. Applications close midnight January 9, 2009.(AEST): Apply now here:

For any further information, please read this section:
© The Blue Yonder 2008