Some years ago, the time known as 'my indigo days' when I had my store, I used to hold special exhibitions to mark the arrival of new furniture or art. One night, in November of 2003, I was to hold my last exhibition. I was showcasing the work of a local photographer's visit to India, and I had invested in a large collection of antique furniture from India as well as antique jewellery from Tibet. The opening night was a hit - the store was full to the brim. And one of the lovely people who came in that evening with her 4 young children in tow was Sophie Bouris. I will never forget, because my store was not exactly child friendly. But these children were so well-behaved - surrounded by loads of strangers, in a frenzy of chatter and bustle as cushions, tables, clothes, and jewellery were being ogled and passed over the counter. Sophie and I connected on that one fleeting first meeting, and looking back we see that our chance encounter was perhaps, no chance at all.
I tell you all this because it is my meeting Sophie that led us both to meeting Tenpa, and both of us individually yet concurrently, developing a special connection with him and his family.
Fast forward to today, and Sophie and my other dear friend Leona, recently returned from an incredibly sacred journey to Tibet with Tenpa, his sister Thongga and their father who is known to many as Rinpoche, but who I call pala (father, in Tibetan). The journey was perilous as the risk of Tibetans travelling back to their own country can be fatal. I was distraught when they all left, and I sent them my positive thoughts every moment of every day they were away. I hung on to every email Tenpa was able to send me to tell me they were all safe, and I was a wreck when I would receive mail that sounded tentative and less than reassuring. But they all arrived home safely and live to tell the tale.
And here it is...
Sophie has compiled this incredible book filled with stories and events from the journey, including her stunning photographs and the journey details through the eyes of pala, Tenpa and Thongga. I have been lucky enough to have sneak peaks over the last few months as the book has been developing, and I will give you only five words to describe it: intimate, captivating, intriguing, heart-breaking and inspiring. A must read for not just those interested in Tibet, but anyone who has a heart.
I am so excited to announce that Sophie has given me the go-ahead to offer the book for pre-order. Just email me your name and contact details and I will put you on the list for the first books off the printing press in August. The aim of the book is to raise awareness of the Tibetan situation and hopefully raise some money from sales.
The book will initially come out of Australia but we'd like to offer the book all over the world, and in lots of languages - so if you are interested to volunteer translations or to help subsidize a print run here in Europe or America, please let me know.
Thank you Sophie, for creating such an incredible body of work, and for sharing it with us all.