Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lisa Napoli Interview

Lisa Napoli will be visiting Boulder Book Store to hold a signing event for her book, Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth on Tuesday, March 8, 7:30 pm.

After reading her book, we had a few questions about Bhutan and her experiences there, and she has graciously answered them for us!

Q: What is your current philosophy on how to live life?
A: To look at everything as an opportunity, and to help other people by giving. And I don't just mean financially.

Q: After directly interacting with the Bhutanese and living in their culture, do you agree that Bhutan is indeed the Happiest Place on Earth?
A: There's irony in my title, but you have to read the book!

Q: Do you think that Gross National Happiness (and also, Bhutanese culture and tradition) will become obsolete with the increasing westernization of Bhutan?
A: No, I think it'll become more institutionalized, which sort of defeats the purpose but also will hopefully inspire people to seek balance, which is ultimately what GNH is all about.

Q: What do you think are some important lessons everyday Americans can take away from the Bhutanese culture?
A: Community, spirituality, and respect for natural resources.

Q: What advice do you have for ordinary people who are in a rut, but do not have the means to travel as you did?
A: I'm an ordinary person too--who was given an amazing opportunity, which I took. Open your eyes to the world around you, in your immediate surroundings. Walk around where you live, look at it with the eyes of an outsider, and see where you can help. The minute you start thinking of other people and not just yourself, your whole perspective changes. And the minute you start thinking of what you have, instead of what you don't have, that changes everything, too.

Q: Do you have any travel tips?
A: Pack light and don't over-schedule. Or rush.

Q: What was your favorite part about Bhutan? Least Favorite?
A: Most favorite: that every day was a wonder, with a close second just looking at the people and the sky.
Least favorite: Red hot chili peppers.

Q: What kinds of philanthropic acts have you done recently or plan to do in the future, and what kinds of people or organizations would you like to help the most?
A: I am working with friends to raise money to build a library in the Mongar district of Bhutan, through READGlobal. It's called I also gather friends every month to cook dinner at the Downtown Women's Center, a shelter for women. I also just like to help people when they ask me, for big things and small, for people I know and people I don't.

Q: You mentioned that most of the Bhutanese dishes you tried were too hot for you to eat. On the other hand, were there any dishes you tried that you enjoyed?
A: The traditional snack that's made out of pounded maize is delicious and addictive. I also love the Bumthang Swiss cheese, Red Panda Beer, and K5 Whiskey. But those are not dishes. ;) Chanterelle mushrooms grow all over and I loved making scrambled eggs with them.

Q: Many job interviewers tend to ask the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Hypothetically, would you answer the same question asked by an interviewer in the same way that you answered your acquaintance?
A: Yes, but I'd be as polite about it as possible. I'd say, "I'd hope to still be learning and growing and experiencing the world around me," and be all vague if they pressed me for specifics!

To find out more about Lisa and Radio Shangri-La, visit Lisa's website here. Featured are pictures of Bhutan and her personal blog, as well as updates on her future events.

You can read an excerpt from her book here (It includes the preface and first chapter).

Also, hear her speak more about her book with author Simon Winchester in the video below:

Until next time!
Love, the BBS Interns

1 comment:

  1. Great posts on this blog. I'm on my way to Dhaka and will be needing all the information i can get because I will be staying shortly in Bhutan, I need to be able to gather knowledge as well as pictures, I adore Buddhism as well. Thanks for sharing. Your article was a real brain massage.

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