What’s Wrong With the West (?): How lifestyle Migration Shaped the Spiritual Tourism Industry in Ubud, Bali

Presentation author(s)

Will Mertens ’20, Merino, Colorado

Major: Anthropology


My presentation aims to explore the spiritual tourism industry in Ubud, Bali, from an ethnographic lens based on research that took place in Fall 2019. Spiritual tourism refers to travel for the purpose of finding spirituality to improve one’s life; it mostly involves westerners traveling to “exotic” places, whom I refer to as lifestyle migrants. I am concerned about who created the spiritual tourism industry and what that means for Ubud’s locals. I also explore Ubud’s inherent spirituality through the eyes of Balinese and foreigners, arguing that the spiritual tourism industry was created by expats living in Ubud and largely cuts locals out of the industry.


Jennifer Esperanza

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