Cathy Alexander, 70, has been visiting Bali since 1979 and moved here more than 10 years ago from Australia

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?

Just go with the flow.

What’s most important?

What advice would you give the younger generations?
Live a simple life. Live in a community you’re happy in. Enjoy being here and see challenges as a fun project rather than a burden.

Are you worried about dying?
No, not at all. I’ve nearly died a number of times and from experience I know there is help from the unseen world. I don’t want to leave this life, but it will be an interesting experience.

When was the happiest time of your life?
There have been lots of happy times, but if I had to pick one I’d say right now is pretty good. I did have a fantastic job researching with learning disabled kids and played a huge amount of sport and that was a really exciting time, but each stage has been good. I’ve done heaps of terrific things.

And the worst?
When I contracted a resistant staph infection on top of having severe asthma and ended up with a hugely reduced amount of air. I had to leave my job and my whole life turned around. I still suffer and that was a nightmare, but it has brought me to my passion for teaching an alternative method for dealing with asthma.

What’s humanity all about?
Learning experiences. Learning to be tolerant and living together and learning to cherish the planet – that’s what it should be about anyway.

Why are there so many conflicts in the world?
People want their own way and they’re intolerant of people who have different beliefs.

Is a peaceful world possible?
Oh yes.

How old do you feel?

I’ve just turned 70 but I feel quite ageless. Seventy was a bit of a shock to my system, though.

Is one lifetime enough?
Oh no, I don’t think so; I think I’ll keep going anyway.

How has Bali changed?

A lot of Bali hasn’t changed since I first came here in 1979. However, being able to get loans has made a huge difference to people’s lifestyles. Having to pay back loans has made life much more complicated. Everything was much simpler when I first came here.

Has tourism been good for Bali?
I think the Balinese are too dependent on tourism. I like seeing new eco-tourism and organic farming developments that the Balinese can sustain and earn money in other ways than through tourism.

What’s the major difference between the East and the West?
There is a much more profound understanding of life and the unseen world in the East. The rapaciousness and the fact that everything is up for grabs in the West isn’t in the East, and I love that.

Have you ever doubted your religion?

I certainly doubted Christianity early on, around 16 years old, but I’ve always believed in a spiritual life. I don’t really have a religion but if my beliefs are anything I suppose they are Buddhist. If we all understood all religions are basically the same, it would make a huge difference to the world.

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