New website curates top responsible shopping, dining, retreats and events around the world

Born in Indonesia and raised in Sydney, Mel Nahas left a successful career in the music industry and launched Guide to the Conscious City in 2016. Since the site went live, Nahas has presented more than 6,000 events on its community platform.

How did you come up with the idea for Conscious City Guide? During the height of the design and fashion blogging era, I started a conscious lifestyle blog called The Bharani Effect, just for fun. Each week, I emailed subscribers about the new interview feature, along with a list of mindful events I had researched.

I then decided to leave my full-time career in the music industry, with the germ of an idea inspired by the conscious events I listed in this newsletter. I put my background in the music industry to work and grew the blog into what it is today, with the help of my co-founder Kiki Falconer.

What does Conscious City Guide offer that wasn’t already available? It unifies a fragmented marketplace of mindful events, retreats, workshops and experiences. For example, unless you follow or subscribe to every school or practitioner of meditation, sound bathing, or regenerative agriculture, how do you know what’s going on? Yes, you can follow some teachers, but where do you go to learn and more? I saw that people still needed an organized place for their own discovery.

What is your selection process for what is featured on the site? It’s community-powered, which means anyone hosting a conscious event can list it on Conscious City Guide.

How has the concept evolved since your launch? And what are your plans for the future? It started as a newsletter, turned into an event marketplace, and now it’s a platform. Add to that, we now include editorials from our community of event creators, sharing their tips and stories about their practices. The plan is to bring as many people as possible to mindful events, so that we all become more connected to ourselves, each other and the planet.

What makes an event “conscious”? We are looking for events that offer connection, expansion and transformation to ourselves, our communities, our land or, better yet, all three.

How has your background in music and entertainment helped and informed what you do now? Music and the music industry is definitely a muse for me. The way music inspires and moves people, it changes them. Quite literally, we were grateful to receive support from the Live Nation Women fund.

Beyond events and experiences, tell me about the resources you offer and how you source and create them? We introduced articles to the site recently because we found that some people didn’t know enough about a particular event to want to go and experience it.

Tell me about some of the experiences, retreats and practitioners you present that you are most passionate about and why?

Amy Yeung of 4Kinship, a Diné (Navajo) owned sustainable art clothing brand that does a tremendous amount of fundraising and awareness for her community. We produced and promoted their Voices of Siihasin concert with Jewel and Lyla June during the pandemic, as the Dinétah were one of the hardest hit tribes. It’s inspiring how Amy raises funds and awareness through fashion and art.

I love Julie Piatt (Srimati). From his monthly online group meetings, his retreats at sacred sites around the world, as well as his line of Srimu plant-based cheeses, I am grateful to play a part in the production and expansion of all these offers.

Mercado Sagrado is a large creative and healing arts fair that also hosts smaller gatherings, which I love. Co-founder Mia Luciano has created a platform that shares ancient knowledge and presents it in such a thoughtful and artistic way that it speaks to an audience that might otherwise have overlooked it.

One of our original team members, Lenea Sims, started her own community care club for creatives seeking collective liberation called Outer Work. It’s amazing because it’s collaborative, holds its members accountable. It’s membership-based, but for those who want a taste, hotspots are available through Conscious City Guide.

Finally, one of our first creative partners, Spirit Weavers Gathering, its founder, Mea Woodruff, just hosted the group’s ninth annual gathering, and the way she honors and builds an inclusive community is something we can all learn.

Daniel L. Vasquez