Final countdown check list lasts and firsts

August 7, 2019

So this is our last month in North-Sulawesi. Why? In short: planned to stay till December this year, but due to work visa and business plans for the future stuff, being low on tourists and high in season (the tsunami, earthquake aftermath leave a significant impact booking wise for roughly the following 8 months) we agreed to stop working at Thalassa before the 7th of September. This meant we have to finish up decent but quickly and prepare for another chapter.


Fast forward

We just came back from an already planned trip to Holland for 2 lovely weddings, a crazy bachelorette and we also used the time to prepare our next steps. Because there's only one month left in Indonesia now. Waaaahh. We always had the dream to start our own business in hospitality and to combine it with nature conservation. This plan has evolved into the plan to start a vegan nature retreat and sanctuary. A burnout barn, for all your stress relief. It's suddenly time to stop dreaming and walk the walk. In Lembeh we finished our business plan, trend research, short list with locations, loan options etc. While in Holland we planned a trip to France, the Limousin region, to check out our top 3 of potential properties. And from two of them we are really getting the ZenZo vibes. So that gives us plenty to think about and arrange around, while back in Lembeh. 


Dear life, for August we wish ..

The finishing up involves a couple of lasts and firsts that we want to checkbox before leaving. Because we realise it's time to finish all that's still on our wishlist asap: 

- Climbing the Lokon volcano. 

- Seeing wild dolphins (unfortunately it's windy season, so I think I will have to let that go).

- Squeeze in a couple more dives (for Kees).

- Have some more beach time.

- More gila days and memories with the staff.

- Helping Animal Friends Manado Indonesia out as a volunteer.

- And I'm not leaving before making a bigger effort and hopefully impact to reduce the unimaginable cruelty happening daily on the market(s) here. In Holland I joined a protest from Roots of Morality to show people that walked passed us, what stories are actually behind their food choices. We got so many heartwarming reactions. Jeeey, most people are good. I wish I had done something like this sooner. As I did with my last action saving a dog from the Tomohon market. So now is my last chance. I don't want to leave here, knowing I could have done more. That would haunt me forever. If you strongly disagree with something, stand up, ask questions and try to change it in a positive way. Especially if that something is harming others and you feel your actions would get a lot of support.


Ready set, action, with a little help from our friends 

So I'm planning a peaceful protest on the 16th of August. I posted a message on Facebook with my idea, and found out that many Indonesians are willing to join my protest. It made my eyes all teary, as sometimes I really am in need to feel that there are many genuinely caring people out there. The idea is to wear black t-shirts, mine and I hope a couple of others will have messages printed on them. We will walk to the local government's office next to the market. Here we will stick handwritten notes to the window, to express our feelings and worries about how dogs and cats are still being treated on the market and in general. I hope we can create a trend and more people will leave these notes until something changes. To this point there is no law protecting dogs and cats (like for cattle) from this horrible abuse (see my previous post on what happens to them and why). Only when it comes to transporting them, because of the risk of rabies spreading. Of course I would like to save the poor souls that are butchered on the market that day. You can help me, by sharing my posts on this topic. And if you could miss a couple of euro's to help buy these dogs and cats their freedom back, that would be magnificent, as we unfortunately are volunteering ourselves these last couple of months. You know how to contact me for more info. You are the best.


Soon there also will be a big event hosted by Dogmeatfree Indonesia ( in which they will hand over all the signatures of their petition against the dog and cat meat trade. If you haven't signed yet, that's another thing you can help out with.

Oh, and one more thing on the taking 'action for a great cause'-side of things. In all of this the star of the dogs and cats save movement is Animal Friends Manado Indonesia. They take care of over 70 animals rescued from the market and other appalling situations. And when I say they I mean mostly just the 2 volunteers that work there. So they need all the local and buleh power they can get.


Who let the dogs out.. of Indonesia 

Anywho, if you ever are planning to take your dogs from Indonesia to Europe I have one advice, start planning as early as you possibly can. We are so lucky to have Fany, our vet with a heart of gold, helping us out. There's so much paperwork, interpretation, tests and crazy scheduling going on now. But we are happy to say, Ceripa and Tankis are becoming anjing Belanda (Dutch dogs). I'm sure they will pass the integration and language tests with flying colours. All dogs speak the same language I guess and I watched a lot of Cesar the dog whisperer to back this statement. It will take us about two days of traveling with checking them in on the 27th late evening, flying the next morning, transferring them from a national flight to an international flight, leave in the evening and arriving in Amsterdam early morning on the 29th. We will post a vlog on the whole fun experience. And if you want to come and visit us when we arrived at our temporarily home, a Dutch campsite in Tilburg, wait about two days ok? Give us some time to switch out of zombi mode and we're ready for coffee or beers and exchanging stories.


And there was Panci 

We are also happy to have already found a replacement for our dogs on the resort. Panci just came out of nowhere and seems to make a great resort dog. So we adopted him and he now follows us around everywhere. This will make it harder to leave him here but.. Together with Lolly, Muffin, Spot, Toktok and Peppi he will keep the resort as cuddly for guests and staff as possible.


The plan

That's all that's on my mind for now. In my mind for later there are already check marks behind: 

- A mobile home booked for the first month.

- One to ride around Europe and sleep in after.

- Back up plans B and C, for if our Viva la France options 1 and 2 wouldn't work out.


Because never ever ever would we want to settle and take place behind a boring (not all are of course) 09.00-17.00 desk again.

So it's all good, we'll get there.



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