Nihi Sumba offers the chance to stay in a slice of ultimate paradise overlooking the Indian Ocean - learn more about this incredible resort that's been name the first best in the world in my latest article here: Nimi Sumba A Lavish Retreat on the Edge of the Wilderness.
But know that it's not just about luxury. As James McBride, CEO, notes, and I witnessed firsthand, it's "become a philanthropic vehicle dedicated to supporting projects of the Sumba Foundation," a foundation that's been making life better for 27,000 Sumbanese every day, including water, health, education and economic iniaties. Owner Chris Burch covers all administrative costs of the foundation, including all staff salaries, so that donations go directly to fund these projects to help ease the burdens of poverty communities on the island were living under.
The resort has had to temporarily shutter its doors because of the Coronavirus, which means family's won't be able to pay for their children's education and even their most basic needs. They'll soon begin to run out of food, unable to afford to buy what they need due to consecuitve poor cropping seasons.
As I recently wrote about my time on Sumba Island, spending time with the local Sumbanese people was the highlight - their kindness, and the joy in their hearts, it was something almost tangible. I wanted to reach out, grab it and take it back home with me. While we're all hurting in one way or another, many of us financially and emotionally, being separated from the ones we love, and some physically too, for the majority, we are comparitively fortunate. If you are able, a Sumba Crisis Relief Fund has been set up here so that you can join Nihi Sumba and Sumba Foundation to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and provide relief to families affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.
Owner Chris Burch has pledged 1:1 matching for all donations, up to a cumulative total of $200,000, to The Sumba Foundation. All contributions will directly support The Sumba Foundation and the government's health services with medicines, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, testing, and monitoring equipment, virus education and prevention, tuition support, immediate food aid (rice, eggs, flour), and to directly support the Foundation's water and malnutrition projects.
If you can help at all, it would be a wonderful way to give back. and hopefully someday when this is all said and done, you can experience this magical place and its people for yourself.
The first half of my trip to Indonesia was incredible - I recently wrote about my time on Sumba Island staying at Nihi Sumba resort. It's a place I dream of going back to, and a place whose people I will never forget - every day, I worry and wonder how they are doing, how they will survive with tourism stopped. It was, as Nihi Sumba recently noted in an update, the "backbone of the budding Sumbanese economy. Families will no longer be able to pay for their children's education and basic needs. More pressingly, over the coming months, people will run out of food and will not be able to afford to buy what they need as a result of consecutive poor cropping seasons."
While I'll be supporting the Sumbanese in any way I can, the focus of this post is the story that a number of people have asked me to write. The day the monkey broke into my room on Bali, and the anxiety of trying to get back home. It was something I'll never forget. The article isn't like most that I write - it's a bit long, but I hope you will enjoy reading it.
Here is the link, written for Trips To Discover.
Lockdown in Bali with a Monkey Burglar and the Long Road Home
In early December I wrote about my upcoming travels in 2020. As it always seems to happen, I managed to squeeze in another trip. No matter how many times I say I'm going to slow down "next year," my passion for discovering new places, cultures and wildlife gets in the way. A friend and I always talk about our fantasy of having a teleporter, we refer to it as a wish for a "Beam me up, Scotty" kind of thing. Unfortunately, that's unlikely in our lifetimes or or probably at any point in the future, but hey, we can dream. Until then, it's long-haul flights, and I'll be on a very long one in early March as I travel to Indonesia.
I'd been binge watching a lot of documentaries on wildlife and natural wonders around the world, and several featured various islands of Indonesia. I knew I'd have to visit sometime in the near future - I was especially intrigued about Borneo as I'd always wanted to see orangutans in the wild. Pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys are there too!
I searched through flights to get an idea of how much it would cost to get there, and was surprised to find that airfare was quite a bit less than flying to Europe. Of course, it's a very long journey - 21 hours, and that was the least amount of time. Many flights, with various connections, were 33 hours or more. So, perhaps saved for another year when my schedule was more open. Or so I thought. The next morning I received a message out of the blue - "Do you happen to be going to Indonesia anytime soon?" it read. Bizarre coincidence? Long story short, I was invited by Nihi Sumba Resort, named the best hotel in the world (twice) by Travel + Leisure, to stay for four nights and experience what it has to offer.
I believe everything happens for a reason and, there's no way I'd turn that down. I'll land in Bali and spend some time there before and after Nihi. While Borneo will have to be saved for another year, perhaps I'll go as part of my trip to visit New Zealand again in 2021, I'm pretty excited about this trip. 21+ hours? Hopefully I'll sleep through at least a good portion of that, I have a feeling it will be worth it.
Leaving in early March, and I can't wait. I'll be sure to tell you all about it and post the article I'll be writing after it's published. In the meantime, if you're considering an exotic trip this year, you might want to think about Indonesia too. Why?
This world has so much to offer, it may be impossible to ever slow down!