Once upon a time, 2012 to be exact, a girl named Rose arrived on Gili Air in Indonesia and instantly fall in love with this magical island. She found a job as a scubadive instructor and started calling the ocean her office. She found an secret getaway in the middle of the island called Villa Nangka and started calling it her home. And there, under the Nangka tree, she fell in love again.
“ I didn’t plan on falling in love with him. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan on falling in love with me. But one day it was pretty clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us.”
The name of the man that stole her heart was Andreas. A freedive instructor that came to the island in the same year as she did.In September 2015 we found out that Villa Nangka, the place that we both call home, the place where we fell in love, was for sale. We looked at each other and started dreaming about how amazing it would be if they could buy the place. But with hardly any savings, no fix contracts and no assets, which bank would be so nice to give them a loan?
First rule in life: If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. We went from daydreaming to actively making plans and after two months of hard work we got the money together to buy our dream.
Living the dream
We opened the doors of our little paradise on the 30th of December 2015. Our big adventure started. For more than 2 years we continuously tried to improve Villa Nangka and did countless renovations projects. Every time we thought we were almost done, we discovered something else that needed fixing and a new project was born.
As we only had just enough money to buy Villa Nangka we had to be very creative with the interior design of the villas. Almost every piece of furniture in Villa Nangka we sandpapered by hand and we spent hours and hours whitewashing. At one point our friends didn’t even look surprised anymore when we would rock up at their place still covered in paint.
But we loved (almost) every minute of it! It’s a great feeling to wake up every day and to do what you love most. Together with our boys we lived on the premises of Villa Nangka and welcomed guests from all over the world to our family. We can honestly say:
” It’s a fantastic experience to open the doors of your home to the World. To offer people a fun and memorable experience is priceless. It makes us incredible happy to know that so many beautiful memories have been created in our little paradise.”
And living another dream
Around the same time we bought Villa Nangka we started together with a friend our beloved Gili Shark Conservation Project. As we are both big oceans lovers we made it our mission to promote shark conservation efforts through education and research.
We spend a lot of time in the magical underwater world, but we also love to be in the field and give back to the wonderful community of Gili Air. We started a Plastic Free Paradise campaign to create awareness and reduce the use of single-use-plastic. Our goal is to educate locals as well as tourists and provide information about how you can leave nothing but footprints on our beautiful island.
A devastating earthquake
On the 5th of August 2018 just before 7PM a big Earthquake 7.0 happened in the north of Lombok. There are no words to describe this experience. We lost our house, our business, our dream. Everything we worked so incredible hard for got destroyed in less than a minute.
Rebuilding our Dreams
It was not easy to say goodbye to the Villa Nangka as we knew it. The villa’s and her belongings tell the story of who we are, where we’ve been, and the guests we hosted. To see how our workers took down our buildings broke our hearts. But we had to keep on going, one day at a time and one foot in front of the other. And one day we woke up and could really feel it; it was time to leave behind what we know and believe something even better will be waiting for us.
A few weeks after the earthquake we had a meeting with an architect from Jakarta to discuss the future of Villa Nangka. At one point she asked me: “Where did you two meet each other?” I pointed out the big Nangka tree in the middle of our property and said with a smile on my face: “We met right here.” She started laughing and said: “CINLOC!” I looked at her confused as I never heard of this word before.
She started to explain it:
“The word ‘Cinta’ means love in Bahasa Indonesia and the word ‘Locasi’ means location. When you put these two words together you get ‘Cinloc’ which literally means ‘love on location’.”
I immediately fell in love with this words and we decided to call the rebuilding of our little paradise project CINLOC. We invite you to join us on our journey. It will be a long process that requires perseverance, strength of character, and most of all: heart. To know that we are not alone and we have you cheering for us during this crazy adventures is priceless. We can’t wait to see you at the finish line!