In 2010 I first set foot on Flores and fell in love with this beautiful island, it’s people, the culture. I landed at Labuan Bajo Airport, a small landing strip and a tiny airport building, no conveyor belts at that time and two flights per day arriving, or one or none, depending on the weather.
The purpose of my trip was to explore opportunities for volunteering for sustainable development. What followed was a chain of events, travelling over Flores many times from West to East and back, meeting people in all districts, learning about local customs and traditions, the history, agriculture, the health situation, basically all aspects of life on Flores.
I founded a Sustainability Hub – Eco Flores and in 2015 founded another Hub – Indonesian Waste Platform and in 2018 co-founded the International Waste Platform. Before I knew it all this turned out to be a fulltime ‘job’ and Flores has become my second home.
After 12 years of travelling and living here I have so many stories to tell. I will try to keep it crisp and short as not to be boring to the reader. It is actually a bit like a diary, going back in time, looking at picture albums and describing the encounters I had and the places I visited. In the top menu you can search per district. On purpose I start with Lembata and make my way West towards Manggarai-Barat – Labuan Bajo and Komodo. Most people do not travel as far as Lembata, Flores Timur, Sikka and Nagekeo and those districts are really worth visiting too.
I’m so thankful to all my friends on Flores who helped me along my journeys, to the communities which always welcomed me with lots of smiles and a fresh cup of Flores coffee, for the stories they shared. I admire and respect the people of Flores for their genuine kindness and hospitality and also for the way they cope with the difficulties they encounter in daily life. Many communities in remote areas still have limited access to good healthcare, communities have low electrical supply and the lack of fresh water is a huge challenge. It’s a common sight to see women and girls on their daily walk to the nearest water source to provide fresh water for the family, carrying heavy water containers or loads of wash on their heads. If you are interested you can read more about these challenges in Sustainability
By now Flores has been ‘discovered’ and this will undoubtedly have it’s impact on the island. In 2009 a mere 15.000 visitors where registered here. In 2016 that number rose to 90.000+ and the numbers are expected to rise to 500.000 yearly soon. Large hotels are being build. The winding road connecting Labuan Bajo to Larantuka will soon be memory lane.
I hope my stories will support other travellers to understand Flores and it’s people. I also hope it will support sustainable tourism development.