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Posted on Jan 31, 2014

Saving the Kittens, Gaia, and the Elephants Because We All Can- World Travel Blog Environmentalism

Saving the Kittens, Gaia, and the Elephants Because We All Can- World Travel Blog Environmentalism

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Meet God. She’s a sweetheart and always bows down to you in this shy, modest way. She’s beauuuuuuuuutiful and always smiling. She smells like dog, but so she should cuz she is one. I have no doubt that this soul cannot be anything less than straight from heaven. There’s not a mean bone in her body, and even if Juley growls or attacks her, she walks away, well, floats away joyfully.

We’ve fallen in love with cats and dogs, sheep and goats, and even ants and crickets all over the world. We’re an animal-loving, cuddle-magnetizing bunch and no matter what kind of fur (or lack of) we are so grateful to love. That explains the scrawny kitten Kobi and the kids saved from the net in the market in Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Philippines and why my darling Dahnya said what only a softy animal lover like us could understand. She said….

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What She Said

“You know Mom, I know this may sound mean but I’d almost rather the kitten be lost or dead than to have to drive away in the tuk tuk that last day and see her crying for me at the top of the steps. I couldn’t handle leaving her behind. I’d rather her just not be there when we leave.”

And I totally get it. TOTALLY get that feeling that you deserted an animal in need, that you left your child (which for us animals quickly become like children) behind and he still needed your love.

What We Didn’t Do

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 Close our mouth, eyes, and ears and hope it will just fix itself. 

What We Did

And so, we were absolutely sure to get every one of our street kid friends to hold her and love her, and we were overjoyed when the girl whose mom runs a hostel across the street started holding the kitten a lot. Our goal was to fatten her up enough to give her a good chance to survive and our wish was that someone else would fall in love with her while she was still fluffy and tiny and that she’d have someone else to take care of her. And that is what happened!

She spent more and more nights on the roof of the hostel across the street and every time we were certain some street dog devoured her, she’s show up after three days in the arms of that little girl.

solai with monkey

The Real Issues for World Travelers

You’d think that after three years of non-stop global adventures you’d think we’d be busying ourselves with loftier, grander issues like global warming and saving the elephants. Funny you should ask! We’ve changed after all this time outside of the first world countries. We see the Oddities of the West after 18 Months in the East.

We lived through Day One Telenovela of the Annapurna Circuit because of all the furry friends who helped us by being there right after that waterfall or that killer passage. (The furry friends video is about half way in Day One ). And while the porters and film crew were aching to push forward, this is exactly where we were happy to let our kids be- with the animals and with their hearts on their sleeves. And around the world, we’re into saving one dog, loving one cat, and cuddling with one puppy at a time. That is just our way.

And today in India, we’ve totally absolved the use of toilet paper from our lives. It started in Kathmandu with Dirty People and Reusing Toilet Paper, and today, is simply a way of life for us. We had this salad bowl that Kobi cut from a 5-liter jug of water for 8 months (it’s a great video- below) and continue to reuse everything we can imagine. We’ve done composes in every corner of the globe where they didn’t yell at us too much and here in Goa, India joyfully give it directly to Elsie the cow ourselves. It gets crazy how inventively and beautifully our kids find solutions for being environmentally friendly. We could not be more proud.

And still… we did ride elephants in Thailand and we are now aware of something bigger than one kitten at a time that we wish to share with you.

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Save the Elephants

We’re so very proud of join a team of other committed bloggers to make a difference to those who can’t speak for themselves.

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.

And so, a bit about the project, what you can win, and how you can help out!

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The team of travel bloggers behind the Travel Blogging Calendar has revealed Thailand’s Save Elephant Foundation as the beneficiary of this year’s charitable venture. The Save Elephant Foundation has worked tirelessly over the last 10 years to offer mistreated and abused Asian elephants a better quality of life. To fulfill the tourism industry’s demand for tame elephants, calves in captivity are subjected to a horrific process which ruins their spirit and domesticates them by instilling an understanding of pain and fear. The organization rescues these elephants and provides them with a home in which to recover from the physical and mental effects of this procedure.

Spearheading the scheme is Jeremy Foster, of travelFREAK, who has seen first-hand the impact unethical tourism has had on Thailand’s elephant population:

“My visit to the Elephant Nature Park had a profound effect on me. I saw elephants that had been abused, whose eyes had been mutilated and who had broken limbs as a result of the brutal domestication process called ‘phajaan’. It was incredibly sad to think that other tourists, even my own friends, have come to Thailand and inadvertently supported such cruelty.”

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With sustainability and ethical travel key motivations behind this year’s endeavor to raise funds for a worthy cause, the team has overhauled the more traditional calendar format and chosen instead to offer exclusive weekly online content highlighting exciting travel destinations, religious celebrations and festivals taking place across the globe. ‘By keeping things online, our overhead costs are low so we are able to funnel every dollar into the charity itself,’ said Ben West of Red Rucksack, one of 20 contributing bloggers.

Those who donate can ‘Travel Every Week’ via access to exclusive blog content and world class photography as this year’s Travel Blogging Calendar is an inspired almanac of travel opportunities and inspiration.

Partnering with travel giant Flight Network and niche adventure travel agency Where Sidewalks End, the team behind the Travel Blogging Calendar is also offering those who donate the chance to win a trip to Thailand worth USD$3.300.

One lucky winner will receive USD$2,000 towards return flights to Thailand and an 8 day, 7 night tour for two including transport, hotels, city tours and a visit to the Save Elephant Foundation.

How To Win Folks

To learn more, to donate, to win, and to see our new snazzy profile there, go to the TravelBloggingCalendar,com loves!  We are so proud to be a part of something that helps change the life of one elephant, one kitten, and maybe just one sweet soul.

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If you enjoyed this, you will go gag over Dirty People and Reusing Toilet Paper

If you enjoyed this, you will go crazy from pure delight with the Oddities of the West after 18 Months in the East.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.

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We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!

Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai

And, sweet new news loves:  In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!

 

7 Comments

  1. We can so relate to loving the animals and it is great that you are helping the locals fall in love with them too. I have been researching great places to go in Thailand, for later in the year. Save the Elephants was one of the places we plan to visit, so glad you are sharing this.

    • funny, i thought i had commented back to you. yes, the elephants are precious and yes, that’s why you and i love each other (also) and no, i don’t like it that i come to spain and you leave to asia. not nice. gabi

  2. It’s a horrible, ugly truth behind this facet of the tourist industry in Thailand (and probably neighboring countries as well). Thanks for sharing it- I love the family lens on compassion. It resonates with us as another nomadic family of five…slowly meandering our way around the world!

    • hi behan. so nice to meet you. yes, it is horrible. thank you for taking the time to comment and care. i’d love to learn more of your family’s travels. please find us on facebook so that i can share your site with others. gabi

  3. The Elephant Nature Park sounds like a worthy haven — but it’s nice to know the street kitten was saved, too.

  4. You’re right, everyone of us can do something. It doesn’t have to be big. Helping one kitten or one elephant does make a difference. We’re big fans of Elephant Nature Park and are doing everything in our power to help them, after all sustainable and ethical travel are in our mission statement.

  5. Love it Gabi – a visit to the Elephant Nature Park completely changed our views on elephant welfare in Asia too, it’s essential to get the word out about these issues.

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