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Sisteract
Two sisters from The Netherlands, Sandra and Esther are leading a very different life. Sandra lives in the country side in France and spent a couple of years soul searching in a Buddhist monastery. Esther lives in a design house in The Netherlands and travels the world for her profession, looking for unique travel destinations.

Opposites attract?
Yes! There have always been differences between the two sisters. Esther remembers well that mom sent her with Sandra to Amsterdam to check out her evening life. Sandra was somewhat punk and visited obscure bars. So Esther found herself, with golden sneakers and trendy leather jacket, next to Sandra, in long black leather and army boots, in a bar smelling of joints and loud heavy metal coming from the speakers.

Big decision
Sandra was planning on leaving for South America, nearly eight years ago, to discover the area. Short before that she visited Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery in South West France for ten days. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh lives here together with his community. Sandra arrived and never left. She was touched by the way of living and the purity of the Buddhist practice. Esther considered it as a somewhat special decision, but found it important as well that Sandra would be happy. She knows like no one else that travelling can change your view on the world and meeting other people give you lots of energy.

A family in shock
Sandra lives as a lay person in the monastery, she lets go of many material affairs and adjusts herself to the live in the community. However she wishes to commit even deeper and considers seriously to ordain as a monastic. Upon first hearing this the family is, of course, in shock. All family members are rooted in their daily lives and find it difficult to imaging the things that Sandra hopes to find in the monastery. On the other hand the family is open minded enough to show interest in the newly acquired wisdoms of Sandra and they are all present when Sandra is officially ordained. This even includes shaving off all her hair, since that too belongs to the nuns of Plum Village.

Changing relationships
Sandra’s live is now completely different from Esther's. It is not always possible to call each other and a lot of communication goes through writing letters. It gives, however, a new dimension to the relationship of the two sisters. You take more time to write and to put your thoughts to paper and also it is easier to open up and share your emotions and feelings. Esther feels that Sandra becomes milder, Buddhism does her well. She is open to every person and each problem. Sandra enjoys Esther’s openness in her letters. She is able to see her sister in a new way and understands and appreciates her point of view in life.

Travelling the world
While Esther is celebrating new year’s eve on a sailing ship in the Caribbean or making a movie with a client in Sardinia, Sandra is sleeping on monastery floors in several communities in Vietnam and California. Esther worries sometimes about Sandra; how’s her health, won’t she find herself in dangerous situations? Observing an alms round in the streets of Vietnam sounds pretty special as a part of an incentive program, but feels very different when this becomes a real life situation of your own sister.

Christmas angel
A few years later, just before Christmas Sandra has a number of deep discussions with her mentors and teacher and for a while she withdraws herself completely from contact with her family and friends. Then she comes to the conclusion she wants to end her stay in the monastery. Her reasons for leaving are clearer to herself then they are for the family, but everybody is incredibly happy to receive her back in The Netherlands, just like a Christmas angel in a brown robe. Sandra shares that leaving the monastery is the biggest culture shock in her life and it is not easy to get used again to every day life. Then, to everybody’s surprise, she falls in love! He’s this nice ex-monk she’d mentioned a number of times in her stories. Santi left the monastery two years before her and together they live for a year in Ireland, where they can get used together to a life outside of the monastery and a life with each other.

Hearts in France
Sandra and Santi decide to establish themselves in the countryside in South West France and find a small home close to Bergerac while working for a real estate agency. Yet there is a dream in the back of their minds to live their lives differently. Esther receives an e-mail from Sandra that there is a possibility to buy a small chateau which can be turned into a hotel. Sandra knows very well that this will tickle Esther. It has always been a dream of hers, to be a host in one the most unique hotels that you can imagine.

Simply Canvas
Sandra’s e-mail message is the start of a long process that finally resulted in Simply Canvas. In the end they didn’t buy the chateau, nor a number of other locations. But the idea continued to grow and matured in a creative and new concept. Esther and Sandra found each other in the middle. Where they used to quarrel over small things, their discussions are now leading to new and creative ideas. There is a renewed connection between the sisters which is not only beautiful for them, but also to others. Because of their project other people are now able to enjoy a unique stay in the South West of France.

For everybody
The hosts of Simply Canvas, Sandra and Santi, receive guests with a green, eco-friendly and heart warming welcome together with the creative, enthusiastic and luxurious input of Esther. Together they decide that the accommodation will be safari tents from Pakistan. Luxurious tents decorated in different themes. Sleeping under canvas with the extra comfort of your own bathroom and verandah. And with honest and good organic food. All of this under the beautiful country atmosphere of the Lot et Garonne. In the area of soul searching there are possibilities to follow or give workshops. Each year Simply Canvas organises "Canvas for Free", a week free of charge for a group of 20 people who are in need of a week away. The founders of Simply Canvas feel that everybody should be able to enjoy this place!

Simply Canvas
Simply Canvas is situated in Saint Jean de Duras, in the Lot et Garonne. It consists of a farm, a secondary house and 5 hectares (12.5 acres) of land. The view is spectacular. We are working very hard to open our doors in April 2009. Simply Canvas offers a wonderful vacation in an idyllic area in France or a holiday in combination with soul searching
Simply Bed & Breakfast, St. Jean de Duras, South West France

B&B | Holiday Home | Glamping

Lovely B&B stay or (glamping) holiday in the country side on the border of the Lot et Garonne and Dordogne departments, near Bergerac, in the Aquitaine region of South West France. Six safari tents with their own bathroom, two b&b cottages and a large holiday home all with swimming pool, set in 5 hectares of country side with stunning views.

Sandra & Santi: Bonac, 47120, Saint Jean de Duras
I: www.simplybedandbreakfast.com
E: hello @ simplybedandbreakfast.com
T:+33 (0) 681768594
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