Posted in Achievements, camping, Colombia, Colombian life, entrepeneur, expat life, glamping, Glampingcolombia, hotel, Live your best life, nature, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

One Year Ago

Last year in October, I was putting in place all the things needed to start my Glamping cabanas. I was in the beginning phase of a new thought process about my business. I could never have imagined the success of my creation. It would take off from day one of the openings of Cristal House Glamping. It would be successful with time, energy, advertisement, and word of mouth. Word of mouth was all I needed to bring me enough income to build my next glamping cabana, Aventura Treehouse Glamping. As I have said in my previous blogs, I wanted to share my beautiful place filled with nature. Many of us had businesses slowly recovering from the Covid debacle, and ideas were at the forefront of my mind to begin again. It is much too beautiful here in Colombia at Glamping at Villa Migelita Ecolodge to enjoy alone.

I appreciate everyone visiting my Hotel and Glamping cabanas. However, I must give a shout-out to my Colombian visitors. So many different walks of life: creative people, doctors, engineers, veterinarians, retirees, lovers, LGBTIQ+ entrepreneurs, life coaches, designers, musicians, and more have one thing in common: their love of nature, especially hummingbirds. I hear many personal tales that they share with me. I even ran into one of my past guests while shopping one day, and he told me he was asking his girlfriend to marry him soon. Here are some of my stories:
Recently I had a Colombian-American visiting from the USA, and we became great friends. He invited my son and me to a party at his family’s house the next day. Then there was the guy who visited with his girlfriend who helped me when another guest locked a bathroom door that didn’t have a key. He used a ladder, climbed through a little window, and dropped into the bathroom to unlock the door. I laugh and think it is all in a day’s work.
Or the flute-playing Colombian Yoga Instructor came with his girlfriend from the Netherland Antilles. They decided to take the little boat out at night and almost sank it! The woman was 6’3″ and fell into the lake when entering my tiny canoe. While filling hummingbird feeders the following day, I saw the boat immersed in water. When asked, they told me of their mishap. They fixed the dinghy, bailed the water out, and shared other experiences with me. It turns out the woman is quite an accident-prone person. They had me in stitches with stories. When anyone arrives, I tell them they can use the boat during the day only.
The family that came after their beloved daughter and sister had just passed is especially dear to me. As a mother of a deceased child, I knew their pain. We went on a two-hour hike along the nearby river the next day. They stood under the flow of the small waterfall that was nearby. This family took in every moment, including stopping in small natural pools to breathe the fresh air and live in the moment. I still think of them and hope they are healing from their loss.
The couple with the antique Volkswagon Beetle that I felt I knew my entire life upon greeting them. Their Beetle was the same color as my cousin’s one when I was a young girl. The memories it brought back were so wonderful.
The guy who visited with three of his best friends will always be in my heart. He took a picture of himself with the angel wings painted on my Villa in memory of my daughter Misha. He used that photo as a profile picture for many months on Instagram. I explained that everyone who shares a picture of themselves with the wings also shares her memory with others. I loved seeing that.
I know all young people love tattoos worldwide. The tattoo artist with thousands of followers on Instagram that visited was so much fun. He had a special bond with my dog Cash. He was my first social media influencer, he shared my place in his stories, and I got many followers.
The older couple celebrating a birthday hiked more than any of the young ones! They were up early, walking, and enjoying their time together. They were around my age, and sharing stories with them was excellent. Many Colombians live in the city, and the lack of noise here is nirvana to them. I often get repeat customers.

My most recent visitors are from Germany and came on bikes. They started cycling in Ecuador, crossed the border into Colombia three weeks ago, and have plans to cycle through my adopted country. They didn’t speak Spanish, only English, and German.
I had a couple visiting from Spain that got engaged while staying here. I can’t wait to see photos of their wedding!
I loved the couple who visited from Los Angeles during Superbowl weekend! One was a video editor who worked on the famous Suits with Meghan Markle; her partner was a structural engineer. We spent the Superbowl playing a card game and cheering on the halftime show. They were the same age as my daughter Misha and knew all the songs during the halftime show. Now they are engaged! I love following their Instagram! Congratulations to Rhoda and Sarah; I wish you a lifetime of happiness!
The mother and son guests who visited early at Cristal House Glamping were wonderful. He is a choreographer in Munich and a native Colombian who brought his mother to my nature retreat.
My guests who came from Aruba were so much fun! My son met his girlfriend while she was visiting Glamping at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I met all of her family who lives here in Colombia near me in the Valle del Cauca.
My dear friends Carolyn and Cindy visited when we had strong Earthquake tremors. My other friend Iryna was also visiting and staying at Aventura Treehouse Glamping. We all ran outside, as were my instructions for an Earthquake, and met up with each other. My son checked out all of the property; fortunately, there was no damage. That is a memory for all of us to remember when we have a glass of wine!

All of my guests love my dogs. Cash and Kira are a common bond. Cash would be an excellent therapy dog. He loves to put his massive head in their laps for affection. I often look out in my social area and see guests sitting and chatting, Cash at their feet, attentive to their needs. Kira is the same; she loves the Treehouse because she can climb the bridge and sit as a guard at the top. She crosses the little bridge to the bottom area and sits with the guests who are relaxing in the hammocks. The dogs sound and look intimidating, but everyone is in love with them shortly after meeting them. They give all the love they can to every customer. I even had one couple who asked me what breed they were because he had an adopted dog precisely like Cash. He showed me a photo, and he has a Dogo Argentino also! He had no idea, but his Dogo was as sweet as Cash and had one black eye like a pirate. Some of you wonder if I have had any awful experiences with guests. I have had two times where I was uncomfortable. The first was an Airbnb guest who snuck in a child without permission. He was also a host, so that made it even worse. He never paid for her, and I had to report him to Airbnb. I got paid for the extra charge and a mark against his own business. Another booking through Airbnb was for a European couple that made a reservation two months in advance. They ignored the rules in my Airbnb profile and were rude. They have been my only lousy review, and I responded by stating, please read my rules and suggestions in the book I have on my site. When anyone reads this review, they will go to the little book I have on my site that gives everyone good information about my Glamping place. We are not a city hotel, and people who want more freedom and nearby restaurants should not book my place. In all, I have had wonderful experiences with everyone.

Now that I have established my business, many people write me on my social media sites for business reasons. I have a high ranking on Google, which keeps me too busy. When I worked as a flight attendant, I rarely worked more than three days a week. In the first months of this year, I was busy on the weekends but not during the week; I loved that. It was extra money, but I had my free time, also. Slowly that changed, and now I am lucky to have two nights without people here at my nature retreat. I have many requests for people who send their parents here as gifts or want a voucher to give to loved ones. I have a hotel group starting to help me organize my business with a calendar and bookings. I get offers for capital to improve and grow my Glamping place, but for now, I am happy to stay small and focused on what I have. It is not easy to find employees when you live so high in the mountains as I do. Expanding the business could happen in the future when my son wants to give more of his time.
I am focused on enjoying myself and nature with all the lovely visiting people.

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, child death, Colombia, entrepeneur, expat life, freedom, friendship, hummingbirds, life lessons, nature, Perfection and Peace, Spanish speaking, strength, Thanksgiving blessings, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Bohemian Rhapsody

I recently went to see Bohemian Rhapsody here in Colombia, South America.  I did not know a lot about Freddy Mercury’s  history, or upbringing. I  had to read a lot about him before going to the theater to see this marvelous movie in Spanish (I was a bit worried about my Spanish but I understood everything). He was an amazing talent, a true genius. I was young when he became famous, and to be honest his music was what I liked to dance to. I didn’t care about his personal life, and in reality I preferred music that was not Rock as I was a Disco loving girl. His music captured people like me, people outside of his genre, people who were not Rock fans, but who loved a good beat. This is where his true gift showed itself. Everyone could value and appreciate his talent, even those like me who enjoyed a different style of music. I am listening with new interest to all the songs that made him famous.

I love to watch the sunset at night here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge while listening to music. The other night I was listening to Stevie Wonder sing Ribbon in the Sky.   How interesting to think this man who is also an inspiration to all, just like Freddy Mercury, sings about sunsets. He cannot see what he is singing about but I felt like he was seeing the sunset with me as I sat watching the sun go down. This is when I realized that life is a gift to all of us no matter our limitations. We all share heartbreak, it might not be the same, but we all share that shattered heart in some way. With that realization, I believe that Thanksgiving is truly a time to be grateful for what we do have in our lives that is good, that is of value, how our lives can change in a moment and we should appreciate anything that brings us blessings.

We alone have the ability to move forward in our lives, even when the situations around us are bringing us down. We are not without distractions that throw us off path, but we can always redirect ourselves forward again by staying positive and persevering with determination. I find myself thinking about these sorts of things when I watch the sun go down while listening to music. Music is a great healer, and for me has always been a way to help when I have a bad day. Music is always playing at Villa Migelita Ecolodge, often Spanish music which helps me with my Spanish-speaking. Speaking a new language is an obstacle that I have overcome, one I should give myself credit for. We should give ourselves kudos when we accomplish great things. Learning a new language and becoming very independent here in Colombia is an achievement I am quite proud of. I drive alone to do errands now, I run into friends and speak in Spanish easily if not perfectly to all. I write to my friends on Whats app chat in Spanish and have an active social life filled with new friends from this different phase in my life. This to me is a blessing, one I have worked eight years to achieve, along with running a hotel in the rain forest of Colombia.

Many thought I was crazy and perhaps I was a bit erratic when I moved to Colombia. After all, I was still recovering from my daughter’s murder and a horrible divorce. In my mind Colombia was only a 3 1/2 hour flight from South Florida. I knew I could obtain great healthcare and live well. I didn’t take into account that many people still felt Colombia was unsafe, nor that I was actually isolating myself from many people by moving. I found out that there were many who disapproved when I returned for a retirement luncheon and found myself being given the cold shoulder by people I had known and loved for many years. I was still very overwhelmed with grief, and in actuality I was a different person from the one these old friends knew in the past. I was beaten down inside. I will never forget that luncheon and how I felt like a deer in the headlights.  As the years have progressed and I have made a life for myself here high in the Andes mountains of Colombia, I no longer feel that sense of insecurity I felt that day surrounded by all the people I had grown up with as a young flight attendant. I feel blessed. It turned out I made the right decision for myself, even if others didn’t understand. It was my destiny, and who would know that I would need such a rare surgery that would have cost so much money in the United States. The great healthcare I have here was such a wonderful blessing this year and I have healed quite successfully from my hip surgery.

When I was watching the movie of Freddy Mercury I was struck by the loneliness he felt, it was subtlety presented but I picked up on it. I  have felt that same loneliness myself. A loneliness brought on by being different. When you don’t follow the norm, people will find a reason to be critical. I now try to accept when people are not what I expected them to be, when they hurt me, when I am let down. I am surrounded by peace, nature, beauty,  and wonderful friends here in Colombia. I found a beautiful spot to heal from great tragedy. When I am out doing errands, I am always thinking just this one last thing and I can go back to my Villa and enjoy the wonderful place I alone am responsible for making a place of comfort and joy. One I share with guests who come to stay with me, and become friends with new people from all over the world. I recently had a young couple who are also doing what they want with their lives, and doing it while young and healthy. They wrote about my hotel in this blog. I was so flattered, because they captured in their writing and their fabulous photos Villa Migelita Ecolodge perfectly.

My greatest reason to be thankful this year is that when I think of my daughter now, I think of her watching the hummingbirds with me, or hearing the rain fall, or watching the fog move in and then move out over the mountains. I feel her presence in all the symmetry of nature that surrounds me.

Bohemian Rhapsody

 

 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, chaos, Colombia, Colombian life, country living, entrepeneur, expat life, freedom, happiness, hotel, minimalism, mother nature, nature, parents of deceased children, Spiritual Presence, strength, Uncategorized

Life Can be a Little Twisted

Michele with twisted tree.
Me in front of twisted tree branches

Just like the branches of these raspberries growing in the wild, or me in front of this tree with extensions that are contorted, life has so many connections that intertwine. I have found that these connections do not happen by accident. Especially with my new love.  How much my life has been changing since I met Avi that fateful night on my cruise to the Bahamas. I know all who follow my blog know I believe in the Universe directing our life paths. Now if only others can follow their life paths and know when something happens that is good, they should embrace it and use the opportunity to better themselves. I find myself getting so stressed when I return to the United States. It is hectic, it is full of people who want to cause harm to others for no reason, including me. I am going to try to come over more often because of my new love. I have made it clear I do not want to live in the United States full-time ever again. I do not like it there anymore.

Why? Because the people are mean, they are without any kind of patience, they do things I do not understand. I live so peacefully. I have no quarrels with anyone here in Colombia. I enjoy my guests, I enjoy my animals, I enjoy the nature surrounding me. I have my routine. I like it. When I come to Florida all gets twisted. I don’t desire this nor want it. I want to live in peace with those I love. I wish others could learn to live peacefully. Maybe a visit to Villa Migelita Ecolodge and Colombia could help? I know living the way I do has left me with very little patience for those who seek to harm others.

michele in hammock

Hammocks or hamacas in Spanish is a way to ground myself. I just look up at the sky and meditate. I talk to the Universe. I find a lot of answers. Now I am waiting for answers to what I always try to do. Help. When I see wrong I will not let it go.