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 Achievements, Colombia, Entreprenuer, Glampingcolombia, Live your best life, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Glamping, A New Start

It has been too long since I wrote my previous blog. I wrote about how I wanted to reset my business after the last years of the pandemic. Two years of Covid restrictions wiped out all I had accomplished and worked hard to achieve. During my time away from writing, a tiny house made of glass for glamping was constructed here in Colombia at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. Glamping is an accurate word now, and it is a popular way for many people to spend time away in the country and take a break from the cities they reside in. The idea that I wrote about changing my business’s direction has turned into something bigger than I had imagined, and I am grateful for every second of this new phase in my life. 

In my last blog, I wrote that I planned to build this tiny house. It became a goal that I was determined to keep. I focused on building, and I pushed any doubts out of my mind. I knew that I needed to get back into the business of hosting, to have people here enjoying nature, watching the hummingbirds, and looking out to incredible views. I choose to trust the voice inside me that guided me on this new journey. 

Losing my business during the Covid 19 years gave me a different perspective on everything I had done before when I had a thriving business. I realized that I enjoyed staying in my Villa during the beginning days of quarantine; I was always in a hurry to get back home when I went out to do errands. Before Covid, I planned adventures for my guests, and I always looked for new tourist activities to share. After the country opened up, I knew my Villa was beautiful with magnificent views, but I hadn’t used that as my focal point as a tourism business. I started to see the value in what I had right in front of me when I received guests again at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I took these observations and created a plan.

First: I took a small loan. A significant decision, as I didn’t want any debt, and I hadn’t had any obligation for many years. My decision to expand when I was unsure if I could make money again was to learn a lesson. Use other people’s money if you can. Second: believe in your judgment, even if it is something you wouldn’t have usually considered after two years of lost time and money. Third: accept what you have done, whether the outcome will be good or bad. It’s our thinking that holds us back more than anything else. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box. Sometimes, we need to listen to that inner voice that guides us.

I opened up Cristal House Glamping on January 1st, 2022. Every weekend since has sold out. I am now getting many week-day bookings also. My new Glamping business has brought more bookings to my Ecolodge, and I am meeting many young professionals from Cali, Colombia. Young people are the life-blood of our world. I never imagined that my idea of entering the Glamping business would be successful right away. I thought it would be the same as when I opened my Ecolodge many years ago—steady growth with slow word-of-mouth recommendations. Instagram and social media expansion has changed the way new business evolves. I am so indebted to the younger generation that visits me. They send me videos I never would know how to produce. They are all video filmmakers these days. They have shown me that using the stories on my Instagram and Facebook reach so many more people than I ever thought possible. Their clever use of photo opportunities brings different ways of presenting a view or an activity to further light. This old dog is learning new tricks! I am also making so many new friends. By writing about this in my blog, I hope to reach and help others who want to bring back their business after the past years they lost. Just look at the young people around you. They can guide you to success!

Now I am building another Glamping house here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. That money I had from my loan brought me more money through my bookings. I am not keeping it in the bank but spending it growing my small business. Again, I am following my inner voice. It is still dawning on me that I am doing more in my 60s as an entrepreneur than I have ever done before. Hopefully, nature will always be a widespread love to many, with amazing views and incredible birds that people love to photograph.

After years of being restricted by the pandemic, people want to be outdoors. I have used it to my advantage. I am grateful and humbled. I am learning to be at peace with my decisions after such a long time of subtle criticism by others that I choose to ignore. I am my support system. It is empowering. I have chosen myself, and it has worked out. You can do it too! Just believe in yourself, filter out unwanted noise from others around you, and listen to the most authentic voice you have—your own.