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 chaos, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, friendship, Grief, Hurricane, mother nature, photo challenge, photo challenge, Signs of the Universe, Uncategorized, Waiting

The World Waits with you Florida!

DC 8 chairs
This photo is so cool because you can see people waiting outside the windows

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/waiting-2017/

I awoke this morning early to the sound of rain. I love to hear the soothing sound of the raindrops as I lay in bed. Then I remembered that my home state of Florida is being hit by monster storm Irma. So I am waiting along with the rest of the world for the aftermath. The storm has downgraded to a Cat 3, but you have that storm surge and the possibility of regaining strength as it heads back over the ocean to the Keys. Please get to a shelter and be safe!  I am watching from Colombia in my Bed and Breakfast hotel Villa Migelita. I am here for anyone who is without a home after the storm. All you need is a passport, no Visa needed for up to 3 months. I am offering my place for just my costs to anyone who needs a place to stay while repairs to your home occur, or until the electric comes back on. We have temperatures in the 50’s at night and  up to the high 70’s Fahrenheit at my Villa. We do not use air conditioning at Villa Migelita. No need. If you don’t want to live in that heat of Florida without power, you can get a flight to Cali, Colombia and stay here. I remember very well the after effects of hurricanes as a native Floridian. It is hell. Literally. Also I will give food and shelter at such a reasonable cost, home cooked meals, maid service, laundry and free wi-fi. Remember I am a direct flight to Miami from Cali. I am here, I am ready and I am waiting to help. Villa Migelita has the American flag flying and the Colombian flag beause we all support the USA in this terrible time of super storms hitting without normalcy

 

 

Butterfly video and photos 008
Both flags fly at Villa Migelita 

You can have a wonderful experience in a perfect climate without stress, and I will be here to support and help in any way I can. Michele

 

Posted in Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, photo challenge, Uncategorized

I am now a Resident of Colombia!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/satisfaction/

It took almost 6 years but I am now a legal resident of Colombia. If you relocate to another country it is always a process every single year for your Visa. I now have my residency and I don’t have to do another thing for five years. However, I can start the process of being a dual citizen in 3 years. Which of course I will do! I love my extraordinary life of adventure and friends here in Colombia. I love that even though I have endured many hardships, including some here, I have persevered. I haven’t let anything stop me. Now I am a legal resident. No more E for extranjero before my cedula number. The ID we all carry when we live in Colombia. I am full of satisfaction for an extraordinary life! One full of friendship, color and adventure. These photos were taken by friends at immigration. They know me very well. I like them so much. It seems la gringa en Colombia is here to stay!resident 1

resident 2
My friends at immigration who know me by name

Posted in Uncategorized

Thrive, Flourish and Live Your Life

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/flourish/

Have you ever felt there is more to life than this? A cliché statement, but so true for most people at some point in their lives. You drift through life looking for, then hoping you can do something to help yourself out of the situation you are in. You feel stuck in a job, marriage, relationships that are not working. There is not a person alive who hasn’t felt this way at some point in their life. Then you are old and full of regrets about the way life passed you by. We are constantly bombarded by social media about someone who is doing well, or has changed their life for the better and you wonder “why not me?” It makes you feel down, wondering why some people achieve their dream while you can’t find yours. But actually it isn’t that way at all. Every person who has started a business, or has decided to make changes in their life knows that it starts as a concept you can envision, but you are not sure how you will go forward. It can take years and a lot of really difficult moments to achieve your aspiration. The difference between you and that person is that they have overcome fear to take a chance. Most successful entrepreneurs when asked will tell you they failed many times BUT they kept trying. That is the key to flourishing in life. Let go of fear. It is just that simple. Take a chance on your dream. See what happens. It might not work out like you expected but you will know you did the best you could to get yourself on a different path from the one you are now on; the one that makes you unhappy.

When I moved to Colombia, I had an idea in the recess of my mind..it was there in a shadowy corner ready to emerge, but I suppressed it. When asked by friends why I was expanding my Villa so much, I would say ‘Oh, I want to have a hotel.” Did I believe what I was saying? Not really. I wanted a hotel but didn’t think it would actually materialize. That being said I was still doing all the right things to make it happen, which was a subconscious way that my inner self was showing me the correct direction to take. I wrote to editors and they answered me, and then I was published(scroll to page 8) about my dream, and more than once. I just kept moving forward, even when I felt inside it wouldn’t  happen. I believe a lot of us become overwhelmed with life as we know it. I changed when my daughter died. I became a bit fearless and did things I wouldn’t have ever considered before. If we look at life the way I suddenly viewed it after her death, we do become fearless and that is when we can really move towards our dreams.

To thrive we must find our passion and follow it. I did it accidentally. I didn’t have some major business plan in mind. I just sort of fell into things as they occurred. Yes, I did all of this ‘by the seat of my pants’, as my mother used to say. It has worked out well, but again, I live in the moment so tomorrow I could regret all that I have accomplished up to this point. One thing is for sure, I have impressed myself with my resiliency, my tenacity, my inability to give up even when things look grim. Yes, things have been grim for me more than a few times. That is why I say let go of fear, let go of distractions, let go of overwhelming thoughts and just live your life the way you want to live it. Thrive and flourish by being the person you want to be, not what you think others want you to be. Always remember your joy is there inside of you, it never has left you. No matter how many horrible things have happened in your life, your intensity for life is inside of you. But you have to be the one to realize it. No one else can give you this ability to create a new life. Only you.