EP39: What Curt Spends While Vacationing in Aruba

An Aruba expense report is the topic of discussion on episode 39 of One Happy Podcast. The idea for this episode came from a few questions I recently saw on the Aruba Facebook groups. Would be visitors to the island were asking for advice on how much they would be looking at spending while on the island. Estimates were all over the place, with none being very specific. I don’t blame the people answering the questions for this vagueness as it’s a natural limitation to Facebook groups. It’s just really hard to give a complete answer on a one paragraph Facebook post. Thankfully I have a podcast, which allows me to give a much more detailed answers.

On this episode of the show I use my September 2015 Aruba trip as an example of what a trip to Aruba can cost. What I do with that data is list actual prices we paid for car rentals and dinners on the island. Hopefully by providing that information to you guys it will help you figure out your own budgeting. This post is geared more towards Aruba newbies but can also prove helpful for anyone wondering how their expenses stack up.

Sometimes it comes off like it’s taboo to discuss specific numbers, but in my opinion specifics are the only way to be helpful. When someone asks for recommendations for an affordable place to eat if only a name is tossed out it means nothing. Affordable to you may be completely different than it does for the person asking the question. By providing not only the actual amount spent at a particular restaurant but what it was spent on it allows for a more complete picture for the person making the inquiry.

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EP38: Native of Aruba Howard Nedd Shares His Thoughts

On this, the 38th episode of One Happy Podcast I am being joined by native Aruban Howard Nedd. Howard and I connected via Twitter and where he expressed an interest in coming on the show to speak about growing up in Aruba. Although Howard was born in paradise he like many other Arubans now resides in the Netherlands. As many of you know Aruba natives relocating to the Netherlands in search of more opportunity is a common theme. Well now Howard has reached a point where he is giving serious consideration to moving back to Aruba.

Seeing as it is currently winter for most of you listening I am sure you are also wishing you could move to Aruba. While the constant 86 degree and breezy weather is a huge plus, Howard’s reason for contemplating a return to his home is different. Any day now he is expecting the birth of his first child.

Anyone with open eyes and a bit of common sense realizes the way children grow up on Aruba is different than in major metropolitan areas. Children kicking the soccer ball around on the beaches or enjoying nature is a sharp contrast to the Xbox and PlayStation culture common in the United States and other areas of the world. Part of that has to do with our weather not being anything close to what Aruba has to offer. Another part has to do with us forgetting to pay attention to how beautiful this world we live in truly is. The rest has to do with a misguided belief that because people have so much darn money these days we need to spend it on “stuff”. Howard hopes to avoid falling into that trap by relocating back to the island to raise his son in a culture that values experiences over things.

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EP37 – How Aruba Can Save Your Life and Make You a Better Person

On this episode of One Happy Podcast we tackle the subject of how Aruba can save your life and make you a better person. I know you are probably thinking “Aruba Curt you are full of it”. Trust me on this one as I have listed 10 ways that taking a trip to Aruba can make a very real and profound difference in your life.

You see, Aruba is more than shopping drinking and eating. It is actually a way of life that when you are exposed to it has the ability to wash away everyday stress. If you have visited there once or twice I am sure you know what I mean. If you have yet to make your first visit to the island soon you will understand. Aruba really does get into your soul.

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One Happy Podcast Presents: The 12 Days of Christmas (2015)

  The One Happy Podcast Holiday Carolers present the Twelve Days of Christmas. You can also check out last year’s Christmas episode Twas the Night Before Christmas. Featuring: Day 12 Vallon Davis EP4 Day 11 Andrea James EP2 and EP20 Day 10 Marelene Scherrenburg EP32 Day 9 Chloe and Lori Donlan EP18 Day 8 Cheryl Talcof…

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EP36: Amy White and the Divi Dutch Village

Joining me today on One Happy Podcast is fellow Aruba fanatic Amy White. Amy was first exposed to Aruba many years ago thanks to a college friend and has been in love ever since. Over the years she has taken many trips that range from family getaways with her son to girl only trips perfect for letting loose. Over the years Aruba has taught Amy many lessons, one of which is to not make too many plans if you really want to experience all that the island has to offer.

Amy frequently stays at the Divi Dutch Village but has stayed all over the island in not only the high rise and low rise areas but also apartments outside of the hotel zone. Amy is extremely adept at finding deals, which has allows her to visit Aruba without breaking the bank.

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EP35: Dawn Bellantoni Does Not Bring Sand to the Beach

Episode 35 of One Happy Podcast features Dawn Bellantoni who has been visiting the island for 22 years. Despite having traveled the world, Dawn has over the course of her Aruba visits fallen in love so much that now it’s pretty hard to stay away. In fact, today’s guest has visited the island 4 times since May of this year. Told you it’s hard for her to stay away!

Although Dawn is an owner at La Cabana, due to the sheer number of visits she makes to Aruba she has experienced staying at numerous properties on the island. Some of these properties include all of the Divi properties in addition to the aforementioned La Cabana resort. Make no mistake about it Dawn prefers staying in the low rise area of the island; however she does maintain an appreciation for the night life that Palm Beach offers.

It should come as no surprise that over the course of about 30 trips to Aruba, Dawn has developed many friendships on the island. In fact, despite living more than two thousand miles away from her Arubian friends, many of them are closer than some friends who reside much closer to home. One day Dawn hopes to live on the island of Aruba full time and I’m sure she feels it’s comforting for her to know she already has a community ready to welcome her home.

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EP34: Creating Fortuna Villas with Debbie and Patrick

Joining me today on Episode 34 of One Happy Podcast – the Officially Unofficial Podcast of Aruba are two very special guests, Debbie Mitchell and Patrick Mallison. If those names aren’t familiar to you just think back couple of months. Do you remember a couple from the UK who purchased and began renovation on a villa in the Savaneta area of the island? It was an incredible project that transformed what was a quaint home relatively traditional looking Aruba home into something truly magnificent.

There were lots of posts about the project in the various Aruba centered Facebook groups. Eventually those postings became so popular that a dedicated Facebook page was started for those of us who wanted to keep up. It was then that Fortuna Villas was born. Then over a 2 month period many of us followed along living vicariously through the adventures of Patrick and Debbie. If memory serves me, at one point we were even enlisted to help make a design decision.

Now finally after so many weeks of dedication, focus and hard work Debbie and Patrick were kind enough to come on the show. In this episode of One Happy Podcast we talk about their discovery of the island and how falling in love at first sight compelled them to do what so many of us dream about… buying a home on the island of Aruba.

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EP33: Kristina Tisellano and the Playa Linda

Joining me today on One Happy Podcast is Kristina Tisellano an Aruba traveler who has been visiting the island nearly her entire life. First visiting the island at the age of 4, Kristina, now 26 spends multiple weeks each year on the island. I guess you could say she grew up on the island.

Typically Kristina and her family stay at the Playa Linda, the resort property where her parents purchased that first timeshare many years ago. Not being familiar with the Playa Linda, Kristina painted an incredible picture for me, highlighting the family friendly atmosphere of the resort. One thing I thought was particularly cool is there way the families the Kristina has met over the years gather year after year becoming a sort of vacation family. She also mentions several of the staff members who have also become part of her Aruba family over the years.

As you could probably guess, a 26 year old who has been visiting the island for more than 20 years knows all of the ins and outs. Kristina was kind enough to share with us many of her favorite restaurants. One part of the interview that will be of interest to those who struggle searching for nightlife is where Kristina talks about some of her favorite night time hotspots.

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EP32: Marlene Nichols-Scherrenburg Shares What It’s Like Living on Aruba

Today on One Happy Podcast I am being joined by Marlene Nichols-Scherrenburg. Marlene is a Chicago born but raised in California girl who has been living on the island of Aruba for the last 15 years. Over the course of those 15 years Marlene has experienced the island in ways that most of us will only ever dream about. I met Marlene on my latest trip to Aruba while visiting Cheryl Talcof (from episode 19) and asked her to be on the show. Just like some of you at first Marlene didn’t know she was the right kind of person for the show but as you will find out she was actually a fantastic guest.

On this episode of the show Marlene gives a glimpse into Aruba from the point of view of someone who lives and works on the island. As an Aruba vacationer we do things one way but, when you are living on Aruba things can be quite different. Listen as Marlene explains what adjustments she needed to make in order to get used to life in paradise. Also find out what restaurants earn Marlene’s seal of approval as awesome values. You may want to pay special attention to the food part as in addition to Marlene being a foodie she is also married to one of the best chefs on the island, Jan Scherrenburg of Barney’s.

While most of the episodes of One Happy Podcast are geared towards vacationers this is a must listen for those considering someday making the move. As many of you can attest it’s quite normal to dream about moving to the island while on vacation. Marlene did things a bit differently as she moved there without having ever been to Aruba. On Episode 32 you will not only hear why this isn’t the best way to go about things but Marlene also shares valuable advice for the right way to decide whether or not Aruba is the right place for you to relocate to.

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EP31: Aruba! Off the Beaten Path with Nancy Gallagher

Joining me today on One Happy Podcast is Nancy Gallagher. Nancy is a listener of the show who you may recognize if you are a member of any of the popular Aruba Facebook groups. Known for her stunning photography and insightful posts I asked Nancy to be a guest on the podcast a couple of months ago, but she was reluctant. Fearful that listeners wouldn’t be interested in her version of Aruba, Nancy asked in one of the Facebook groups what they thought. The support that was shown was overwhelming and as a result at fantastic podcast episode was born.

Nancy has been visiting Aruba since 1990 and over the course of that time she has seen it all… literally. I am sure you will agree that most visitors to Aruba actually only see a small portion of the already small island, but not Nancy. Over the course of the 26 years she has been visiting the island of Aruba, Nancy has made it a point to get off the tourist trail and to actually get to know the island we all love so much. Although the bulk of her vacations are spent at the Divi Dutch Village, Nancy’s trips usually start out with a couple of days booked at a lesser known property out of the tourist area. This practice that has exposed Nancy to the Aruba that locals live.

Listen as Nancy tells us about her version of Aruba which starts at the Coral Reef Beach villas in Savaneta and finishes in her timeshare at the Divi Dutch Village, just 32 steps from the beach. Over the course of the interview Nancy tells us about those two properties as well as about some of her favorite restaurants on the island, many of which you don’t need to make reservations at even during high season. We also learn about some of Aruba’s off the beaten path treasures such as Seroe Crystal and Aruba’s National Art Gallery which is a great way to learn more about the culture of this very special island.

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