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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