One day in the heart of General Motors

“Oh babe, you will love it!”

This was the phrase my wife used to convince me to spend a day in the heart of General Motors’ headquarters, “l’imponente” GMRENCEN – Since Italy is well known for majestic architectural masterpieces with thousands of years of history, I decided to use an Italian word to properly describe one of the top 10 Detroit Architectural Masterpieces’ The Renaissance Center.

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To be honest it didn’t take too much to like it! Two things I noticed straight away once I put my foot in the building, was hope and safety.

I thought about the word hope because somebody, far from us, from behind a desk welcomed us with a simple and short “Good morning!” That simple GOOD MORNING can change somebody’s day. A simple word may be worth more than gold especially when you’re in a vulnerable moment of your life.

…And safety. Sadly Detroit is very sensitive when we talk about Safety. One big thing when you inform friends and family that you’re about to move to Detroit – they will tell you about the dangers of the Motor City. One thing that I will always say is: “The wiser you are, the safer you are.“ Once in the GMRENCEN, all my worries and concerns about public safety vanished. I spent my whole day without worries. I even left my computer bag on the coffee shop chair while in the restroom.

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Once the day was over, I realized that the two things I noticed first thing in the morning were not just a temporary appearance; officers are in each corner of the building, dog squads, you name it; and people know how to offer a cordial smile or how to pronounce words like thank you and please.

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From a security point of view (based on my personal criteria), GMRENCEN has a 9 out of 10.

Going back to how majestic this place looks, miles away, from north, south, east or west, first thing you will notice is the place where Detroit started over:

 

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After a whole day spent in this miracle of modernistic architecture, I realized one important thing: You can spend a whole day without being worried about the outside world. Hungry? There’s a food quarter. Tired? There’s the second tallest hotel in the world with amazing views on each side. Need a Workout? There’s even a Gym. Enjoy shopping? No problem, they have plenty of shops. Need a job? Kidding? You could work for one of the most solid companies in the United States – GM.

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There is a bank – a daycare center in the building – good coffee – music playing in the background…and why not, I want to keep writing: they have an impressive view over the Detroit River for Vitamin D lovers – a pharmacy, and if you put the right offer on the table, you could buy one of the cars they have in their exhibit. There are even trees growing indoors. That’s how huge this place is.

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After my very first day in the heart of the place where people create ways to Find New Roads, all I can say is that I had a really great experience. GMRENCEN is definitely a place I would love to return to continue to find my inspiration.

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My wife was right, I love it!

Airbnb Tales: Casa Misterio en Merida, Mexico

I was born 29 years ago. I lived in a country (Romania) where 15 years ago, every international leisure travel you were planning to organize was only possible thanks to these travel agents, seated on chairs scattered around a travel agency’s office.

Before I started to even think that I might be able to afford a vacation abroad, my parents relocated with my sister and me to Italy for a better life style.

I landed in a better country (better quality of life), different than the previous one, where the Internet was more commonly used. In Italy, half the people were already using their personal computers to organize and book their own trips abroad or within the country online.

The idea of the travel agencies was not disappearing, but they were losing a lot of their business. I don’t believe the main reason was due to the weakening economic times that were hitting Italy at a fast rhythm. I heard from people familiar with the problem that the reason was mostly because of the idea of saving money. I even started to think that everything was changing just because people love taking control over the situation and organize their own trips.

Whoever never thought to become his own tour operator, and create his own vacation package, is a fool.

Come on, we are proud and we trust in our personal capabilities…

By the way, during the years of many tech evolutions and with affordable Internet connection, we revolutionized the network and we moved towards the invention of many creative platforms that allows us to book our vacations faster and cheaper.

And here we are, almost 14 years from the beginning of the booking evolution.

2017…

One of the biggest and most interesting new booking platforms is Airbnb.

Airbnb is the perfect result of a revolutionary invention that you can use to book the coolest place to stay during your trips.

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photo: Airbnb.com

The day I started to use Airbnb, everything changed. You still can have what the hotels can offer, with a huge addition:

Meeting great people and hearing great stories.

Airbnb revolutionized the tourism we were accustomed to. It allows you to have access to affordable places to sleep during your visit in a new place, giving the opportunity to more people to experience the beauty of traveling.

Not only…

You can (for those who want a full immersion trip) finally have the chance to meet local people, eat authentic homemade meals and learn even more custom gests. This is the perfect mix for those who are looking for great memories and unique experiences.

Thanks to a new technology like Airbnb, I had the great opportunity to live for 3 amazing days at Casa Misterio en Merida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán.

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photo: Facebook

The famous GPS navigator on your phone that brings you sad surprises once you’re back home (a $300 phone bill), brought us straight to the destination. An American woman was waiting for us on the steps of her front door. Airbnb offered us a silent neighborhood with background sounds of children playing. The moment I stepped into their house, everything changed (for the better). Every single particular thing was accurately molded to give us the perfect picture of a Mexican house. My soul started to adapt to that charming house. I instantly became part of this Mexican-American family…

Our room was on the second floor.

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photo: Casa Misterio, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Oh gosh, I don’t even know which words to use in order to give you a perfect image of that place (I didn’t think I would’ve slept better than in a hotel, but I did). The shower was on the huge balcony overlooking the pool below, and we were able to take showers under the sunset. Close to it, we found this amazing Mexican hammock where I instantly fell asleep to the swaying warm breeze.

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photo: Casa Misterio en Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

After I entered into that house, I realized how easily we sometimes forget how beautiful the life can be. But, only if we are interested enough to search for a way to find out.

We could’ve spent $100 a night to sleep, but we decided instead to spend $100 for 3 nights.

Where is the trick?

The trick is that we were happy the day when we decided to use Airbnb. For less than a hotel room price, we got more. We got smiles, and we earned 2 new friends who made sure to give us the most beautiful 3 days in that inviting place.

Gracias Erin and Manny!

Listoke Garden

 

Listoke Garden

“Birds will flock to a fruitful tree.” – Senegalese proverb

I lied down on the blanket and I closed my eyes. The last thing I saw, before I closed my eyes, were those beautifully colored blossoms. The fresh scent of the grass that I’d cut moments before, penetrated my nose, reaching my soul and heart.

Under that pretty tree, I heard and smelled for the first time in my life the sound of Heaven. The humming birds and nature’s perfume were allowing me to forget about the tough moments I was going through in that moment of my life.

That day was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel any sort of fatigue after a day’s work.

“The sound of the drum depends on the drummer” – Mozambican proverb

More than 2 years ago, the destiny brought me to live in the Republic of Ireland. As many of you might already know, Ireland is mostly known for its pubs, Saint Patrick’s Day, Celtic step dance, the color green everywhere, and the Cliffs of Moher…

Well, Ireland is much more than that. Ireland is a land of hard working people that made the difference in the whole world. Ireland is not only beer and partying in the pubs. Ireland is a land of good-hearted, genuine people. If you’re lucky enough to enter and win their hearts, then you will be blessed forever.

I know it’s hard to understand…

It all began here:

In a turbulent moment of my life, I had the opportunity to taste the real Ireland. Even if it was for a short period of time, that life experience at the Listoke Garden in Drogheda (Ireland), gave me the opportunity to meet amazing Irish people and be welcomed into the heart of their family. In that moment of my life, I had the blessing to meet a wonderful family that didn’t need much more than a smile in order to offer me a chair at their dinner table.

The rule is simple: Always be a good person, and the good people will recognize that!

I guarantee that this is all true…but first:

Have you ever seen a movie or read a book where you can meet the character of an English woman with the gardener hat, the amazing loving husband, the fruitful garden, the sweet dog, the animals and the glass greenhouse?

I bet you have!

Here’s Part 1 of my story:

In late Spring of 2016, I was blessed by an Irish family. I didn’t need to read a book or see a movie. I had the amazing chance (maybe once in a lifetime) to live a real experience of full immersion into an Irish family, some 50 km north of Dublin.

The fact that my amazing wife, Sarah, was volunteering at this pretty Irish farm, through the non-profit WWOOF Program, gave me the ability to spend some time in that Heavenly place with her.

WWOOF volunteering means to be part of that family. You do whatever they do. Basically you do your best in order to take care of the place.

Those days during my time there, I worked with that family and I reached the real happiness. Everything I did for them, as work, was something I did with all my heart and with a huge smile.

The lovely host Patricia, half Maltese and half English, surprised me in many ways. Her fluent Italian made my days even easier. She is that lovely English lady, well-educated with the clothes always dirty because of her passion for gardening.

 

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Her husband, Patrick, is full-pride Irish. He is so kind and sweet, especially with his wife. I will never forget the day when we went with him to do the groceries. As he took a chocolate from the shelf, he said: “This is for my wife, she loves chocolate”

 

I don’t remember them talking about politics, or life related problems. All their worries were:

 

Understanding how the hamsters escaped from their secured cages (until we figured out where the problem was) or nursing a baby black bird to health.

 

Living there was like living in your favorite place on the planet. That place and those activities charged my soul and body with only positive energies. Every single time I needed to leave that place, I always returned back as a different person, a better person.

 

The simplicity of those people is something incredible. The fact that they always used words like Please and Thanks was something that put them in a special place in my heart.

 

In our lives we meet angels and devils. In that tough moment of my life I met two angels. God bless you Patricia and Patrick!

 

More to come…

Elba Island and its legendary Acqua dell’Elba

Far from my second country, Italy, my thoughts are flying to one of my favorite places in the world I had the opportunity to visit early in my life…

More than 5 years ago I had the opportunity to spend my vacation on one of my favorite places in this world: Elba Island in Italy.

Almost 3,000 miles away at east from here, aside the Tuscan archipelago, you can find this amazing Island. Most of the Tuscans call it “the Italian Hawaii”.

Cheaper than Hawaii, you can step on one of the most magical places on Earth. This island is that place where after 1 minute you fall in love (like I did) with it. A place you might keep in the surface of your beautiful memories. That place where you truly forget about your daily issues. An angle of paradise that even your worst day cannot delete from your brain.

When I was a young man, I used to daydream of the moment when I will step on a paradisiac soil. I was the prey of many magazines and TV commercials that build your head with all these unattainable goals.

Isola d’Elba changed completely my way to see the world.

 

How? I am not trying to sell you something and I might sound like a simple Simon guy. That’s what I was thinking as well. After I left the ferryboat, I finally realized what the brochures were talking about, regard to Elba Island.

Isola d’Elba is that piece of paradise that doesn’t need a promo to become well-known in the whole world. Isola d’Elba wins your heart and takes a deep spot in it. You cannot stop thinking of it.

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After visiting many well-published places on the earth, it is hard for me to express all of them as places where a piece of my heart is left. Elba Island’s smell wins your olfaction memories. Elban people win your Friendship. Elba’s kitchen miracle’s makes you become a culinary expert for your whole life.

I will always keep this special place in my heart. It reminds me of what it means to be carefree. Every time I want to touch the Island again, I go to my secret bottle of Acqua dell’Elba Eau de Parfum . As the Island keeps me far from sad thoughts, it’s special cologne reminds me of the happiness; reminds me of the woman I love and how I met her. I indirectly associate the cologne’s fragrance to her personality.

Indirectly in the late 90’s, Fabio, Chiara and Marco, made their dream come true:

Give the island a smell and an identity within the world by creating the Acqua Dell’Elba perfume. They probably will never know about something important: Their perfume is reflecting the personality of somebody’s lover.

As I respect and appreciate the people of Elba, I have a huge estimation of what a familiar small company was able to create among huge multi-national corporation competitors. I estimate how they mixed the passion and wisdom to Island high quality materials, transforming a small artisan workshop in a unique product: Acqua Dell’Elba.

Indirectly I’m connected with this entity and I would like to thank them for impacting my life!