Why in the world have I taken so long to write this 3rd post?
A similar & related question from my friends and family might be: Why have I jumped off the face of the planet? (Cause Facebook is a planet, right?)
My first information product that FINALLY got approval from Clickbank (not on this site, by the way) might curiously be wondering in its own right: Why haven’t we moved forward on PPC (pay-per-click) testing like was planned?
Just what, dear Hannahmazing, has been going on these past 2 months??
I thought I came to Guatemala to live and work cheaply. I thought I was just looking for a sunny place to hunker down and get things done on my internet business to start bringing in monthly income to then travel to more ambitious places…like Berlin or Buenos Aires or Silicon valley (again).
And that’s just how it started: I arrived in Antigua, Guatemala – sad from a very recent breakup with the same man I had already broken up with earlier in the year…but with whom I reconnected with and seemed to be forming an even better relationship this time…until it wasn’t, and this time it was over for good – yes sad but determined to put all that behind me and just focus on getting my dang site approved by Clickbank and then getting paid traffic to my site to test conversion rates so that I could then reach out to potential affiliate marketers and JV partners with those (hopefully high) rates, so that they would promote my product for me.
Yes, I know snorexciting that sounds…Just the business facts, ma’am!
And sure enough, at the beginning, things went according to plan. When I got into Antigua, I found a nice place to live: A room with my own bath in an elegantly old-fashioned hacienda-style house wrapped around a central garden embellished by twittering birds and a lovely fountain, where I had the amazing good luck to have a grand piano I could practice on whenever I liked, being rented out by a very dignified old-fashioned upper class Guatemalan widow.
Things were going great…Except for, on some level…hmm..they kinda sucked.
Clickbank - the payment processor and affiliate recruiting & managing platform I needed to be able to take payments and to pay affiliates was making my life miserable, miserable I tell ya! See, they have very strict rules about what they allow on the sites they work with, and what they don’t. After I had followed the advice from the internet marketing geniuses I look up to – like Chris Haddad and Frank Kern – when writing and setting up my sales page, it turned out that the very recent “updates” to Clickbank’s policies rendered much of what I had on my sales page not kosher, no bueno.
So, as far as my site went, it was a month of stress and frustration, hair-pulling and tensely prayiing that THIS time was the charm…Every time the lady at Clickbank told me to change “just one last thing”, I would skype my tech guy to do it – and then once that had finally gotten done….another dreaded email would come back: “Oh, actually, you have to change THIS too”…And so it went all month.
Finally – FINALLY the day came that the approval came in..MONTHS after I had expected and planned for it. But when I finally got that email of approval…I just felt kinda numb. It didn’t feel so much like a win as like a white flag at the end of the battle: I knew it was a good thing..I knew it was a GREAT thing…but I was so emotionally spent…I said a little “whoo hoo”, but in reality, I just wanted to forget all about it.
And if I am to be really honest here: underneath the stress of getting my first big site up and running, was the deep sadness about my most recent breakup with somebody who I had thought might very possibly be “the man for me”. Somebody I truly loved…Somebody I really liked…and somebody I dearly missed. Not just our romance, but our friendship and his encouragement & support in my business ventures.
And my way of dealing with that had been…well, in all fairness to myself, it had been to meditate and do positive visualizations remembering the good times and sending love and accepting what is…but the true cure for a broken heart is TIME. It just takes time. And there hadn’t quite been enough of it. Not yet.
Being sad about love and anxious about business…this, my friends, a sustainable lifestyle does not make. Sunny Central American country, or not.
Enter San Marcos
That old-fashioned elegant widow (and very devout Jehova’s witness judging from the meetings held at our house every Sunday), Doña Carolina, had 4 children, and one of them, it turned out, owned a hotel on Lake Atitlan, two hours away.
Carola, Doña Carolina’s daughter, mentioned him to me when I said I was interested in checking out the lake: “You should stay at my brother’s place, it’s right on the lake & it’s beautiful…He doesn’t talk to me anymore, but I don’t hold a grudge. I still recommend his place to people”.
Because this was the first place suggested to me, and I always prefer to go through friends of friends (or feuding sibling 3rd-party connections) I called up Gerardo and booked a few nights at his place “Hotel Silani” on the lake. I knew nothing more about it, except that Carola told me it was very nice, it was within my budget, and that it was in a village called San Marcos.
Now, I had thought I had been pretty blessed with my situation in Antigua – nice house, internet, grand piano (THAT was a universal gift)…But from the second the shuttle rounded the corner revealing a sweeping view of Lake Atitlan below, I felt a thrill inside me that I never once felt in Antigua..that I hadn’t felt in quite awhile.
And from that point on, pretty much everything was magical. Something in my soul was being fed. My heart was being uplifted…more and more, by the hour.
On the boat to San Marcos, I made my first 2 new friends: Two handsome and gregarious travellers – Juan from Argentina and Dany from Italy. They invited me to go Kayaking with them the next day, and over the next few days we were a merry threesome (no romance, guys, promise..I was still in self-proclaimed nun mode).
San Marcos was… beautiful. A little village with foot paths through the trees. Meditation and yoga centers. Organic smoothies and chakra cleansing. Yes, it was new agey and hippy…but somehow it didn’t annoy me. The lapping sounds of the lake at night were like medicine to me…the most soothing and peaceful sensations came from listening to the lake, which seemed to calm my soul in a powerful way. There were trees and birds all around…I was in civilization, but in the middle nature at the same time… and that view. The sheer physical beauty of the place was in itself renovating…
I was finally relaxing, enjoying myself, loosening up. I felt freer, I felt close to nature in a way I hadn’t felt in a long long time…In a way that I hadn’t even realized that I needed! And when another new friend told me that there might be a neighboring cabin available where she was living, and then I found myself in the most charming, view-endowed little storybook cabin you could ever imagine (and which I will hold in my heart and mind forever and ever), which would be available in just a few days…at a price that was laughable….Of course, it was too obvious that I was meant to move there.
Hola San Marcos!.
As I write this, I wish I could take a photo of the vista in front of me: it’s 12:54 in the afternoon, I’m sitting out on the little terrace off the side of my apartment, with a sweeping view of Lake Atitlan spread out before me. The docks along shoreline to the right side of this vista jut out from the terraced gardens of the large vacation houses. To the left, boats can be seen speeding across the water leaving frothy white trails behind them.
I would love to take a photo…But my iphone has died completely – that’s part of the story…Foreshadowing for you!
I’m going to go jump in the lake for a swim, come back and fix myself some lunch and then work on other parts of my business (which I promise I will get more into later).
This post has only touched the surface of what I wanted to share here, but I think it’s been a good start. It tells why I ended up here in Guatemala, and then San Marcos, which is the setting for the next stage of my journey: My unexpected vision quest (the one I didn’t even really know that I was on – the one that bit me in the arse, if you like). And how that has affected my business plans and life…and most definitely is an excellent explanation for my temporary jumping off of the earth.
Whew, the sun is hot…Time to go take a long walk off a short dock! X