Let's be honest…Cummari has a branding problem.
As a woman with a unique approach to learning, I've never been one to watch YouTube tutorials or hire a coach. 'Stealing like an artist' isn't my style either.
Unlike the conventional methods, I need clarity to unfold naturally, often waiting weeks or months for my energy to be just high enough to want to write and for my inner imposter to shut the f&ck up.
Understanding the power of algorithms, I recognize the importance of speaking up. Finding my target audience—remarkable and kind women passionate about travel—doesn't happen by lurking in the darkest corners of Google's stale content.
When women who become part of the Cummari community express, 'Cummari is you, and you are Cummari,' it sparks a realization —'F&ck me, I am a brand.
And I know better than to second guess strong minded women, I know they are right, I am Cummari.
Back to my point… If I had to quickly summarize my (or Cummari’s) mission, it is to help women “be happy,” while they are part of anything I have curated. I also know aiming for happiness alone won't shoot Cummari to the zenith of search engine rankings. But here's a charming anecdote: when simplifying my work for my four-year-old, I needed a term, and 'happy' seemed like the go-to. However, let me clarify—I'm not advocating for the typical cultural definition of happiness.
The commonplace advice on 'being happy' is something I genuinely dislike. In an effort to sidestep this, I propose a subtle rebranding: from 'being happy' to 'being content.' To me, this shift alleviates the weighty expectations tied to happiness and translates to something simpler—finding joy in the present moment without that perpetual yearning for something, somewhere, or someone else."
Mamma mia! With two decades in journalism, you'd think I wouldn't talk in circles, but adult female ADHD is a family trait. Bear with me - in my own way, I'm getting to what Cummari is.
Cummari is a 'business' that has a life of its own. Opening my door to diverse solo-traveler women worldwide was a move I should have expected would bring constant evolution (maybe even a revolution? Who's with me?!).
Until last year (2023), Cummari was primarily known as the world's first coliving space for women, situated in the chaotically beautiful city of Catania, Sicily, on majestic Mamma Etna, Europe’s most active volcano.
Bold moves? Indeed. Cummari's female focus and a base in Sicily were out of the norm risks I was certain were mine to make (if not me, who?). At 39, in my digital nomad life, I could no longer ignore a calling to create a 'pay it forward' for solo-traveling women.
This all came after an intense life shift that began back in 2016, triggered by an overwhelming sense of sickness. It wasn't a physical ailment but an intense malaise encompassing my self-perception, a codependent romantic relationship, the honking horns of midtown Manhattan, and the business I tirelessly ran, governed solely by the masculine/survivor part of my brain.
At this point in my life, my inner light had dwindled to a mere flicker, prompting a moment of profound realization - it was time to burn it all down. And so, over the subsequent years, I intentionally left (burned) many facets of my life. The process, far from a mere simplification, was a dark and arduous journey into the depths of completely unhinging my way of thinking, being, and acting as a colonized white woman in this world. The intricacies of this transformative journey deserve a more elaborate narrative, one that I usually prefer to tell in person.
In time, deciding to make Sicily my home was a freeing moment, breaking away from the grip of toxic consumerism and corporate culture that had defined much of my life. As by choosing Sicily "you have less, but you have more." With a goal to revive my spirit, once living on the island I dedicated my time and resources to cultivate something truly nourishing—a venture that blossomed into what we now know as Cummari.
My work with Cummari consists now of days spent connecting with my community, which includes thoughtful women living all over the island of Sicily in addition to amazing women who come as guests from all around the world. I take my time curating bespoke long stay retreats, women’s circles, knowledge series and events in addition to the traditional coliving experiences of Cummari's beginning.
No matter what I curate, my overarching objective is to extend to women the welcoming sensation of being embraced into a feminine community just as they are. Picture Bridget Jones finding solace in Cummari—a nonbinary confidante who persuades Bridget to embark on a life-changing Sicilian adventure, whilst urging her to block both Mark and Daniel’s phone numbers.
Once women become part of Cummari, whether in Sicily or in time, around the world, all that's left for me to do is observe and witness the organic formation of connections, a reunion our DNA’s matriarchal memories have yearned for.
So here it is...
I resisted the temptation to confine my work, passion, or purpose within contemporary communication standards—defying expectations from a pay to play system that's fundamentally flawed. I am well aware that, in the grand scheme, my algorithms may appear feeble, especially amidst the relentless emails from SEO experts. Yet, here’s the thing—I simply don't care.
I am Cummari and Cummari is me.
Love & Lava,