|Diane visiting the Mpassa Gorilla Protection Project in Africa
People come to Belize for many reasons - vacation, business or some for the beautiful weather. Many who visit Ambergris Caye find love at first sight. Some of these people cannot forget this island paradise and they return to stay. This is the case of this week's personality who claims she knew, even before she boarded the plane, that she would eventually live in "Our Community" - Diane Campbell.
Diane was born on September 15th in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA and grew up with a desire to travel or as some would call it, "the wanderlust." In high school she was named "Community Ambassador" and traveled to Turkey through a community exchange program. She studied English and International Studies during college, attending classes at several universities in Yugoslavia during one of her courses. Through these two experiences Diane developed a taste for international travel, and went on to visit Europe, India and Nepal in the 70s. Diane returned to Nepal three times in the 80s, once trekking 300 miles, and conquering a 17,000-foot pass during a three-week "walk" around Mount Annapurna in the high Himalayas.Another special "walk" in 1989, included a high-altitude trek in Ladakh, a remote region of the Himalayas in northeast India.This was to be her last trip to Asia as in 1990 Diane discovered Belize and was "hooked".
Breaking away from her Michigan roots, Diane moved to Mill Valley in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Together with a few friends, she helped start what is now an almost legendary bar/jazz club called "Sweetwater," and for the next few years she bumped elbows with the likes of Van Morrison, Grace Slick, The Grateful Dead and The Doobie Brothers, as well as many other popular rock and roll musicians of that time. On the side, Diane designed and created outfits for these types of musical performers to wear during their concerts. Eventually, she says, the cold "bay weather" forced her to a warmer location, so she headed south.
Diane made the decision to move to Los Angeles, California after receiving a job offer to market a friend's new condominium development. A natural at this new career, she quickly advanced to the role of marketing sales manager and enjoyed this occupation for the next eight years. Diane then went to work managing a branch office of a reputable brokerage firm in an ethnically diverse area of LA. "I met a lot of people from so many different cultures and backgrounds," commented Diane. What she did not know was how this experience would prepare her for Belize.
In May of 1990, Diane learned of friends who were traveling to Belize on vacation. Even though she had seen only one documentary on the country, she felt compelled to visit the former British possession. "People may think I'm crazy, but I knew before I got on that plane that I was going to live here," Diane stated. After ten days of lying on the beach, snorkeling and visiting with people she was convinced of this. Oddly, she mentioned that the first two people she met as she walked the island's northern coast were two of our recently departed residents, Jim Wade and Stuart Corns. "I fell in love with Mata Grande (the area where she currently lives) on that walk," stated Diane who immediately began to make plans in her head to return to Ambergris Caye - permanently.
Only a few months later, Diane met Bob Campbell, the man who would become her husband, at a 4th of July picnic. Coincidentally, he was a contractor and joined Diane on her next trip to Belize when she bought her first piece of property. After that, she says, they could not stay away. Diane married Bob in May of 1992 (in the midst of the LA riots!) and seven months later they moved to Belize. While Bob was busy building their house at Mata Grande, Diane went to work in real estate sales in San Pedro.Over time they bought more land and developed Caye Villas and Los Encantos.
Today, when Diane is not working on the couple's new project, El Pescador Villas, she can be found gardening, snorkeling or writing (occasionally for The San Pedro Sun). The "travel bug" has never left her and most recently she visited Gabon, Africa where her cousin works for the Mpassa Gorilla Protection Project. Although she prefers to keep her charity works to herself, Diane is a very giving person and does not blink when asked to lend a hand to those in need. Whether it is financial aid or, providing advice on life or investing in Belize, Diane Campbell definitely "tops the market" of wonderful people in "Our Community"!