Is travel a waste of money?

 

imageI LOVE to travel! So much so that I would love to have a travel related job. I love going to new places and exploring everything that they have to offer.

 

I enjoy finding out about local culture. When I travel to Mexico I love to learn about the Mayans and the Aztec. I often buy related jewelry pieces. I have a unique name and can never find it on anything touristy. So a find I was able to score in the Mayan was a pendant with my name spelled out in their characters. Not only is it a conversation piece, but something unique to treasure.

 

 

I also really enjoyed exploring all the ruins. I was able to climb up the temple at Coba before it closed. I scampered up to the top like a monkey, even with all my camera equipment attached and was rewarded with an amazing view of the jungle. However, coming down was a whole entirely different experience. I quickly realized why so many slid down on their backsides! My own descent was not a whole lot different!

 

 

imageI enjoy the local history, which can also tie in with culture. Nothing is more amazing than exploring a grand Cathedral, intricate victorian, fairytale castle or an imposing fortress. So many impressive structures created hundreds or more years ago really make you wonder how it was possible with their tools and lack of modern technology. Most places also have a variety of museums or galleries to tour through as well. They can be a wealth of information and allow you to view objects and creatures you didn’t even know once existed.

 

 

 

 

I also really enjoy exploring the local flora and fauna. I enjoy discovering local plants that I cannot see here at home. I search for local wildlife and can sit for hours at a time, being entertained by their antics and rituals, while catching it all on film.

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing I get lost in where ever I travel is the scenery. It doesn’t matter if it is ocean, mountain, forest, city, waterfall or rocky terrain. It is all beautiful and unique and can make for some amazing photography.

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another aspect to travel is about the people you travel with. A large group can be hard to coordinate, but dining out in a Mexican restaurant with 13 friends, being serenaded by a Mariachi Band is an experience that we will all share and talk about for years to come.
So now, all these hi lights bring me back to my question: Is Travel a Waste Of Money?
While I know that there are many people that would answer yes, for me the answer is a resounding NO!

 

 

 

I will agree that travel can be very expensive, and it is a want, not a need. But the photos, experiences, little treasures and memories I come home with are priceless to me.

 

 

Being able to share them with the people I travelled with, to laugh over funny sights we saw, reminisce over things we did, share photos we took of each other is all well worth it.

 

 

It is also rewarding to me to share these same items and stories with people who have never been. Giving me a chance to relive the sights, sounds, and excitement over and over again. I also have a small group of friends that I enjoy scrapbooking my experiences with, another way to relive my trips long after I am home.
And while I do not have a “travel” job, my job in real estate does allow me to travel. I can book holidays to exotic locations on the downtimes, I am able to do various day trips exploring all the sights MB has to offer.

 

 

My Real Estate partner Tina and I enjoy the yearly Real Estate Conferences in various destinations where we can not only be filled with knowledge & tips to aid our business, but we get a chance to explore all the above points that I mentioned to the benefit of a tax write off!
And yes, I am awaiting to go on my next travel adventure, wherever that may be!

 

Eniko Crozier

Sutton Group-Kilkenny

What was that all about?

90 years old!

I walked into the room at Bethesda place nursing home where the family was gathering to honor my grandmother.  Voices were buzzing all around. It was the sound of a happy family.

There were cousins in the room that I had not seen in over twenty years.  Then there was my cousin John.  He and I were the first born grandchildren and are only a week apart in age.

image

My eyes darted across the room and that’s when I saw it.  The look on my grandmother’s face.  The room was full of people, yet she was sitting alone.  She was so emotional. Already tired too, I am sure.

I grew up going to Grandma’s on Sunday’s. We used to watch Walt Disney on Sunday’s with Grandpa (who is no longer with us). I stayed over for summer holidays too.

I used to do Grandma’s hair. We had deep talks. Later in years, when she was living at Fernwood Place, I used to go massage her feet and shoulders for her. I loved to pamper her.

I was just getting used to seeing her on a regular basis when she moved away.

She’s been back for a few years. Why had I not stopped in to visit? How do I approach her after all this time? I felt so ashamed. I am sobbing as I write these words.

Here, this day, as I approached her she opened her arms to invite me to come close. She had tears in her eyes. I fell into her shoulder and we held each other. I didn’t realize I had missed her so much. I also didn’t know she was missing me. She was probably missing all of us.

When I returned home from the party I pondered on how busy her household must have been while raising 13 children. She did her gardening in the morning before the children got up and ready for school. She cleaned and prepared meals for a table full of people.

After lunch, it was her delight to sit down to do the mending. It was her moment to unwind and enjoy the quiet before the school crowd came back. These are the things she has shared with me earlier when I asked her about those years.

I wondered if  those memories had gone through her mind at the party as she sat in the wheelchair and watched her family mingle around her.

I was still trying to understand the complexity of the emotions I saw on her face.

How was it  that after she gave such unselfish toil and labor for so many years that there was now such a disconnect?

I asked myself, “What was that all about? She invested all that work, and for what?” Perhaps it was my guilt talking. I hadn’t stopped by in a long time. Too long.

How many lonely days had she wondered where we’d all disappeared to?  

Yes, she gets company. I know my mother visits her three times a week. My mother… When is the last time I went to see my mother?

I give a lot of time to the buyers and sellers I work for. I find time to talk to people I work with.

If I get to be ninety, what will I think about this season in my life? I think I too will look back at my busy scurrying and wonder, “What was that all about?”

I strive to be an excellent real estate professional. I have trained to be an expert.  In the process, I have taken for granted the grace that my family has extended me.

This week on my day off, after I saw the dentist, I stopped by to visit Grandma and then went for lunch with my Mom.

image

A Realtor’s Life (Two Refreshing Stops on an Exhilarating Ride)

green-alarm-clock-1391422612n8N

I popped awake before the alarm sounded, with my mind already swirling.

As I fed the dogs and got ready for work, my mind continued to race. I had been researching and strategizing some systems of organization and marketing and business development over the previous weeks.

You know I adore strategy, right? And how I am attracted to that which is forward thinking, tech savvy, new and improved, flashing, and shiny? Yeah… so I couldn’t stop thinking and mulling and planning and… well, you get the idea. It was exhilarating.

I was eager to start the year off with everything in place. To pull it off though, meant giving myself a demanding deadline. I was running out of time.

Anxiety was starting to grab hold of me, so I was glad for the break this day would offer.

This day I would get to hand over the keys to a proud buyer. I held the keys in my hand, awaiting the final, official permission to pass them to the buyers. We’d been told to expect to receive that news at 10am.

Time passed, and it was nearly noon. The call still hadn’t come.

I called up a friend to join me for lunch. It did my heart good to pause, relax, and spend time with a good friend. Our time together was an oasis in an otherwise mentally chaotic day. (I’ll have to remember that the next time I feel anxious and my mind can’t stop racing…)

After lunch, the call had still not come, so I met up with my partner Eniko. I wrote some of my ideas on paper and passed them to her to see what she could do with it. When two people with two complete different skill sets work on the same project, an idea becomes a masterpiece.  She gets it. I was relieved to not be alone in all of this. Our time together proved to be another oasis of rest from my mental sprinting.

After meeting with those two wonderful people, I was refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

Finally, at 1:45, the call came. I could release the keys.

Luckily, the buyers had not been waiting for hours outside in a moving van, ready to unload. They’d been at work and hadn’t planned to move in that day. I can’t imagine how the day would have gone had they also been waiting eagerly for their keys.

I met with the buyers, and ceremoniously handed them the keys to their new home. They grinned and, for the first time, entered the house as its owners. They stood in the middle of the room, silent and sighing, just enjoying the moment. I savored the silence right along with them.

They thanked me once again, and I left them alone in their new home, glad to have shared that peaceful happy moment with them.

Now, refreshed from these quiet moments, I’m energized again to pursue my goals for the coming year.

… I can’t wait to tell you about those.

 

 

What refreshes you ?

Laughter is good medicine

My finger slid across my iPad in a slow pattern as the Facebook posts rolled by, one at a time.

It’s the way I unwind.

It’s a way to change gears and stop thinking about work.  If your wall looks like mine there is always a combination of posts.  You would be surprised how often I burst into laughter because of a crazy, stupid, or funny  post I come across. Heaven only knows how many prayers I’ve sent up when I’ve come across a personal post about struggles. Health concerns. Mental challenges. Family crisis. These posts touch my spirit. Someone is always talking about the weather. Others make me salivate with their food posts. Vacation posts let me see other parts of the world from my couch.

Lately however, I’ve been hearing the cry of the woman’s heart.  I hear it in the posts I read.  Or wait a minute, maybe that’s my heart crying.  It’s not the sound of a heart breaking,  although many of us have experienced that at some point in our life.  It’s more like a longing unfulfilled.  I continued through the posts. I marveled at how the kid pictures look so different from a few years ago.  And then I saw it.

Then I saw it.

It was a photo like no other. There

There was four eccentric women standing together on a street clutching their oversized bags. Each of them was wearing an outrageous hat and a ridiculous amount of  color. Their accessories were loud and bold. Shoes, jewelry, scarves, makeup, and glasses all made a statement.

“We’ve been friends for so long we can’t remember which one of us was the bad influence!” That was the caption on the Facebook post that stopped me from scrolling.

I wanted it to be me. Yes, I want to be able to be influential. I want to be able to instigate this kind of bazaar fun.  FUN. Remember? LAUGHTER. Remember? That’s it right there. That’s what women are not getting enough of.

Immediately, and energetically, I hit the share button. There must be  other women desiring some of this kind of fun. I reasoned that if I could get a few women to dress up like that and wear a big bright hat too, I would undoubtedly attract the most fun women around. I was certain we would not need an agenda or program or entertainment.

I was right.

As I shared that post I put out an invitation for a ladies night out.

Do you want a glimpse of what happened?

 

image

 

There are are five women missing from this photo. Two had left to pick up their children. One was busy in the kitchen. (The restaurant owner at All D’s Lounge is a fun woman and was a huge part of our evening.) One woman showed up later after she finished work and the other was Eniko Crozier who, as usual, was behind the camera.

We smiled a lot. We laughed out loud. We had a blast.

The day after, I got the most interesting comment from Ann Lemon, another Sutton Realtor who had observed me at the event. She texted me, I love how happy it makes you! She’s right. It made me happy to see the women having a good time.

Here’s a little secret.

You don’t have to have a title, or a committee, a club, or a church to start up some fun.  You don’t always need a program (although that too has its place).  You may not even need money. A little inspiration and a simple initiative is all it takes to make something happen.

Have you ever risked taking the initiative and had satisfying results?

I’d love to hear your story.

 

 

 

 

 

Think Selling Your House Will Solve Your Money Problems? Think again.

calculator

Swimming in debt?

You’re not alone.

Over 70% of Canadians have debt, and the average family has $100,000 of it. [1]

Planning to get out of hawk by selling your house?

Between increased debt and the rising cost of living (have you seen the price of cauliflower!?!), it can be tempting to sell and make a fresh start.

But there are a few critical flaws in that plan.

 

NEEDING A MIRACLE

 

If you’re at the end of your financial rope and need a miracle in six months or less, selling may not work for you.

One client learned this one the hard way. High on debt and low on cash, she needed to sell and fast.

Unfortunately for her, the market had slowed and she was not in a desirable location. Translation: she could realistically expect 6-12 months for a sale to happen.

It didn’t sell in two months, so she decided to try selling privately. It was the worst time to pull all the marketing because the bank was hovering, using words like ‘foreclosure’. She was desperate.

It was only a few months later the property was listed again, this time on behalf of the bank. She’d lost the house, and any profit it would have yielded her.

 

WHEN THE SALE WON’T COVER THE DEBT

 

It baffles me how often people expect the price of their home to be determined by either their sentimental attachment or the size of their consumer debt load.

But it happens all the time.

“But Tina, can’t you get MORE for my house than market value? I really need the money.”

Sorry, no. The market is what it is.

One’s inability to live within their means does not increase property value.

This principle also applies when one wants to sell a vehicle, firewood, or second-hand pumps on kijiji. Things are worth what they’re worth, regardless of how wealthy or desperate you happen to be.

 

MONEY IS NOT THE PROBLEM

 

Money doesn’t solve money problems.

Just ask the many lottery winners who are worse off after coming into a pile of cash.

Debt is not the problem, it is the symptom.

Maybe someone else caused your debt. Maybe it had nothing to do with you.

But chances are what got you into financial doo-doo was not a lack of money. It was a lack of self-control and a failure to live within your means. It is, in a word, entitlement.

“It doesn’t matter what you think you deserve, it doesn’t matter what you think you need, it doesn’t matter what you think you have to have to fit in. If you don’t have the money, then you don’t need to be incurring the responsibilities, the debt and the obligation” (Dr. Phil.com)

Getting an infusion of cash from selling your home may get you out of hawk for a while. But unless the habit of overspending is changed it will continue to pull you into debt.

__________________________

The market is what it is.

Real estate agents, while completely awesome, cannot actually work magic and force your house to sell in a week.

Selling your house may be part of your financial restoration, but don’t let it be the only part. The plan should also include ditching the habits that got you into that situation in the first place.