Queen of Bliss, Joeann Fossland

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Outside My Comfort Zone...On The Road

In the last month, I have spent 3 weeks on the road and travelled to 5 countries and Florida!

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Florida REALTORS State Convention this year, and I was so impressed with their commitment to their agents and the tools they have made available. There were 1200 REALTORS in attendance, soaking up the education and expo! It was nice to hear about the market strength there after these past tough years. It is a testimony to the fact that there are opportunities in all markets and flexibility and creativity are hallmarks of the basic tools we need to survive in real estate!

Then with my husband, Bub, we flew to Barcelona, Spain to embark on an 11 day Holland America cruise chartered by A Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor from National Public Radio. What an amazing trip! We visited a different port every day (except we spent 2 days in Rome and one at sea). We enjoyed performances by Garrison, his cast and other notables such as Joe Ely, Heather Masse, and opera singer, Marie Jette every evening in the Showroom and other bar venues! So much fun, by Day 8 I was exhausted and ready to do NOTHING for a couple of days…

We visited:

  • Barcelona, (and were enchanted by the history mixed with gaudy Gaudi modernism)
  • Marseilles France (where we bought some great wine! and saw Dali's work)
  • Monaco Montecarlo (and saw how the VERY rich live)
  • Livorno (gateway to the Leaning Tower of Pisa)
  • Civitavecchia (gateway to Rome where we toured the Coliseum and saw the Vatican)
  • Venice (where we ate Pizza in the birthplace of pizza!)
  • beautiful Kotor, Montenegro (where we saw an ancient castle and the bunkers where the Russians hid their subs during the cold war
  • Ravenna (with it's incredible mosaics)
  • Venice (where getting lost led to serendipitous fun and shopping!)

Whew!!!! This was Bub's 69th birthday present and it will be a trip long remembered.

In one of Garrison's monologues, he spoke of the humor at watching tourist couples come close to murdering each other with their different agendas and styles of taking in a foreign city…. and we think he may have been spying on us (but that only happened a few times!). We got lost in Livorno (gateway to Pisa), in Rome and in Venice and each thought we knew which way to go! What an adventure.

Spending 2 weeks in countries where mostly English wasn't spoken was very interesting for me. I've always thought myself an eager to travel and have new experiences. I realized how sheltered I have been, with most of my travel to English speaking countries! I found my lack of understanding and being able to speak the language each day made me feel very helpless. Bub made me practice trying to ask a question (like how much? or where is the bathroom?) and while I could do that… I couldn' t understand when they answered!

The certainty of exchanging money profitably. The euro was much stronger and everything seemed so expensive! On a good day we got $.63 to the 1 Euro (on a bad day I foolishly changed $100 for 53 Euro!). The service charges and fees were confusing and I didn't know what to ask. The rules of RyanAir had us pay $173 for 14 pounds of luggage that was too heavy (20 Euros per kilo!!!) All in all, it was comforting to return to a place where I knew the rules and how it worked (and even nice to go through customs with officers whose questions we knew the right answers to).

Got me thinking about being outside my comfort zone and how that related to the real estate industry, and what its best agents face every day in the changing face of consumer expectations and market uncertainties!

  • It is HARD to stretch beyond your comfort zone!
  • It is scary to not know the rules or speak the language.
  • It takes a lot of trust in yourself to know you are capable under most any circumstances.
  • Change can be exhausting!

Do any of these reflect your feelings about the marketplace these days? I find acknowledging and accepting when things aren't comfortable, easy or the way we'd like them to be, is the first step to growing and expanding. I certainly am a better person for the experiences we had! And, don't get me wrong… it was lots of FUN!!!!!

Comment balloon 1 commentJoeann Fossland • September 20 2013 11:10AM
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