Business

YouTube and the World of Travel Marketing

The challenge for people in the travel public relations business is coming up with new, innovative ways to promote clients. If this describes you, you are probably well aware of the pitfalls of mainstream media. It’s expensive. It’s hard to get the placement you need when you need it. Don’t get me wrong, mainstream media has its place. But, there are other ways to get more and better exposure.

Have you considered working with “social influencers?” I know, another “new” word. Social influencers, however, are a “thing.” And, if you are interested in amplified word-of-mouth advertising, you are interested in “social influencers.” I promise. What exactly is a “social influencer?” They are people, usually people with a blog and/or a YouTube channel and an active Twitter account. They are people who have a loyal following that includes people outside their immediate circle of friends and family. They are the people who determined that burlap at weddings is cool and that bento boxes are the ideal way to pack kid’s lunches. They are the people who might best promote your destination as the best vacation spot ever.

Social influencers have a strong personal connection with their audiences. Their followers think of the social influencer as a trusted friend and value their opinions. By working with a social influencer, you know the people watching that YouTube video or reading that blog post are already invested and open to the message. These are not random people.

If you’re looking to work with a social influencer, what exactly should you look for? I’m partial to video – yes, I AM biased. Working with a vlogger is a tremendous way to spotlight a vacation destination, hotel property, spa, airline or city. Videos can be shared on all social platforms. You can tweet them, post a link on Facebook and embed them into websites. Vloggers can also link to your main website in the video description and link back to your YouTube channel to help you gain even more subscribers.

The other fascinating thing about working with social influencers, particularly vloggers, is the fact that their followers internalize the content they pick up from the social influencers. If I share a video about a recent experience I had on a cruise, it’s likely one or more of my viewers – who may have never been on a cruise – will share “their” cruise information during the course of conversation with friends, coworkers and family. Their video cruise experience is that real and that lasting!

We did a review for one of our favorite hotels on our YouTube channel and one of our subscribers from Ireland emailed us and said, “We are coming to North America and are looking forward to spending some time at your favorite pink hotel.” We helped guide this person’s choice of accommodation because we loved it and she could see how great it is, all thanks to the video we made.

Now, just because I’m partial to video this doesn’t mean you should ignore the enormous number of social influencers who blog or maintain websites. Bloggers who fall in to the category of social influencers have large, loyal followers who would not dream of having their first cup of coffee in the morning before checking the day’s post.   If you’re looking to reach a family audience, check the influencers who run family websites rather than a travel vlog or blog. Working with social influencers involves all types of media in ways that help you best reach your optimal demographic.

So when looking at marketing your travel clients try and see if there is a great social influencer you might want to work with. The return on investment will be high.

If you are interested in working with us please feel free to send us an email to laura at laurberginc com
We also publish all our travel posts on fanatictourist.com as well as either mysmarthands.com/blog (popular family blog) or lauraberginc.com/blog if it’s more focused on the business traveler. Or both!

Check out some of the travel videos we’ve made:

Cathay Pacific Airlines

Norwegian Cruise

City of New Orleans

Shark Dive in Bahamas

Knowledge is Power

Have you ever watched Mommy Dearest? It’s a disturbing movie based on the memoir of Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter, Christine. True or not, it’s a masterful performance by Faye Dunaway of the legendary Joan Crawford. Sometimes we need to see something disturbing to find the truth. Mommy Greenest suggests we move beyond Hollywood drama and face the reality of chemicals in our lives and the possible affects they might have on us and our children.

I have no dog in this race – I, like you, only want the best for my family. I know we’ve become hyper conscious of what we eat. The rule here is if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. As much as budget allows, it’s local, natural food for us. I can feel a difference and I see the difference in my children when we travel and are forced to make less than healthy meal choices.

That all said, I’ve been wondering about other aspects of our lives. I’m so used to reading food labels that I’ve started reading labels on everything – in the shower, in the garden, when I’m cleaning and on and on. Needless to say, when I learned about the documentary “The Human Experiment” was coming out soon, I knew I had to see it. I’m torn between the benefits some chemicals provide us and if the benefits outweigh the risks. I’m hoping this moving will help clarify my thinking.

In the vast internet world, I find myself struggling to figure out what I should add to my worry list, what I should add to my DO NOW list and what I should simply ignore. Flouride? Wheat? Bug spray? Chicken nuggets? Caffeine-laden underpants (I did not make that one up!)? I think every single mom out there struggles to do what’s best for their kids while still trying to keep their own lives manageable.

I have not seen The Human Experiment yet but I am looking forward to it. The more you know, the better. Knowledge is power. I’m sure, like any documentary, The Human Experiment has a slant. However, I’m looking forward to taking the topics raised and researching for myself and making the best choices for my own family. Please let me know if you get a chance to watch this movie and what you took away from it. I love getting to know others who question the status quo.

Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge is power. The ancients knew it. It’s time for us to embrace this philosophy as well.  

Visit the Mommy Greenest website to enter for a chance to win a trip to LA to see the move!

Don’t Be a Jerk – Why Communication and Common Sense Count

In the borderless world of social media, every single piece of communication matters. No matter what your business or brand is. As a long-time vlogger/blogger, I can attest to the fact that being consistently friendly, open and polite can open entire new worlds. It sounds like common sense. It is common sense. However, a recent series of business communications compel me to share this advice with you. If you’re short on time, the essence of this post boils down to four words – Don’t be a jerk.

Now, for those of you with time to read all the way through, let me say up front that I do not for a minute believe that any regular reader of this site is a jerk. But, recognizing and avoiding jerks is something that benefits us all. As I walk you through the chain of events that led me to “my jerk,” my hope is that you’ll recognize the potential importance of every single piece of email you send. It all counts if you want to be successful.

I have channeled my love of travel into a series of lifestyle and travel videos that run on Thursdays. I post the videos on my family channel, Maker TV and also at FanaticTourist, where I blog. Given the large audiences and wide range of demographics on these sites, I will sometimes reach out to local businesses at my destination that might make an interesting story. Not long ago, I met with my agent for coffee. She not only represents me, she sometimes helps me connect with people and businesses on my travels. Shark11We were discussing my upcoming trip to the Bahamas. I told her about my interest in doing a shark dive. When she finished shuddering and shrieking, my agent suggested reaching out to a few Bahamian shark diving companies to see if they’d be interested in the marketing exposure I could offer.

Her plan was to contact a few companies with a brief email outlining the marketing potential for them. The email included which channels the video will reach, the number of subscribers and followers and their basic demographics. Between our popular family YouTube channel, FanaticTourist and Maker TV, the right company stands to gain quite a bit of exposure. Additionally, my agent asked for a media rate. (A media rate is a discount or a complimentary service from the company in exchange for the exposure you provide.) This is a pretty standard request – many businesses even state that they will offer media rates directly on their websites.

There are three types of responses to this type of email. (Remember, as a brand myself, I often get these kinds of requests.):

  1. Hi Ms. Smith, Thanks for your email. Right now, we don’t have a budget for working with Laura but thank you for contacting us.
    You could even take this email one step further by adding: “Though we can’t offer a discount, we would love to help Laura plan a memorable dive with us if she is still interested in having this experience.” 
  2. Hi Ms. Smith, Thank you for thinking of us! We are pleased to offer Laura a xx% discount off the dive experience. We would be delighted to have her promote our company! 
  3. Hi Ms. Smith, We would be happy to offer Laura a shark dive in exchange for a video promotion of our company. We would like to ask: here is where they name their terms – logo in video, link to website, two social media shout-outs, etc.

These are all reasonable, polite responses that leave favorable impressions whether the company offered anything or not.

And, if we had received responses similar to the above examples, I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you not to be a jerk! Let’s look at the responses my agent received to the email she sent to three companies.

  1. Company One: …crickets… That’s right, no response. Aside from the fact this is incredibly rude, it’s also unprofessional. A quick “Thanks but, no thanks,” is all it takes. Ignoring an email leaves me thinking “That guy is a jerk.” And I know they respond to emails because my vacation partner emailed them to ask for more information on their services and she got a response back the same day.
  2. Company Two: “Thank you for reaching out, please tell us more about how you see us working together. We’d love to come up with something that is suitable for both of us.” Ahhhh . . . don’t you just want to let these people throw you in the water with sharks? They are professional, direct and courteous. The email we sent included a question asking each company “How do you differ from other companies that offer the same service?” These guys not only told us how great they were BUT they never once disparaged their competition. WILD APPLAUSE Putting down your competition only makes you look small.
  3. Company Three: excerpt: “while we would be interested in collaboration with another YouTuber, having someone do a single dive with a GoPro camera in February could not adequately represent the Bahamas, our company or the sharks. This is a very last minute request, which does not leave much time for planning even the smallest of videos. As to how our company differs from the others, it is hard to say without sounding like a jerk, which I probably already do.”  kick me when I'm downWOW! He’s right. He does sound like a jerk. In fact, he sounds like he is deliberately trying to sabotage his company. A short and sweet “Thanks but, no thanks,” would have sufficed here and I would not be left with a terrible impression of him and his company. (And, for sure I will be asking Company Two why February is a terrible month for diving – do sharks generally take February off in the Bahamas? Maybe they vacation in Florida?)

If this little demonstration has not struck a chord with you, I will leave you with a personal story. When I was first starting out in business, a blogger who had a mommy newsletter contacted me. In exchange for a free baby signing class, she offered to share her experience with her 5,000 subscribers. At the time, the classes were $140. However, it wasn’t like I had to give her $140 to make this exchange. In fact, I had to do nothing to make this deal – the class was already set to go, allowing her to take the class and write about it hurt me in no way.

As it turned out, one of this blogger’s subscribers happened to be a reporter with the Globe & Mail. He wrote a three-part article on me that ran in the business section. This was no fluffy, lifestyle article about baby signing – it was an article about me and my business model. I received tremendous exposure just when my business most needed it – all for allowing a blogger to fill a vacant seat in one of my classes!!

Not only did the article give my brand a tremendous boost, when I applied to be on Dragon’s Den (like the show Shark Tank in the U.S.), one of the producers had read about my company in the Globe & Mail article and saw that I was an up-and-coming success. I’m fairly certain it helped me get selected to be on the show.

Moral of the story? Be nice. You never know what opportunities will spring from your actions. You never know who a person is connected to. By taking the time to be civil, you might be making the first step toward something tremendous. Now, get out there – and don’t be a jerk!

A Female Leadership Style that Fits who you ARE

It’s time to Redefine Womanhood to match the lifestyle we require as women with careers, husbands and children in this millennium. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover it is not as hard as it might seem to find the right balance between family life and a successful career. In fact, it’s all about coming up with some Creative Solutions for paving your own Path to Success, which is in alignment with your Core Beliefs, Values and your #1 priority, your family. No longer are we part of the times when a women had to work outside of her home and away from her loved ones. Today, there are so many options available to us, with the right support and mentorship we will succeed in having it all. That’s what this series is all about.

possible_impossible

In these interviews you’ll connect with 21 successful career women, from Entrepreneurs to World Renown Coaches and Public Figures. You’ll get to hear some of their best advice for moms, like you, who want to be a great mom and wife while also following your own dreams in business.   As career women, we are constantly faced with the dilemma of where our heart fits into our business. Through this series you’ll get to “peek” behind the curtain of how these women really show up in their lives, what current challenges are present for them, and how they are navigating through those as women who continue to remain on track for success and Rock Out their lives.

My colleague and Lifestyle Design Coach, Christine Miskinis has brought together some of the most Revolutionary experts of our time to join in on the conversation of how a woman can Redefine Womanhood by breaking through the barriers of what is thought of as “unachievable” into living an extraordinary life as a Woman.

Register for this FREE Series Now.

Christine has invited me to be a Speaker in this series and in my interview I’ll be sharing some of the ways I am Redefining Womanhood that work for me, as well as Creative Solutions for having the success I desire. We all go through challenges and obstacles in life and I share how I move through those with grace and ease AND how you can too!

We are shining the light on leading a life where women are paving their own path to success, their way. There does not need to be a separation in work and family life. In fact, if you follow this entire series from start to finish, you’ll see how connected we all are and that the way we’ve been able to achieve success in our lives is based upon the same foundation. You’ll need to come to these conclusions on your own, based on what is right for you and your family but I can promise you this-

In this series you will walk away with:

  • What IS possible for a woman who doesn’t want to choose between being deeply connected to her children, and spouse, and pursuing her own passions
  • Practical and Creative Solutions for breaking the old paradigm of what it means to be a woman
  • Mentors who are taking ownership for being the leaders that they are here to be and sharing their Voices to Inspire other women to do the same.
  • The Focus and Determination that needs to be involved in order to fight against the status quo
  • Confidence in knowing you don’t have to change yourself in order to be successful
  • How to navigate through those times when you feel as though your back is up against the wall, and allows for the best of you to come through
  • What it looks like to be a successful FEMALE in the world and create a Leadership Style that fits who you ARE

If you desire to create a life that allows you to do meaningful work and be there for you family, then this summit is for you! Each expert on the panel is also sharing some spectacular FREE Gifts with you for just showing up!

Come and expand your Tribe by joining us ———> HERE

You have the Freedom to create your own path of work and parenting in a way that is different from what you see around you. Come and see for yourself how others are doing it successfully. You may just need permission to do the same.

Warmly,
Laura Berg

President and Founder
My Smart Hands Inc.

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

life begins at the end of your comfort zoneI ran across this quote recently and it got me thinking. I love the word comfort. It’s, well, comforting. If words had a smell, comfort would be vanilla. I looked up the word comfort and found this definition: a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety. Comfort sounds pretty good. However, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” continued to ring in my head.

What does it mean? The way I see it, doing the expected day-in-day-out can be comfortable. You know what is going to happen and your anxiety levels are low. While your stress might remain low, your energy, creativity and curiosity are low as well. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you are opening yourself up for some stress, but stress is not as negative as many believe. Stress, in reasonable doses, comes with excitement, change and new ideas. For most people, stress is thrust upon them because they allow others to dictate the changes and terms of their lives. As an entrepreneur, you should be constantly stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s the point, isn’t it?

If you are feeling that slow, comfortable feeling everyday when you wake up, figure out why that is.

  • Are you running your business with blinders on? Do you miss opportunities because you are happy with the status quo. Or you are maybe nervous about what changes may bring and you don’t want to rock the boat?
  • Have you mentally checked out, leaving the business to run itself? This is certainly your right as a business owner, but is that it for you? Are you ready for a new challenge with either your existing business or with another one?
  • Have you isolated yourself while running your business to the point that you are getting little or no input from others? Is it time to purposefully seek out fellow entrepreneurs and catch a little of their spark?

Challenge yourself here and now to take one small step out of your comfort zone first thing tomorrow. If you have been comfortable for too long, start small and build up your comfort zone challenges. Once you’ve met the first challenge – even if it’s simply confronting your fear of attending an event where you can expand your horizons and meet new people, possibly creating new opportunities – you’ll remember the thrill of really living. If you want comfort, buy a new chair. If you want to live, challenge yourself every single day.

IndiDive – Best Dive School In Perth, AU (IMO)

Scuba PerthI recently took a business trip to Perth Australia. I was only going to be in Perth for 12 days but I really wanted to get my scuba dive certification while there. I thought it would be a great memory to have, getting certified in Australia! I knew I’d have to book my course before leaving Toronto. I started doing research on the best dive school and looking at google every course seemed the same. The websites were basically the same, the course offerings were very similar, it was hard to decide which company to go with. So I decided to turn to Twitter. I tweeted out ‘can someone recommend a great dive centre in Perth Australia’ I had PADI retweet that tweet and IndiDive respond. Pete, the owner of IndiDive, started answering my questions on twitter and our conversation moved into email. His company immediately stood out to me because he became a real person and not just a webpage with information.

Pete was always quick to respond to my emails and made sure that I was able to do the course in the time frame I had available. He worked around my schedule, which as an insanely busy businesswoman, I appreciated!

On the day I arrived in Australia Pete picked me up from my hotel and had lunch packed and ready for me. We delayed the start of the course to later in the day so I could recover slightly from my 24-hour flight. It was 1pm on the Friday and off we went to the pool to being my lessons. Pete could not have been nicer! Conversation was easy and he made me completely comfortable in the water.

The hardest thing for me was clearing the water from my mask. I had difficulty wrapping my brain around the concept that I could clear a mask filled with water underwater by simply blowing air out my nose. It took me several attempts and all the while Pete laughed at me in a friendly way, making me calm down and less stressed about getting it. He had never ending patience with me. Like riding a bike, once I finally got the concept down I was able to do it with ease and we could move on to finishing our lesson in the pool.

The next day was Saturday and we should have done the second day of the course but I really wanted to run a 5k charity race so Pete postponed the lesson for me so I could run the race. Nothing was every a problem for him, he just made it work for me. The River day of the course was a bit overwhelming. I had to do all my skills that I learned in the pool but now in the ocean. We began with the dive and swam around the river until I was comfortable. Then Pete brought me in a little shallower so I could do the dreaded clearing of the mask. I wouldn’t get my certification if I couldn’t do that. I filled my mask with water and started to panic. You see, I decided to do my certification in the Fall and the water was freezing! The flood of arctic water filled my mask and I started going for the surface. Then all of a sudden I felt a gentle hand on me encouraging me to calm down and clear my mask. I am so grateful that Pete didn’t let me dart up to the surface because I would have to go back down and do it again if I didn’t clear it the first time. The reassuring connection from Pete made me calm down and allowed me to successfully clear my mask.

Pete and Laura IndiDive

Pete and Laura

Sharksheld Freedom

The open ocean portion of the course was exciting. I was going to be in the middle of the ocean where I had to jump off a boat into open water…. where there could be sharks! Gulp! Luckily Pete had a shark shield that kept sharks away (if there were any nearby – which we didn’t see any). A seasoned diver, Jon, joined us on this dive. I was grateful that he was with us as he had a camera and was able to capture my first dive. Pete also brought a camera to capture my first open water experience so I was nice and covered for photo memories. We went out twice during the day, we had a morning dive in one location then lunch (which was included and very yummy) and then an afternoon dive in a different location. The first jump off the boat was exhilarating. Pete jumped first so he would be in the water to help direct me to the guide rope. And Jon went last. It was nice that Jon was on the boat to give me encouragement to jump. Down we went to explore the underwater world that was a mind-blowing experience.

Laura and Jon IndiDive

Laura and Jon

I am so grateful that I found such an amazing dive instructor who became my instant friend. He was very accommodating and flexible that allowed me to get my certification during my short visit to the land down under.

If you are considering taking a scuba diving course I would highly recommend IndiDive. Pete is fantastic! I can’t wait to dive with him again on my next trip to Perth.

Visit IndiDive here – http://www.indidive.com
Join Pete on Twitter and FaceBook

 

Fish dive perth Diving PerthLaura and Jon scuba certification australia

You CAN Travel Alone!

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 2.05.55 PMAll moms know and appreciate a solo trip to the grocery store, the library or, on really bad days, just sneaking in a solo trip to the bathroom. These types of trips are important, immediate life-savers. But let’s face it their benefits are short-lived.

When I traveled to Australia recently it occurred to me, after a few trepidatious days, how much I needed to be there, traveling alone. When is the last time you traveled farther than across town on your own? If you are struggling to think about where, when and why you’ve traveled alone it’s been too long!

I do not have a life that is any harder than any other mom. Yet, for years, I always had a reason to get home as quickly as possible when I had to travel for work. I never took the time to enjoying being alone in fact I often felt guilty for not being at home. For me, Australia was a wake-up call. After such a long flight, so much planning and the sheer exhaustion of jet lag, I was not in my usual panic to get home. No matter what was going on at home, I was not able to get there quickly. It was a terrifying reality and also an odd relief.

Once I’d accepted the extra time in Australia, I decided to get to know “me” again and just enjoy some alone time. I created my own version of the long lunch. I picked up a magazine simply because I liked the cover. I ordered exactly what I wanted and tacked on a glass of wine. That’s right! Wine!!!! In the middle of the day! Not quite a Mad Men lunch, but as close as I get! I took my time eating, sipping wine and flipping through the magazine. Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 1.32.24 PM

At first I felt a little guilty. Lunch normally is something I eat, when I eat, in the car on the way to my next appointment or at my computer. Or when kids are home it’s often standing up and going between getting them drinks or styling their sandwiches (Yes, I have done this. If a child will eat a sandwich cut into triangles but not squares and I have a meeting at two, I will cut the sandwich into triangles.) Wine? Ummm . . . nope. Fun magazines? Only if sorting mail counts.

But, in Australia, no one knew me. No one cared what I ate, how long it took me to eat, what I was reading as I ate or that I had wine (in the MIDDLE of the day!). Once I got used to the idea that I could just relax and be me, I started looking forward to my long lunches. Maybe it’s just me, but food tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you!

It was lovely just taking time for myself, just being alone and not having to respond to anyone calling my name. Being able to enjoy the decadence of a glass of wine and a trashy magazine. I realized I rarely did anything just for me and if I did I didn’t take the time to ENJOY it.
Take a chance. If you travel for work or must take a trip for other reasons, go ahead and go alone. Yes, it can be a hassle to arrange childcare, pre-make dinners and all the rest of the stuff your family thinks just magically happens. Still, it’s worth it. Traveling alone lets you remember who you were before you were the key cog in a family. You don’t have to go to Australia to achieve this. They have wine in Pittsburgh, Toronto and Phoenix. They also have tea, massages and nice empty hotel rooms if you simply want to skip lunch and nap!

The key to travel alone is taking the time to get to know yourself again. Not a mom, not a part of a couple – just you. Trust me, you will come home rejuvenated and ready to re-assume your role as mom and partner. All moms know and appreciate a solo trip to the grocery store, the library or, on really bad days, just sneaking in a solo trip to the bathroom. These types of trips are important, immediate life-savers. But let’s face it their benefits are short-lived.

When I traveled to Australia recently it occurred to me, after a few trepidatious days, how much I needed to be there, traveling alone. When is the last time you traveled farther than across town on your own? If you are struggling to think about where, when and why you’ve traveled alone it’s been too long!

I do not have a life that is any harder than any other mom. Yet, for years, I always had a reason to get home as quickly as possible when I had to travel for work. I never took the time to enjoying being alone in fact I often felt guilty for not being at home. For me, Australia was a wake-up call. After such a long flight, so much planning and the sheer exhaustion of jet lag, I was not in my usual panic to get home. No matter what was going on at home, I was not able to get there quickly. It was a terrifying reality and also an odd relief.

Once I’d accepted the extra time in Australia, I decided to get to know “me” again and just enjoy some alone time. I created my own version of the long lunch. I picked up a magazine simply because I liked the cover. I ordered exactly what I wanted and tacked on a glass of wine. That’s right! Wine!!!! In the middle of the day! Not quite a Mad Men lunch, but as close as I get! I took my time eating, sipping wine and flipping through the magazine.

At first I felt a little guilty. Lunch normally is something I eat, when I eat, in the car on the way to my next appointment or at my computer. Or when kids are home it’s often standing up and going between getting them drinks or styling their sandwiches (Yes, I have done this. If a child will eat a sandwich cut into triangles but not squares and I have a meeting at two, I will cut the sandwich into triangles.) Wine? Ummm . . . nope. Fun magazines? Only if sorting mail counts.

But, in Australia, no one knew me. No one cared what I ate, how long it took me to eat, what I was reading as I ate or that I had wine (in the MIDDLE of the day!). Once I got used to the idea that I could just relax and be me, I started looking forward to my long lunches. Maybe it’s just me, but food tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you!

It was lovely just taking time for myself, just being alone and not having to respond to anyone calling my name. Being able to enjoy the decadence of a glass of wine and a trashy magazine. I realized I rarely did anything just for me and if I did I didn’t take the time to ENJOY it.
Take a chance. If you travel for work or must take a trip for other reasons, go ahead and go alone. Yes, it can be a hassle to arrange childcare, pre-make dinners and all the rest of the stuff your family thinks just magically happens. Still, it’s worth it. Traveling alone lets you remember who you were before you were the key cog in a family. You don’t have to go to Australia to achieve this. They have wine in Pittsburgh, Toronto and Phoenix. They also have tea, massages and nice empty hotel rooms if you simply want to skip lunch and nap!

The key to travel alone is taking the time to get to know yourself again. Not a mom, not a part of a couple – just you. Trust me, you will come home rejuvenated and ready to re-assume your role as mom and partner.

Words For Stressful Situations

stressful times helpHave you ever experienced an incredibly stressful time in your life? A situation that you feel you couldn’t get over? We have all felt that way from time to time. When you are ‘in it’ it feels like it’s never going to end, that you can never get over it. But then you do. Things pass and you recover and learn from whatever experience you went through.

Recently I have been going through a bit of stress and have been having trouble ‘getting over it’. I take things to heart and sometimes I let things eat me up inside. I need to learn to let go and accept that whatever the situation is, it is happening to me, and I have to deal with it. The saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” is commonly used but what does that really mean? Have you ever stopped to think about it? I guess it is true. If something doesn’t kill us then it is an experience that we’ve had to deal with and have gotten through and survived, which makes us stronger and more aware or more savvy because of that experience.

Because of this issue I have been having I have had to find an inner strength to deal with it. It has made me feel crappy and has taken over my daily thoughts. And that sucks! I wish I could turn off my emotions and not let things bother me. But that isn’t a reality that is true to me or most of us out there dealing with this crazy thing called life. We have to deal with stress and bumps in the road. This is the reality. In my search to find something that can help me ‘deal’ with my stress I came across a passage from the philosopher Nietzsche. His thoughts on this certain matter has helped me feel better and more able to ‘cope’ with the crappy feelings I am having. I have read this passage over and over again over the past few weeks and I can tell you that I feel better after reading it. For this reason I wanted to share this with you. I hope if you are having a bump in the road or stress along the way that you can take some comfort in this passage:

“At a certain moment in Nietzsche’s life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the heck happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. 

If you bring love to that moment – not discouragement – you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.”

Warm love and compassion to all!

Laura

 

Great Hotel in Fremantle WA – Hougoumont Hotel

slide 68While visiting Perth, Australia I had a chance to stay at the Hougoumont Hotel in Fremantle just a short train ride from Perth.  Named after the last ship to bring convicts to Australia, the Hougoumont is a combination of sea-worthy use of space and luxury. I feel safe in saying that the hotel offers far more than that original ship!

First, do not call it Fremantle. It’s Freo. Second, if you are just getting off of a long flight, check in quickly and hit the cappuccino strip or any number of local pubs and breweries – depending on what you need to accomplish that day. The hotel is just that, a hotel. But, they can hook you up with a local gym, a personal trainer, restaurants that will accept a hotel tab and even local bike rentals. If you need to leave town, the train station is a close walk.

The rooms in the hotel are small, but, if you’re like me, that’s a plus. I always feel silly when I travel and end up in a room with a living room and all kinds of space, when all I need or want to do is sleep and maybe send a few emails!  If you’re a picky sleeper, you can request a hard or soft mattress when you make reservations.  You can even get personalized pillows based on whether you are a back, side or stomach-sleeper.  All the rooms have good wifi and flat-screen televisions. One minor downside is the bathroom doors don’t lock. They also don’t offer a ton of privacy. This wasn’t an issue for me because I was traveling alone. Depending on your comfort level with your travel partner this may be an issue. However, there are easy ways around this – the lobby provides a very comfortable hang out space with computers and tons of natural light for you to escape to if your bunk mate wants some bathroom privacy. My favorite part by far was the shower. It offers you two different showerheads including a rain head as well as luxury, yummy smelling bath products.

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Each night, there is a free wine and snack reception.  I loved being able to meet other guests and unwind. If you’re a so inclined, you have the option of pre-stocking your hotel mini-bar with all of your favorites.  Each room also has free water, tea and coffee, which is a nice treat in the morning to be able to make a coffee while getting ready to start the day.

I loved the quiet, welcoming Hougoumont. The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly. They always had a friendly hello for me as I came in the building and a small chitchat when I was heading out for the day. If you’re a traveler looking for more facilities than a hotel, have no fear, the Hougoumont is working on “Stage Two.” In the near future the hotel will feature its own restaurant/bar, pool and an additional 65 rooms.  Not a bad legacy for an old convict ship, is it?

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