By Lynn Minnick
I’ve just come back from an amazing summer in Europe with my young family. The time had come again to get off the continent for vacation, because we all know that if you’re somewhere reachable, it’s going to happen that clients and other agents will find you. In the past 10 years or so, doesn’t it seem like everyone feels they can still contact you when you’re clearly not at work? I blame technology.
For the first week I admit I didn’t think about work for even a nanosecond. By week two, a few stray thoughts crossed my mind (mostly about buying a little castle and staying forever), and I was drunk on British architecture. I had my business well-covered by partner agents, so there was little to worry about. I started taking photos of “estate offices” in Great Britain — “The Guild of Professional Estate Agents” struck me as particularly nice. We strolled through Notting Hill and Kensington in London and picked out several apartments that would suit our family.
In France I started to pick up my favorite glossy real estate magazines. French real estate ads read like poetry and their romantic descriptions made me fall in love with several properties sight unseen. I took more photos of charming houses. I sought out offices and delighted in finding those with specializations like in the Champagne region, where one exclusively handled vineyards (and I imagined how glamorous that must be!). I watched the French version of “House Hunters,” which I loved because it portrays a more honest reality, where sometimes the buyers don’t actually find a house or apartment they like, and their agents pout and shrug and admit it would take a miracle to find them something in their budgets. The French buyers bring their friends along for approval and offers are scribbled on a piece of paper or made verbally and the notaries handle the rest of the transaction. Everyone drinks champagne.
In the streets of Paris were an absolute fashion show where we easily distinguished the Europeans from the non-Europeans based on their footwear. I wondered if I would be able to walk cobblestone streets in Louboutins to show apartments without breaking an ankle. It’s a far cry from the flats I wear to septic inspections back in Connecticut.
On a tiny island we visited there were no real estate offices (or cars!) and I wondered if people just shook hands, paid, and received keys to the sweet little hobbit-like houses.
Our last week found us in Iceland, and at that point, completely taken in by the rugged scenery, the puffins, waterfalls, volcanoes, and moonscape. Work had gone back to a distant memory and I was completely in the present, watching my kids stand in awe at the foot of a glacier and play on a black volcanic sand beach.
The benefits of this trip were so many, and the time away from work brought me back refreshed, and taking the summer to explore and share these things with my family brought me a gratitude that I haven’t felt for a long time. Go ahead, take that vacation. You deserve it!