As I headed off to a recent trip to San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, I received many well wishes from friends with the comment, 'Enjoy a margarita on the beach for me' or 'be safe'. Every time it was said, I felt as though I had to explain that Mexico is more that white sand beaches and margaritas and safer than most major American cities that the general population visit.
San Miguel is in central Mexico. It is 6,000 feet above sea level in the beautiful mountains. The temperature drops to 40F in the evening. We wear jackets and scarves. Some even wear winter coats. San Miguel is an art and cultural hub with many international educational workshops and conferences. I would walk down the streets alone in the evening and never question my safety.
It got me to thinking how often our well meaning comments are somewhat ignorant. Born and raised in Canada and living on the border city of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. , we often hear people ask us about our skiing or cold weather. Meanwhile the city I am from is the same latitude as the northern tip of California. If I were to cross the border into Detroit, for an evening in the downtown core (as I did in San Miguel) I feel not nearly as safe. Until we actually visit the countries and cities, we then can base our opinions from what we hear in the media.
In my opinion, traveling is the best education, hands down. It changes perceptions. It is tactile. It also bring us all closer
together as one.
It is man who created borders. When an astronaut looks from space he/she does not see borders.
I encourage everyone to travel more (including myself!).
The video below is a art opening in one of my favourite Mexican cities, Merida, Yucatan. Is this what you think of when you
think of Mexico? I know I probably have preconceived ideas of many other places across this wonderful globe....and I look forward
to the world changing it!
To more wonderful travels,
Is living small the new BIG?
Over the past couple of years, I have simplified my life. For awhile I had no car, no cable and lived in less than 900 sq. feet which allowed me to really de-clutter. I have been on a new venture to simplify even more. In doing so, I will be moving from a large country home of 4 beds, 3 baths to a 1 bedroom casita in a UNESCO Heritage city. A place where you can walk everywhere and capture every wonderful moment because your life has been simplified. You have more time and more money to really enjoy all that matters. And for me, it allows me to go after bigger dreams and ventures without being attached to things.
We know that with technology things are getting smaller. We also know that with cars, the SUV may still reign but with the Smart Car and oncoming Scion IQ), we know that smaller can still give us comfort and convenience. Now what about those monster suburban homes. Is it necessary to have these spacious homes with the extra rooms in case we have a guest? Strangely the guest room, in most cases, becomes a space rarely used; mind you it is pretty with its hotel style comforter and designer pillows. To go along with that big home, we have a second or third car to get around since we aren't in a pedestrian neighbourhood with quaint local shops. We need to drive our children everywhere. We pay more out with gas, insurance, maintenance on the home and cars, taxes, utilities...and the list goes on.
This gal's savvy mind says, "Let's live a smaller BIGGER life." Let's downsize and move downtown or to a city with excellent pedestrian and transit services. No car needed. Shopping becomes more local thus you support local. You have more freedom. Less stress, less headache. When I grocery shop at a small store I am in and out in minutes. If I go to one of those big box stores, I have to walk a couple of minutes to one side of the store to get the butter and then back a couple of minutes to the other side to the 20 cashiers, of which only 3 are open.
Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the million dollar home. (I recently was invited to a broker's open house of a 1.6 million dollar home in Mexico, and it was stunning....calling out my name and luring me in. It can serve a purpose ) nor driving the lovely luxury car. I just find that sometimes people have a bigger dream and different vision for their life and that they could easily attain it by living the smaller BIGGER life.
To your success in simplifying,
_Here is an edited version of a viral email going around with great gift ideas to support your local community.
Support your small business owners and independent retailers to keep their doors open. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains.
And the great news is that you will beat all the crowds of people and jammed parking lots. Who wouldn't want everything on this list?! I know that I could use and would appreciate every gift listed here.
1 Most people get their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?
2) Gym membership. Yoga Classes. Dance Classes. It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
3) Car Detailing. Small, owner operated detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate.
4) Need a big ticket item? Driveway sealed, lawn mowed for the summer or driveway plowed all winter, games at the local golf course.
5) Owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. If your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint?
6) How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by a local working guy?
7) Heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
8) Computer tune-up? Find some young guy who is trying to get his repair business up and running.
9) More personal? Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
10) A business coach or personal life coach. How about Floydilou's Festivepreneur Special!
11) Original Art - such as Artcite's "Doin' the Louvre" with all items under $100.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre?
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Please comment below and share your ideas on great gift ideas to support our local people, small business owners and community.
To your success - and Happy Holiday Shopping!
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I am passionate about showing others how they can dream again and truly work their own business that gives them fulfillment