TAKE A GETAWAY TODAY!!

On occasion, it would seem my ideas run in a rather odd streak. They either happen while I am in the shower with no way to record them, or they happen just a minute too late. The idea I wish to share with you seems to have fallen into the latter category. As you read this I will be enjoying my first day back at work after a well-deserved two week vacation. Normally, this vacation would have been spent enjoying a great deal of time at our local state fair. Sadly, due to the corona virus, this year that fabulous event has been canceled.

This marks the second straight time my vacation has been altered due to circumstances beyond my control. Last year Margie and I had planned to visit the lovely tropical destination of the Bahamas. As it happens, the resort and part of the island we were due to visit was destroyed by a hurricane that had settled over the island. We had planned to explore going in March, but then we both had Covid-19 and were in quarantine. I guess that would make three vacations that have been postponed or canceled all together.

You may guess that all of that postponement of pleasure would have me feeling rather frustrated and irritable and you would be right. Being the optimistic, solution-oriented person I am, there is always an attempt to find a creative solution. In the first 12 days of my vacation there was an amazing and brief getaway with the love of my life a few towns away. I was determined to enjoy the last few remaining days experimenting with different states of repose. My house is located next to an open field. I took out this wonderful zero gravity chair and decided to sit in the sun. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that I was laying in the tropics. Although the sun felt warm, it was hard turning the sound of the passing cars into boats on the ocean. Then it occurred to me, I put in some earbuds and looked up beach/ocean sounds on YouTube. Before long I was whisked away with tropical birds and ocean waves. I swear I could even small the salt water.

After a few minutes of this blissful mental escape I took it to the next level. No longer was I relaxing at a posh resort in the islands. No, this time I was on the deck of my own house overlooking the ocean. One of my neighbors was unwittingly participating in my fantasy and happened to be grilling out. The scent of the food cooking on the grill had me imagining Margie, or the maid if she wasn’t feeling up to it, in the kitchen preparing a fun lunch for when I had my fill of sun. The following day I even sprayed some sun tan lotion on for the coconut smell. (For the record, this is something I do not usually use as it is not needed for me) There I was, actually in West Allis Wisconsin where I live. In my mind, however, I was laying on the beach in… Jamaica, Fiji, the Maldives or any other tropical location of my choice.

If you are in need of a vacation, do what I did. Recreate the experience as much as you can. This can be as simple as looking online at resorts you may want to stay in and watching videos on them. (This is something I do way too often) It works even better if you can involve more of your senses. I had the feel of the sun, the smell of the grill and the sun tan lotion, the sound of the waves and the sea gulls in my ears. The more senses you can involve, the more real the experience becomes. Next time I will try to work in the taste of the rum. (I recommend Blue Chair Bay toasted coconut white rum) I only wish I would have thought of this great idea on my first day of vacation. Right now we could all use a getaway, let us do our best to give it to ourselves.

WHAT IT IS

Romance is a very important aspect of the relationship I share with Margie. In fact, I would say we both try to ‘out romantic’ each other. This not only forces us to use our already creative noggins, but if we want to really ‘outdo’ the other we really have to do something else very important. In this case outdoing your partner means making them feel even more loved than they did before. In that case it is a win/win situation. To do this we must really listen to what the other enjoys and to some extent what it is they do not enjoy.

A great example was on display these last few days. Margie wanted to do something special for my birthday. This becomes tricky because we are always doing little things to make each other feel special on a daily basis. When holidays come we really have to search and think of ways to take it up another notch. Margie knew I needed some time away from working as I have been pushing very hard at several projects lately. She thought “What would be a great place to take the man I love.” From what she told me she considered many different factors to make this decision.

We spent 2 wonderful days at a place called “Lazy cloud lodge”. Which, as the name would dictate, is predicated on doing…well…not much of anything. There was a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace in the room. She took me out for dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant on my birthday and for a delicious breakfast the following day. We did a little shopping. We went for a walk down by the beach. All of this was great but it is not what made me the happiest.

What made me the happiest was the little things. Before we left she was so sweet as to call my mom to make sure that she did not mind if we were out of town on my birthday. Then, she melted my heart by shopping for and packing some snacks for us to enjoy as we drove along and to eat in the room. Then there was all of the effort that went into planning what she did. She knew I would be tempted to work, or at least workout, and picked a place that was focused on relaxation. She thought about the fact that I love nature and this place had a nice patio with woods behind it, a waterfall with large fish in it and many other natural aspects. She ordered some happy birthday balloons. Let’s face it, everything is happier with balloons. On my birthday when she would have liked to been with me the entire time, she made a sacrifice. You see, I love the sitting in the sun soaking it in. Margie, on the other hand, can get sunburn just by thinking of the sun. She told me, “You go enjoy the sun.” She stayed in the cool air-conditioned room. I sat in the nice swinging chair until missing my lovely lady on my special day just became too much.

She doesn’t know this part, although she will when she reads this, but the whole time we were gone I had an image stuck in my head. We have a little wooden sign above our television that reads, “This is my happy place”. All I could think about when relaxing on the patio, sitting in the hot tub, enjoying the wonderful dinner and breakfast or walking through the shops was this sign. Not because all of those places made me happy, which they did, but because of who I was with. You see, being with Margie is my happy place. Even when things don’t go quite according to plan, if we have each other I am happy. Yes, she is romantic ( I always try to outdo her in that category but don’t tell her that) That is important and impresses me, but it is not what makes me love her the most. In this case it was the thoughtfulness and considering others. It was the fact that she listened to what I like and tried to work that into what she had planned. It was all of her adorable actions to make sure that we not only had a good trip, but that I felt special.

If this weekend reminded me of anything, it was these two things. First, that Margie loves me. She not only said it this weekend, but even more important, she took actions to show it. All of the things she had planned, and even some things we did that she didn’t have planned showed me that. Second, it reminded me that regardless of where we are geographically, being with her is my happy place. Even if I was on a beautiful tropical island I wouldn’t be happy. (Maybe for a little while) That is what love is. Love is having someone special to share all of those memories with. Not only loving memories, but silly memories. Memories of when things didn’t go so well but you faced them and made it through them together. Love is not only romancing each other, but laughing together, being adventurous together, crying together and just sharing life with each other.

To my special love of my life – Thank you so much for making my birthday special. Not only for taking me on an amazing trip, but for sharing it with me and for just being you. When all is said and done, you are my favorite gift. Not only on my birthday, but each and every day.

THE GIFT YOU GIVE YOURSELF

As we noted last post, yesterday was my birthday. One gift that I make sure to give myself every year is the gift of ‘unplugging’. I do not take as much time as I should for self-care and that is certainly one thing I am working on in the coming year. It can be hard to dance that line between being driven and being able to pull back and give yourself the space to rest and recharge.

One thing that makes me shake my head on occasion is how good we take care of some of our ‘stuff’ in comparison to how we take care of ourselves. “Don’t leave your laptop outside too long or it will overheat and damage it.” Someone should have told me that one earlier. Yet, we will be outside without making sure we are staying cool or drinking enough water. We are using a paper shredder and it gets to a certain point and overheats forcing us to let it cool before we can begin again. In the same token we go without sleep. We consume vast amounts of coffee or energy drinks to get everything we need done in our lives.

It is no wonder that many of us suffer nervous breakdowns or at the very least have our health compromised by high stress levels. Are you aware that 90% of hospital visits can in some way be related to stress? Sound crazy? Many of today’s leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and many others are to a great extent lifestyle driven. If we put enough stress on a chain it will break on its weakest link. If we put too much stress on our bodies and minds, they will break at the weakest link. For some of us that might be a genetic condition we already have such as coronary health. It could be a cancer that runs in our family. Perhaps a breathing condition.

There is a reason when you are seriously sick they say you have a disease. If you break the world down it becomes dis-ease. That is a body that is not at ease. We may think we are saving time, money or stress by working ourselves to the bone, but it may cost us far more in the long run. Remember the quote we began this post with – almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. INCLUDING YOU.

Give yourself that gift today. Unplug and relax. You will feel better in the present and thank yourself in the long-run.

HOME SWEET HOME

For those of you who know me or follow this blog, you are aware I am not crazy about the weather where I live this time of year. You should also know that I am crazy about the woman pictured above. Ironically, they both are in the same location.

Recently, that amazing lady purchased a ticket for me to enjoy a getaway visiting a friend of mine in the warm location of Arizona. I have enjoyed my 3 days I spent here. After a slight detour courtesy of my good friends at Southwest airlines, I even got to see a lot of the Denver airport.

Everyone, including mother nature, has been so pleasant on my trip. The airline employees, the workers at the places I have visited. All wonderful.

Even for a man that likes traveling as much as I do, there is nothing better than returning home. Even if you are not as lucky as I am to return to a loving partner, there is something special about returning home.

The streets are familiar. Driving tends to be a little less stressful. Even stopping into a restaurant where the menu is familiar can be a source of relaxation. It allows us to recharge for our next adventure.

As much as I am already looking forward to my next travel adventure (I’m thinking somewhere tropical with my love) I am already looking forward to being wrapped in her arms relaxing on the couch watching a movie.

Travel, adventure and expanding our horizons are truly gifts. So are things like relaxing drives (even to work) family, familiar restaurants and especially the arms of the one you love. May you enjoy all life has to offer.

TIME TO EXPLORE!

As mentioned in the last post, I am on my way to Arizona. Although missing the most beautiful woman in the world who is still at home, I am determined to explore and learn. I have never experienced this city and everything will be new.

I find travel is a great way to expand your horizons and keep your mind open. The act of travelling itself provides many opportunities for growth. From long lines in security to change in flight plans, something always comes up.

Not allowing these circumstances to ruin your day, or worst your vacation, takes some patience and creativity. Take for example my current trip. Flying from Milwaukee to Phoenix I had to change planes in Denver’s wonderful airport. It is so wonderful, the fine folks at Southwest airlines decided to cancel my 9 a.m. connecting flight and put me on one departing at 430 p.m. Thus, allowing me a full 9.5 hours to enjoy this airport.

This may frustrate the average passenger, but not me. First step was to explore my options at the customer service desk. The two employees working there could not have been more friendly. Working with me, they discovered there was a flight leaving at 140 that still had a seat on it.

That saved me 3 hours. Still at 6.5. So, I decided to explore. I found a nice little breakfast place, got myself a cup of coffee and sat down to write this blog. I shall do a little shopping after, looking at what sells at airports.

What if you can’t travel? Stuck at home? My suggestion is to approach your hometown as one who has never been there. What stands out? Are there landmarks or restaurants that you have not visited? Be patient as you fight traffic or maybe try a new form of transportation. You can be a great explorer without even leaving home.

A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SECRET OF VACATION

By now most of you know that Margie and I enjoyed a well-deserved vacation at the Luxury Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay Jamaica. Here I am at the resort holding one of my favorite books. I presented several copies to different parties while I was there. The manager of the hotel actually called to give me his feedback and inform me that he was going to share several of the tools contained in the book with his staff.

Earlier this week on my YouTube channel Neil Panosian, as well as last week on this very blog, we looked at the benefits a vacation can bring you before you leave. In this post we are going to talk about the benefits you can receive from your vacation, but look at the dangers associated with it.

First the secret. I mentioned that Margie and I had spent time looking at videos and brochures prior to our departure to get our spirits up, and because the Wisconsin winter was especially long and tough this year, to keep our spirits up as well. The same thing will be applied for after vacation. This time the videos and pictures we will be watching will have us in them, because we took them! Not only will these be great for an emotional boost, but they will also be great for creating our vision boards. In my case it will also be a great motivating factor for the gym as well. There were so many fun and great moments on this trip, I was thrilled we could capture them. This includes a great snorkeling video I was able to take thanks to my new waterproof phone case.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? What possibly could be dangerous about taking pictures and videos? The main danger, other than not watching where you are walking, is that you may miss the event for want of capturing it. With Margie taking cake orders and myself running several internet pages as well as keeping in touch with several publishers, we are both on our phones more that I would like. On vacation we made a concerted effort to limit that. We were also aided by what proved to be sketchy internet service and an issue with Facebook.

There is a thin line between wanting to capture the memory and being able to live the memory. There is nothing worse than going through your vacation photos only to find what you missed out on. What can we do to balance this out? Two things jump to my mind right away, but I would love to hear your suggestions as well.

One of the best things to do is to decide ahead of time pictures you might want to capture. Before Margie and I left on our vacation we knew a few of the things we were going to do. We were going to tour a coffee plantation, swim in the pool and ocean and enjoy several restaurants on the property. We also discussed where we would like pictures of us. I think we did a great job of capturing many wonderful moments. We both also wrote in journals to help record some of our wonderful moments we shared. Dividing the duties up between members of vacation party can make things a little easier as well. That way one person is not always behind the camera.

The second thing that jumped to mind may seem obvious, but is worth noting. Decide on moments that will be ‘phone and camera free’. Time to just enjoy and relax, to be in the moment. After our vacation was done we looked back on our pictures and were able to both savor the memories as well as appreciate the times we did not take pictures. I think it is important to learn from each vacation experience. That presents the opportunity to make each successive vacation even better. Some great examples is knowing what is worth packing and making sure to get rest before you leave. There was not much to regret on our wonderful tropical escape, but one thing we both agreed to do differently next vacation is to get some sleep the night before. Between jet lag and lack of sleep we lost half a day of vacation. It was great to rest in the tropical breeze, but I think we may do that differently next time.

MY YOUTUBE VIDEO FROM PARADISE – 3 WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH A VACATION.


I have just returned from the Luxury Bahia Principe in Jamaica. It was an amazing time. In the course of planning this trip I learned 3 amazing ways that vacations change your life before you even leave your house.
If you use these same 3 elements you can instantly add more joy to your life starting today! By the time your toes hit the sand your heart will already be full of happiness. Click the link below and watch the 2 minute video right now. By the time the video is over, you will know exactly what to do to start adding joy to your life right now!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO AND LEARN THE THREE SECRETS

1 THING YOU MUST MAKE A PART OF YOUR LIFE!

By the time you read this I will be higher than you can imagine! Ok, a little bit of clarification as it does say Jamaica and I did mention being high. As this post will be released I will be in an airplane at roughly 30,000 feet in the air on my way to Runaway Bay Jamaica to stay at the Luxury Bahia Principe resort. My beautiful Margie and me will be putting all of our endeavors on hold for the next 5 days to simply enjoy life and sharing it with each other. There will still be a blog post every day so I encourage you to come visit this site while I am gone.

It took us a lot of rescheduling and saving to accomplish this goal. It will be Margie’s first time both out of the country and to Jamaica. I could not be more excited to be able to bring both to her. For those of you who either know me personally, read this blog or have read my book, you know that I am happiest when I am somewhere tropical. To be able to do this while being joined by a woman who has brought so much to my life and loves me in a way I have never been loved before will be an experience I can’t wait to have. If I thought I enjoyed the tropics before, I know sharing that with her will only make it better!

Other than giving you a reason to wish you were me, (and when I think about going on a tropical vacation with the most beautiful woman in the world I must admit to being a little bit jealous of myself) why am I sharing this experience with all of my readers? I am doing so because this it represents several aspects that are vital to living an amazing life. I am going to highlight just a few below and encourage you to make them a part of your life right away!

The first thing a vacation does for you is give you something to look forward to. This may seem like a no brainer but let us take a little closer look at how that benefits us all. Having a goal in the future can motivate us in the present. While saving up for this vacation, I never knew how much money I could possibly save. While working hard to save lose change, take on extra DJ jobs, and working hard to sell more books, I was amazed at how financially motivated I could be. The same held true for my workouts. Greg Plitt(R.I.P), who has some amazing fitness and motivation videos, said having a goal in the future makes the present more accountable. In other words, I know it is all too easy to say, “I don’t feel like working out today. I’ll work out extra hard tomorrow.” If you have a goal in the future, however, you have just lost 1 day you could work towards that. I am no way in beach shape yet, but I wouldn’t be this far if I didn’t have a goal.

Another thing having an event like this planned brings to your life is a feeling of hope. In the dark and dreary days of Wisconsin winters I would lay in bed at night and Margie and I would watch videos of Jamaica and our resort. I even put the weather on my phone so I could switch to something more pleasant. One day that difference was actually -26 degrees for where I was to 84 degrees where I was going. Knowing what I have to look forward to kept me motivated. Even if you can only save a few dollars a month and it may be quite a while before you go, this will still bring joy and hope.

Lastly, this was fun! In addition to watching videos, Margie and I would talk about what we wanted to eat, what we were going to wear and what events we wanted to do while we were there. Sharing this fun and enjoyable conversation sure beats discussing what we saw on the evening news that night.

I encourage all of you to plan a vacation with someone you love right now. It could be family, friends or that special someone. Doing so will bring so much joy to your life even before your toes hit the sand!

YOU HAVE A TRAITOR!

Has there every been something you really thought could be fun, but did not try because you were afraid of trying it? I think this is something we all have faced. Our minds are designed to keep us in our comfort zones at all costs. There is the fear of looking foolish the first time try something an fail. The sad part about this is what we miss by not trying.

I would like to offer a personal story to illustrate the point. I LOVE going on tropical vacations! Everything about it makes me happy. Sun, beach, happy vibes, rum, fresh fruit and relaxation. One of my favorite things to do is snorkel off the beach. I enjoy diving as well, but snorkeling is quicker and cheaper. Before I went snorkeling for the first time I was not so excited about it. Giving up time relaxing on a beach sipping some delicious cocktail? Learning to breath through that awkward device? No thank you. Trying to put flippers on while being tossed about in the waves? How about putting the flippers on before you get into the ocean and trying to walk across the sand without falling or resembling a penguin? It all seemed like a bit much.

For the longest time I did not do it. When I look back on my hesitation, all the great exercise and scenery I missed it saddens me. Whether it is tropical fish in Jamaica, conch shells in the Bahamas or a rubber duck in the bathtub, I can’t imagine a tropical vacation without time in the ocean. I am very excited and looking forward to the first tropical vacation with my lovely and wonderful Margie this year. You can be sure it will be filled with plenty of fun, sun, love and time in the ocean.

If you are faced with doing something new and the thought scares you as much as sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, do yourself a favor and jump in with both feet! Do so knowing full well that you will make mistakes and may even look foolish at first. That may not sound inviting, but it may help in the long run. I recall spending way too much time worrying that I would make a mistake and look foolish. It often caused me to be rigid and nervous in my approach. This not only increased my chances of making a mistake, but took a lot of the joy out of it. The joy in being absolutely terrible at something is there is a tremendous chance of improvement. Knowing you will get much better than you are now should allow you to shrug off any feelings of inferiority. Have fun. Use it as practice to laugh at yourself.

Start off a new experience with the thought, “I am new at this and will probably make some mistakes and look foolish, but I will sure have fun and get better each and every time!”

MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR!!!

As you are reading this post I will be at the Wisconsin State fair. Today is the first day of the 11 day long festival. It is by far my favorite thing to look forward to all year. In the past I have stressed how important it is to have events to look forward to throughout the year. This is by far the one I look forward to the most. There is also a winter vacation, the bike expo, the first day of spring and many others, but the state fair is the biggest.

If I were someone who sat back and let life happen to them I would enjoy  this festival to the fullest for 11 days straight and them be sad when it is over. To some extent that is what happens, but I advocate and practice getting every last drop of joy out of life you possibly can. How do I apply this to the Wisconsin State Fair and how can you apply it to activities you look forward to in life? Let us take a look and start coming up with a few ideas.

First, as you can see by the photo above, spend the activity you love with the people you love the most. This is a picture of my lovely Margie and I on the sky glider last year. Margie and I have a wonderful relationship and both work hard to keep it that way and improve it all year long. We are always on the way to increase the amazing love we already share with each other. Being with her at one of my favorite places where I am extremely excited and happy provides a great opportunity to create life-long memories that will keep us smiling for a long time. It also increases the love and connection I feel with her. Having happy and joyous memories at my favorite place with my lady just leaves me with a feeling of love and gratitude for who I share my life with. In addition to Margie, I plan to enjoy days at the State Fair with my mom, and many of our friends. Together we will all create happy and joyous memories.

Then there is the planning. There is so much fun in just exploring and seeing what we discover. Making sure there are a few things we know we will enjoy is important as well. To that end we always look at the preview guide that comes out a few weeks ahead of the fair. There we discover bands we may like to see, food we may like to try and many other fun things to look forward to. This year we are even planning on an art walk they have to see many artistic displays featured in the park. There is also a garden walk in which you are shown different displays of greenery and how they are cultivated. Both walks feature a prize upon completion and are completely free.

Pictures. This may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes those are the easiest to forget. Taking pictures of the fun activities you experience and the great, and sometimes no so great, food we try will give us something to look back on for years to come. This keeps the great memories alive after the event, and sadly sometimes after the people have passed. In the past year with all of the loss Margie and I experienced, videos and pictures have proved to be a invaluable link to the past and those we care about. This has brought to our attention the importance of capturing all the joy as it occurs.

Being present. In contrast to being behind a camera or cell phone to capture the joy that is occurring, there is the act of being present. Noticing the taste of what you are eating, the people you are sharing the moment with, or in my case the smile on the face of the beautiful blonde lady next to you. There is so much beauty to behold in life that we must remain alert to soak it all in.

These are just some of the ways I will enjoy the Wisconsin State Fair this year. Add to that my new career as a food critic and I will have plenty of chances to practice that. I welcome you to share your ideas on how I, and all of our readers can make their special moments even more special in the comments below.