I never go out of the country. I like it here! My vacations are on the New Jersey beaches more often than not, with an occasional trip to Florida.
I also love the California coast. Driving along California Route 1 is something every American should do at least once in their lives. The Smokey Mountains are exquisite when seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway and what can match the drama of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time?
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
I wasn’t all that eager to join my wife for a European trip. She hadn’t been there since she was in college, but a good family friend was getting married in a small town in Germany so there was a reason to go. So, off I went.
We would go to London, Prague, and several spots in Germany and I loved every second. It wasn’t just the scenery, as spectacular as it was. It wasn’t just the history, which can make an old person feel young. It was the people, and how Europeans think, compared to Americans.
A New State of Mind
London has an overwhelming history: Churchill, the Tower of London, the Queen and those who came before her. But at the end of the workday, it seemed like all workplaces emptied completely so people could go to the nearest pub. I didn’t see anyone pushing to work extra hours to make more money. The end of the day was time to relax.
Many of the stores in Prague were closed both Saturday and Sunday, even in the busiest part of town. Can you imagine doing that here in the States? When would people shop if they couldn’t do it on a weekend?
Walking in downtown Berlin at 8:00 a.m. we wanted a cup of coffee. But we were turned away from several places because they didn’t open until 9:00 a.m. No coffee until 9 am? Who would have thought?
It became obvious during our time there that Europeans value their time more than they value what extra money would buy. The cars and the houses were smaller. From speaking to people, they didn’t seem to need as much.
And they weren’t going to work crazy hours for the things they didn’t need. Sounds like a good plan to me.
Consider visiting us at Steidl & Steinberg for a free consultation. We can help you get back on track so you can stop stressing about finances and get back to relaxing.