#SparkMe // Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro

Spark-Me-HotelsFrom 28th to 29th of May, #SparkMe digital community will be taking over the breathtakingly beautiful coast of Montenegro in Bečići // Budva. Read my previous post on WHY YOU NEED TO ATTEND spark.me. I am excited that this year I am one of their official bloggers. Join me on my journey up the coast, as I will be live blogging about what will SPARK me into action from smart women like Veronica Belmont, Danica Kombol and many more. As people will be gathering from near and far, here are all the hotel information that you will need to plan your travel to Budva, Montenegro.

Hotels

Hotel Mediteran – Spark.Me HQhotel-mediteranDistance to event: 0 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort – 5-Star Resort + Real Posh Favorite
Refined accommodations in a high-end lodging featuring 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a spa & a casino.splendid-spa-resortDistance to event: 7 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Sentido Tara
Polished hotel with an outdoor pool, a spa & an international restaurant, plus 3 bars.sentido-tara-hotelDistance to event: 1 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Montenegro
Casual beach resort offering rooms with balconies, & 6 restaurants, plus a spa, 2 saunas & pools.
Distance to event: 2 min walk
Boreti, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Anitahotel-anita
Distance to event: 5 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Iberostar Bellevue
Modest rooms in a beachside property with free breakfast, plus relaxed dining, pools & a spa.iberostar-bellevueDistance to event: 6 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Slovenska Plažahotel-slovenska-plazaDistance to event: 23 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Bracera
Distance to event: 27 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Why I Want to Attend Spark.me // Zašto bi trebalo da učestvujete

Why-I-Want-To-Attend-Spark-MeHosted by Domain.ME since 2013, Spark.Me brings stories on the front lines of technology, innovative business models, engaging branding strategies and world-changing initiatives.This two-day interactive conference is designed to inspire you, ignite your creativity and allow your to find your SPARK that will propel you toward the future in business and technology. Here are my top 10 reasons that you want to attend Spark.Me on May 28-29, 2016.

10. Refresh & Recharge // Osvežite se
Take a weekend off your busy work schedule to recharge. Through the provocative sessions, you will uncover some ways to refresh, re-energize and return to work reinvigorated.refresh-and-recharge-budva

9. Biggest Business & Digital Innovation Conference in Montenegro // Najveća konferencija biznisa i digitalne inovacije u Crnoj Gori
Learn the latest techniques, tools and strategies in business and digital innovation to be able to address your company’s challenge in a new improved way. Because Spark.Me is one of the biggest professional conferences in the Balkans, it is truly the best way to access innovative and disruptive content with lots of like-minded people.

8. Rub Elbows with Other Industry Professionals + More // Upoznajte se sa drugim profesionalcima industrije + više
This is the best part of the conference experience. You’ll be in touch with other professionals and experts to share your concerns, experiences and solutions.

7. Network, Connect and Reconnect with Colleagues // Poslovno umrežavanje sa kolegama
Life-long connections have evolved conferences like Spark.Me. Bring your business cards, your smile and an open-mind to Spark.Me, and you will not be disappointed in the people that you meet.

6. Learn from Each Other and Develop Professionally // Učite jedni od drugih i razvite profesionalno
We always have something new to learn from one another, and take the knowledge that you learned back to your company and to those who were not able to attend.

5. The Price is Right // Cena je prava
Spark.Me is very affordable! They offer a student rate and early-bird discounts (until March 11, 2016) between €60 – €120 for registration. As the conference gets closer, the price will get higher, so buy your tickets now.

4. Showcase Your Innovation through Startup Competition // Pokažite inovaciju kroz “Startup Competition”
Spark.me brings together successful startups in its Startup Competition. They focused on innovation, the power of ideas, the startup’s potential to grow and team diversity. Participating in the competition enables you to have access to advisors, mentors and a network of investors, industry experts and serial entrepreneurs. In order to participate, you need to apply by May 4, 2016 here.

3. Great, Dynamic Speakers // Sjajni i energični govornici
Last year, I had the honor to speak at Spark.Me, and I was blown away on the speaker lineup that Vanja and his team brought to Montenegro. The speakers and topics are as diverse as the Spark.Me attendees, which is why this conference stands above the rest in the region…and even in Europe. So far, the speakers for 2016 include Jon Bradford, Annie Machon, Everywhere Agency’s CEO Danica Kombol and my new friend Marvin Liao. Below is my talk with Real Geek Dad about Content Marketing vs. SEO called “Beauty and the Beast.”

2. Not Only Talks…A Lot of Fun // Proveselite se
During Spark.Me, you can have fun at their cocktail party, walking along the beautiful beach, eating along the breathtakingly beautiful Montenegrin coast with others from the conference or do other informal gatherings that will surely add fun during your Spark.Me weekend.

1. Experience the Breathtaking Beauty of Budva // Putujete u najlepšu Budvu
Speaking of Budva’s breathtaking beauty, Budva Old Town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of culture heritage and a short walk from the conference. Crossed with narrow streets and squares, you can also visit many shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries in Old Town. The Budva coast is 21 km long with 17 beaches. It is among the most beautiful coasts in the world. Also, you can find a wide range of accommodation, from very affordable to exclusive and luxury.

budvabeach

Buy Your Ticket Now! Kupite kartu sada!

10 Best Beaches in Southeast Europe

best-beaches-se-europeIt isn’t hard to find the best beaches in Southeast Europe when there are so many to choose from, but rather harder to choose which beaches to leave out! Here are our top picks for the best beaches in Southeast Europe, from islands in Croatia to the off-the-beaten path islands in Greece, here is where you will find them…

#1. Egremni Beach, Greeceegremni-beachEgremni Beach on Lefkada Island is not on the popular and well-known Greek islands, but this is a beach where you can actually relax and blend in to local life.

#2. Elafonisi Beach, Greeceelafonisi-beachElafonisi Beach in Crete is another such Greek beach worth mentioning.

#3. Jaz Beach, Montenegrojaz-beachIf you’re looking for a little adventure on a sandy beach, then Jaz Beach, outside of Budva, is perfect for you. It’s one of Montenegro’s gorgeous beaches on the Adriatic coast.

#4. Lubenice, Croatialubenice-beachCres Island is home to beaches and crystal-clear coves at Lubenice, accessible by a steep path through the underbrush, so make sure to wear some good hiking shoes. Your hike to this secluded beach will be easily forgotten once you reach the beach.

#5. Navagio Beach, Greecenavagio-beachAlso known as Shipwreck Beach, this is one of the most iconic beaches to visit in Greece, and the picture certainly shows you why! This exposed cove is surrounded by crystal blue waters and trails around to catch the best view.

#6. Rana e Hedhun Beach, Albaniarana-e-hedhun-beachIn northern Albania is the wonderful beach of Rana e Hedhun (Powdered Sand). It is a pristine beach where sand dunes climb nearly halfway up the face of the mountainside.

#7. Šunj Beach, Croatiasunj-beachŠunj Beach is 1km strip of sand sloping gently into warm, shallow waters. There are two restaurants, both of which rent deck chairs and beach umbrellas, and a choice of activities from beach volleyball to tennis.

#8. Sunny Beach, Bulgariasunny-beachSunny Beach stretches 8km along the Black Sea with fine golden sand. It is also home to some of the coast’s last remaining natural sand dunes and rare plant species. Sunny Beach is across the bay from the historic town of Nesebăr.

#9. Sveti Stefan Beach, Montenegrosveti-stefan-beachSveti Stefan is one of the most renowned beaches and certainly an icon for coastal Montenegro.

#10. Zlatni Rat, Croatiazlatni-rat-beachZlatni Rat (Golden Cape) is situated near the city of Bol on the southern coast of the island of Brac. It is a narrow white pebble beach with an amazing shape that shifts with the changes in tide, currents and wind. Zlatni Rat is bordered by pine trees, where you can find remnants of ancient Roman civilization, including a swimming pool.

Montenegro: Where to Stay

montenegro-where-to-stayMontenegro is small country, which makes it an easy drive across the country in a day, but you could spend a whole month there and still have more to explore. There are plenty of posh places to stay in Montenegro – and plenty of not-so-posh places too – so we have narrowed them down to highlight our absolute favorites. From Budva to Ulcinj, we’ve got it covered.

splendid-spa-resortSplendid Conference & Spa Resort, Budva *****OUR TOP PICK
The luxurious 5-star hotel Splendid Spa Resort is set directly on a long sandy beach in the heart of Bečići, just 2 km from Budva’s Old Town. The posh spa area with heated indoor pools, saunas, hot tubs and steam baths with Swarovski crystals is at guests’ disposal. The on-site restaurant serves delicious Montenegrin and international cuisine with freshly prepared ingredients. The private sandy beach with parasols and loungers is available. Guests can relax by the pool where drinks and snacks are served throughout the day. Tivat Airport is 20 km from Splendid Conference & Spa Resort, and the Podgorica Airport can be reached within 60 km.

casa-rozalijaCasa Rozalija Bed & Breakfast, Kotor
Located right next to the Bay of Kotor, Casa Rozalija Bed & Breakfast comprises a sun terrace and provides guests with a hot tub, sauna, shared lounge and kitchen. Rooms here feature a stone wall interior and come with antique furniture, which gives this bed & breakfast soul. At Casa Rozalija, you can enjoy homemade cakes, bread, ham and cheese for breakfast. Perast Old Town and several scenic islets are a 5-minute boat ride away. The UNESCO-protected Kotor Old Town is 9.5km away. Tivat Airport is located at a distance of 12km. Free private parking is provided on site, too.

ziya-hotelZiya Hotel, Podgorica
Located in the capital, the 5-star Ziya Hotel offers a spa with a hot tub and a sauna and a modern gym. You and your family can enjoy the indoor swimming pool. Start your day with their posh continental breakfast. Free private parking is available in front of the hotel. Podgorica Airport is 13km from the hotel.

regent-porto-montenegroRegent Porto Montenegro, Tivat
Located in Tivat within a luxury yacht marina, Regent Porto Montenegro offers an outdoor pool, as well as a spa and wellness center. Built in Renaissance Venetian style, this luxury hotel offers rooms that feature either a balcony or a terrace. The Regent SPA, which is we consider to be the BEST SPA in Montenegro, include saunas, a Turkish bath, a steam room and a gym, as well as an indoor pool. Tennis and squash courts, as well as a bowling alley, are also available nearby.PortoMontenegroThe world-class marina features 250 boat berths and houses a world-class yacht club and full sailing facilities. Porto Montenegro is also a home to numerous cafés, waterfront restaurants and upscale retail stores offering both local and international brands ranging from fine wines to luxury fashion. The hotel is 4.6km from Tivat Airport and 90km from Podgorica Airport. Free private parking is provided on-site.

hotel-senatorHotel Senator, Ulcinj
Set 1km from Ulcinj’s city center, Hotel Senator is located 500m from the beach and offers an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as bike rentals and massages. The sandy Velika plaža (Long Beach) is 5 km away from Senator Hotel. Skadar Lake can be visited 9km from Hotel Senator. Podgorica Airport is 65km away.

POSH City Club Debuts Members-Only Lounge in NYC

POSH-City-Club-2016At the POSH City Club, members are treated to an experience that takes the stress out of spending time in the city that never sleeps. The POSH City Club is an exclusive members only lounge where travelers, suburban commuters and city dwellers alike can kick up their heels between work and meetings, after an outdoor run or while sightseeing with their families.

When members open the doors to the POSH City Club, they’ll be welcomed into a world of clean, comfort complete with immaculate private restrooms, sitting areas and sanity-saving private lockers. Parents can breathe easier in a space that will allow them to regroup and take care of their small children’s needs worry free, while individuals looking to freshen up after work or avoid rush-hour can do so with ease.

Loaded down with the day’s shopping, but expected for a lunch date? The POSH City Club’s private lockers are a convenient space for stowing purses, shopping bags and extra coats when there’s no time to run home. They’re even equipped with charging stations for electronic devices and complimentary Wi-Fi for all those last minute e-mails and travel directions.

While stopping in at a locker, members can also take advantage of the club’s luxury bathrooms. These are not the typical rows of toilet stalls as seen at the office or gym, but rather individual restrooms that are completely private. Touch-less toilets and sinks, personal showers, changing stations and soundproof bathrooms all await for those in need of a quick pick-me-up. In order to meet a high standard of quality, full-time attendants are at the ready to ensure restrooms are freshened after every use.

Membership packages start at only $15 a year, with day passes available at four pricing tiers. The different tiers determine how many day passes members will need to purchase at minimum. The more passes purchased, the better the savings. Each pass gives the member full access to all the lounge’s services for the entire day and can even be gifted to an accompanying friend regardless of whether they’re a member or not.

Finding Neverland Delights on Broadway

Finding_Neverland_Broadway_PlaybillThe classic musicals of Broadway past will always have a special place in my heart. I walked down the aisle to “Wedding Processional” from The Sound of Music to marry a man who won me over by gifting me an entire DVD collection of Rogers and Hammerstein movie musicals including Oklahoma and The King & I. However, at some point during my adult years living in New York I developed a stronger taste for that darker and edgier theater with adult themes that usually fills my itineraries when I visit my old home. So despite frequent excursions to see local school and community family-friendly productions with my daughter, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen a good-hearted, family-friendly, positive musical at the Broadway level. Thankfully, last week in New York City I had that opportunity.

 

At the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street, I was transported back to the Finding Neverlandmagical and sentimental world of the classic musicals of my childhood during a matinee of Finding Neverland, the musical based on the 2004 movie starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet that came to Broadway earlier this year. Currently the show stars Glee’s Matthew Morrison and Broadway stars Terrence Mann (Pippin, Cats, Les Misérables, Chorus Line, Beauty & the Beast) and Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Mamma Mia!, Sweeney Todd), and all three of them blew me away with their voices and presence. Like the film, the show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer – and the man – he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter. His journey rediscovering his childhood imagination leads to the now renowned stories of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and the lost boys of Neverland.

Surrounded by a packed audience of all ages, from young children on a special holiday adventure with their parents, to elegant ladies from upper Manhattan known for frequenting matinees, to even otherwise cynical teenagers, I was swept up in the magic and spectacle of a musical that brought me back to why I fell in love with theater in the first place. Finding Neverland BroadwayA highlight was the scenic design by Tony Award®-winner Scott Pask (Pippin, Book of Mormon), particularly in the number Stronger (see video), where we first get a glimpse of the Neverland in Barrie’s imagination. And while mainstream audiences may at first be disappointed to no longer find familiar TV star Kelsey Grammer in the double role of the producer and Captain Hook, I was beyond grateful to instead get the theater legend Mann who has delighted us as a natural on the stage for decades.

Listed this month as one of Time Magazine’s Top Plays and Musicals of 2015, the funny, charming, and beautiful Finding Neverland plays at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater (205 West 46th Street) Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets and more information can be found online at www.FindingNeverlandTheMusical.com, in person at the Lunt-Fontanne box office. Follow the magic on Twitter and Instagram: @NeverlandBway.

Dallas’ Northpark Center Celebrates 50 Years with Special Events!

Northpark 50 years

The iconic Northpark Center in Dallas, TX  recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary on August 22, 2015 and is celebrating this huge milestone with a series of unique and very fun events that you will not want to miss.  If you’re familiar with Northpark you know that it’s not just a shopping center, it’s a cultural experience!

First, here’s a little background on Northpark:  It was named as one of the “7 Retail Wonders of the Modern World” by Shopping Centers Today.  NorthPark Center is a luxury shopping experience with over 235 unique retailers, restaurants and legendary department stores, and a clientele from around the world.  NorthPark Center is also very unique because it also features an incredible display of art, architecture and landscaping throughout the mall.   The center has won countless awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ Best Design of the Decade, and features internationally-acclaimed 20th century artwork on display throughout the light-filled space and amid the 1.4-acre landscaped garden, CenterPark Garden.

northpark

Here are some of the events that are happening at Northpark as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebration:

Northpark 50 years of fashion

FASHION EXHIBITION

Art Meets Fashion1965 – 2015
August 22, 2015 – January 3, 2016

A definite “must see”!   This exhibition features specific examples of dress that reflect the synergy between art and fashion from 1965 to the present. The exhibition includes The Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas (which is considered to have one of the most important historic fashion collections in the country).  The exhibition is located on Level One between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.  Garments on display include designs by Oscar de la Renta and Giorgio di’ Sant Angelo.

NorthPark fashion photos 1

Northpark fashion photos

Guided Tours
Saturday, October 10, 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm

Free guided tours of Art Meets Fashion: 1965 – 2015 with Texas Fashion Collection Director and Curator, Myra Walker.

RUNWAY SHOWS – Friday, October 9th and Saturday, October 10th

For the  schedule of runway shows go to:   http://www.northparkcenter.com/pages/northpark-northpark50-fifty-years-of-fashion

Reserve tickets for October 9 Runway Trend Presentation.

Seating for all shows is limited and must be reserved.

Northpark garden

 Saturday, October 17, 2015
7:00 PM, CenterPark Garden

NorthPark Center invites you to a free family concert in CenterPark Garden. Enjoy the magnificent 60-piece orchestra performing popular selections by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin, as well as scores from JawsPirates of the CarribeanFrozen and more. Open seating in CenterPark Garden. Reserved seating will be available on the Bread Winners patio by calling 214.303.0049.

ArtROCKS! 
Featuring a concert by Gravity Feed and a performance by Dallas Ballet Company

Sunday, October 18, 2015 
1 – 4PM, CenterPark Garden

Children can participate in hands-on art activities led by important artists from North Texas, including Joanne Cervantes, Nathan Green, Kelly Kroener, Annette Lawrence, Suzanne O’Brien, Shamsy Roomani, William and Thoele Sarradet, James Thurman, and more! The event open to the public, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Leo Villareal Exhibition
Coming Soon

In celebration of the 50th anniversary, two major works by Leo Villareal will be on view within the shopping center, including a newly commissioned piece inspired by his iconic Buckyball sculpture. His work can otherwise be found at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, The National Gallery in Washington D.C., and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Northpark HammeringMan

IN-STORE EVENTS

For a complete listing of the many “In Store” Events at North Park go to:

http://www.northparkcenter.com/pages/northpark-northpark50-fifty-years-of-fashion

4 Smart Spots for a Ljubljana Coffee Break

Ljubljana is lined with cafes along the beautiful waterfront serving up the local specialty drink, a white coffee. With a huge population of students, you can understand why the city is filled with coffee shops and bookstores. The white coffee may not be for coffee aficionados since your precious shot of espresso is topped with LOTS of milk and frothy foam, but you should try it to enjoy Ljubljana like a local. Pair the white coffee with a tasty cake, and the European café culture is alive in this green city. While in Ljubljana, there are four coffeehouses that make me want to come back, so here’s my list!
cafe-coklCafe Čokl
There are people who take coffee seriously, and then there are people who work at Cafe Čokl. This café by the puppet theatre serves the best coffee in Ljubljana. Cafe Čokl roasts their beans and feature daily recommendations on a chalkboard outside. For all the coffee snobs out there, you will love the sweet taste at the front and a hint of bitter at the back.

cafetinoCafetino
Cafetino offers a huge range of coffee, using only freshly ground beans. With a wide selection of worldly coffee beans, this is place is for those who take their coffee seriously. Climbs the stairs, and upstairs to enjoy your brew. Consider ordering their turkish coffee while you are with your friends and possibly a cappuccino when you want to be alone with a book. 🙂 This coffee shop has no sign out front, but you can’t miss the selection of coffee roasting equipment in their window display.

daktariDaktari
With an interior resembling your grandparents’ living room, Daktari is one of the coolest café in Ljubljana. Daktari has the best Turkish coffee in Ljubljana. They also offer some delicious masala tea for those non-java drinking friends. In the evenings, they host a diverse program of social events, live music and literal readings. Daktari is definitely the place the intellectual // smart people. 😉

tozdTOZD
TOZD produces a relaxed atmosphere with has several bikes decorating the small café, which also adds for a great element of quirkiness. TOZD offers cold brew coffee, which is simply amazing. First, let’s talk about the presentation: coffee and water are served in beakers accompanied by the TOZD orange cup. Depending on the way you like your coffee, you are the “chemist.” You can have is straight up, by pouring the coffee into your cup and drinking as is. You can dilute it with some hot water, think warm Americano. Lastly, you can chill the coffee with the ice water and sip an iced coffee along the waterfront. What a great idea from TOZD because if you don’t like your coffee, it’s because you don’t know the “science” of your coffee palate…not because of their delicious cold brew. 😉

Which of these coffeehouses are your favorite? How do you like your coffee? Let’s experiment!

4 Smart Coffee Spots for a Zagreb Coffee Break

Coffee culture has always been particularly strong in Zagreb, not just in flavor but in society. People value a good strong espresso, cappuccino or latte in a ceramic mug rather than an overpriced sweet “coffee” drink that they take away as they walk through town. People want to chat or do business in a relaxed way, sitting at a café with a delicious cup of locally roasted coffee. While in Zagreb, there are four coffeehouses that make me want to come back, so here’s my list!
eliscaffeEli’s Caffe
Locals come here for great coffee, located on the most prominent street of Zagreb, Ilica. This is not only a coffee bar, but also a coffee roaster. Owner Nik Orosi is a pioneer in the field of all things coffee, sourcing coffee from specific producers and roasting it himself for maximum freshness and flavor. Eliscaffe coffee brand is available for purchase, which is where I get my supply every time I am in town – convenient for true addicts. Eli’ s Cafe is known as “no logo, just taste!”, and it just opened its second location.

cogito-coffeeCogito Coffee Shop
At Cvjetni trg, you can have coffee in countless cafes, but if you look closely you’ll find excellent coffee in a small café, hidden in a passage and decorated in an industrial, hipster-style. Cogito Coffee Shop make truly amazing coffee. The concept was devised by two Matijas, who were frustrated that there were not enough coffee roasters in town, so one of the Matijas opened a roasters in Jurja Žerjavića Street, right next my next favorite coffee shop called Cafe u Dvorištu, which was opened by the other Matija.

u-dvoristeU Dvoriste
U Dvoriste is situated in a quiet backyard setting in the center of a building block. Immediately next door, there’s a small roastery – Cogito Coffee Roasters – where you can see where your coffee was roasted. You can enjoy a delicious coffee with milk or even a cup of aeropress coffee, as well. Naturally, they also sell their coffee – either in bean or ground version. Do you know why Cogito Coffee blend is called “Tesla”? Because their location actually used to be a lightbulb factory.

42-coffee-co42 Coffee Co.
In the cozy ambient of 42 Coffee Co., located on (old) Vlaška, they serve top-notch coffee and guarantee pure pleasure. The lovely barista will chat with you about all the wonders of coffee. Industrial decor paired with a giant community table with a dog-friendly environment, and you have yourself a winning combination.

chocolat-041Honorable Mention: Chocolat 041
There are few reasons why locals love this place. First it is owned by once very famous football player Zvonimir Boban; Second, decoration is unique with lamps made of old cassettes, chairs look like big puzzle toy or old chairs taken from high school classrooms. This place is fun for the WHOLE FAMILY when you are wanting coffee but need something for your kids to enjoy, too. The ice cream is superb, and the range of irresistible cakes – all of which are based on chocolate in some way or another – almost guarantees repeat visits. Order a delicious espresso which goes sooo well with chocolate, and you’ll have a sweet experience for the whole family.

Which of these coffeehouses are your favorite? How do you like your coffee?

8 Lessons From My First Year Overseas

Today, I hit my anniversary since my family packed everything that we owned and moved overseas and boy, did it fly by. The list seems endless, as I sit here and reflect on what I’ve accomplished and learnt in the last year, but there are certainly a few lessons to note. The best part is that you can take most of them with you no matter if you have moved overseas or not.8LessonsOverseas #1 – Pay Attention to Your Surroundings.
Keep your eyes opened and ears perked at all times because safety and security is important. Before you sign a year lease, rent for a week or a month in a neighborhood, and see if it fits your lifestyle. Does it have a good school for your kids? How close is it to public transportation? Does it have petty crime? Don’t be afraid to ask the locals. I have found them to be the more helpful than the real estate agents.

#2 – Relationships Relationships.
This is becoming such a cliché, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of whom you know in your city. People want to know who you are and why you live in their country. Get out there and meet people. They will soon be like family. When you have an emergency, it is good to know that you have friends who will be there for you.

#3 – You’re in Control.
No one is going to push you forward, but yourself and that really applies to all aspects of life. You won’t be confident all the time, especially in the beginning, but you should never take a conservative approach by waiting in silence for your neighbors to invite you over for coffee or for dinner. You dictate where you want to be and where you can go – knock on their door and ask someone over to your house.

#4 – Be Open-minded and Willing to Learn.
Yes, you are knowledgeable, but your way isn’t the only way nor is it the right way. Be humble, flexible and adaptable because you are the foreigner. By observing and learning from those around you, you may begin to act more like a local.

#5 – Know Your Currency.
Learning currency conversion is very important. Before you go on a shopping spree, make sure that you have the conversion rate ready, and your calculator on your phone open. You don’t want to bankrupt the first month or two of moving overseas.

#6 – Be Willing to Put in The Hours of Language.
Learning a new language is not easy. Just accept the fact that you will not be fluent in an year. Ok, well, there are some of you that will be, but I just want people to be realistic. There is so much to learn and absorb. Although it’s not always fun, you will need to put in the hours, especially in the beginning when you’re learning and trying to communicate with locals. Be prepared for super high and low moments. I have some great stories about things I said that were COMPLETELY wrong, but the people are so gracious because you are trying. Just remember that. 🙂

#7 – Don’t Be a Whiner.
No one likes to be around the pessimist, who complains about everything. That’s the kind of attitude that doesn’t get you friends. Conditions won’t always be ideal, so strive to have a “what’s the best way to approach this problem” attitude. This way, you’ll become more tactical and strategic in how you handle any obstacles that come your way.

#8 – 100% All the Time.
You won’t like living overseas all the time. There will tasks you’ll need to do that seem insignificant, inconvenient and just flat out senseless. You may even realize that living overseas is not as romantic as you thought, and you’re just not into the gig anymore. Focus on the positive. Take sometime to stop what you are doing, and go outside. Go to your favorite restaurant. Hike your favorite mountain. Sit on your favorite beach.larrybirdquote