Athens – Day 3…or is it 2?
Technically, it would be the third night we’ve been here, but do we really count the first night since we were so exhausted when we got here?!
The jet lag had not let go of it’s grip on us, but I can at least say it loosened. None of us were up before 1:00 pm though! With Willow getting sick, we had more laundry than expected this early in the trip and needed to quickly figure out the washer, then venture up to the roof to get it on the drying line. In this weird head of mine, I actually dread doing laundry when I’m at home, but get a little pleasure from it when I leave the states and have to line dry my clothes. Though I had never done it in 45 degree, windy weather on top of a three story roof!
With the chores done, we finally left the house, sometime after 5:00 pm. We called an Uber and drove over to “The Mall”. Yes, that’s what the actual name of it is! I read that it was a four story mall that was the first of it’s kind to be constructed in Greece and one of the largest in Southeastern Europe. Not a bad place to go when sunlight is about to run out and you need to get the kids out of the house!
The mall is huge! We really only went around one floor, and possibly only half of that floor! I forgot how much I love the shopping in Europe! There are so many stores we don’t have in the US that are filled with cute clothes and very inexpensive compared to shopping in the US! The girls always get excited and love to shop in these places!
I’m not sure if it’s common in malls in Europe, since I’ve only visited a couple, but their dining area was nothing like what we have in the malls in Texas! The restaurants are actually nice! Not the crappy choices of nasty Chinese food, baked potatoes or chick-fil-a. Yes, I know how much people like chick-fil-a, but I prefer real food over any kind of fast food.
We sat at a nice gourmet burger place that had a big Lego play area for kids, where Willow was quick to run off to. I’m not sure what I expected, but the burger was actually good and came with a side of truffle mayo and fries. I’ve had burgers in other countries and sometimes they don’t exactly taste like burgers, but these were good!
We left as the mall was closing, heading to the taxi area where we called another Uber. According to the first Uber driver, only taxi drivers can drive for Uber here now. It wasn’t that way at first, but taxi drivers started to feel the pinch from the popularity of Uber and the union of about 60,000 taxi drivers got together and protested. This amazing thing happened and the government listened to the people! They changed the rules for Uber that only taxis can take the calls now. I’m stumped as to why the word union is a bad word in America.
We were waiting in freezing cold for about 10 minutes and the Uber wasn’t there, so I cancelled it, thinking we would just take a regular taxi. The only reason I cared to take the Uber was because I could put in the destination and they would know where we were going, without me messing up the name of the street or confusing the driver more. That’s just one of those security blanket type things I like to use as a crutch when I’m traveling. Unfortunately, when I opened the door of the taxi, he told me no! We had 5 and he would only take 4. Sooo, we called for another Uber and waited even longer! Thankfully the Uber taxi doesn’t seem to mind that we have 5!
After a short day we were back at home, trying to get to bed at a decent hour to get up the next morning and do something in the day. I can’t say we have been really successful at that yet!
3 Top Reasons Why We’re so Afraid of Change!
Why are we so afraid of change in our lives?
Just the thought of a big life change can be intimidating and scary for so many of us. For me, the choice to pursue a life of worldschooling with my kids was a intensely scary choice! One might think that it’s a really easy choice to take off and travel to amazing places around the world, but for an over thinker like me, this was a really frightening choice! We decided to sell the home that our daughters were practically born and raised in, sell the majority of our belongings, downsize to a small place and figure out exactly what we needed to do to become full time travelers. These are terrifying choices to make!
1 – Fear of the Unknown
It’s been 5 month’s since we sold our house. Since then, the girls and I have since spent a month in Mexico, a few weeks in Colorado and we leave for a month long visit to Greece in only 6 days! I toiled for weeks before I finally made the decision to make the travel plans for Mexico! I’m sure most people think it would be exciting to make the plans to travel to exotic locations, and it is, BUT! It is also very intimidating for me to do. When ever I talked about traveling to Mexico, most people expressed a nervousness, and sometimes fear, about such plans. When others express fear, it can sometimes create a fear within us as well. I knew so many that were already traveling there, so it couldn’t be such a scary a place! I pushed past that fear, made the plans and traveled to Mexico! We spent three weeks in San Miguel de Allende and a week in Mexico City. We attended the Family Adventure Summit, met some amazing new friends, visited parks and pyramids, learned about the Day of the Dead culture, ate some delicious food and created life experiences that will be remembered forever! All things we would have missed out on if we had let our fear of the unknown be our deciding voice!
2) Too Comfortable in Everyday Life
Sometimes it’s just easier to continue in the very comfortable life that we have created for ourselves. I am all about comfort! I am like everyone else and revel in the comfort of just being home. I love my comfy bed and chilling on my comfy couch. I love being in the community that we have lived in for so many years now, and socializing with all the people that I’ve known for so long. It’s just comforting and easy! But is that a good thing if we never step out of that comfy place and change a little? So much I’ve read says no, it’s not a good thing. It can cause you to be complacent and scared to change anything. For me, I NEED change in my life. I start to become restless and unhappy. I spent a lot of years in my life feeling depressed and unhappy, unsure of why and what I could do to change it. I longed for something, yet I didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t until after I walked the Camino de Santiago for the first time that I knew what I was missing…change. Not just change, but the experience of life! It took some years to figure out that this was my passion, but once I did, I’ve been happy ever since! So get out of your comfort zone! Change your attitude, change your life!
3) Doubting Yourself
It’s so easy to doubt yourself when making any decision of change. I do it every day of my life! We certainly didn’t make the decision overnight to sell our house. It was a discussion over years! I didn’t decide in one day to change all of our lives with travel. No, I thought about it and thought about it and my husband and I discussed it over and over. All because I doubted myself. What if I couldn’t do it? What if my kids ended up hating it and then hating me for completely changing up their lives? What would we do without a “home”? How were we going to make this work financially? Would we even be able to?! Yep, I was full of doubt, even if I didn’t show it outwardly to everyone I talked to about it! I finally just had to stop doubting myself, get past all of those fears, get out of all my comfort zones and make the decision to JUST DO IT! It doesn’t matter what you want to do, the first step to doing it is just doing it! Take the leap!
I can’t say that I don’t still go through all of these things when making my decision, because I do. I just try not to let fear be the deciding factor in my life. My husband and I are still mulling through the choices we need to make financially and what he should do for work to allow him to travel with us. As the bread winner of our family, these are even more terrifying choices for him than they are for me, which is understandable. It’s just a matter of both of us together deciding what we want and taking the actions to do it.
Patience is a Virtue…So They Say
Do I Need More Patience?
I was really hoping we would be one of those stories, like I’ve read so often these days, where our house was sold super quickly and we would be able to move on with our plans right away. It almost was! But no such luck. Here we are, four weeks later and I feel like we are starting over again. Probably because we ARE starting over again.
I’ve truly tried to remain patient these last four weeks. I have even just had a conversation with my 16 year old about how it’s just better to be patient when you really want something. To occupy your attention with something else and the time will just pass. So for me, patience hasn’t really been the problem with selling our house. I’ve had moments of being overwhelmed and ready to just get done with all of this, but I’ve managed to stay fairly patient. So why do I feel like we are starting over? We have just removed the listing from the market, redone the pictures and it’s being re-listed today, after being off the market for a few days. Only, we are re-listing with a new agent.
I never realized how stressful a process it would be to sell our home. From all the updating we did to it, all the money we put into it for updates and repairs, staging and getting it ready for market, listing it and then keeping it in model home condition so that we are can run out of the house at a moment’s notice if an appointment was booked to see the house. All of this is very stressful and I can see that stress taking it’s toll on my family. One thing is for sure, we are going to need a vacation when it finally does sell!
Well add to that, the feeling that Shawn and I were having that we just weren’t on the same page as our realtor. From the beginning it felt that way. Though it was about what the house should be listed for, so I thought that should be expected. I felt like it is probably common that people feel like their home should be worth more, and the realtor is there to show them why their expectations are a little high. I have never felt like my expectations where too high or that the price I felt we should be asking was too high. Our home is in a curious situation in that it’s in a housing market that is just exploding right now. The population is expanding every day. When we bought our house here 15 years ago, we moved to the outskirts of a town of about 10,000. In the last 5 years that number has grown to 60,000 and if you count the outskirts, about 80,000. The neighborhood we live in is now closer in due to things growing out this way. What used to be a 8 minute drive to the store is now a 4 minute drive to the new store. We used to be a small neighborhood of about 50 homes and that has more than doubled due to a custom home builder buying land behind our homes and expanding the neighborhood. All of this has, what we consider, skyrocketed the price of homes, property taxes and cost of living here. So if you’re looking to sell your house and move, then it should be great for you financially. Unfortunately for me, we had two homes in my neighborhood sell at the very same time for under market and extremely fast, despite no other houses doing this. This is causing a huge problem for me in that our realtor felt like we should be doing the same thing. Sell low and get it sold fast. To be fair, as she kept pointing out to us, we aren’t a custom home with high end upgrades, which is what is being built all around us now. But to be fair to me, a house on the same street as those houses, which wasn’t a custom home with all the high end upgrades sold for $80,000 more than those only a few months prior, yet I wasn’t being put into the category with that house…only the two lowest selling ones.
Now I would agree that we were over priced if we had gotten no traffic to the house, but that just wasn’t the case. In the first week we received a contract for the full asking price. For unfortunate reasons, that didn’t work. On the second week we had someone come out to view the house twice then ask our realtor if we were “motivated” because they would want to do some upgrades. Her response was we had only been on the market for 13 days. The third week we received two calls of interest. One of them came back twice and were measuring the rooms. In total we had 15 viewings of the house, not including a few from an open house and a parade of realtors. The common opinion of the majority was it was priced well, clean, staged well and nice. For some it was too far out of town, priced too high for one realtor and one didn’t like our cat roaming free in the house during showings. Overall, it was positive feedback. The traffic was there and the interest was there, but nothing was happening. The last one interested was trying to buy at the top of their price range and had not put in an offer, yet we felt like our realtor was doing everything she could to try and talk us into dropping our price, and not just a little. It just felt to us like this was the wrong selling tactic and didn’t sit right with us. It was obvious to us we just weren’t having a meeting of the minds with her and probably wouldn’t. She was determined to sell our house low and fast and we aren’t. So, it was time to find someone who thought more like we did. Nothing personal, but we are talking about the biggest investment we own.
I was already talking to someone else before we even listed the house. Someone who had been selling homes for a lot longer and this wasn’t their first listing ever. Someone who had actually sold a home in my neighborhood before. That had been doing it for so long that it isn’t just about a paycheck anymore. When I didn’t understand our realtors responses to situations that were coming up, I called him to ask him about it and his thoughts were exactly the same as mine, without me even revealing to him what I thought. He gave me his unsolicited opinion without ever asking for anything in return. Simply because we had a mutual friend who had given me his name for a second opinion. So after calling him a couple of times, it just seemed more logical to us to be working with someone who had the same train of thought as we did, rather than fighting with someone through an already stressful process. So we decided to switch realtors in the middle of the game. This meant nearly a week off the market.
So here we go again. Everything is being put back on the market today. We had a nice break of a couple of days without worry of keeping the house in show home condition (though it’s become a habit so it stayed that way anyway) and not needing to worry we may have to run out of the house in a minutes notice. It was so nice!! It will be even nicer once the house sells though, so I’m ready to start it again and will keep all my fingers and toes crossed that we will still get the traffic and the interest, but have someone working for us that believes in what we have and will work to get us the best return possible on our investment.
I’m keeping up the patience!
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