Back from Vacation and Lots of Catching up to Do

Real Estate Agent with Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!

I'm back from vacation and boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do!

Fachwerk Haus in Germany by Silvia DukesAnd not just at work but of course here with my ActiveRain friends and family as well! 

Do you know when your vacation is working for you?  Read on!

Just before I left, I entered the Taking Time off --- Fun in the Sun While the Business still Runs contest of the PAWS group, so now that the vacation is over, here is a little follow up.

First, if you read my post and commented on it, I thank you!  I was so surprised to be selected as third place winner!  It'll take me a while to reciprocate all the comments you left me but I promise, I will! 

While I didn't reveal ahead of time when I was going, you already know that my trip took me to "old country" ---Germany and for several reasons. 

One, my mother who lives there, is currently recovering in a rehab facility after major surgery and two strokes.  The second reason was to visit with old friends and travel, and last but not least to make contact with some German Realtors


Yes, you can take a Realtor out of the local market temporarily but you cannot take the Realtor out of real estate completely.  In my case, I think of it as practicing some international real estate marketing research.   

Back to the contest... so how did my story of fun in the sun while the business still runs play out in real life?

McCafe in Germany by Silvia DukesThe intense preparation in advance paid off.  I had two successful closings while I was gone and three within a few days after my return. 

As life goes in real estate, a long anticipated short sale approval was received during my absence which meant my collegue took over to arrange for deposits and inspections.  The closing will take place next week!

How did communication work while away in a foreign country?  WiFi was available in many places so I could use my iPad which I always took with me. 



Although my focus was vacation and I didn't try to do work stuff every day, I spent much more time at McDonald's or McCafe's - a different approach that I will write about later - than I would do here!  Finding a hotspot wasn't difficult although free access is less frequent --- most will allow only paid access and limited no-contract plans are available.

Berlin Marriott Bear by Silvia DukesHaving the iPad was great for emails and checking up on things on some social networks like Facebook but it did have its limitations. 

For example, I didn't blog because I wasn't able to include pictures in my posts.

My phone provider back home advised me not to take my smart phone out of the country for fear of racking up a huge bill for unintended air time.  So I turned off the connection and still took it with me.  I ended up using it only a couple of times for texting. 

However, I quickly found out that I needed a local (in-country) phone number in order to receive passwords for WiFi access.   The solution?  I went to a local electronics store and purchased a simple, no contract phone in Germany that cost me 16 Euro or about $20.  Incredibly, this included $18.75 in talk time that I didn't even use up. 

Do you know when you find out that your vacation is working for you? 

Amazingly, half way through our time, I forgot my password and couldn't access my email!  Yep.  Can you spell panic attack?  After several attempts I was locked out and had to resort to my security questions to be able to reset it! 


Look for more posts about other experiences and photos coming soon!

Aerial Image US Coastline by Silvia Dukes

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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Centennial, CO

Wow Silvia,  I like that you looked up some agents over there.  That make so much sense.  Thanks for the trip and the great blog.

Jul 07, 2012 07:32 AM #1
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Silvia, welcome back! My first response to your blog was a big, huge sigh! I wish I could go visit back home but it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. I bet you had the most wonderful time and rediscovered all those odd little German things :-)

Vacation seems to do the trick for lots of business.. I should at least attempt to plan something! Glad to hear that all worked out well, despite the lost password and all. I love the prepaid phones, too - it's a great value and I usually use it to text. I'm not so fond of the paid WiFi of course, and wish they would pick up on the value of offering it for free! Looking forward to more blogs about Germany!

Jul 07, 2012 07:42 AM #2
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Hi Will, yes, I do like personal connections and you never know how a connection will work out in the long run!

Andrea, danke!  I totally agree with you on the free v. paid WiFi, we are spoiled over here!  I'm getting myself organized and working on a few more posts...

Jul 07, 2012 07:51 AM #3
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Ultimate - Manassas, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Silvia  So glad you enjoyed your vacation and that you are back safely.  It's nice knowing you have team support that allows you to "escape"

Jul 07, 2012 08:48 AM #4
Phil Leng
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &

Hi Silvia,

Always fun to experience a trip to Germany vicariously.

Thanks for sharing


Jul 07, 2012 09:07 AM #5
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Karen, thank you, it sure makes things easier when you have reliable people backing you up!

Phil, glad you enjoyed it!

Jul 07, 2012 09:18 AM #6
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

With our modern technology, it is so easy to stay in constant contact with our clients! Glad you had a safe trip and got to visit with your mom.

Jul 07, 2012 09:45 AM #7
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Barbara-Jo, that is true but it was also nice to get away from the phones, the emails, the messages, the alertrs, and all the beeping and ringing for a while!

Jul 07, 2012 10:43 AM #8
Al & Peggy Cunningham Brokers, Brampton Ontario Homes For Sale 905-450-5500
RE/MAX Realty Services Inc. - Brampton, ON

Silvia, sounds like it all went exactly as the Fun in Sun contest wanted it to! We can feel your excitement in your blog! Welcome home and glad it all worked out well except for your email password LOL!

Jul 07, 2012 10:44 AM #9
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Al and Peggy, thank you!  Love the new pic!

Jul 07, 2012 10:46 AM #10
Ron & Alexandra Seigel - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Marketing


Welcome back, and we are glad you had a good time. Modern technology definitely makes it easier to stay in touch, as well as great people around you.  A

Jul 07, 2012 10:55 AM #11
Toni Weidman
Re/Max Sunset Realty - Trinity, FL
23 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Hi Slivia, welcome home. Sounds like you worked everything out just fine while you were away. You missed our bad weather-how very prescient of you.

Jul 07, 2012 11:36 AM #12
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Silvia, last time I traveled abroad, I didn't even own a cell phone. I have a lot to get caught up on before I go to Italy!

Jul 07, 2012 12:05 PM #13
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Alexandra, thanks, it's good to be back!

Toni, we didn't quite miss all the bad weather, we landed right in the middle of it...

Connie, start early and check with your cell phone provider.  Mine actually offers a free loaner phone to take abroad and they will transfer your number to it.  You have to let them know at least a week ahead of time.

Jul 07, 2012 12:36 PM #14
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL


Was there life before the iPad?

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jul 07, 2012 07:12 PM #15
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells 1-814-881-7548 - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Silvia--Wow! Glad I stopped here tonight.  Can't wait to read more about your trip & contacts you made back home.

Like you, I do not talk about my travel plans until I return.  Too risky.  It's like advertising to all the bad guys 'come rob my house.'  Welcome back.

Jul 08, 2012 06:09 PM #16
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
Lou, good question! Mary, I agree with you, no need to let all the world know.
Jul 08, 2012 06:35 PM #17
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Silvia, I was thinking you were going to Germany soon, and making connections with German Realtors makes complete sense!     Taking a vacation should mean turning off work, at least most of the time!

Jul 09, 2012 12:39 PM #18
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Hi Joan, you are right, we are so used to being connected all the time, we forget how it used to be...

Jul 09, 2012 04:09 PM #19
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