| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

Nothing sets you up for a fulfilled and productive life better than a bit of summer holiday fun. In this video (post) I take you on a tour of our favourite holiday destination.

When it comes to personal finance, and achieving the hefty personal finance goals we set ourselves, most of us think about saving money, making money and investing money. All worthy occupations!

Still, without spending money, without having fun and making memories to keep us warm on the cold and dark nights, out lives are much the poorer.

Enjoying life, even when your finances may be strained, is important. I call it ‘the Cinderella rule of personal finance’ and it states that we all should make an effort to have fun and budget for it.

Today, I’m not going to tell you how we are having summer holiday fun and we have certainly budgeted for it. (Between you and me, there was time when we’d simply put the cost of the summer on a credit card. This only gets you in trouble. Today, we pay for all summer fun with money we already have.)

For a third year running, we are having our summer holiday on the small island of Skiathos, at the Zorbas Family House. And you know what? We are by far not the ones with the longest visiting streak: there is a family who have been hear twelve times; yes, twelve.

What can make one go to the same place again and again? Apart from spending being completely predictable, that is.

Here is why we keep coming back:

#1. We have found our piece of paradise

Yes and I’m not even exaggerating: Skiathos in general, and Zorbas Family House in particular, is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling in paradise (or the version of it that I imagine).

It is a small island that swells several-fold during the summer. Still, it is so small that old-fashioned morality holds: the first year we came I forgot my backpack (with my Mac in it) on the bus. I was naturally worried – most places I visit around the world, this would have been the absolutely last time I ever saw my lovely laptop.

Not on Skiathos. Here my backpack was delivered 30 minutes later with everything in it. Go figure (when you come from Manchester this is).

This paradise, apart from being lovely and scenic, is also safe for our teen to explore with his friend.

#2. Everybody knows my name

And not only my name but also they know John and our son.

We know people, and like them, and they know us. We go to a restaurant and the chef comes out to say ‘hi’ and ask when we arrived; we sit around the bar and we chat to people we met on previous visits.

I like it!

#3. I get healthy

There are two things I do here immediately after I arrive:

  1. Order an ice cold beer (not very healthy but so much fun); and
  2. Eat tomatoes and other salads.

Eventually, I ease off the beer – I’m a very cheap drunk – and stick with the tomatoes and feta cheese.

Healthy, wholesome diet this is and my body loves it.

Apart from this, I swim and run. Running is not long but there is a hill (this one is a killer; please watch it even if you don’t see anything else from the video) and running on the beach is so…well, so everything.

#4. There is a lot to do

Yep, this may be a small island but it has a very big array of things to do.

There are over 50 beaches here and we have seen probably eight of them. After we’ve rested a bit and had enough sleep – you know how it is; we are always shattered when we come here and need to catch up on sleep – we intend to visit several of those (I’ll probably take videos).

We’ll be walking stray dogs again though I find this one hard; not walking the dogs but saying ‘good bye’. Last time we did this I wanted to take a lovely dog called Fergus home.

#5. Routines help you relax

You know how everyone tells you that routines help you be productive?

I have news for you: routines not only help you be more productive; they also help you relax.

We have routines here. We know how things work.

We know where the cash point machines are; the supermarkets and the restaurants we like.

There is no stress; just sheer and pure joy.

Finally…

You wondered what makes one go to the same place for summer holiday fun over and over again, didn’t you?

Well, if you have found a piece of paradise where people know your name, there is loads to explore and stress is at a minimum why go anywhere else?

Coming to Skiathos is like coming back home for a summer break and seeing our distant relations.

And just in case you were wondering, we’ll probably come here again next year.

What do you usually do for your summer holidays? Are you a nomadic wanderer or a creature of habit?