Thursday, July 18, 2019

Another Amazing Incentive Trip

Hello!  I'm back in Canada!  If you followed my facebook page you would have seen some photos from the recent Stampin' Up! incentive trip.  However, I know not everyone is on facebook so I thought I would share some commentary and photos here on my blog.
In case you are new to Stampin' Up!, I should explain what an incentive trip is.  The incentive trip is a special gift and reward awarded to demonstrators who achieve a threshold of points awarded based on sales and team performance.
To give some perspective on what an exciting achievement and honour it is to earn the trip, there are about 56,000 demonstrators worldwide and for this trip, 445 demonstrators earned enough points to attend.
I should be clear that this trip is NOT a convention where there are a lot of obligatory meetings to attend and information to learn.  Stampin' Up! offers this as a gift.  They provide accomodation, food and airfare for 2 to some great destination.  The whole point is to relax and enjoy!!
This year the incentive trip was a Royal Caribbean Cruise departing from Rome with ports to several greek islands. (edited to add: disclaimer: less than 1% of demonstrators earn the trip) 

Many demonstrators take the opportunity of paid airfare to extend the trip and see other sights.  I chose to arrive in Rome a couple days early to help us to adjust to the time change, reduce risk of experiencing flight delays and missing the cruise, and to tour the sights of Rome.  I also really regretted not seeing the Tuscany region the last time I was in the area on the Mediterranean incentive trip, so I extended this trip a few days at the end of the cruise so we could take a bullet train to Florence, Italy. 

On this trip there were so many highlights it's hard to summarize in one blog post.
Looking at my photos I would say that the highlights revolved around cultural experiences, friendships, food and family.

First let's start with family.  Since this year's trip fell during July, I knew I wanted my first guest to be Kevin.  As a school principal he has some freedom to travel in the summer plus he is the one who supports me the most in this business.  (If you've ever come to an event you've probably seen him fixing the video or bringing something I've forgotten, or carrying something heavy) .  We decided to "buy in" an additional guest: my eldest son Ethan as a special graduation gift for him.
I absolutely loved spending the special time with my son.  He's not really a talker but I could tell he really enjoyed the new experiences and all the food!

All achievers receive a balcony room on the ship.  Here we are on our balcony when we first boarded the ship

Enjoying a special lunch and wine tasting in Tuscany region in Italy. 

Next,let's talk about the cultural and historical experiences.  Going to Europe is always enlightening because of the long history there compared to Canada.  Just the architecture of the buildings and the ancient streets and monuments make you feel a part of something bigger when you gaze all around.
Here's some photos from our "Rome in a Day tour" We saw the Vatican, Sistine chapel, Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, The Pantheon and more! Incredible! It's one thing to see it in photos but another to see it in real life! There is so much interesting history that I can not go into here but we had a great guide from a tour company called Take Walks who shared so much and made the monuments and artifacts come alive!

None of us had ever been to Greece and it did not disappoint!
My absolute favourite was the greek island of Santorini.  The views are stunning!  I had booked a local tour guide and he was amazing about sharing the history and finding perfect photo locations.

Athens was another historical gem!  At this port, I had booked a tour that included special attention to the apostle Paul.  It made many bible passages that I had read in the past, more meaningful now that I had more historical context and could actually see the landscape and temples.  

The parthenon which was formerly a temple to the greek goddess Athena

this is where the Olympic torch is passed in Athens

Ancient Corinth.  This is where it is believed that the apostle Paul was brought by Jewish leaders to the give account of his beliefs about Jesus Christ.  Later an ancient Christian church was built here. 

Florence and the Tuscan countryside was another breathtaking experience for me.  The whole time I felt I was in a movie set but the charm of the old buildings and cathedrals were real!

Now, the food.  If you know me, you know I love to eat.  In fact, eating is pretty much a hobby for me. What I'm trying to say is that hunger is not the main motivation for me to eat.
I love to eat.
Therefore, should I not eat pizza and gelato in Italy?  Souvlaki and greek salad in greece?  It is insufficient to just eat pizza once in Italy and call it good.  No.  I must try many pizzas in many places.  Same with the gelato,  souvlaki and gyros and greek salad.  In addition, there was an orgy of delectable eats on the cruise ship so I have arrived home 6 pounds heavier and am still craving the food.

Wine tasting in Santorini

tasty food at a tavern in Katakolon, Greece

Souvlaki in Santorini

Souvlaki in ancient Corinth

Award winning Gelato in San Gimignano, Tuscany

Here I am with the award winning gelato maker! 

gelato in Florence

I will seriously miss my daily gelato.
Here's a cute story.  When I was in Florence I was trying very hard to have only one gelato a day.  The reason why this is so difficult to maintain is because everywhere you walk, there is a gelateria.
On the day before we left Florence, I remarked that perhaps it would be okay to have two gelatos because likely we wouldn't have time to have gelato on the day of departure.  (I didn't know if they would sell gelato at the airport and would it be as good as the gelato on a street corner?)
Kevin looked at me and said: You earned and paid for this trip so you can have as many gelatos as you want! If you want five, have five!
I loved his enthusiasm and support!   I had two gelatos that day.

Of course a Stampin' Up! incentive trip wouldn't be a Stampin' Up! trip without the special Stampin' Up! touches and friendships!
The hospitality room with daily prize wheel, and candy, the thoughtfully packaged pillow gifts each night, the honest and meaningful conversation with Stampin' Up! staff were all part of what make a Stampin' Up! trip super special and reminds me that I am part of a really generous and kind company.  Yes, Stampin' Up!  might be a global, multimillion dollar company but they have the small, family business love.

This trip is where I reconnect with demonstrator friends I have met over the years from all around the world!
These friendships certainly contribute to my motivation to try to earn the trip each year!

If this post makes you interested in joining the fun of the Stampin' Up! family, now is a great time!  The starter kit is on sale!! You get to choose $205 worth of Stampin' Up! product and pay only $135 no tax no shipping in most provinces.  In addition, you'll also receive a $14 coupon to use later!  You'll then have access to enjoy shopping with your min. 20% discount, access to my special Team S.T.I.C stamper perks like monthly stamping nights, tutorials, raffles and more! If you want, you can also earn money and even incentive trips!
It's all available and there's no risk!  Only benefits.
Read more HERE and get your great deal starter kit today while the special offer is on!

Thank you so much for sharing my Stamping journey with me!  Thank you for letting me share highlights from the special incentive trip and thank you for all your support!

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