Archive for June 30, 2011

New Auto Transport Business or Business As Usual

New Auto Transport Business or Business As Usual

Facing our fear head on

Over the past six years or so of building our auto transport business, I have spoken with thousands of prospects on the phone. Each day brings new types of people into my life in one way or another.

Having always worked in customer service talking with people over the phone is nothing new. Except today was different, we hosted a conference call and I was the guest speaker. That was different; I was scared out of my wits.

My stomach tied in knots. I was weepy all day long for no apparent reason. Answering many phone calls, my normal tone and service came through just fine. What was the matter with me?

Paralyzed with fear it hit me. This fear was about how this conference call would turn out. Would I give them what they wanted? I wondered if they would like me as a person? Where did these doubts come from? Do you suppose it is resistance?

Finally, my coach's voice rose up from the recesses of my brain. Sandi emphasizes that we need to FOCUS! It is NOT about YOU.

She was right; this conference call is about helping those that have reached out in desperation. They want to get their most pressing questions answered about auto transport brokering. They want what I did not get; they want to be sure, they are making the right choice in business before jumping off that bridge.

All right, it was time. It was time to call the number and begin. (Deep breath)

Time flies by when you are prepared

As my fingers dialed the phone, well actually punched the keys (can you tell I am still shaking and old school) I fumbled to find the right number. Instant Tele-seminar emailed me the link, why can I not find it now.

Setting my Outlook Calendar to remind me of the time, I checked it regularly. Regardless if a client calls came in, I did not want to answer and get tied up only to be late to my own call. That part of my day went very well.

It was 3:30 PM, thirty minutes before the call began and there is a knock at the door. Who could it be the UPS deliveryman? Maybe it is someone unfamiliar with our area and they need directions.

No, it is neither. It is my mom who lives next door. She has pictures of my great-nephew to give to me. Adorable as they are and appreciative as I am it interrupted my schedule. The meditation I had done earlier flew out the window. These types of interruptions happen all the time while working from a home office.

It was a nice break to get my mind off the butterflies multiplying in my stomach. The nervous reaction of tears falling concerned her. The oldest of her children, I am the strong one and tears are rare to be seen falling down my cheeks. I explained what I was doing and why.

She smiled and said, "It is no different than standing in the front of the room giving a demonstration like you did in 4-H. isn't it the same as giving a business presentation for your vitamin company? You will do just fine. Take a deep breath and start". With a hug and a kiss on the cheek out the door, she went leaving me to face my fear.

There will always be firsts

The crackle of the phone line indicated I was in. As I said hello others responded in kind. Fumbling to find the right control in the seminar control panel, we chatted to break the ice. Callers introduced themselves and mentioned what state they were calling from.

After introductions, I told them we would be recording this call. Go to a quiet place and grab a piece of paper and pen because there was a ton of information to cover all within an hour. With the recording started, lecture mode chosen I started with my personal story.

Ten minutes into the call something made me question if the recording was right. Clicking back into group call, I asked if they had heard anything, I had said. Across the board the answer was NO. Great, now what would I do?

My instant reaction was laughter. Actually, it was more of a very nervous giggle, but I hoped that they could understand. Within minutes, we continued the call in a group setting asking them to hold all questions to the end.

Finally, on a roll, my throat started to get dry. Thanks to my coach, sharing that she always had peppermint water sitting by her phone when she talked to keep her voice crisp and clear. Yes, it worked.

As anything we do for the first time, it went so-so. Doing my best to control the perfectionist in me I patted myself on the back and said well done. I know that the next call will be better. Each time we overcome our fear and conquer it, we become stronger and more confident.

The same will happen for our coaching students who were on that call. Once they make the decision to go for it, the rest will get easier. There will always be a first for everything, one first client, one first booking, and one first phone call. I still remember the first dispatch call that secured the first dollar our auto transport business made.

By facing my fear of speaking to those interested in becoming an auto transport broker on the call another level of confidence rose within me. The next call will be easier, more relaxed and hopefully my technical skills will improve, too.

We need your help! If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Auto Transport Broker Prepared by Cancelled Flights Due to Blizzard

 

Auto Transport Broker Prepared by Cancelled Flights Due to Blizzard
 
Turbulence and football

Out of a deep sleep, the captain advising us to return to our seats and buckle up awakened this auto transport broker and family. We were entering a very large pocket of weather with extreme turbulence. The flight attendants assisted those who were not so steady on their feet back to their seats. This part of the trip freaked my husband and son out. What would they do if the plane crashed? They are not great travelers anyway, but to reassure them I told them we would be fine. The crew flew through all kinds of weather and this was no different.

The turbulence was a major blizzard. After the plane landed in Philadelphia, it took awhile to get to the gate. Looking out the window snow and ice was everywhere; our auto transport broker business was the last thing on our minds. There were very few signs of activity, which should have been a clue. Not traveling internationally much, we were clueless about the signs around us.

As we got off the plane, we walked to the customs clearing area. Everything went fine this time through; luggage in tow we left the area. As we made our way to find something to eat, we stopped at one of the boards to find our connection and gate. It was that very moment that we realized something was not right at all. The airport had CANCELLED all flights, in and out for the night.

Now what were we to do?

 
Okay, first we needed food. Walking the terminals there was not one establishment open. What was the deal? Finally, we found a security guard and asked what was happening. He was happy to help us, his customer service superb although his answer was not what we wanted to hear. The airport was operating on a bare bones crew due to the snowstorm; no one could get in to work.

We decided to get a hotel room and just order room service. If I believed in luck, which I do not, we did not have any. It happened to be the one weekend for the Philadelphia Eagles to be at home in a play-off game. All hotels/motels were booked solid for miles. With no rooms available, we settled for the Mylar blankets and found a spot in the indoor walkway that crossed the road below.

The only food establishments were inside the security area or outside the airport. We had our luggage, there were no employees at security, and we were not able to get inside without going through security first. Finally, we crossed the street and found an outside restaurant. There was a two-hour wait for a table. At that point in time, we did not care how long we had to wait. At least it was warm inside and we knew warm food was to come.

It was finally our turn to enter the restaurant to enjoy hot coffee and a warm meal. All three of us savored every bite. It had been a very long flight, a long day and we just wanted some nourishment. After our hot meal, we ordered more coffee to enable our stay inside the establishment. Pushing the limit, we finally left and returned to our piece of airport real estate. We had never been so tired, cold or frightened.

Morning humbled even the best of travelers

I am not sure any of us really slept that night. The blankets might have been warm on top, but the freezing air from the frigid temperatures outdoors encircled the walkway beneath our butts below. Then there was the fear of those wandering around all night might swipe our luggage. I now know that was silly, but hey it was our first time being stuck in an airport overnight because of a storm.

We heard other passengers talking about getting in line to rebook their connections that morning. Quickly I took my place in line. After two hours standing and creeping up, the announcement came over the loud speaker. The ATC stopped all plane activity ~ in and out again.

Shrinking back to where my husband and son sat I had to break the news. We were not going anywhere anytime soon. Later I decided to try my cell phone and try to book seats out for us. This time it worked, we would be able to board in less than an hour.
 

As we neared our gate, a familiar message blinked on the flight board ~ all reservations, in and out ~ DUE TO STORM nixed. This was so frustrating. Now the vision of frantic passengers trying to get home during the holidays came to mind.

Remembering how I reacted to their frustrations while sitting at home on my warm, soft sofa in front of the radiating heat of the stove made me sick to my stomach. Now I knew what they had gone through. We were living the experiences of the angry travelers with rescheduled flights. I vowed I would never again judge how they were acting in such a situation.

It would take two more bookings on that airline and twenty four more hours before we successfully boarded our plane headed for San Francisco and then on to Sacramento, California where our car was parked.

Auto Transport, Weather and Truck Drivers
 
The lessons we learned on that trip helped us to be aware of how people must feel when they are shipping their car. In our auto transport business people come up against all sorts of situations that can cause stress. Their reaction to that stress can cause them to act differently than they normally would.
 
This year has been a glowing example of how weather can affect everything in our lives, including shipping your car. We must keep in mind that these men and women truck drivers put their very lives on the line to serve you and me. If the roads are not safe, we should not push them or get angry because they will not drive those big rigs on sheets of ice. Instead, we should be thankful that they are aware of the dangers to themselves, their equipment and other drivers on the road. You never know when that other driver could be you or a loved one.
 
Just today, one of our owner-operators called to let us know their truck broke down. The shop had ordered the parts but they would not be in until the next afternoon. This put the truck driver one full day behind on his schedule. When I called all of the customers and auto transport brokers to advise them of the situation, some were understanding and adjusted their schedules. Others were furious, screamed, yelled and literally threw the phone down.

Even though we try to work through all glitches like this one, we cannot make everyone happy all of the time. Even trying to reason with them through the situation did not work. Can you imagine someone telling you that she does not care that the driver cannot help that a piece of machinery broke ~ it inconvenienced her? How do you handle that? Does that even make sense?

We offered every possible alternative to ship her car nothing suited her. Finally, I advised her that if she wanted to calm down and work with us instead of against us, we could find a solution. This angry auto transport customer finally came to her senses and worked with us to find a solution good for everyone. It only took one phone call and we handled the situation.

When an angry customer attacks us as she did, I always remember how I felt in that airport with rescheduled planes due to extreme weather. Thank goodness I did not act out as she did, but I can understand why she felt the way she did. Having empathy for our angry auto transport customers makes us a better person, broker, servant and business owner now and in the future.
 
We need your help! If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access
 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
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Angry Auto Transport Customers and How We Learned to Empathize

(good bye Bandon, County Cork, Ireland)

Angry Auto Transport Customers and How We Learned to Empathize

The preconceived ideas left behind

Our trip to Ireland, the land of my husband's family and the euphoric state we were still in was soon to end. Heading back home to our auto transport business had to take priority now. The memories we held in our hearts of the touch of our little granddaughter's hand brought a smile to our faces. The thoughts of past times and people living in the monstrous castles of Ireland burned in our memory for good. Those preconceived ideas of old castles and life in Ireland were left behind.

Those were the good memories we brought back home with us. However, the trip was not over yet. The lessons we were about to learn would be way out of our comfort zone. We would soon find out that we did not know the true meaning of being humble. Do you find lessons in the oddest places too?

Heart-wrenching sad goodbye

Our flight out of the Cork airport left early in the mist of the morning. Unlike airports in the U.S.A., there are no services available when the first flights are boarding. Leaving our family and the lovely island of Ireland was hard enough, but without coffee, it was horrible.

Final hugs and kisses were flying all over the place as all three of us tried to get to our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law one last time before disappearing out the door to the tarmac for boarding. Tears froze on my cheeks as I tried my darnedest to hold the floodgate of tears back…it did not work. As you can imagine, the sleeve of my coat was sopping wet by the time we found our seats and buckled our belts.

As the plane took off, the landing gear lifted up into position, I caught one final glimpse of the emerald island before we disappeared into the billowing white clouds above. Just like that, our family and Ireland were behind us.

Connecting flight and customs

The route our return trip took us through was different from our trip to Ireland. Our connection was in Amsterdam, Holland instead of Paris, France. After having found our way around in Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, we thought it would be simple on the way home. Wrong.

Amsterdam is an international airport and larger than Charles De Gaulle, or so it seemed. Wandering through the large terminals we almost got lost. All of us were hungry and looking for the food court.

At that time of the morning, McDonald's was not on our list of food choices. However, look as we might we could not find anything that remotely resembled an American breakfast. I am adventurous, but my son and husband are not. It turned out that we settled for a hot cup of coffee and a pastry or two.

Next, it was time to shop for souvenirs. Tulips are gorgeous and each dish came with its own soil just perfect to grow them indoors. Cute little wooden clogs painted white with tulips adorning the toes would serve quite nicely to prove we had at least been in the airport inside Holland.

The time came when we needed to locate our gate and get ready to board the plane for the long flight back to the U.S.A. This leg of the trip would take us through customs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As we rechecked, our baggage and entered customs the attendant flagged me over. I had no idea why they pulled me into the clearance area; nothing had changed since we left Ireland, or so I thought.

Do you remember the little bowl of tulip bulbs I purchased at the gift shop? The soil that came with the bulbs could not leave the country. Do you wonder why it is a set if it is not allowed out of the country? I sure did. Regardless, the soil was confiscated and they allowed me to keep the bulbs and bowl. I was not happy that I had lost the perfect soil to grow my tulips. I grudgingly handed the attendant my boarding passes and entered the plane.

For the next nine hours, our flight was uneventful. Settled into our seats we leaned back, closed our eyes and slept most of the flight exhausted from our whirlwind trip to Ireland.

This leg of our trip home reminded me that we should never take anything for granted. Just because the vendor in the airport sold the package of tulip bulbs with dirt in a bowl, it did not mean the package would pass customs inspection.

The same goes for owning your own auto transport business. We can never assume or take a customers auto transport for granted. We always need to work with a servant’s heart, providing the best possible customer service we can. Even if our customer is grumpy or yells at us over the phone our response needs to be calm cool and collected. It is our job to maintain a professional attitude and demeanor when serving all customers.

Come back next time for the concluding story of our flight home and the lessons international travel, old Irish castles and a new granddaughter taught us about the auto transport business.

We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…



Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my Facebook Page Wall.

Auto Transport & Irish Roots Come Full Circle Leaving Preconceived Ideas

 

(Our family at Blarney Castle)

Auto Transport & Irish Roots Come Full Circle Leaving Preconceived Ideas

Not enough time for a final hoorah

This year the weather has been very wild here in the United States. So much so, that it reminds me of our wild, whirlwind week of vacationing in Ireland. You might wonder how so.

The weather patterns that are normal for any given area at any given time of the year have not been so this year. We could say the same for our whirlwind visit and the excursions we packed into just five days.

Our focus was our new granddaughter and family we had not seen in months. Building that bond to last who knew how long was important because I wanted the same kind of relationship with my granddaughter that I had with my grandma.

On the other hand, traveling half way across the globe we wanted to see as many sites as we could. We wanted to interact with the local people, get to know how they ate, what they drank, what they did for entertainment. We also wanted to see the countryside, castles and of course to shop.

We managed to get a little bit of all of our desires. Were we satisfied? Yes and no. Seems somewhat undecided I know.

However, our auto transport business would soon come to be like our vacation. Some days we love what we do and some days I would sell it to the lowest bidder, (wink wink). We had to learn to take the good with the bad. Most businesses and even some jobs are like that, are they not? Vacations can be the same way.

Save the best for last

The day came when we had one last chance to see two more major sites, shop for souvenirs and spend precious time with our family. Going over our list of must do's we asked our kids which sites they would chose if time only allowed one day.

Since they had visited Ireland twice prior to moving there to live awhile, they both agreed that we must visit the Blarney Castle and Muckross Manor. Both were rich in history, both happy and sad. At the end of the day, we all were happy we had agreed to bide by their recommendation and enjoy every minute of our day together.

Blarney, most famous of all
 
(Blarney Castle Tower)
 
The next adventure took us to the most famous of Irish castles, the Blarney Castle. Built some six hundred years ago it houses the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that once you kiss the stone you will never be at a loss for words again.
 
Did I kiss it? Are you crazy, no way was I going to put my lips to some stone that millions of others had kissed, can you say "germs"?
 
(Son-in-law, Nate kissing Blarney stone)

The grounds were the greenest green, finely groomed and manicured. Fir trees dotted the grounds and an icy stream flowed through bordering the privately owned manor house across the fields.

Have you ever watched a movie where the castle is under attack and the resident knights are pouring hot oil or tar on their attackers? In one area of the castle, you could see the small ledge where they stood. It was scary to see signs of where the hot liquid wore down the rock wall when it fell onto the unsuspecting assailants. Just thinking about the purpose of the "murder holes" in the walls gave us chills.

(Murder holes in castle walls for hot tar)

As we entered into the courtyard, we caught our first glimpse of what a real catwalk looked like. The walkway was about three feet wide, four to five feet off the green garden below and very uneven. Full of inset rock, dirt and debris it was not easy to walk on. Can you imagine running for your life? Imagine carrying a bucket of hot oil or tar while running to protect your castle from intruders.

(Catwalk of Blarney Castle)

There were many more cool places and things to see inside the castle walls. One room was a bedroom. It was evident that all one would do is sleep and dress inside as it was very small. The width of the room was about five feet, I could not even lie across it, it was too short. The length might have been about ten feet and the floor was stone, not even at that. Straw softened the floor for lying down. Can you imagine?

The largest rooms we remember were the kitchen and great hall where large dining tables presented the meals to royalty and guests. I quickly left behind the preconceived idea of princesses in lovely gowns running on high-heeled shoes looking glamorous at this castle.

Muckross House from royalty to rags

(Muckross House)

We visited several other locations before arriving at the southern most destinations. The Rock of Cashel deserves a mention. The day it snowed we headed to visit this amazing castle, but due to the inclimate weather it was closed.

The exterior of the site was breathtaking. Built on pure bedrock it was unbelievable how with the tools of the day they were able to construct a building that has withstood war, wealth, poverty and harsh weather for hundreds of years.

Also on our way to the Muckross House was the Beara Peninsula, Bantry Bay. We viewed the bay from the side of the road. Our daughter pointed out where they grow and harvest oysters on one end of the bay.

We could see across the inlet, the hillsides and the endless mountains covered by mist. The solid rock tunnel we traveled through to get to the other side of the mountain took my breath away, literally. It was scary to enter an unlit tunnel, hand carved by man with only the light at the end of the tunnel and our headlights to show the way. It was quite an experience.

Our final day's outing ended with a bang. The Muckross House, near Killarney had such a rich history. Queen Victoria was a regular guest during the Great Depression, also known as the Potato Famine. She and her entourage escaped the duties of the Royal family to vacation in seclusion at the lake.

As we entered the huge mahogany doors the first thing we saw was a sign, "NO FLASH PICTURES". Preserving the antiques and beautiful interior decorations is no small feat. We honored those instructions.

However, I sure wish I had pictures of the eight foot wide solid mahogany staircase and the lavishly decorated great rooms. I have never seen anything so exotic, rich and beautiful.

I hope that you will visit the link to Muckross House because the story of the building of the house is incredible. More incredible than that story though is the story of the families who have resided within its walls. The story of riches to poverty was very sad. The possession of land and the rewards that went with being a landowner is a lesson of managing our assets. The lesson and sadness of losing the property and status is a hard one to bear.
 
The lessons of business and wealth transcend the centuries. If only we would pay attention and learn the lessons from those that have gone before us. Surely, we would benefit not only our business, and our future generations, but ourselves too.
 
And so, it was with much heartache and tears our tour of Ireland and visit with our family drew to a close. Many lessons were learned while enjoying the whole experience of international travel.

Upon our return home we had no time to dwell on our hurting hearts or minds. Our auto transport business awaited our well trained listening ear and busy hands to serve our new clients.

All preconceived ideas about Irish castles and auto transport we left behind. Today, we enjoy sharing our travels, lessons and success with our family and friends alike. Our coaching clients enjoy the benefit of avoiding those lessons we learned early on. It is to their success and auto transport businesses that we dedicate these stories in the hope that they too will enjoy valued time with their friends and family as we have.

We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…



Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my Facebook Page Wall.

Preconceived Ideas About Auto Transport And Irish Castles

(Kilbritain Castle)

Preconceived Ideas About Auto Transport And Irish Castles
 

Auto transport and Irish castles have something in common

Our first night in Ireland was almost magical. So many thoughts drifted through my head I thought it was going to explode. Our new granddaughter had stolen our hearts; we were half way around the world in a foreign country…the land of my husband's family. Our new auto transport business was waiting at home. Upon our return we would launch the business. Who could forget about that adventure?

Looking back in retrospect, my preconceived ideas about both were very immature. It is hard to believe that I am admitting it, but the truth is the truth after all. I would later discover that owning your own business, even an auto transport business, is hard work. Yes, the rewards are incredible, like being able to travel to see our family anytime we wanted to. It does not mean that I could sleep in dragging into the office whenever I felt like it. Customers and owner-operators alike depended on me to serve their needs.

The Irish castles were nothing like the preconceived idea I had in my head. The Travel and History channels cannot even come close to providing the feeling of actually being near or in one of those ancient monumental castles.

All I know is the lessons I have learned from traveling to foreign destinations to building our auto transport business have been the most rewarding lessons I have ever had. What lessons have you experienced to share with others?

Let the tour begin…

Our first day touring the local area was incredible. The private Kilbritain Castle above set back off the lane surrounded by trees and wide-open, green fields. I could envision a young girl, in a warm woolen dress sitting on a stool, painting a picture of the castle and surrounding area just like in the movies. It was the most breathtaking site we had ever seen and at that moment, all preconceived ideas of castles flew right out the window.

The small minivan barely held all of us with Maebh's car seat. Our son, Daniel crawled in the very back, which was uncomfortable and cramped. Being together was the only reason we all put up with being like sardines in a can. Who wants to travel around the world only to take separate cars to tour the area? To top off the small van, the roads were very narrow, windy and bumpy. We concluded though, that this all added to the adventure of the backcountry of Ireland.

Next came the Timoleague Abby set right on the bay. The ruins were quite spectacular and allowed our imaginations to run wild. The inside of the abbey, ruined long ago by attacking marauders had burned. The second floor was missing but you could get the sense of it from the protruding leftover beams above the main floor.

(Timoleague Abbey)

The residents of the abbey must have been small in stature as the doorways were short. All of us had to duck to enter the interior rooms. We could only imagine what it must have been like back in the day of the active community.

Weather gets in the way of touring

Taking our time touring the various castles, manors and communities of southern Ireland was very relaxing. Due to the narrow roadways and rural nature of the landscape, the average speed limits were 50 KM (approximately 31 MPH) although it seemed like we were flying.

Would you know that a once in a lifetime trip would include a once in a century snowstorm. That is right, it rarely snows in Ireland yet we woke to a beautiful blanket of white snow on our third day in the country.

We enjoyed the morning with our family relaxing and sipping hot Barry's black tea with milk and biscuits. At first, I thought my daughter was crazy for putting milk in her tea, and then she told me to try it. She was right it was quite good. The milk took the bite off the rich tea and it seemed smoother. The biscuits were cookies called "Digestives" which fit nicely with our vitamin capletWhen we returned home, we missed them so we shopped and found them at the local "World Market".

The weather cleared and the snow melted so we all piled in the van and headed for our next destination ~ Cahir Castle. This castle had been renovated somewhat. Huge chains on a manual wheel raised the gates. No wonder men in those days were strong; it appeared it would have taken a team of horses to raise that solid steel-bar gate!

 

(Cahir Castle)

The solid rock walls towered over the inner courtyard. The recently groomed gardens were a stark contrast to the gray stones lining the walls. From the deep, dark dungeon to the guard towers, the reality of darker times for the inhabitants of Ireland came to life. From the crests adorning the great hall walls to the six-foot swords it did not appear that "those good old days" were so great.

As for the spiral stairwells in the fairy tales, well let us just say you will not find any princess with a sweeping gown running up or down one. Each step was no more than maybe five inches deep, barely wide enough to allow the balls of our feet to lift us to the next step.

Thankfully, none of us was prone to being claustrophobic. The walls rose straight up and inside were no more than three feet wide. This stairwell had no handrails (made me wonder if there were such things back then) and was no place to be if you had vertigo or had a fear of heights.

As our tour of the castles ended that day, we talked about the differences on the way home. Each castle represented the uniqueness of its owner and its resident people. Inside those stonewalls was a community of people living their lives the best they knew how at that time. They protected the castle and each other to the death.
 
In business, we have communities, too. Within those communities, we have a hierarchy just like inside the castle communities. We protect each other because we all depend on each other to do our jobs.
 
In auto transport, we depend on the customer who ships their car, the owner-operator who transports the car and on other brokers to do their job, too. When each sector of the community or business does their part the right way, the whole community prospers.
 
Today is no different from some six hundred years ago in Ireland. We all need each other to live healthy, happy prosperous lives. Together we can make a change that will allow all of us to build profitable auto transport businesses that serve the customer, truck driver and broker alike.
 
We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Family Ties In Ireland

Family ties lured us to international travel

What was I thinking?

The short ride from the airport in Cork to our daughter’s home in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland was breathtakingly beautiful. It was cold and overcast yet the green fields stood out like sparkling emerald gemstones. In contrast, the white sheep with long curly wool accented the landscapes only interrupted by the dark blue streams flowing seamlessly.

Taking in the view, I instantly started regretting the thoughts I had before the trip became a reality to our family. Other than our new granddaughter, there really was no need to travel all that way around the world just to see old ruins of ancient castles. After all, they are just a pile of stones, dark, damp and gray. Most of our family enjoyed travel by watching the television, the History or Travel Channel. We needed to focus on opening our auto transport business to make money. What was all the fuss about international travel anyway?

When I caught the first glimpse of one of the ruins, I felt the pangs of instant regret for those feelings. Traveling to a foreign country is a big deal. Each country has something another country does not offer. Each population holds a unique history and their story adds to the excitement in life. Then I started thinking what if we did not make this trip. Imagine what we would have missed.

Out of our comfort zone, the adventure

Arriving at Jeanette’s home, the winds were still biting at our uncovered cheeks. We could not wait to get inside and warm our tired and cold bones. This would be surprise number one; construction of homes in Ireland is different from the United States. Although the home looked the same, the floor had no sub floor. With just single planks, covering the raised foundation the trade winds swept under the home encircling us with frigid temperatures.

Due to limited monthly income, the kids could not afford the electric heater and used a traditional coal fireplace. Watching our son-in-law build a fire while our teeth were chattering made me want to jump in and do it myself. Have you ever used coal to heat your home? It is not a quick burning fuel; it reminds me of starting the briquettes for a bar-b-que.

With double entry doors in the living room, we had to close them both to keep the little heat the coal produced in the room. It did not take long and this new grandma retreated to the bed with a heavy duvet to warm up.

The next surprise came in the kitchen. Refrigerators are quite small and foods needing cold storage usually end up spoiled if not used quickly.

There was no coffee pot, only a coffee press. This kitchen tool is tempered glass. First, the water boiled on the stove top. Next, pour the hot water into the press with the coffee grounds in the bottom. There is a flat circular press inserted that then presses the coffee grounds to the bottom and the coffee is strained ready to be poured into a cup. Sure seemed like a lot of work just for a cup of Joe.

Grocery shopping in Ireland is a very different experience, too. Since it is an island, everyone is aware of the amount of trash generated. There are NO plastic grocery bags; you must bring your own purchased shopping bag. Purchase of food is for one to three days only, making the recycled bag just big enough to hold your purchase that day.

Speaking of trash, they must pay by the pound. We did not really understand this concept as we pay by the month and cubit foot (size of trashcan). We did not use paper napkins or paper towels, instead we used cloth everything. The purchase of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats made it simple to avoid extra packaging, which in turn made less trash. I wonder if maybe the whole world should adopt such a rule.

Made to feel at home

The people of Bandon were very hospitable. Friendly is an understatement. Healthy is a term I would use lightly because although they walk everywhere, eat healthy compared to Americans…they drink and smoke very heavily. The drink of choice is either Guinness dark beer or Irish whiskey.

Red and brunette hair, fair skin and big smiles adorned most faces we met. It was as if we were in another world, literally. Laid back, easy going the people took life one moment at a time. They are hard workers and love their family. We look forward to our next trip back. We want to spend more time with the local people, get to know them and the culture and traditions. 

Our little granddaughter grew to recognize our voices and touch even though she was three months premature. Her head would turn when she heard her Uncle Dan enter the room.

Being my first grandchild it was easy to just sit, hold her and talk with her, of course in her language of gurgles and coos. Grandpa fell in love right away and to this day she is his little princess who has him wrapped around her little finger.

 

One week is not enough for international travel

It was hard trying to experience everything on our five-day visit. The travel to and from took up two days of our vacation making it tough to bond with the baby, visit with our daughter and her husband then squeeze in a tour of southern Ireland.

If we had to do it over again, we would have done whatever we could to have extended the trip to two weeks. What I realized later about my negative thoughts about those dank, dark castles was I was angry that I was not in a financial position to visit our most precious gift…our granddaughter.

The thoughts and opinions of my parents, in-laws and extended family had permeated my life. I thought that because they could not or did not travel afar it was not okay for me to desire to do so. Thankfully, I came to my senses and appreciated every single moment we had to spend in that gorgeous country and with our loving family.

We would learn when we returned home to our auto transport business that being mobile is important when your family lives far away. Opening our minds to serve a customer when they want to ship a car helped us to expand our thinking when it came to international travel, too.

Next week we will take a tour of our trip to the castles, manors and quaint townships of the local area. There is so much to tell and so little space to tell it. Stay tuned for the whirlwind tour of a lifetime and a peek into the past times of kings, knights and fair maidens of Ireland.

We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
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Before Auto Transport There Was Ireland

Before Auto Transport There Was Ireland

New life, international travel and adventure

The day came when we loaded the car, left behind the new auto transport business and drove the two and a half hours to the airport. Living in California our attire does not vary much. Jeans and tee shirts are the norm and even during winter months, we just add a thermal long-sleeved shirt and call it good. Our daughter told us to bring our warmest coats. However, we would soon find California jackets are no protection against the biting winds of Ireland.

Boarding the plane in Sacramento, California, we settled in for the short flight to our connection in San Francisco. This was our first lengthy international flight. As it turned out it was a good thing we had all taken our supplement caplet to keep our bodies strong and resistant to the germs circulating in the cabin.

Navigating the Charles De Gaulle Airport

The second leg of our flight started in San Francisco, California and eventually ended in Paris, France. Charles De Gaulle Airport was very interesting. Since we had never been to France before we had no idea of how to navigate the airport to make our connecting flight. All of the signage was of course in French and we could not interpret them. We tried to get directions and instructions from the airport staff without much success.

Exhausted from the thirteen-hour flight, all we wanted to do was find the gate to our connecting flight to Cork, Ireland. Eventually we found the right gate. However, it was time for the staff to leave for lunch. Escorted to an exterior waiting area, they told us to return to the boarding area fifteen minutes before the flight left.

These procedures were quite different than we used to back home. The excitement of our trip, the length of the flight and the time difference caught up with all three of us. Our son pulled his hood over his head and caught a few winks.

Finally, it was time to board our next connection and be one-step closer to our new little granddaughter, Maebh. Air France-KLM would fly us to Amsterdam, Holland where we would board our final connection. Aer Lingus was our chauffeur to the Emerald Island, Ireland.

This is where I wish I had known my friend, Claudia Looi, a travel expert. She could have helped us to learn about traveling to all international locations with ease.

Back to my husband's family roots in Ireland

As we stepped off the plane in Cork, Ireland, we felt the first bite of the bitter winds of the island. Wrapping our coats around us, we hurried off the tarmac and into the terminal. Working our way through customs, we presented our passports and received the necessary stamp of entry. Finally, we followed directions to baggage claim and gathered our suitcases.

When we turned around with our luggage in hand, we caught first sight of our family. Joy filled our hearts and I could not wait to get my hands on that baby, and hug my daughter. To this day, I am not sure who was gladder to see whom.


After a few minutes of hugging and kissing and admiring our little baby, we headed off to the rental car. Our daughter had a car, but it was a small four door. Since there were five adults and the baby, we needed a larger car. We decided to rent a minivan so we all could ride together. The one small detail we did not know was that Irish minivans are not the same size, as American minivans. Trust me they are smaller.

We all packed our luggage and bodies into the small minivan. We were just glad to be on the ground, in Ireland with our family. Flying in was such a gorgeous site, the fields are the greenest green, almost like a postcard picture. That first look at the island from the sky made the long flight worth every minute.

The short thirty-minute drive back to our daughter’s home was an adventure. In Ireland, the right side of the road is actually the left side of the road. This was our first time experiencing riding in a car on the other side of the road. A few times I gasped as the small cars whizzed by, or what seemed to me to be whizzing by…we were only driving 45 MPH. The roads were winding through the countryside and very narrow. The fields were green as ever full of white and black sheep. What an experience for this country family.

The Irish adventure continues next time as we get to know our new granddaughter, Maebh and explore the Irish castles and culture.

We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…



Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my Facebook Page Wall.