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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bermuda: Day 1 and 2

We are so blessed that Zach represents a company that rewards people for their hard work. We have the opportunity to travel with Aflac corporate two times a year. National Convention is where any agent can qualify as long as they write a certain amount of business (Hawaii here we come in Oct!) and Presidents Club is the toughest one to make...an agent has to be one of the Top 85 in the country. Last year Zach was #86! He missed it by only $700 in business so this year he was NOT going to be that close again...he ended the year at #34!!!! SO proud!

Our reward for his hard work was the President's Club trip to Bermuda. I love traveling with the corporate trips because we get to fly out of Valdosta. It makes it so much easier to drive 20 min, have free parking, and take 10 min to go through security. Our flight left at 5:45 in the morning which was TOUGH on a first trimester pregnant girl ;) We had a lengthy layover in Atlanta then flew direct to Bermuda.

waiting in ATL
Typically on Aflac trips we try our hardest to avoid ALL the Aflac people. I know that sounds rude, and sometimes it's unavoidable, but if we're leaving our child behind then we want to enjoy each other and not have a bunch of work talk our whole vacation. We talked about it and decided we need to change that perspective. This business (like all businesses) has a lot to do with networking. We were on a trip with the TOP people in the entire company. It'd be stupid to not take advantage of that opportunity to meet others and branch out. I'm really glad we made that decision, I left this trip MORE excited about Zach's future with Aflac than I ever have been before. We both did. To be doing so well so young the sky is really the limit for him and I can't WAIT to see what the future with this amazing company holds for our family :)

Right when we got off the plane we were impressed with Bermuda. It's simply beautiful and the locals are SO nice. When we travel to Mexico and other such places we're kinda scared (remember our last Cancun trip???) but not in Bermuda. Maybe it's because they are British owned? It's hard to be creepy with a British accent haha!

Aflac ALWAYS does it up right and we had a fabulous room

I LOVED the bathroom. I decided I want a little bench seat to sit on when getting ready, it was so great when doing my hair and would be awesome when I get mega pregnant
While the hotel was beautiful, it was also BEYOND expensive. Aflac had complementary lunch but we missed it and we failed to eat at the airport before boarding the plane (we assumed, stupidly, that they'd feed us lunch on the flight). So we hadn't eaten since we had arrived at the Atl airport at 7 am. It was 3:30 when we got to the hotel and Zach was DYING. He's one of those people that won't shut up about how hungry he is. I ate a few cookies they had at the Aflac desk and knew that'd hold me over until 6 when dinner started. Zach couldn't handle it. We checked ALL the hotel restaurants and the cheapest thing we could find for him was a Snickers from our mini-bar for $3.50. No joke. We got ready and headed down for dinner (it was supposed to be on the beach but the weather wasn't too good so we had it inside instead). Tell me Zach wasn't starving!!!
I LOVED the centerpieces. Each table had a different fruit theme. Isn't this such a cute idea? If Blitzen is a girl I could totally do a fruit themed birthday party or it'd be cute for a bridal shower too!
The morning of our first official day we had signed up for our free activity and planned to ride a boat our to snorkel at a shipwreck. I really wasn't in the mood (I was still sick every day all day at this point in my pregnancy) but it was free so we went. I quickly realized I totally packed wrong for this vacation. I thought Bermuda was in the Caribbean didn't you? Nope - it's near the coast of North Carolina! It was CHILLY and windy and rained pretty often. I packed clothes expecting Mexico weather and instead got weather colder than we had been having at home!

I spent the boat ride bundled up the best I could get!
We were on the boat with all Aflac people and got to know most of them very well by the end of our day. Our tour guide was AWESOME. It wasn't supposed to be an educational tour but we learned more about Bermuda than we ever thought possible. Zach is in love with their government set-up because they don't let people get jobs there unless a Bermudian cannot perform the job and then if a non-local does get a job they re-check every year and will replace them if a Bermudian can do it instead. He also told us that Bermuda is the highest income country in the world...but also one of the most expensive to live in. A gallon of milk is $9. Can you imagine? And he said no one will work for anything less than $18 an hour!
My camera (A Sony DSC-HX, I know many of you have asked about it...I LOVE IT - the newer version is here) has a cool feature where you can take panoramic pictures. It was GREAT for landscape pictures of the beautiful scenery and Zach had a lot of fun with it the whole trip (I was too cold and too sick from the windy, rocky, boat ride to take pics). The blog can't post them as big as they should be but you can click on them for a larger view!


We got to the snorkeling spot and no one wanted to get in. The water was only in the 60s! It was a very pretty spot with a cool cave and things. I'm sort of a snorkeling snob...I've been SO many times in so many beautiful places that I didn't want to bother with the cold water (and being SO cold after) unless there was something cool to see. I mean I've swam with sea turtles, that's tough to compete with! The tour guy said that we would just see some fish so I sat it out.
You KNOW Zach wasn't going to miss out though! He was the first one in the water and jumped off the top of the boat. My first thought was "there goes the thousands of dollars we're spending on his back surgery..."
such a goober
He swam wayyyy out and said he saw some cool stuff, especially a big school of fish that swam all around him (a few brave ppl did end up joining him)
After the snorkel break, our guide said that the weather was pretty nasty and that he didn't want to make us all sick taking us to the shipwreck. He said instead he could take us on a tour of homes and that sounded better to everyone! Especially me! On our honeymoon (we went to Maldives) we did something similar to this tour and our guide got LOST in a STORM at SEA. Um I literally puked and I do not throw up. I was so thankful not to have to repeat that experience!

All the houses in Bermuda collect their own water and have a water system. Their roofs are all white and made of limestone and they have no pollution there so the water from the rain is clean! All the houses are made of heavy, heavy, concrete and when hurricanes come no one even worries about them. He said everyone just parties it up because it's very rare for any homes to be destroyed.


This house is where the guy who did The Wizard of Oz lived. He based a lot of the ideas from his home in Bermuda. You can tell the tower is very similar to the one the monkeys flew out of! I guess he was pretty crazy because he tried to declare his little island as it's own country and even issued passports to it!
The cheapest home we saw was over 2 million dollars. Many celebrities have homes there and Michael Douglas is actually not American, he's a Bermudian! He still lives there with Catherine Zeta-Jones as do his parents. Oprah tried to by property there but it's SO difficult to do so and there are so many rules about it that she ended up not doing it.
This house is one of the biggest there as it has 10,000 sq ft UNDER ground! Our guide has actually been inside of it before and said it's amazing. There are glass bottom floors with fish swimming below them and the whole thing is ridiculously expensive. The guy who built it broke so many building code rules that he isn't allowed to actually sleep in it. He has a smaller house, that is up to code, where he goes to sleep. How crazy?
This house is where Bob Vila made the tv show called This Old House
After our tour was over, we asked the guide for the cheapest places to eat. We wondered why Aflac had given us $400 spending money instead of the standard $200 but we soon realized why - Bermuda is SO SO SO expensive!!! He ended up suggesting for us to split a cab and ride down to The Swizzle Inn. It was great because before we left my friend from high school, Autumn, wrote me on Facebook and said it's the one place we had to eat while we were visiting.

We went with several of the other Aflac couples and totally lucked out...on the way there they told us they would pay for our cab, then one of the people paid for the ENTIRE bill, and another paid for our cab back! Score! It's funny b/c even though Zach's in the Top 85 nationally we are no where compared to these people with how much dough they have. Zach's new with the company but these people have been in it forever and have HUGE accounts. We're like the young new kids in the crew and they were all so sweet welcoming us in ;)
The Swizzle Inn is named for the famous Bermuda drink they have there. Everyone at the table ordered a round and, duh, Zach and I stuck with water. Everyone said it was good though! The food was A-Mazing. My burger was made fresh and you could tell. They also had these yummy crab cakes and great french fries. We got nice and FULL for sure!

I loved the opportunity to wear my Birds of Paradise Necklace
We stayed there visiting for several hours...we enjoyed the company but we were mostly there that long because Bermudians do NOT rush like we do here. It's def an "island time" type place, and it was nice to get to know everyone. It's neat to meet people from all over the country and hear how Aflac has impacted their lives. The lady who picked up the tab was super cool and we didn't realize it until the award night but she isn't an agent...she's like a VP of the COMPANY! We felt kinda dumb that we didn't know that and understood why everyone was joking with her that she should be paying b/c she has an Aflac Corporate Credit Card! Thanks Aflac for our awesome meal ;)

By the time we got back to the room we didn't have long before dinner. We rested (which I BADLY needed) and watched some of The Office (season 5 baby!) before getting ready to go eat. That night they divided us all up by our territory and we ate at a beautiful restaurant on the water. When we went to Paris we didn't know anyone else and I don't even think anyone from Ga-South was there? This time it was awesome to see so many people we know on the trip. Tripp, the state director (so he's 3 steps above Zach) qualified which is a HUGE deal as it's tough for a State to make it. We had a great time with him and he let us in on a BIG secret...he didn't announce it to anyone else until the following week but the state vacation next year is an ALASKAN CRUISE!!!!!! I am beyond pumped! This year he's taking us to the Mediterranean which will be awesome, but I think next year will be even better. I've always wanted to do an Alaskan cruise and see the whales plus he's doing it in August so it'll spread out the trips SO much better for us. I hope Zach qualifies!!!
Tripp did a little mini photo shoot for us before dinner, I'm LOVING our outfits! I didn't realize how well we coordinated till I went to edit these :)
The food that night was, again, amazing. I was still in my I'm-never-hungry mode so Zach enjoyed his steak and my steak too ;) We made fast friends with another agent who lives in Atlanta named Lisa. Her husband, Chuck, is a district coordinator (like Mr. Rusty is) and they were hilarious. She kept us laughing the rest of the vacation!
A great start to a great vacation with my favorite travel partner :)

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