Meet Candius Stearns
OWNER OF STAY BALANCED TRAVEL
As a kid, I never experienced a family vacation, or traveling to another state let alone another country. I grew up on a dairy farm in the middle of an 80-acre field in Croswell, Michigan. Farming doesn’t lend itself to time off. My brother and I helped my parents milk the cows twice a day. Three hours twice a day. The cows can’t be boarded and you can’t hire a babysitter to milk them!
The farm life made me a very driven person. After college, and a few jobs, I fell upon the health insurance industry. I started my own health insurance agency and quickly found myself working 70 to 80 hours a week. I - like many professionals - thought I could do it all. I bought into the idea that I could work hard and play later. So, I got married, started the agency, and bought a house all in the same year.
I quickly found I had no work-life balance. Like me, my husband was on the same hamster wheel, but in a different business. Along came a tragedy, which taught us both a lesson and brought “Life” crashing down around us. My mother, Kat, at 57 became chronically ill and we were faced with having to reevaluate everything.
Kat had a zest for life and a huge bucket list. She was diagnosed with cancer and only had a short time to live. As a horse trainer and lover of all animals, she had always wanted to go to the Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She wanted to see the Chuck Wagon races and blacksmith competition. So to give her a reason to make it awhile longer, I planned a trip to Calgary for her the 4th of July week in 2011.
I went the extra mile to ask all the questions. I bought insurance; it took about 40 hours of planning. I had to ensure wheelchair access and oxygen as well as discuss the possibility of her not making it through the trip. We were ready and she was excited. Unfortunately, Kat passed away from complications on May 30th of 2011. I worked with the airlines, hotel and event planner to rebook the trip for Chris and I. Chris and I committed to a new set of priorities. We decided together to start treating our “Life” with the same respect and authority we gave our “Work”.
We would have never planned a trip like this. Chris and I found an awe-inspiring country with untouched land we never would have experienced if not for this circumstance. This was an “Ah Ha” moment for me.
This life experience taught me the most important thing is time. You never get it back. After this trip, Chris and I immediately instituted a required annual trip together. We also decided to plan one trip a year with each other and one with our children and friends. You have different and unique experiences when you travel and everyone interacts differently on vacation!
Through planning trips for my friends and family I began “Stay Balanced Travel”. I now help other busy professionals enjoy their time together with the ones they love. You’re worth at least two trips a year!
Don’t be the typical American who never takes their vacation as if this is a badge of honor. According to Glassdoor.com, 54% of Americans don’t use half of their earned vacation time.
Why haven’t you planned your bucket list trip or time with your special person?
What are you waiting for?