Tag Archive for: America

10 Observations from the Other Side of the Pond

 On August 2nd Jane and I left for a trip to Scotland and Ireland. It was to celebrate our 30thwedding anniversary and we were gone for nearly three weeks. If you’ve been reading Influence PEOPLE regularly then you know this led to a short hiatus from my blog writing so we could focus on each other and having fun. (If you’re reading this in my weekly email and don’t see the pictures, click here and you’ll experience a bit of Scotland and Ireland.)


The trip was AWESOME! If you ever get the chance to visit either or both countries do so! Planning such a big trip can be overwhelming so we used Marri Petrucci to plan our travel. She did and amazing job for us! Contact me if you’d like her information for your next big trip.

As I get back into writing I thought it might be fun to share 10 observations from our time on “the other side of the pond.”

Service. The service is very different than in the States. People in Scotland and Ireland are happy to take tips but they don’t work for tips like they do in the U.S. From my perspective there’s less incentive to give good service so I decided to get around that by tipping up front and chatting up our servers so we’d all have fun.

Here’s a funny service example. At the car rental place in Dublin, Ireland I set my bags near the door of the Enterprise van that was going to take us to the car rental lot. The driver looked at me and said, “Those your bags?” I told him they were and he said, “Well they ain’t gonna get in the van by themselves.” Wow!

Driving. Driving on the other side of the car on the opposite side of the road can be challenging! Throw in roads that are very narrow (single lane at times) along with roundabouts and you really have to concentrate on driving. Having shared that, the drivers were much nicer than in the States. Rarely did anyone honk at us and most people willingly let us into traffic. That was quite refreshing.

Countryside. Stunning! Driving through places like the Isle of Skye and Loch Lomond in Scotland were unbelievable. At times I felt like I was in Game of Thrones because it was so majestic.


In Ireland we took a jaunty ride (horse carriage) through the Gap of Dunloe and the sites were breathtaking. Because both countries are so much smaller than America you can take in so much in just a few weeks.


Whisky. Jane and I love Scotch so we visited lots of distilleries. It was fun and informative. The one I would recommend most is Macallan because it was so different than the traditional older distilleries. It felt like walking into a spaceship and the tour was high tech. Some people don’t like the modern approach but it’s so different you have to experience it if you do some tours.


By the way, people asked if we brought lots of Scotch home. No. Believe it or not, Scotch was more expensive in Scotland. That was mostly dues to the taxes. Throw on top of that the exchange rate and sometimes as bottle was 40% more expensive than what we’d pay at home! I love Scotch but the rational part of me couldn’t justify the prices to we just tried LOTS of different ones at the various pubs we visited.

Food. The food was okay. There’s a tendency to overcook meat by American standards.  We learned this was due to food scares in the past with things like mad cow disease. In Scotland and Ireland, they don’t use many spices and I really enjoy hot food (I put red peppers on most things) so it may have been more a function of my particular tastes.

Golf. Jane had the opportunity of a lifetime when she played at St. Andrews, the home of golf and many British Open Championships. She was more excited than a little kid on Christmas Eve. By American standards many of the courses are not pristine but that’s how the Scottish meant for the game to be played. It’s as much about dealing with the elements as it is the course.


I walked a couple of the courses as Jane played so I could take pictures and video and the scenery was spectacular. It was neat to know we were walking, and she playing, where people like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and so many other legends walked and played.

Small World. While in St. Andrews we randomly met a couple from Westerville, Ohio, our home town! On a distillery tour we talked to a couple from Powell, Ohio, which is one town over from where we live. And in the Toronto airport we bumped into Mike LaRocco, the CEO of my company, State Auto Insurance. The world is indeed getting smaller.

Time. Our trip was August 2-20 and while that seems long, it was so wonderful I could have easily stayed another two or three weeks. During that time, I let it be known I would not be replying to voicemail and email. I held true that and the world didn’t end! I encourage you to do the same if at all possible – extend your time away and leave everything behind if you really want to relax and enjoy yourself.

Castles. They say a man’s home is his cast and while the castles we saw were incredible I don’t think I’d want the upkeep and Jane would not want to clean them. The Edinburgh Castle was beautiful from all parts of the city and allowed us to orient ourselves no matter where we were.


We spent the night in the Dromoland Castle in Ireland. It was spectacular! We were treated like royalty but Jane refused to call me king even though I treat her like a queen. Strolling the grounds gave us a glimpse at how the top 1% must live. Incredible!


America. The people we met loved America. The talked about all the opportunity the see here. They are amazed at how big and diverse the land is. They seemed to have more questions for us than we had for them. Many want to come here to work and live. Ans believe it or not, the people we met were very intrigued by President Trump and most of the comments were not negative.

As I said at the top, the trip was AWESOME so if you ever get the chance to visit either or both countries don’t pass it up! It certainly wet our appetite to see other parts of the world and our own country.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC and Learning Director for State Auto Insurance. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed nearly 145,000 times! Have you seen it yet? Watch it and you’ll learn how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.