We’ve been homeless and unemployed for a week now. We sold our business (our jobs) which was also our home.
We’re pretty happy about it.
“What’s next?” is the question we’ve been asked most. “Why?” is another question we’re asked a lot. So let me try to explain.
First off, for those of you who weren’t familiar – we owned and ran a campground for 11 years. It was great fun! It had a lot of good and bad points.
For one, we worked 165 days in a row every year – basically a bad point. We were completely restricted to the campground from mid April through the end of October every year – another bad point. But then we had 6 months of the year off to do whatever we wanted – a pretty good point! In the last several years that has meant TRAVEL! This past year alone we had more than 6 full weeks of travel with smaller jaunts here and there. We travelled to 5 new international destinations and several domestic spots. Who gets that when you’re working a regular full time job?
Owning a business also meant lots of expenses that I put on credit cards to earn miles and points to help pay for that travel….another perk.
So why give it up?
To answer the ‘why’ question. Like most things in life, there is a tendency to become either bored or burned out. This happened to us several years ago. It was such a big undertaking for two people to have to take care of 16 acres of land with buildings and run a business as well. We were ambitious with all kinds of ideas at first. As time went on, we lost the spark, the ambition faded, and the ideas became burdens. The business was going on 50 years old. There were things that were coming up on needing repair and replacement. Big things – like the septic system. Sooner or later they all fail. The 40 year old in-ground pool needed to be replaced (the estimate we got was for $100,000!) The roof was going on 20 years old. There were 3 water heaters that were 15 years old. The whole building needed to either be painted or re-sided. The underground electric system needed to be updated. Camping sites needed modification to meet the needs of today’s larger size campers. It was just an overwhelming list of things that needed money put into them. Although the income was sufficient, it wasn’t making enough money to do all those things and still give us a small income (and I’m talking small!). Our options were to stay long term and dump money into it and hope that one day we’d see a better ROI or sell it and get out. The area we were in has not seen growth in real estate prices like a lot of the rest of the country. In fact, homes and business are selling for the exact same price, if not less, than they were five years ago. We knew that even if we waited another 5-10 years to sell, and put all that money into the place, we still wouldn’t be able to sell it for much more than we listed it at currently. We would’ve basically lost money if we waited. We didn’t really want to wait either. We had tried to get the spark back by attending conventions and seminars. The spark lasted a few days and then blew out again. It was just time. But time for what? That brings us to the “what’s next” question.
Here’s the surprise that most people don’t know about. Our burn out started over five years ago. That’s when we put the campground up for sale. Five years it took to sell the place!! We lowered the price $75,000 over those five years before we finally got an offer. Five years ago I’m pretty sure we made a plan of what was going to be next. Over the last five years we basically forgot what the plan was because it just never seemed like it was going to happen. We just plugged along keeping things going, saving money, and enjoying the winters off on our adventures.
When the offer came, we had a little over a month to return home from Florida, sort out all the paperwork, pack up all our stuff, move our son to his own apartment and get out!
That brings us to last week. We’ve been discussing our options. What are we going to do now??? Aside from a few commitments in town and trying to sell our stuff out of a storage unit, we’ve devised a “sort of” plan. What we do know is that we will be living in our 5th wheel, probably for at least the next year. We will be travelling and working along the way. We need paid employment to pay our bills so I will probably do a travel nurse job and we may undertake some sort of paid workamper jobs. Our goal is to see if we can make this travelling lifestyle work.
Yesterday I was thinking about life, jobs, and what I’d really like to do. My passion right now is travel and photography. I have so many places I want to go and so many miles and points to use to get there! When I say travel, I’m talking about international travel – not camping in the US. While I do enjoy the roadtripping and seeing new places in my own country, travelling internationally is what really excites me.
It’s adventure and exploration.
It’s the barrage of different cultures.
It’s new and interesting food
and amazing landscapes.
It enhances all your senses and inspires imagination!
It makes me feel alive and gives me energy. Being a photographer, I’m completely exhilarated in finding new things to photograph and share with the world! I’m hoping to find opportunities to continue those travels and possibly find work that aligns with those passions. It’s exciting to be starting on a new path and not really knowing where we are going or what we’ll be doing. I’m really not scared or nervous at all. I’ve always been a planner but this time I’m just letting life plan my path.
You can follow my adventures here and on instagram by following @carolrn6.