"If you aim at nothing, you'll certainly hit it".
I don't know who first said that, but it was probably some smart aleck like Yogi Berra or Will Rogers. But snark and sarcasm aside, whoever said it was onto something. I've never been one of those guys that threw a dart at a wall, then ran over with a sharpie and drew a target around where it landed and claimed I hit a bulls eye. So now that we've settled down in Colorado for a bit, here's a short overview of what we said we were going to do, and a grade on how we did. Oh school again, that should be fun. Here we go...
MOVE INTO AN RV TO PRACTICE SIMPLICITY, SAVE MONEY AND BE READY FOR THE TOUR: A+ It's been almost 3 years now since we moved into the Rialta. At the time we didn't know how long we'd do it, or even if we'd be able to. But in those three years, I can honestly say it's turned out better than we dared to dream. We've now saved over $35,000 in housing expenses, so even if you figure the cost of the Rialta ($16K) and our current housing expenses, we still have easily saved over $15K. We have also learned a TON about simplicity and minimalism, and have generally benefitted from being forced closer as a family. And the big one is that once our shop sold we were ready to hit the road, and simply drove out of town. Just like we drew it up.
RELOCATE TO THE FRONT RANGE OF COLORADO'S ROCKY MOUNTAINS TO BE CLOSER TO FAMILY: A We did pretty good on this one, I'd say, since that's where I'm writing from. So in one sense, WE MADE IT! On the other hand, we were talking about Fort Collins all this time and now it looks like we're going to land in Colorado Springs. PLUS, we're not quite finished yet, either. We've got some work in Portland this spring, so we're headed back out there in March, landing back in CO this July (2015). Not exactly like we drew it up, but we hit the general goal. Close enough for an A grade.
GO ON A NATIONAL COFFEE CRAWL TO GATHER INSIGHTS FOR OUR NEXT PROJECT: A+ We have now been to over 200 coffee shops, including most of the great ones we've always wanted to see. To be sure, there's plenty we'd still love to hit, but we feel great about what we've been fortunate enough to experience, and have an awesome perspective for what we want to do next.
GO VISIT FRIENDS AND FAMILY. A- This has obviously been a very important aspect of our journey, and we've been able to really reconnect to SO many people - many of whom had never met our kids, and some of my people who had never met Carissa, and vice versa. The minus comes in there for the handful that we just didn't get around to. But we're still gunnin' for ya!
DO COFFEE CONSULTING AS WE TRAVEL. C- The consulting idea really worked great when we did it. We had a handful of clients that we were really able to help, for a price that was really accessible. Plus it was great fun! The challenge - as we thought it might be - was the time we had to spend finding clients. Because we're constantly on the move it was difficult to spend the necessary time developing relationships with potential clients, so mostly it just didn't happen.
GIVE OUR CHILDREN THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME. A Just an A with no plus because although this has definitely been an amazing experience for them, they're still a little young to have much true appreciation for it. But Carissa has done an admirable job of the homeschooling thing (she likes to call it UN-schooling...you might want to google that) as we've experienced a TON of America's history and culture and nature as we've traveled. Not bad.
REPORT ON OUR EXPERIENCE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY. B+ I wouldn't call our reporting a home run, but we have sure tried. Most significantly we were invited to share our experience in a weekly report on the Barista Magazine Blog. To my knowledge, our series was the longest running one in their history, and we were honored for that opportunity. But I had also started this blog and found it difficult to do the BMAG writing as well as keep up here in between the hours of driving and exploration. I tried to keep it simple by just pointing out a few things about each cafe' with some pictures, but even that was hard to be consistent with. Nonetheless, between BMAG and this blog I'd still give it a B+.
GAIN CLARITY ON WHAT WE WANT TO DO NEXT: A+ Over the past 8 months we've really stewed about what we wanted to do next. Another coffee shop? Would the consulting thing take hold? Maybe I'll turn into a cracker jack writer and just do that? Well, the dust has settled on those conversations and we're SUPER STOKED about our next step. We're actually not sure what we want to do is possible (or legal!) so we're not making any announcements just yet. But if we crack this nut, it's gonna be a minor game changer for the coffee industry. How will you know when it happens? Oh, I have a feeling you'll know. Just you wait...