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Country Living: A New Beginning
No other life like it
Starting over, only this time we're doing it right.
My partner and I were getting really tired of the hustle and growing violence that comes with living in the city.
We were ready to make some major changes in our lifestyle so about 10 years ago we made that life changing decision and moved to the country to start a new life.
It was a very tough decision at the time because we had to take a lot of things to consider if we did decide to move forward with our plan.
The kids education, our jobs, our family & friends, etc. etc. etc. but in the end, all those all reasons motivated us to take the plunge and we are so glad we did.
The first step was trying to decide on where we wanted to live.
Once we found the area we wanted to move to and bring up our family, the decision was finally made to go for it.
When that mental hurtle was overcome, everything started to get very exciting. We found a new energy that we both believed was dead and gone.
All of a sudden we discovered something that gave us a new lease on life. Positive Change
Everyone thought we were nuts and did just about everything they could to convince us not to go but we knew in our hearts it was the right time and right thing to do.
We sold off everything we didn't need, packed up the kids, our Golden Retriever, our two cats, said goodbye to the rat race and moved to a little piece of paradise called "The Annapolis Valley" in Nova Scotia, Canada on a rented 300 acre farm.
Country Living, Here we come!
For my partner and I, we were excited about the whole idea but the kids were a different story at first.
My son was a teenager and didn't want to leave his friends but our little girl was the exact opposite. She was more excited than us after we told her we would have chickens and rabbits that she had to feed and take care of. She had all her things packed the day we told them of our plans
My son also seemed to change his attitude very quickly once we moved and he discovered country girls. He won't even go back to the city even to visit now and his city friends call every weekend begging to come down.
The Annapolis Valley or Valley, as it's called by the locals, is well known all over the world for it's beautiful apple orchards, vineyards and a yearly "Eagle Watch Festival".
Every winter close to 1000 Bald Eagles migrate to the Valley, which is their winter feeding grounds and to celebrate this spectacle of nature, the Valley holds a month long festival in late January to the end of February.
What an incredible site to see hundreds of bald eagles feeding all at once no more than 100 feet away from you and flying right over the top of your head. Amazing!
We knew the farm house would need a little work but didn't realize how much work until we moved it. We didn't care. We were just so happy to be out of the city and into the country that nothing else mattered. The kids and animals were out exploring their new world and we were starting an exciting new life. It was a very happy time in our lives and still continues to this day.
Country living is an entirely different lifestyle that takes a lot of adjustment to get use to though, especially for us city slickers.
Well water with pumps. Cutting your own firewood. Growing your own fruit and vegetables. Getting ready for winter. Chores that had to be done everyday but we loved it all. It took a few months to get a system going but once we did, everything just became daily habits that you performed automatically.
Even the kids had their list of chores to do but instead of just cleaning up their rooms, that now included feeding the animals & fetching firewood just to name a few and they did them without ever being told. That feat alone took me by surprise. They actually seemed to enjoy it. lol
I remember that first morning I woke up after we had everything unloaded from the truck and dumped into the house. It was a mess but who cared. We were in.
It was a warm, beautiful summer morning and I was sitting out on the back step having a cup of tea when a hummingbird flew right up to me and hovered about a foot in front of my face just staring at me like it was checking me out and saying hello. Back and forth from one eye to the next and in a flash was gone
I don' think I really knew what fresh air smelt like until that perfect morning.
All of my senses where working over time. It felt like I could finally see, hear, smell, taste and feel everything so clearly. It was so quiet that first morning. All you could hear were the birds singing and the wind rustling through the trees. i felt like I was in heaven and knew then in my heart that we did the right thing by moving here and we finally found our home.
In my moment of Zen, I noticed a strange sound that was interrupting my happy time.
I slowly opened my eyes and looked up to see about 25 cows all lined up in a row, against a fence across the road and staring straight at me. Just standing there chewing on their cud and trying to figure who or what I was.
I have no idea how long we just sat there staring at each other but as soon as I said hello, they quickly lost interest and went back to grazing. Twenty four hours ago, I was sitting on my balcony staring at endless lines of honking horns and people screaming at each other and now, a day later, I opened my eyes in the morning and see cows staring back at me. Wow. Am I dreaming or is this really happening. I had to pinch myself. A wave of peace and calmness was flowing through my body like I have never felt before. It was a beautiful feeling.
After finally getting all settled in, really enjoying the fresh air and change of pace, we quickly came to realize that, although we were now living the lifestyle we wanted and the kids were growing up in a lot healthier environment, we still had to make a living because our savings were drying up fast and there was nothing coming in.
Reality was setting in real fast and that old pressure to make money to provide for our family was back.
My partner worked in the corporate world for all of his professional career and my background was in traditional nursing as well as studying natural medicine, aromatherapy and massage therapy, which I really wanted to get into on a full time basis here. It seemed like the perfect fit for our new life in the country.
I thought it was a great plan before we moved here but now that we were actually living here, the problem now was our location itself.
Although it was very quiet and peaceful, it quickly became obvious that it was a little too far off the beaten track to build a client base that would travel to my home for a massage.
We also quickly realized that unless you were in the agricultural business (a farmer) or some business that supported it, you were picking or pruning fruit tress to make a buck, which my partner did by the way and said he actually enjoyed it but could not see himself making it a new career.
The biggest lesson we learned very early with country living is that you really have to think out of the box about everything. You take a hard look at all the skills and experience you picked up over the years and ask yourself, How can I make money at this?
There's no more running to the superstores for shopping or going to see a movie unless you were prepared to take a long road trip so it did not take us long to start getting more organized with everything. We began planning our weekly trips to town for supplies or getting out for dinner and a movie.
I remember the day so clearly that changed our lives forever like it was yesterday.
We were sitting out on the front porch on a hot summer day in July, watching the Hummingbirds feeding and my partner looks at me and says, OK honey, here we are. We're living our dream. Now what are we going to do?
It was obvious that we were never going to find employment here with what we were trained in and if we did, nobody was going to pay us a fraction of what we were use to making, so it was either start our own business or go pick apples.
OK, decision made. We're starting our own business. Now we are excited. Yes, that's a great idea. We'll start our own business. Excellent idea. I am so smart I said while patting myself on the back.
Then, at the exact same moment, we looked at each other with the same confusing stare on our faces, asking ourselves the exact same question.
OK, we're starting our own business. Great! What kind of business are we going to start?
Now it was time to start brain storming ideas.
What can we do with what we have available right around us?
This is another example of thinking out of the box. We had to take several factors into consideration based on all of our combined experience, where we were located and what resources did we have on hand.
The ideas started flowing but nothing we came up with was going to give us the flexibility to continue living the same lifestyle we now enjoyed and make a living.
The answer was right in front of our faces but we couldn't see it. We knew it was right there but what is it?
During that time, I was manufacturing a few all natural home remedies just for our own personal use. Ear candles, ointments, cold & flu medicine, etc. using blends of pure essential oils, all natural lotions and cream bases with natural carrier oils as well as a large variety of herbs we were growing out in the garden.
We knew the products were good because all of our friends and family would come to visit and ask me if I could make them up something for an ailment or skin condition they or some family member were having.
I would go research their problem on the Internet and look for herbs or oils to help them heal the natural way. They kept coming back for more products and telling their all their friends about them while the orders kept growing, which was very positive, so my partner suggested,
Why don't we sell your products commercially? Everybody loves them, it's something we can manufacture right in the kitchen, they are all-natural which fits into our new lifestyle and we are still in control of our life. The perfect home based business.
OK, decision made! We are going to start selling my products. Wow, We're excited again. We are going to be rich as we started doing our happy dance around the back yard with the kids in tow and the animals desperately trying to join in
Then, that exact same confusing look hit us again with the exact same question on our lips.
How are we going to sell them? OK, Happy Dance is over for now kids. Go play in the barn. Mommy and Daddy have got to go talk a little business again. lol
So we looked at every possible marketing idea we had experience in and the one that made the most sense, at the time, was "Home Parties"
I was the top recruiter in North America for Tupperware a few years back, when I was into that business so I had lots of experience doing home parties and building a sales organization, so parties it was.
My partner would make the products based on my recipes and I would do the parties only now we'll call them, Home Spa Parties and I'll call myself a "Home Spa Consultant. Perfect.
So now we had to figure out a business plan on how to get started based on very little cash flow. Never a great way to start a business but are options were limited and we were prepared to do whatever it took to make it happen
Since the birth of our natural product lines on that hot summer day in July over ten years ago, we currently manufacture over 150 all natural skin care products that were developed based on client feedback and now export all over the world.
We also do a lot of private labeling for companies, big and small, that love our products but want their own brand name on them. We have to give them greater discounts but make it up in volume. Keeps us busy which is what I enjoy
I'm not saying it all fell into place and took off like winning the lottery because believe me, it didn't. There were a lot of tough growing pains and expense learning curves that still continue every day as we reach different levels of development but we kept pushing forward no matter what.
I don't know how many times I got so frustrated because things were not going fast enough or not going at all and I just wanted to quit.
i remember running around the house one night screaming. That's It. I can't take it any more. I'm cracking. lol.
I then went into our kid's bedrooms to see if I woke them up and sat there listening to their little lungs breathing in and out so peacefully and thinking to myself.
OK, your tired and frustrated but how are you going to tell the kids that after all this work, you're just going to quit because things got a little too hard so you decided to take the easy way out and just give it all up.
What kind of role model is that for your children so i thought instead of quitting, I decided to first, pour myself a hot bubble bath, light some beeswax candles, grabbed a glass of wine (homemade) and take a little break from reality for a few hours.
I then convinced myself that I'll see how I feel about everything in the morning after a good nights sleep and if I still want to quit, I will.
It's funny but I was always ready to get back at it again after a good night's rest. Funny how that works but I highly recommend it
I'm not saying we are financially rich now, far from it but we have found a way to survive living in the country while maintaining our lifestyle and there is no amount of money that can replace that peace of mind so I would say we are rich in many other ways besides money.
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy making money. It does bring a lot of peace of mind when you can pay all your bills but we've learned that it is not everything in life.
We've discovered for ourselves that If you strive to do what you love to do in life, the money always follows.
We had it all backwards when we were living in the city.
Always chasing money trying to have all the coolest toys and nicest homes but never happy, always exhausted, stressed out and running in a million directions at once but not getting anywhere
Our son is now off to university and our daughter is just finishing up her high school and then she is heading for university also but you know what the really great thing is?
They are both taking business and marketing so they can come back home and help expand our business that we started in the kitchen many years ago, that they helped us build and take it to the next level.They see it now as not only a great opportunity for themselves but also for their kids and grandchildren
They already have their land on which they want to build their own homes very close to our current location that they can start their own families on, so for us, we couldn't ask for anything more. Dreams really do come true if you are prepared to work hard to get them
So, after ten years, if I can share one piece of advice with you, it would be to follow your dreams. Make a decision and go for it. Whatever it is, you can make it happen if you want it bad enough so I'll ask you this one question before I go and then you can decide on your own future.
How Bad Do You Want It?
I know it's a tough decision and there maybe a million reasons stopping you from going for it but what if you could put all those reasons aside for a moment and just picture yourself living that dream, how would it make you feel.
Maybe try picturing your life 10 or 20 years from now. If that vision scares you then I really suggest you find a way to make it happen, starting today. It's all just a decision away.
If you would like to see our lines of products, please visit us at: www.BlissHomeSpa.com
Thank you and good luck