This is us. This is our story.
Twelve years ago, I remember sitting in our trailer we bought as a repo for $6000 cash with a four month old in diapers, needing formula. We gutted the entire thing and made it ours, from paint to flooring. We were in the process of purchasing a small family business and were a family of 3, eventually 4, living on $600 a week. I quit my job making $9.00/hr at a local car dealership working as a cashier in customer service in efforts of helping my husband get this business off the ground and where we wanted it to be.
Most weeks, our paychecks were gone before it even landed in our hands and went straight to bills or diapers and formula. Once a year we would try to leave our small county and go on a weekend get-a-way to go camping with our friends and float the river. Even that one week during the year would put us back for weeks, sometimes months to catch up. But we knew we didn’t want to live to work, we wanted to work to live. In the beginning, we only had enough customers to work Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s every week, sometimes just in the mornings or afternoons.
Our poor little work truck squeaked and rattled down the road; you could hear us coming for miles. But that didn’t bother us. We didn’t have any other options, other than making what we had work, noisy or not. Trying to get our name known and out in the public, we walked the streets, handed out flyers neighbor to neighbor, created a website and gave the absolute best customer service we possibly could. When we originally started out, we only took checks and cash; debt/credit cards were not even an option. You would be surprised at the number of people we didn’t get not having that as an option to pay. No matter how many business cards were passed out, there was never a guarantee we would get their call requesting service. That never stopped us. We kept on. Sure we had a lot of competition, but we knew other companies could not give the same service we would give.
Day in and day out, mornings, nights and even weekends, we made it happen, just the two of us. He was the outside in the field guy and I was the office gal. Some customers saw us as if our company was way bigger than just the two of us. Little did they know it was being run out of a second bedroom in our trailer. We worked together and never gave up. I can’t tell you how many tears have been shed over missing moments watching my babies grow up while talking to customers late at night, while the rest of my family would eat dinner without me.
Sure, it was frustrating at times but also very rewarding. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Not all good things that last are easy in the beginning, but if you truly want it, you go to whatever means necessary. Before we knew it, we had two littles in diapers living off the same little bit. We still took our yearly trip and made ends meet.
Five years after purchasing the business, we were able to pay it off. We ended up living in the two bedroom repo trailer for seven years before we had the funds and were ready to buy a house of our own. During our time at the trailer, I never saw us getting anywhere. One good thing was that we didn’t have hardly any debt. We knew if we couldn’t pay cash for it, we didn’t need it. Living below our means for so long allowed us to be able to put a big deposit down on our house and purchase the one we had our eyes on. Seven years ago, I told myself I was never moving again after we moved out of the trailer and into the house. It was a process. The boxing up of our belongings, the paperwork, it all just seemed so overwhelming.
For so long I had envisioned us growing old in that house, watching our kids grow into teens and eventually adults. In time, we were able to hire help for the outside work as well as inside the office. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. We had enough customers to work Sunday - Sunday (if we wanted to) and had two trucks going in the field. Fast forward to present times and here we are, living life with our two kids and four fur babies in Costa Rica, where we have been living abroad for 2 1/2 years. Before finding our spot on the Pacific Coast on Playa Bejuco for the past year, we made the move once every month to month and a half and I loved every minute of the packing (when you live out of four plastic tubs, it’s pretty easy going) and going from house to house. Something I never thought I would do. I was never a fan of driving in Houston and stressed it constantly should we had to go. Now, I’m driving over mountains and through jungles in a country that doesn’t speak my first language. It’s amazing what good can happen when you knock the walls of comfort down.
It took two full years of prepping and getting everything ready before the actual move, but we made it, we are here. Too often we see people wait there entire life to live the life they’ve always wanted, yet by the time they are ‘ready’ they either can’t do it physically or aren’t willing to pursue their dreams because they are ‘too old’. I don’t want to be one of the ones on my death bed regretting what I didn’t do in life. I want to slide into my grave. You have this one life, you might as well make it what you want to. Who cares what others may say (or not say). No matter how hard the trying times are right now, as long as you keep pushing forward, eventually you will achieve your goal(s). I promise, you will look back in a few years and won’t be able to believe where you were to where you are. Go with your gut instinct and never look back.
One thing I have learned is that you can be the poorest person in the world yet have the most money. Or you can be the richest person in the world, with none. I choose the latter. This is one big world. Get out there. Make memories. But mostly have fun.