While our Christmas updates for the last couple of years have read like a Rick Steve’s travel guide, 2011 is a little bit more about how we came stumbling to a halt that has us a little more stationary than we’ve been for a while.
We were planning on touring the East Coast to continue our trip and add some much needed dots to the east side of our map. However, our online Etsy store was doing so well we decided to stop off in Kansas City to regroup the store and set it up to be a little more travel friendly. Well, one thing led to another and we got a little ‘stuck’ because orders were coming in faster than we felt comfortable trying to fill while traveling. Ryan got transferred to the Wholefoods in Overland Park and Lane got a job managing a thrift store in town.
The 4th of July in Kansas City...
Too many episodes of American Pickers and Auction Hunters fueled by too many days as a thrift store manager found Lane exploring a new hobby…giving new life to old things. We opened an online store where we now sell repurposed or reclaimed vintage clothing and housewares. Curious? You can check that out here
We fell in love with Etsy, an online market place much like Ebay except that everything on it must either be vintage or handmade. Before long we had opened our second Etsy store, selling the feather earrings and headbands we had been making for friends and family. People seemed to love them and it was fun to see that others would actually pay for something we had created.
Then one day the feather hair extension craze hit. We looked at each other and realized we had boxes of those feathers sitting in the basement. We added loose hair feathers to the Etsy site and woke up to 10 orders the next day. Thus began what we now refer to as ‘The Great Feather Rush of 2011’ where at times we were filling 20-30 orders a day. We ate, slept, and breathed feathers…literally 10+ hours a day we were filling orders online, running supplies to our salon customers and on the weekends manning our booth at the farmers’ market. We even landed a couple of national chain stores as customers and it was all we could do to keep up.
Then just as quickly as it began it seemed to end…so goes a fad I guess. We looked up from our feathered haze and realized winter was going to be on her way to Kansas again soon so we started thinking about the road again. On somewhat of a whim one day we were looking at vacation rentals on Craig’s List and ended up buying a six week vacation rental in Key West, Florida. We packed up the van and set out for the South.
After just six weeks in our vacation rental we realized that we were not ready to leave paradise so we signed a year lease on a little conch cottage in Old Town Key West.
Please know that we are still very involved in Couch Surfing (www.couchsurfing.org) and would love to repay the favor to those that hosted us if you ever feel like a trip to Key West. We get 10-20 couch requests a week since we live in such a traveled to location now, but we are hosting as much as possible because we want to pay forward the kindness you showed us.
our home in Key West...
So now we’ve decided that our next venture should be as homeowners and possibly landlords so we’ve been house hunting in Key West. This can be a challenge on a 2x4 mile island and the right one hasn’t come along yet, but we are enjoying the search and we are in no hurry (note to self : do not send a copy of this letter to real-estate agent) as we really love our rental.
In Key West we continue to run both of our online stores and sell at some local markets as well. We have a booth at the Mallory Square Sunset Festival…which is basically a street fair where everyone in Key West gets together to watch the sun go down and cheer when it hits the horizon. Ryan ‘McGuivered’ up a little bicycle cart that he rides down to the pier where we set up shop. Our customers are cruise passengers and snow birds, but the other vendors are our unique community of friends.
In what has become par for the course, we find ourselves with hobbies and projects that seem to pay the rent more than any serious career path, but for now that’s how we like it. Not being committed to career suites our lifestyle because if we decide to take off for a month and travel we can. And really, how many jobs involve riding your bike to work, eating dinner at one of the little diners along the water, and then setting up shop to watch the sunset? Every day is a new adventure and we’ve never been happier. I can only hope that’s a small reassurance to our parents who are probably wondering why they paid for all those college classes.
I guess our story sort of ends when we took Boomer on what we didn’t realize would be her last run in November. We headed back up North for the holidays to spend some time with family.
We started having some minor problems and took her to a mechanic in Atlanta. In a hurry to get back for Thanksgiving we didnt have time to wait and rented a Uhaul and towed her back to Kansas where we could store her until we figured out what to do.
So….It looks like our time on the road is at an end, at least for now. I imagine one day in the not too distant future the road will call to us again, until then we are pausing to experience life in Key West for a while.
We hope that this update finds you enjoying life wherever you are. If that happens to be some place cold perhaps you’ll plan a trip to come and see us in Paradise.
Our doors are always open to you !
(literally…it’s that nice…we never have to close them)