I will never forget that day. An image of a pastoral landscape flashed across my television screen and I was instantly filled with the same feeling of deep knowing that I had when I met my soulmate and soon-to-be husband. In that moment I knew one thing: My destiny is to be an innkeeper.
I even pursued the dream back then. I bought and read Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies. (There really is a Dummies book for everything.) I reached out to folks I knew who were in or had connections in the hospitality industry. I even interviewed for the hotel manager job at a boutique inn in Healdsburg, CA. In the end, I couldn’t afford to make the leap. The economy was still in a down turn, and I couldn’t sell my condo for what I paid for it. I also couldn’t rent it for enough to cover the mortgage, HOA dues, and property taxes.
Ultimately, though, it wasn’t the right opportunity for me. I knew then that if I was going to work that hard for such a significant pay cut (~$30K), I wanted it to be for me. I didn’t want to work for someone else’s dream anymore. This time, I wanted to realize my own dream.
So I put my dream on the back burner and life went on. I continued to forge my still relatively new life as a single, divorced woman, having returned to her hometown (well, the general area) and a mainstream job related to my previous career in tech publishing.
I was lucky, and I was grateful. I had a good life. I had a small group of loving, supportive friends. I worked with intelligent, talented people; people I truly liked. And I had great clients—smart, funny, and appreciative. (For anyone who has ever worked at an agency, you know how rare that can be.) This life was not all smooth sailing, but it was mostly an enjoyable ride.
Almost three years later, I would meet the man who will be my husband and life changed once again. A couple months after we met we decided to buy a house, and I would end up moving 50 miles south, putting me close to 75 miles from work. Again, I was lucky. My boss allowed me to work from home three days a week.
As if that wasn’t a big enough life change, though, a couple months after the move and my new commute and work schedule, I got the inkling that it was time to leave my job and pursue my dream (the latter was not consciously clear to me at the time). As a lifelong pragmatist, it was hard to justify walking away from a good job with a good paycheck, especially when you’ve just bought a house.
The signs that the time had come were there, however. All of my current projects were coming to an end, and there were now other colleagues who could take over my area of expertise. And I had enough money saved to cover expenses, both personal and shared. I gave notice.
My original plan was to take six months and find a job at a hotel, getting experience in guest services. I thought this would serve me well for owning a B&B later on. I started down this path but then was stopped dead in my tracks by some health issues. After resisting them and trying to fight through them, I finally realized this was my body’s way of telling me “Stop!”
I had been through a lot of major life changes in the previous five years and I needed rest. So I did. And once I did, I realized just how tired I was. Though that critical little voice in my head (I call her Ursula) would judge me and try to shame me into doing more, I gave myself time without any arbitrary self-imposed deadline to just be.
What a gift I got in return. In that quiet time, I learned to hear my own true voice again. What that voice told me was that I didn’t need to work in a hotel for the experience. I already have all the experience I need to own and operate a bed & breakfast.
No more dress rehearsals. No more taxiing down the runway. It was time to take center stage. It is time to take off and fly.