What do you do when you have everything you’ve ever wanted right in your backyard? You have an amazing wife, probably one of the strongest relationships you’ve ever known between two people, a thriving business and amazing friends that hang out in your backyard tiki bar on a daily basis……if you’re me, you throw a rusty wrench into the middle of this finely tuned motor just to watch it all implode.
“Why on Earth would you sell this place?!?!” I cannot give you an exact answer to that question.
I can say that we both like to take things that are not working well, and make them work well. We like to be challenged, we like to have very hard work thrown at us and when all of that is accomplished, we instantly start looking in other directions.
I guess when the work was done at the Low-Key Hideaway, not that it will ever really be done, but at this point, it’s just basic upkeep to keep the machine running smoothly, we started looking in other directions.
Cindy kept saying she wanted to open an antique shop/thrift store. I kept saying I wanted to pay more attention to my photography. Not that I’ve ever not had a camera in my hand, but to really showcase it in a gallery. Each time we’d talk about this, we’d both agree that it would be silly to try and do this while running the motel, the tiki bar and the RV side of the Low-Key Hideaway.
So back in June, Cindy and I put the whole business up for sale. Right away we had an offer from another couple that wanted to keep it just the way it was, so we signed the paperwork and both said “No matter what happened, we would not look back and not regret our decision.”
That’s easy to say, but there were many-a-nights we sat up late, questioning our decision.
Even now, as we’re camped in the same RV spot we camped in many years ago when we found this magical little town, the one that grabbed ahold of our wanderlust and just would not let go, I look out the back window of the camper and feel that same exact feeling I did then….WOW! This is a beautiful location.
I love the tide changes, I love watching the birds fly by and pick through the mud, I love the breeze constantly blowing off the water….yet in my crazy fucked up head, I want to walk away from it. I cannot explain this? I believe it is a disease I have, a longing to see new things, try my best to capture their beauty with a camera and constantly be put into new, even sometimes awkward relationships.
I’m a lover of reading and collecting quotes. Awhile back I found something that hit so close to home, it scared me. It kept me thinking about it for weeks after reading it. I’ve shared it with a few other people I know who are of like minded professions…meaning they’re as fucked up as I am in the head…fellow photographers, travel junkies, wanderlust addicts. Each one replied back that it was one of the most profound things they had ever read. It’s called The Curse of the Traveler and it goes like this (I wish I could link to the original writer, but after hours of searching on the internet, I’ve yet to find it. If you know him/her, please send me a message so I can link to their site or at least credit them)
The Curse of the Traveler
The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It’s just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that’s like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.
Let that sink in a little, and it might explain what goes on in my head and in my thoughts. It might explain why you would sell such an amazing business simply to go start something new, from scratch again.
And with that, I’ll give you a hint of what our next venture will be. We think we might have found a way to incorporate both our love of travel, love of photography and love of collecting junk and turning it into something cool and fun all while making a measly living from it. Cindy and I could care less if we’re ever rich or famous. At this point, we simply want to enjoy what were doing and surround ourselves with fun friends and people.
So we bought a little old building down in the heart of Cedar Key. The historic district of Second Street. The part that needs some love brought to it. 2nd Street was Cedar Key’s Main Street back in the day before Dock Street was turned into what it is now.
Over the course of the next year, we plan to turn the building into a Gallery. It’ll feature our photography, artwork and various collections. We’d like to find other artists that have unique work that would blend nicely with ours and feature them too. In our travels, we plan on finding unique antiques, furniture and funky pieces to refurbish and resell. We want it to be ever changing so visitors will keep wanting to come see what’s new. In order to do this, we’ll have to keep traveling, keep finding new items and new ideas, so the business will help fuel the wanderlust and the wanderlust will help keep the business stocked with ever changing art.
Hopefully this business will be very mellow and relaxed. We both need some downtime to recharge the batteries if you know what I mean. The past few months have been a whirlwind of trying to figure out where all the stuff we’ve collected over the past few years will be stored till we can move into the new building. To think that when we landed in Cedar Key, everything we owned fit into a 25’ Travel Trailer and the bed of our pickup truck. I had more camera gear than I did anything else. Our camper had empty cabinets and almost too much storage because we had streamlined our THINGS down to only the select necessities you need to travel non-stop.
Moving back into this camper now, it’s much like the first time we moved in, back in 2006. The cabinets are bursting with crap. We have two storage units filled with STUFF. We had to borrow a friend’s office space to store our framed artwork. Something we learned the hard way the first time we downsized and thought we could store valuable artwork in a non-acclimatized storage unit. (It all had to be thrown away) In our defense, the stuff we do have now is stuff we’ll need where ever we land. We were pretty strict with ourselves not to buy needless things while we were here at the LKH. You will always need tools, ladders, painting supplies and yard tools, clothes and daily necessities that now fill up our storage units.
We’ll be staying in Cedar Key, probably indefinitely, but with a business that will allow us to travel so the business will always have new photos, new art and new ideas.
I hope you stop in and check it out once it’s up and running, and if in Cedar Key, be sure and stop by the LKH to visit the new owners and catch a sunset or two. Till the new business is open, we’ll be back in the camper living the gypsy lifestyle and the life of the traveler.