As a child, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Trips to Florida inspired me with harbour porpoises, starfish, shell collecting, and manatees. When I was old enough to realize that I would have to get 90’s in science that dream died. So, when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would say, “librarian.” I idolized our librarian Miss Slattery. I loved books. I loved the Dewey Decimal System. Weird, right?
Somewhere along the way, I discovered journalism and writing. I loved journalism as much as the library and then as I was deciding what to take in college, I had a guidance counselor tell me that there was a future in journalism and that library jobs were hard to come by. Cuts in libraries were already starting in the early 90’s.
I ended up taking broadcast journalism at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. I was hired immediately out of college to work at CHNR-AM in Simcoe, Ontario. My journalism and radio career had started and would last 20 years.
When I was let go from radio, I read articles about starting a new career in your 40’s. Apparently switching careers in your 40’s is a big deal. I hadn’t really thought of it as a big deal. I just didn’t know what I wanted to really do. I wish I could have a career of drinking tea and reading library books or sampling various chocolates and different food. I wanted to do something that made me happy but something that was also different.
Jobs I’ve Had While Full Time RV’ing.
When Adam proposed to me to live full time in an RV, I immediately said yes. I loved the idea of having a mobile home, travelling & working as we went along. Here are some of the jobs I have had while we have been full-time RVing in Canada: server, cleaner, landscaper, writer & cashier. I also did a bit of Workamping while at Jellystone PEI. That’s all within the last year.
None of these jobs are glamorous but it didn’t matter to me. They paid the bills and leave plenty of time for what matters.
Right now, I am working as a server at a great restaurant in the Tofino. What I love about serving is that you leave the job as soon as the shift is over. I never think about work at home. Over the years, I learned that it was awful to be taking work home with you.
While discussing our future one night, Adam indicated we must find a way to be more financially stable. With our current system, we would move around, find jobs to pay bills and have a little fun but that was it. We knew that system couldn’t last forever. We wanted to make sure we could put away money for retirement, save for a new RV & be able to take other trips.
After 8 months of RVing, we knew we needed to change the plan. We needed a business. More specifically, we needed a business that would give us passive income. Basically, a source of income that would continue to come in even while travelling. But what could we possibly do?
Coming Up With Our Business Idea
Over the course of a month, we debated business ideas but nothing was sticking. Then one day I was driving through Tofino where I saw the Schooner Restaurant. It was that moment that started our business idea. I love this big red restaurant in the middle of town. It screams, “come and eat here.” You just know that the food is going to be good. Adam and I had eaten there once and it was delicious.
The building is also steeped in history. It used to be a hospital on Long Beach during WWII. Then the building was moved to Tofino, where it was transformed. It was a café for fisherman, loggers, and tourists to the area in 50’s and 60’s. Then in the late 60’s, the Bruce family bought it and continue to run it to this day.
As I drove by and the rain was pelting down on the windshield on a cold November afternoon, I thought to myself that more people should know about the Schooner. Then I started thinking about the other restaurants in Tofino. The food here is incredible for a small town. And get this – there isn’t a single chain restaurant here. No Boston Pizza. No McDonalds. Not even a Tim Hortons. There is a Starbucks at Crystal Cove, but that is it. That’s the only one. When you go into a restaurant here, you don’t know what you will be getting, but you know it will be good, otherwise, it wouldn’t survive.
This is when the idea to start a food tour came to my mind. “We could do that,” I thought to myself. We’ve been on a couple of food tours and we know how to put promotions together. It seemed totally doable. When I proposed my idea to Adam, he immediately said “yes” just as I had to Full Time RV’ing. Another marriage of sorts for us and another one where no actual rings were exchanged.
We took an online course on how to put together a food tour. We studied other food tours across Canada & the U.S. We took notes and debated every aspect of the business. Now, we are pleased to announce www.tofinofoodtours.com. We’ve just launched the website the other day and are ready to take bookings for this summer.
The last couple of years that I was in radio, I was trying to learn more about sales. It was a fun process to watch and I had a good teacher. I also started reading books like “How to Make Hot Cold Calls” by Steven Schwartz, “No More Cold Calling” Joanne S. Black, and “The Accidental Salesperson” by Chris Lytle.
All of this helped me approach restaurants to be part of the food tour. You must understand something about Tofino. In the summer, it is a madhouse here. The population swells from 1800 to over 22 thousand in a single day. There are lineups everywhere. To convince businesses to take part, I had to sell me, sell the tour, and sell the benefits of having an extra 20 visitors per day.
I did so successfully partly due to what I had learned from radio and the books I mentioned previously. My confidence in what Adam and I can do together as a team is high. I know we can do this!
Right now, we are putting together the tour and making notes on what we want visitors to know. I put a call out to Tofino Mayor Josie Osbourne and asked her to walk with me around town. We talked parking, Tofino life, history, landscapes, and so much more. I want to share my love of this town with the participants of the food tour, while at the same time having them eat some delicious food that is prepared here, sourced locally, and will leave them wanting more.
What About Our Travels?
Maybe now you’re wondering about how this will affect our full-time RVing lifestyle. We’re happy to say that this new business will not end our travels. Right now we’re thinking that we will explore more of Vancouver Island after Thanksgiving when the tours wrap up for the season. We may also head south for the winter exploring the west coast of the U.S. Full Time Canada will continue as we have no plans of moving out of the RV. This is only going to enhance our lifestyle which is very exciting for us.
Starting A Business In An RV
We constantly are asked by full-time RVer wannabes, “what do you do for a living while full-time RVing?” It’s a fair question. We didn’t exactly know what were going to do for income when we first started either. Through reading lots of RV blogs and various forums, we quickly discovered that starting a business in an RV was possible. So many RVers run businesses out of their RVs. Some are travelling photographers. Others have Etsy stores. Starting a business in an RV is possible and even though we haven’t made any money yet, we’re confident this is the way to go if you’re full-time RVing and still need income.
If you’re looking to change your lifestyle and start to full-time RV definitely think about starting a business. Take your time. Think about it. Plan it out. Definitely, do not rush into a business idea unless you’re confident it can earn you a steady income. Had we rushed into one of our original business ideas who knows what crazy idea we would be writing about right now rather than a food tour. The main thing, though, is to make sure it will be fun and not be a weight in your head, causing crazy amounts of stress. Full-time RVing is about living an alternative lifestyle full of travels & happiness. Stress isn’t welcome in this lifestyle.