Live Simple Live Happy

Share this post on:

Ogunquit Beach, ME

Live Simple. Live Happy.  Is the culmination of my wife and myself’s life together.  This simple, direct statement has allowed us to articulate and define our lifestyle.  Our life together has not always been this way.  It took an immense amount of work for us to achieve this goal.  Together we hope to inspire others to break through your own barriers and establish your own direction.

My wife and I have a nine-year age difference.  Early in our relationship this age difference led to many conversations about goals.  These conversations were some of the most important of our lives.  We were unknowingly planning our future.  We met in her twenties and my thirties, and had both previously been married to men.  I had given birth to a baby girl, who was ten years old when we met.  


Mt. Potash, NH

Prior to us meeting, I had undergone and survived a bone marrow transplant to treat Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.  CML for short.  Jess was a pediatric nurse specializing in pediatric oncology.  This connection, more of a mutual understanding, allowed us a unique ability to support each other.  Her day-to-day work was full-filling and could be heart-breaking all at the same time.  She was often asked: How do you do it?  How do you care for children?  I could not do that.  Her answer was simple.  They are kids, who just happen to be sick.  I just treat them like kids.

Even though, Jess did not take care of adult patients her understanding of oncology helped our early discussions about the process I had gone through.  These conversations revealed my apprehension about my future health concerns.  I wanted her to understand what she was getting herself into especially because of our age difference.  

Anything can happen to anyone any day, that I realize.  I have never lived my life waiting for a negative check-up.  As a responsible individual I felt I had an obligation to ensure she knew about all the paperwork I had to sign to be eligible for my transplant.  The meetings with each specialist explaining the procedures and future risks to my organs and my overall health.  Then of course the pesky percentages of how many people at that time survived, and how many future problems they have. These were emotional, frank conversations which, I needed her to hear.  Our dreams, goals, and desires were off shoots of these talks.


Within the first couple of years of our relationship we began setting goals together, both annual and five-year goals.  First, we would make our individual lists then combine them to form our mutual path.  Goals define a point in time for us, for example:  We had financial goals such as paying off a particular debt, when we did it, it represented a point in time we had passed.  Or a goal to take four hikes in one year, when it was accomplished, that time was passed, and we moved on.

These goals helped keep us on track and moving in the same direction together.  I had purchased a small mom-and-pop diner only a few months before meeting Jess.  Small businesses, especially restaurants, can be relationship killers.  My daughter was ten years old and involved in a lot of activities.  Our relationship had many hurdles, our ability to empathize with each other and help lessen each other’s stress solidified our bond.  We were each stronger because we were together. 

Our diner was simply a job when I purchased it.  It was my goal to build a business.  A living breathing entity which could prosper whether I was there or not.  That became our family goal, and I enjoyed the full support of Jess and my daughter.  Whatever sacrifice that meant to our personal life.   They were both actively involved in all aspects of building our business despite Jess being employed full-time and my daughter attending high school and playing sports.  Together, we made the best choices we could every day.  


We never had enough time.  It seemed every day the diner would have an issue requiring me to work longer or to reach out to one of them for help.  They were both supportive and did anything they could, including filling in and working at any position the diner required.  Our life was crazy and hectic.  Full of work and life.  I say it that way because it is how it felt.  We were able to live our life after we had covered for everyone else to live theirs.  It was our business and its success depended on our commitment and dedication to it.

We could have made different choices, but we had goals and felt obligated to do the best job we could.  Often it felt like we were trying to hold on to a burning rocket traveling at the speed of light.  Our priorities were simple, the business and Amber, then anything else took a distant third place.  There were many times when employees did not show up that Jess would work a twelve-hour hospital shift followed by a ten-hour diner shift all with no sleep.  I had many stretches in those early years when I worked months without a single day off.  

As our time together progressed, we steered our life and business along a path following our goals.  With each goal we achieved our life together became clearer.  Several years after my initial purchase of the business.  The building, which the diner resided in, became available for sale.  It was not much of a decision.  Of course, we would buy the building with its three attached apartment units.  This led our path in another direction, and we created an additional business.

Becoming Landlords

We built a team of quality contractors, and successfully renovated and purchased several more apartment buildings.  Amber was in college, and Jess and I were finally starting to have a little more time. So why not add an additional business?  At our craziest we had four separate buildings and nine apartment units.  

A diner with a full liquor license, open seven days a week, fifteen hours a day.  We served breakfast, lunch or dinner at any time of the day.  We provided catering services for business lunches and weddings and everything in between.  In our “spare time,” we participated in large community events with our food truck.   To say we were busy and had many balls in the air is an understatement.  

Did I mention Jess had transitioned from bedside nursing to in-person nurse management? This meant a five day a week work schedule for her at the hospital.

Our calculated approach to building our business and goal setting was helping us achieve goals we never knew we could reach.  We wanted to travel and see the world.  We loved the outdoors and hiking.  These activities can be done when a person retires but health is not guaranteed.  With my potential health concerns and the fact, I am nine years older than Jess time was important to us.  I did not want to wait until my health declined or I was not in good enough physical shape to explore and hike our beautiful country. 

Exit Strategy

We updated our goals to include an exit strategy from our business and possible ways we could begin traveling sooner than the typical retirement age.  After eleven years of nurturing and growing our diner, we began actively planning and taking steps to sell it.  We had achieved our initial goals of turning a mom-and-pop place into a living, breathing, and thriving family business.  Our good fortune had come a few years previous when we hired Wendy who over time began to function as our manager.  Her two sons, daughter-in-law, nieces and nephews at some point all worked at the diner.  

Our family diner had become her family diner.  We wanted our business to remain intact and our employees to be well taken care of once we were gone.  She was the perfect person to buy the diner.  She had the skills and the desire.  We just needed to figure out the details.  It took us a couple of years to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s.  We officially sold the business on the same day we purchased it thirteen years before.  


Mt. Washington Summit, NH

Once we sold our primary business, and we were at the edge of our realizing our dreams of travel, Covid-19 took over the world.  I was disappointed and lost.  We had been working long hours for years at our diner, and even more hours renovating apartment buildings.  All for the single goal of freeing up time to travel.  Just like that, there was no travel.  I was lost.  There was fear and division across society like I had never seen.  No one had any answers nor any idea what the future would hold.

After some soul searching and picking myself back up. We treated it like any other previous set back in our life or business, we made the choice to pivot.  We built an incredible deck in our back yard.  Updated our landscaping and turned our home into an entertainer’s dream.  All with the purpose of increasing our value and selling it when the time was right.  In 2022 the time was right and we sold our home in Maine for significantly more than we purchased it.  

dog next to multi colored Adirondak chairs on patio around fire pit.


Quandary Peak, CO

We moved across the country and rented an amazing apartment in Denver.  Neither of us had ever even visited there.  Denver replenished our soul.  The mountains and the beauty were so different from the east.  Our move to Denver reignited our goal of living on the open road. 

In what seemed like a flash, our opportunity to purchase an RV and a full-time remote job led us to where we are today.  Live Simple. Live Happy.  Is the realization we came to as we walked the line between our two universes.  We learned how fulfilled we were when we replaced stuff with experiences.  There was significant downsizing we needed to accomplish to become full-time RVers.  I have written blogs and provided information detailing how we accomplished it.  There were two homes, vehicles, ATV’s, trailers, apartment buildings and lots and lots of stuff.  This accumulation of stuff came from years of our impossible work schedules and necessary items required to run and build our businesses.

As we ridded our life of more and more items, we could feel a weight being lifted from us.  Our relationship with stuff had been a necessary part of our life.  Because many of these items were required to do our jobs, they often found their way to our home, when their job was finished.  My shed and garage were full of restaurant and apartment building items.  The shed was in a constant state of flux, sometimes organized with walking space available.  More often it looked like a bomb had gone off.  We experienced years of projects.  Re-habbing an apartment unit would be happening simultaneously with a diner upgrade all while the diner was open and crazy busy.  This was our life.

Our Transition

This purging of items and simultaneous lessening of our responsibilities was redefining our purpose and view of ourselves.  Stuff has a way of defining people.  Cars, homes, and possessions are how many people see you.  To many I was not April, I was the owner of the diner.  Every day was new to us, unchartered territory.  The further we moved from our chaotic life the more we started to breathe.  Others had difficulty understanding our choices.

Our life together was goal orientated not financially motivated.  Most do not see the difference.  Wanting to explore the world before the normal retirement age will require money.  It was our goal to get there as quickly as we could.  But what many do not understand is that we are happiest with a backpack on our back hiking on a trail anywhere.  This does not require a lot of financial resources.  

We were never motivated to have the most money, we were motivated to have the best business.  With the goal of being the best, our financial future fell into place.  We sold our buildings and business when we were at the top and we never looked back.  

Our transition did not happen overnight it has taken several years.  Slowing down and changing roles is much more difficult to do than people may realize.  There is still a desire to be valued and have purpose.  It’s redefining what is valuable and what feels purposeful which is harder to do.  Live Simple. Live Happy.  Has helped us define for us what is important.  This idea we had describes our life today.


Princeton, MN

We work, live and travel in our 24’ Lesiure Travel Van “Voyager”.  My wife and myself, our dog, and cat.  We have the resources and ability to go where we want, when we want with few obligations.  We choose our path as we go. Seeking out events and places we are interested in.  We spend our time meeting locals and trying to find those places to hike and visit which are not on all the apps.  The speed our current life is moving is in slow motion compared to our past.

Enjoying our time

We wake up when we wake up.  We drink our coffee outside as often as possible.  I make us breakfast every day.  We typically have an adventure planned.  Exploring, hiking or just enjoying wherever we are.  We are often up late into the evenings streaming our favorite shows.  As our life has slowed down, we have been able to feel that we have time to explore our creative sides.  I am enjoying writing and do it almost every day.  Jess has been drawing and sketching places we are in, and things we are seeing.  She had this hidden talent, which she is just now letting escape.

This creative time has added substance and meaning to us individually and us as a couple.  We are sharing a different side of us we are both still just discovering.  The chaotic noise we were surrounded with is gradually being replaced with a more peaceful less stressed rhythm.  I think about Sheryl Crow’s lyrics “It’s not having what you want it’s wanting what you’ve got.”  I feel like we have both, by setting goals and working together we have achieved the ability to spend the rest of our lives together living how we choose. Our dreams of a free-spirited life filled with experiences is here. It’s now up to us to Live Simple, Live Happy.  

Hiking Memere

Mt. Waumbek, NH

woman hiker sitting in front of tent on platform in woods with backpacking gear spread out around her

Saddleback Mt, ME

woman hiker with dog in backpack hiking up white sand dune

White Sands, NM

woman hiker overlooking large red rock valley

Mt. Wilson, AZ

Hiking Memere grew organically from our enjoyment of our new pursuits. Growing and running a small business is much like nurturing a child. We poured our heart and soul into building the best product we could, without realizing how much creative energy it took from us. Once we were no longer under that constant pressure that creative energy gradually refueled our tanks.

As Jess and I began to plan our new future, we looked to our past and discovered our passions. We realized that hiking was an integral and consistent part of our life together. Many of our most important personal and business decision were made as we hiked through the woods.

We realized our desire to care for others either Jess as a nurse or me as restauranteur could be continued by sharing our journey. Our passion for exploration paired with our desire to provide information and inspiration to others was the beginning of the first part of our Hiking Memere name.

Memere is the French-Canadian word for grandmother. I was fortunate to have shared priceless time and memories with my memere and greatmemere as a child. I was thankful and proud when our daughter and son-in-law made me a memere with the birth of our first grandchild. Memere is the happiest and most fulfilling title I have ever been given and is an important part of our identity..

We started by combining our Facebook profiles, so we could concentrate our efforts. Jess is primarily the videographer and photographer while I provide the words. It is our goal to give as much information to others as we can. In a short amount of time we are realizing goals we had never imagined just a brief time ago. Jess built us a website, which we are posting weekly blogs and video’s to.

Our Creations

Jess and I have combined our efforts to write, illustrate and publish the first of a series of children’s books. My Name is Teddy is now available on Amazon. This series is based on the adventures of our dogs Brownie and Teddy. We hope others will enjoy reading them to their children or grandchildren as much as we have our own.

Editors copy of book

We have created two general purpose notebooks also being sold on Amazon with Jess’s design’s on the cover. In the future we hope to add shirts and other cool gear created from her sketches. These items will be available from our website and directly from Amazon.

In addition to posting blogs to our own website, I am excited to have my first blog published in the RVW Magazine. As well Jess and I have been selected as LTV explorers who will be publishing more of our blogs on their website. I will continue to look for opportunities to guest blog on other peoples websites.

When we sold our business there were many questions from others. What would we be doing next? We both felt pressured with an expectation of doing something important. Because we stayed true to ourselves and allowed for the opportunity to discover what makes us happy, we are now creating our future. Live Simple Live Happy.


Hi there 👋 It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox once a week when new stories or videos are posted. All FREE and No spam.