Have you ever dreamed of a simpler life? To run away from your current life and chase a simpler, easier, more fulfilling way to live? In 2017, in our 50’s, as empty-nesters, we decided to run away from home and do just that. Leave the hectic and hustle behind. We’ve been asked a lot lately about…


Have you ever dreamed of a simpler life?

To run away from your current life and chase a simpler, easier, more fulfilling way to live?

In 2017, in our 50’s, as empty-nesters, we decided to run away from home and do just that. Leave the hectic and hustle behind.

We’ve been asked a lot lately about our story – how we ended up living in a dogy cottage by the sea.

We made the decision to sell our big beautiful home, move our jobs, leave all our friends and family, move to another province to live in a small cottage by the sea.

In hindsight, it seems crazy. I can’t believe we did it. People thought we were crazy. I guess we are, but we were seeking something simpler. Life was lovely and wonderful as it was. From the outside. We had all the “things”, running 2 successful businesses and starting a 3rd, a lovely home, 3 dogs, 2 cottages, friends, family, and lots of “stuff”.

Fish Shacks at Dawn - Blue Rocks Nova Scotia, by John Batten
our new “frontyard”

I’ll share more on our deeper WHY in another post, but overall our thoughts were “Why wait for retirement to start living the life we wanted?” 

We already owned the cottage, we had purchased it to “someday retire to” and had been using it as an Airbnb. Every time we would travel to the cottage, located in a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia 4 hours away, we would feel this overwhelming sadness as we packed up to leave. 

We loved our existing beautiful home, we called it our forever home, spent years renovating it, working on it, making it our “forever home”. We loved our home, but not all the stress that came with running 2 businesses, keeping a big house running, and all the work it took to keep it all up. 

our forever home that we sold to move to the sea
Our “forever” home we ran away from to live by the sea

We also had just purchased a family cottage that John’s parents had built and were fixing it up to use for family and as a rental. It wasn’t far from our home but still another responsibility. A lot of houses, cottages, and STUFF. 

It sounds like a lot, it was. We were working long stressful hours, to pay all the bills to make it all work, to live in the big house and have all the things. Something had to give. We did have a plan. But it was exhausting keeping up with the cottages, rentals, all the stuff, and bills – while trying to stay creative, run a business, and start a new one I was passionate about. 

“I wish our life could be simpler,” we said a lot. 

Ironically – we were doing all this so “someday”  we could move to the cottage!🙈

We felt most relaxed in our crooked cottage by the sea. One time as we were prepping it for yet another family to come and enjoy OUR cottage rental, we had this crazy idea…

Let’s sell everything we own and move here NOW!

We can’t do that.

Can we?

Why are we waiting to move here “later”? 

We are self-employed…we will probably never “retire”? 

What are we waiting for?

We can’t leave all our family and friends behind!

We can’t just leave our businesses.

What will we do with all our STUFF?

“What would that look like?” 

5 magic words we use a lot in our business planning and in life.

What would that look like? 

Could we?

Should we?

Can we?

We decided to use some of my “business tools” to do a big-picture assessment of where we were. What would that look like? What do we want?

We started to imagine what that would look like. 

First (because it’s how my brain works) we did a simple assessment using a similar process I use for helping my coaching clients in business, and boom….it became clear as day to us what truly, deeply wanted from life and we didn’t want to wait. 

Doing the assessment was a game-changer. It was super clear. 

We were empty nesters, happy, but wanting more from life. 

Less..grind, hustle, bill paying, clutter, stuff, obligations…

More…life, travel, time, hobbies, better health, fun, joy, laughs, experiences…more 

So….we made a plan.

Why live with our shoulders up to our ears to live the way we’re living to someday live the way we want to live? Did you follow all that? lol

We decided to downsize our life to live larger. Now. 

Not wait for “someday”, not wait for “retirement”. Do it now. 

It took a year, but, fast forward, and we franchised our retail business, put a plan in place to make a living, sold our big beautiful forever home, sorted, purged, let go of, said goodbyes, and moved to the dodgy crooked cottage by the sea.

I’d love to tell you it was easy and simple and a piece of cake.

It was hard, raw, terrifying, exhausting, scary, filled with deep sobs, frustration, snotty-nosed crying moments. (being honest)

In another post, I’ll share what we each thought was the hardest part. 

We almost backed out several times. People thought we were brave or stupid and shared their opinions with us regularly. 

We literally kept the list with our life goals taped to my desk so on hard moments we could remind ourselves. 

Doing something scary and big is hard. 

But man, the reward on the other side…..magical!

“What does that look like?”

Life isn’t perfect on the other side, there are new challenges. We’re still working through things. We’ll share more of our journey to downsize to a larger life in future posts. 

I’ll be sharing some downsizing tips, myths, how-tos, how we run our creative business and have found fun, adventure, and still pay the bills too. 

One of the greatest gifts that came from our decision to downsize and move to a small cottage – the freedom from stress we feel, and although life is still busy and hard, we are still self-employed, neither one of us have our shoulders up to our ears anymore!

No matter what “a better, more fulfilling life” looks like for you, if you are not content in your current day-to-day, seek change.

Ask yourself  “What does that look like?” and start planning. 

Question: Would it help if I shared the “lifestyle” assessment we used with you? 

Want to downsize to the cottage and run away from home like us maybe? 

Thanks for being here and coming along on our journey with us!





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