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  • Writer's pictureHaley Keller

2022, My Year of Changes


Our family next to our RV

2022 will be marked in my life as the year of change. To sum it up: we sold our brewery business and house in Seattle, road-tripped around the US in a small RV for over 6 months, moved to Tucson, and I launched this new business. It has been an overwhelming, joyful, stress-relieving, adventurous, stressful, freeing, and exhausting year.


Did we spend a lot of time planning these changes? Not at all!


In the fall of 2021, my husband and I were finally able to pause and examine our lives after eight years of business ownership and a year and a half of heads-down pandemic and two-under-two survival mode. We loved running our brewery in principle, but our actual day-to-day jobs we did not enjoy as much. We rarely spend time at the brewery during the fun open hours anymore and any time on “vacation” was spent stressing about things we couldn’t do or fix from afar.


When we thought about what our lives would be like without running the brewery, we realized if we stayed in Seattle we would need to immediately jump into full-time jobs doing something else. If we moved somewhere less expensive, however, we could take our time getting back into the work force and potentially never have to work full-time again. We decided that our priorities are to (1) spend our time mentally, emotionally, and physically present with our kids when they are young and needy, constantly growing and changing, excited to be with us, and catching the illness of the week at school and (2) have ample time for fun and adventure with and without the kids.


For that to happen, a lot needed to change.


After a few months loosely researching places, Tucson was looking like a good match. We took a quick 72hr trip in December to check out the area and were shocked to find the exact spot we wanted to live - and even put money down on a new build home! The spot fit everything on our list including lower cost of living, good schools, sunshine, nearby mountains, easy access to outdoor recreation, a kid-friendly neighborhood with great amenities, and closer to extended family.


Reality hit quick when we got home and we had to make some big decisions.


Dave and I cheering to 9 years

Two weeks later, just after Christmas, we put our business for sale. In March, we celebrated our brewery’s 9th anniversary and closed the doors. A week later, we signed the papers selling our business as a turn-key brewery. The next day, a POD arrived at our house. One week later, we were packed up and moved out. That next weekend, our house was on the market for sale. The following week, we accepted an offer.


We rolled out of Seattle in our 24ft Winnebago RV with our 2yo and 3yo, and began a long road trip around the US. Our unplanned route zigged and zagged as we looped around the country for 203 days and visited all lower 48 states plus some Canadian provinces. It felt like an endless summer filled with days at the beach, bike rides around major cities, visits with family and friends, hikes in the mountains, and taking everything day-by-day.


It should have been a relaxing and freeing experience, but I was actually in a really bad mood for the first few weeks. I was having work withdrawals. The background noise and stress from work were gone, but the void of its absence was causing me anxiety. I had to process this feeling and focus my brain and my eyes on what was now surrounding me – my family and the adventure were having. It took time, but I found myself able to sit and watch my kids play at a playground without instead seeing a mental list of what I should be doing if only I didn’t have to watch them. For the first time in their lives, I was able to be fully present.


We all truly enjoyed our time traveling around and exploring the country. As our road trip was wrapping up, however, we were ready to be done. I felt a longing to be “productive” and “accomplished” in some way and also to have quiet time to myself.


Greetings from Tucson mural

We landed in Tucson in the fall and started the boys in preschool. That first morning Dave and I went to a coffee shop and just sat in peaceful silence. As planned, we don’t need to jump into full-time jobs and have instead been spending our days following our passions. Ideally I spend my morning go on a run or bike ride and then spend the afternoon working on this new business. But about half of my weekdays so far have instead been spent either with a sick kid staying home or family visiting. Because we have literally rewritten our lives to put family first, these sick days and visits are not adding stress or financial burden, they are all part of the plan.


I am excited to have made a choice for a better life for me and my family. I am in better physical and mental health, a better financial position, and am a better parent and partner. And I now have the time in my life to focus on my passion for empowering women with personal finance knowledge.


Change is so hard, but change can also be so good.

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