We both got ‘itchy’ early this year with the vending sideline of ours. It led to working with the Chamber of Commerce to establish monthly indoor markets. We accomplished that for a total of three events but it got far too difficult to keep going with vendors dropping out at the last minute or not committing at all when it was critical to do so. It was a lot of work and we gained a great deal of experience from it.
We took that experience back to Okanagan Falls this summer and vended there for the entire 12-week season. It was good and bad at times but we still enjoyed being part of the event. Near the end of the OK Falls season we started vending at the Oliver Indoor Flea Market. We had a date there back in April that was not tremendous but showed promise so when a regular weekly opportunity arose we took a serious look at it.
Our calendar also included several new events for JamBusters! and we discovered that we had a bit of a following in more than one of those locations. Our outdoor vending season ended in late September and we shifted to regular indoor markets from there. We cut down on the number of Christmas Craft Fairs we would attend allowing us to focus on the indoor market in Oliver which became sort of our unofficial home base.
Another great opportunity came our way in August through the form of Watkins Products. The product line is well-known and well-respected so selling it is virtually effortless. We encountered a snag or two early on as Independent Consultants but they were ironed out and we take Watkins on the road with us. We have had a lot of good response to it in Oliver as well as in Lower Nicola so we plan to keep those venues on our vending calendar.
Well, my efforts at writing full-time from home continued to expand throughout the year. I found myself as part of a writing team for a marketing firm based in Vancouver and another one based in Arizona. I have also picked up more regular freelance clients. At one point I posted a listing in a freelance community stating I would write “a funny article” for websites or blogs to see what would happen. It turned into a high volume of work that has not slowed down.
On top of that I have a handful of regular clients I have been working for off and on for the past couple of years. One in Australia has turned into a regular weekly source of business with others coming and going when they need something written. I have truly enjoyed the randomness of the writing work and have turned it into a fairly decent wage earning opportunity. At one point during the year I thought it would come to an end but I was wrong.
Another Annual Holiday
One thing that has most certainly been foreign to both Brenda and I in the time we have been together (almost 20 years) is an annual two-week vacation. We used to squeeze four or five days in each Christmas when we had the newspaper as that was the only time the schedule allowed for it. Now that both of us are working full-time from home we have a bit more control over that sort of thing. Or at least I thought we did.
Our original plans were to get away in August like we did in 2016. The destination was still to be determined and at one point we tossed around possibly going to Vancouver Island. The second choice was a trip to Jasper, Alberta. Somehow we looked back on our trip last year in the south west Kootenays and chose to venture in that general area but further north. I could not believe how little I knew about the region until I located a map.
We decided on a route that took us from our home in Princeton down to Osoyoos, then up to Kelowna for a night. From there we headed to Revelstoke. The next day we ventured into Nakusp and New Denver to Kaslo and down to Ainsworth Hot Springs. We spent two nights there and took a day trip back to see Kaslo and New Denver a bit closer. The next day was through Nelson and into Castlegar. Our last night was in Grand Forks.
The trip was in early October and although some of the places we would have probably stopped at were already closed for the season, we did find several places that were still open and welcoming to tourists. We chose to travel late in the season as it meant less traffic, some beautiful fall colours and possibly the odd off-season rate. We virtually had a few stops along the way to ourselves and it made for a great holiday and a good year (so far).