It was January 5th 2013 at about 6:30 am. I am just waking up in a Four Points by Sheraton in Rancho Cucamonga CA, I have about $100.00 to my name and I’m stressed to the MAX (I’ll tell you why later). Naming your own price on priceline can get you a super deal but you can’t specify what type of bed you get. I can usually use a little “hypnotic language” to get a free upgrade but I had no luck on this trip, or maybe Luck was EXACTLY what I had. You see, this little piece of chance changed my life FOREVER.
They gave me 2 full beds and I had my wife Adri and three kids Eden(5) Weston(3) and Cali (2) with me. We decided to make a little pallet out of blankets on the floor between the beds for the kids so me and Adri could take a bed each and stretch out. This little hotel room was pretty nice but our 4 bedroom house with a pool back in Las Vegas was nicer and BIGGER, our lives where about to change!
There were a few rays of light bouncing in the otherwise dark and peaceful room and I was the only one awake. I looked down at my three sweet children asleep on the floor. They were cuddled up like puppies and as snuggly and happy as any creatures I had ever seen in my life. There was a peace in the room that was not normal for us during this stage of our life, its presence felt noticeably different and I wanted more of it, I wanted to find the secret. The previous four years had been a roller coaster ride of success and failure. We had built a small 100 seat Comedy Hypnosis theater in the tourist town of Gatlinburg TN and painstakingly turned it into a sold out success. 6 months earlier we were in the process of moving our little show to a bigger and nicer venue when we received a call from a couple of close friends who are pretty powerful and respected in Las Vegas entertainment. They asked us to fly out and meet with some big players about moving our little show to the Vegas Strip. We did and things went great. So great that we flew back to TN sold almost everything we owned and moved to Las Vegas to put it all together.
Here is a little video of one leg of our trip West. It’s easy to see the Wanderlust if you notice. We didn’t know we would be Full Time Travelers and Free As A Bird in less than 3 months.
After spending 2 months in Las Vegas most of the pieces were put together. We had a wealthy investor, several very respectable venues ready to go and a team of people ready to go to work as soon as we said GO. “If I give you $300,000.00 I don’t want to double my money….I want to make $12,000,000.00!” said my potential investor. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” I asked. “Well……I want to make millions for sure” he said.
A 5 year contract for 6 nights a week year round and an option to renew me for another 5 years if they had not made enough money off of me. Plus ownership of my name “possibly forever” and a percentage for all of my products and books including potential reality TV show ownership. It was everything an entertainer ever dreamed of and the biggest NIGHTMARE this entertainer could ever imagine.
I DON’T DO WELL ON A “J.O.B.” and this sounded like a 10 year “J.O.B.” to me. Ten years from that moment I would have a 15 year old living in Las Vegas Nevada. I may have been rich and famous or I may have busted after 6 months but either way the thoughts of what would happen to my kids and marriage was driving me mad. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots and lots of great families that live in and around Vegas but was that what WE wanted. We spent 8 years married before having children and our kids were the most important thing in our lives or so I thought. Actually I had spent so much time on my career I had totally lost my way and I didn’t even know it. My mind (at least the back of it) was constantly on one thing….SELLING SHOW TICKETS. At the playground, HOW CAN I SELL MORE SHOW TICKETS? On a date with my wife, HOW CAN I SELL MORE SHOW TICKETS? Listening to my kids and wife tell me about their day, HOW CAN I SELL MORE SHOW TICKETS? I would have told you that I was the best dad ever. I would have told you that I was with my kids almost all the time. I would have told you that I was the best husband ever. I would have ALSO told you that I was totally connected with all of them on a deep level. I was WRONG!
I was standing at a crossroads it seemed and this was my last chance to make the right choice. That’s why we came to California for a short little vacation. We had to just get away and clear our heads. I had quickly spent all of my savings getting moved to Nevada and then living like Rock Stars while we were there. If I sowed up the investor deal I would immediately start getting a guaranteed income not only as an entertainer but also as a production manager as well. But that could not be undone. Once the contract was signed and we got the first fat check to fund the venture it was on for TEN LONG YEARS. Not only for me either but everybody in my family and it could turn our life into a living hell….. That was some SCARY SHIT!!
(I don’t really use profanity in public very often but sometimes I feel it’s needed to make clear the SERIOUSNESS of a situation. If it offends you I am sorry but honestly this blog is about LIFE and everything in it. It’s about learning to accept the ups and downs, embrace them both and then create BALANCE to live the happiest way possible. Basically, IT IS REAL and it is TRUTHFUL! If you like that GREAT, if you don’t like it then this is probably not the place for you. Here is a little video of kittens playing water polo to make you feel better:) As my Grandmother (Mommy Hood) always said “You can’t let your light shine all the time”. lol)
Are you still with me??? GREAT!!
THIS is where we first got the idea of traveling full time in an RV. I still watch this movie about at least once a month, it gets me so pumped up about LIVING LIFE!
Two years earlier I had watched this documentary and it just seemed like the most magical way to live I had ever seen. I told people all the time that I was going to do it one day but I really didn’t believe it. I said it, I dreamed about it but I didn’t really think I could just up and sell everything I had and move into an old RV and hit the road broke and happy. I had a Corvette for Gods Sake. I had a house with a view and most of all I had a reputation of making people think I was rich that I had to keep up. I WAS NOT rich btw I WAS BROKE!! I was always in the hole $10,000 between rent, advertisers and payroll it was TERRIBLE. As a matter of fact I did it just now. I said I had a corvette and I did but it was a 1994 that I paid $3,900.00 for. It looked newer and nicer but it was actually just a shiny cheap attention getter to build my ego. I also had a nice big house but it was a lease and I could BARELY make the payment every month. Don’t get me wrong, I was and am still very thankful for all that stuff but I’m MUCH MORE thankful now that I know that I don’t need it to be happy. Actually I needed to NOT have it, at least for a while, to BECOME happy…. Deep Stuff……….. Really Deep Stuff!
ANYWAY….Back to the story.
Some thoughts came to me as I looked at my kids in the floor asleep on top of each other. I was reminded of the line from the SurfWise movie about them sleeping like puppies in a small space. I thought of how in our big house my kids often got on my nerves, but that hadn’t happened once in this small hotel room. I thought of how my wife and I had been stressed out like crazy lately and fighting like cats and dogs, but we had been connected and passionate in this small hotel room. It just didn’t make sense. I thought every kid had to have their own room to be happy and a huge play room and every toy advertised on T.V. I thought my wife would only love me if I was a super successful business man with wads full of cash flowing out of my pockets. We had been eating clearance grocery store sandwiches all week and doing nothing unless it was free and we were in bliss, TOTAL BLISS.
We were there trying to make a decision on what to do with our life. Should we move forward with the show in Vegas? Should we do a smaller show in Vegas and get jobs to try and fund it ourselves? Should we forget a show all together and fall back on my Paintless Dent Repair skill to make a living fixing door dings for used car dealers in the HOT Nevada sun? Should we run back to TN with our tails between our legs? These were the questions at hand and let me tell you the weight of them was very heavy on our shoulders.
That morning Adri woke up and said “Jon I have our answer”. “OK, GREAT. What is it?” I asked her. “Let’s go back to Vegas, sell your Denali, all of our furniture and all of your show equipment and use the money to buy an RV and lets hit the road”! “WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? DON’T TOY WITH ME!” She assured me that her heart was in it and after about an hour of me grilling her to be sure, we came up with a plan. We decided to go up to Malibu that day and just pretend that we had no home, Nomads so to speak. Let’s go see what it feels like. We had the greatest day EVER. We went to the Farmers Market and ate all kinds of delicious samples of spinach dishes. We people watched on Santa Monica Blvd. We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and shared a dinner at Neptune’s Net (Below is a scene from The Fast and The Furious that was filmed right were we sat:)
We ended the evening by spontaneously pulling over at an empty beach and setting in silence as we all watched the Sun set over the water. It was done! We had signed OUR OWN contract. We were ready to let go of all the expectations that had been placed upon us our whole lives and just go out and LIVE on OUR TERMS. To do what REALLY made US happy even if most other people thought we were crazy. We had decided and we were PUMPED about it to say the least. Now it was time to get to work and put this dream in place and there will be many blog posts and “Secret Emails” telling you all about THAT.
As I write this story of our wonderful life here on planet earth it has been exactly 1 year and 2 weeks since that day. WOW, What a life change we have experienced. We have camped 6 steps from the beach of the Pacific ocean. We have lived completely of the grid at a hot springs oasis in the middle of the California desert. We have witnessed UFO’s in the desert night sky. We’ve had astronomy lesson by a homeless Wise Man. We have stayed on a horse farm in Texas, ate authentic Cajun food in Louisiana, spent every day for 3 months in a Georgia swimming pool. We have Rode Turtles, Danced at Drum Circles, Meditated with Buddhist Monks and so much more that I can’t even list it all.
If you like hearing about our Crazy philosophies about how to raise GREAT kids that aren’t messed up or you want to see and hear more about our adventures be sure and like our Facebook page and check back here often.
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Thanks for reading our story and I hope it may encourage you to take a chance and just start living life a little more each day. You don’t have to do what we did but some of you may want to. Either way, it’s YOUR LIFE and you should Live it on YOUR terms!
God Bless You,