Pivotal Point – When Our Dreams Change

Port de Capestang Canal du Midi
Port de Capestang Canal du Midi

While working feverishly towards our dream of owning and running a B&B in southern France, our dream changed.

This was a pivotal point of our journey. We found a magnificent project two kilometers outside of Capestang with three rental gites onsite as well as a huge six-bedroom 100-year-old farmhouse conversion.

When the banks decided to change policy after the economic crash, and obtaining a mortgage became impossible, our first house deal fell through.

That was when we knew our life in France would not be solely based on running a B&B. The house was 400,000€; almost $600,000 Canadian dollar investment after the much needed renovations took place. And the income it would generate would be less than 2% return on our investment; far below acceptable.

Although hopeful, deep down we knew the numbers simple did not add up to support a family of four on the scale we had planned. It would leave little money to pay into the health care/retirement system here. Different if we kept one leg in Hungary or Canada, our permanent move with the idea to assimilate to France, left little wiggle room and the numbers did not jive.

When we looked for our family home with an income potential during our second search in the Languedoc on a much lower budget, our criteria changed. We needed space to convert to an apartment for extra income or a space we could run a company through, but we wanted no mortgage and excluded the banks out of the equation all together. Then, if our income helper did generate some cash, the return rate became higher.

I tried to keep the Bed & Breakfast idea alive, I held on with all my might. The death of the original dream was tough on me. I imagined myself changing bed sheets, serving breakfast, and filling traveler’s coffee mugs with steaming brew. We could still do something similar on a smaller scale, and fill that desire in me, but quickly I too realized that we would have to run another business either way. But what type of business would be viable in Capestang, a tourist town along the Canal du Midi and also keeping true to our ‘Time Currency’ plan and staying in tune to what we loved to do.

We played with many ideas. I could open a restaurant selling Kabobs, what about an Irish Pub with a fish and chip night where we could run Karaoke, (me hosting of course) or a Lemon and Twist stand that sells nothing but lemonade and natural potato chips from scratch. I could get certified through TEFOL/TESOL and tutor English students that want extra help with their homework. I could sell advertising space on my blog to make an income. I could write like mad and finish my book, but we are not finished the journey and these things take time. So what then?

We told a few people close to us about our goals, and we waited to revealed our idea on the TV show we finished filming. I can say it was a natural progression for Alfonz to head in this direction, especially after us spending the last seven months travelling around Europe. They say do what you know, do what you love and Alfonz definitely knows a thing or two. We really could pick a number of viable options at this point.

Alfonz started a Wine Tasting and Tour company. He is hired by private domains and takes their guests as well as ours on different tours he has created in our region.

Part of the plan was to live your life’s dream. Our dream was to run a B&B, mainly to meet fellow travelers, support and learn from them, spend time with our fellow expats and wanderlusts, the families who believe, like us, that travel is the key to happiness (for them anyway) and we would help them along their journey, sharing our adventure story and hearing theirs over wine. I love it!

Our business still does all these things, so the compromise was minimal, the reward larger, and our life? Well we can stay and become French after all.

That’s Hamori  final thought- South Westy was born, a home based tour business which still holds true to our beliefs to work around the children’s schedule and spend as much time together as possible. Still pursuing happiness in southern France, the Hamori family!


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