Making It Work On The Coast | S1 E8 "How Gary and Jen Left the 9-5 Behind"

Location: Tuwanek

Outdoor: Porpoise Bay

Social Recco:  The Lighthouse Pub

What happens when you leave the rat race and head for the coast? With a little creativity and some hustle, the options are endless.

Having your property featured on the likes of Buzzfeed and CBC is something many of us can only dream of. But, that’s just what happened for Gary and Jen, owners of Alfie the A Frame, on the Sunshine Coast. This cute little cabin, tucked away in Tuwanek, is one of Airbnb’s most wishlisted in Canada!

The pair, originally from Vancouver, have owned property on the Sunshine Coast for 10 years - and have lived here for four. Even back in 2007, the costs of housing in Metro Vancouver prohibited them from home ownership right away, so they decided to partner with a friend to purchase their first home in Tuwanek (which is located near Porpoise Bay).

After some time, they grew tired of the day-to-day grind of their corporate jobs and  stressful city lives, in search of more balance and flexibility. And with that, they decided to design the life they wanted.

Jen, a human resources professional, and Gary, a computer programmer in the gaming industry were not only looking for a change of pace but a complete lifestyle transformation too.

When they first moved to the Sunshine Coast, both of them continued to work in Vancouver part-time. However, as their full transition to coastal living progressed, the couple decided to rethink how they made money all together.

What if they could leverage the popular tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast to run an Airbnb? One property turned into three, and they now run two additional properties besides Alfie: The LIly Pad and Original Sixty Seven.

While Airbnb helps pay the bills, Gary and Jen also have an insatiable appetite for travel. To help fund their adventures, Jen has a side hustle making artisan roasted nuts. Watch for West Coast Nuts at Farmer’s Markets and Persephone Brewing, with tasty offerings, such as maple bacon almonds and orange ginger pecans. She also works in the tasting room at Persephone. Meanwhile, Gary takes up occasional freelance programming gigs, and is renovating an investment property too.

Career Advice For Living On The Coast

One of the biggest questions people have when deciding whether or not to move to the Sunshine Coast is around jobs and earning an income. Gary has some great advice for people who are curious about the job market:

“Try to be entrepreneurial and don’t feel you need to do your same job over here. It’s OK to do an array of jobs. The guy who rents cars also has a you brew wine shop. You have to explore opportunities to make money work.”

Jen adds that there are plenty of jobs on the Sunshine Coast, but much of the opportunities come through word of mouth and relationships versus the traditional job postings one might see in an urban setting. She advises getting to know people and chatting about your skills and passions.

“Once you make the move over here and you start meeting people, people will give you opportunities. If you seem capable and enthusiastic, they will basically hand them to you on a platter,” she explains.

 

What to Expect When You Move

Beach bonfires, solo nature hikes without the crowds and adventures galore are just some of the benefits of living on the Sunshine Coast. But the one thing Jen wasn’t expecting was her appreciation for peace and quiet and the satisfaction of truly appreciating your home.

“I  was never a homebody, so not being home much didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t until moving here [that I realized] I actually like being at home, and I love having people over, and I love cooking again!” she says. “So in the end, what I turns out I wanted was to have [a quieter life] without really knowing it at the time.”

It’s not all chilling out though. There is quite a hopping events and activities scene on the Sunshine Coast - if you know where to look.  While on the surface it doesn’t seem like there’s much going on because there isn’t one central resource, the community is overflowing with cultural events, activities and more.

Gary and Jen left their 9-5 lives behind four years ago. And, in that short time, they’ve managed to create the flexible, fulfilling, adventure-filled life they were craving. So, what are you waiting for?

 

Want to learn more about living on The Coast? Get in touch for a consultation!