It was a tough decision to make and an even tougher one to enforce, but the sad fact was, after five years living in Tenerife we simply could not make ends meet and it didn’t take a genius to figure out why.
We’d had a ball. We’d been blessed with visits from more friends and family than we could ever have imagined when we packed our cases and left the UK. And we’d had real quality time with them, not just a night out or dinner or even a camping weekend, but entire weeks, often a fortnight and sometimes even three weeks at a time. Long days on the beach, picnics in the forest, Carnaval nights, cavorting in the crater – we’d introduced so many people to the delights of the Real Tenerife and naturally, they were hooked and wanted more.
But each time they left, we had to work like demented beings to catch up with our work and we could never get ahead of ourselves.
As we faced Christmas 2008 with just €49 in the bank, money owed from features written which was now almost certainly never going to materialise and savings that were dwindling faster then the snow on the Cumbre, Jack calculated that, out of five years, we’d had 16 months of visitors. That was 16 months of earning less and spending more.
We had to face reality.
If we didn’t knuckle down to building this business, within five months we were going to have to sell up and move on.
When you’re faced with that kind of a scenario, it becomes easier to make the tough decisions.
We declared 2009 ‘The Year of No Visitors’.
Giving out the news was difficult. It felt like we were telling people we didn’t want to know them anymore and we very nearly crumbled and gave in, knowing what the consequences would be. But then we checked ourselves and realised how stupid it would be to lose all of this just because we didn’t want to hurt or offend anyone. How very British of us!
So we held fast and apart from the occasional one-night stay by Jo en route to or from her home on La Gomera, we’ve been a visitor-free zone for 12 months.
And has it made a difference? Well, for one thing, we’re still here.
For another, we’re now earning more money than we ever have since we moved to Tenerife and for the first time, this month our bank balance has actually gone up instead of down. That statistic alone is enough to send me into whoop whoops of joy and I’m tempted to pop the cork on a cava!
We’ve got more work than we can comfortably handle, which is great because we both work best when stretched to well beyond comfort levels and for the bonus ball, we’ve started to get a bit of a social life too.
This year we’ve actually made new friends on Tenerife.
The only trouble is, although The Year of No Visitors is over, we can’t go back to where we were before. We’re working flat out to finally get ourselves established here and we’re not willing to put that at risk. Besides, in six years of living here, we’ve never actually had a holiday; we’ve just shared other people’s.
So we’ve declared 2010 The Year of Our Holiday. Of course, I haven’t broken the news to friends and family yet…