I sent out the new issue of the Gypsy Journal yesterday, which included the following announcement:
As I shared with you in the September-October issue of the Gypsy Journal, Terry and I feel like we have come to a crossroads in our lives. We started publishing the paper in the spring of 1999, when we were brand-new fulltimers, and the last 18 1/2 years have been wonderful. We have traveled to every corner of this great country of ours, we have seen and experienced things most people never have the opportunity to do, we have made many wonderful friends, and a million memories. But the time has come to close out that part of our life as we embrace the new path we are taking.
After a couple of health scares that made us stop and look hard at where we were and where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives, we bought our house here in Florida a year ago. At that time our intention was to use it as a winter base and travel during the summertime. But we quickly realized that storing an RV for long periods of time poses its own set of problems. Every time we wanted to take it someplace we first had to spend a week catching up on maintenance items that occurred while it was sitting still.
Combining that with the fact that I just didn’t feel comfortable driving a big RV as much as I used to, and didn’t enjoy all of the setting up and breaking down every time we stopped at a campground, frankly, it had become more work than fun. We considered downsizing but just couldn’t see ourselves doing that. We still enjoy traveling but we’ve reached the point where we would rather do it in our comfortable minivan, stopping at nice hotels for the night.
And, as I shared in the last issue, in the last year our subscriber base has declined considerably since we are not out on the road promoting the paper at RV rallies and dropping off sample bundles at campgrounds. When I did a seminar at a rally, it was not uncommon for Terry to be swamped selling subscriptions and books in our vendor booth as soon as the seminar ended. But we have not been to a rally in over two years. And frankly, while I really miss presenting seminars, we don’t have the energy or the desire to go back and do the rally circuit again.
We’re not traveling around from place to place like we did when we were on the road, but if anything we are even busier. We put out six issues of the Gypsy Journal every year, and it takes about two weeks per issue, or twelve weeks a year. But at this point, it accounts for about 8% of our income. Meanwhile, my books are selling very well. I usually earn more in the first month of a new book release than we made on the paper in the last year. But it seems that as soon as I finish a new book I have to put out a new issue of the paper, and then as soon as that is done it’s time to turn around and start on another book.
Though we will never completely retire, we would like to have some time to just enjoy life. Yes, we could possibly reduce our publication schedule to quarterly or something like that, but to be honest with you, I’m tired and my heart just isn’t in it anymore.
Any businessperson can tell you that you should focus your time and energy on what makes you the most money. We both turned 65 this year, and having lost all of our savings and retirement when Terry had cancer years ago, that is something we have to consider.
We considered turning the Gypsy Journal over to somebody else, and I have had discussions with some folks about that. Friends and longtime subscribers all agree that a big part of the publication is Terry and myself. Its personality is our personality. That’s what our readers have come to expect. Could somebody else do things the way we did? Maybe, and maybe not. Talks with the two fulltiming couples that looked like they might be a possibility convinced me that they would not work out.
I have also been approached by a couple of big companies that are interested, but it quickly became obvious that all they really want is our mailing list. They would turn it into a publication filled with canned “buy me” press releases and spam the subscribers trying to make a buck. No, thank you. I never shared our subscriber information with anybody in all these years, and I’m not planning to start now.
So all that being said, after a lot of talk and a great deal of heartache on our parts, we made the decision that this will be the last issue of the Gypsy Journal. In the coming weeks we will be refunding the balance due on our unfulfilled subscriptions. If you are a current subscriber and have moved or changed mailing services, please e-mail us your current snail mail address.
I will still be doing my blog every day and the travel stories that would normally be in the paper will now be there. I hope you will drop in from time to time, or even every day like thousands of other readers do.
This is a disappointment for me in that I had hoped to make it a full 20 years. This will be the first time in most of my adult life that I haven’t been involved in some sort of newspaper publication, either in print or online, going back to the days when I was a young man, starting and operating a chain of small weekly papers on the Pacific Northwest coast, and later publishing newspapers in Arizona. But it’s a new world these days, and most folks get their news and their reading entertainment online or electronically.
And while this decision is bittersweet, we both feel that we have done a good job of bringing our readers entertainment and information over the years. And if we could roll back the clock and had it to do all over again, we’d do the same thing. Yeah, it was that much fun. Thank you for your support, for your encouragement, and mostly for your friendship and the love you have shown us. I hope if you’re ever in our part of Florida, you will reach out to us. Maybe we can get together for lunch and swap some stories.
Congratulations Tom Gallant, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Blood Honor, the debut novel in my friend Russell Blake’s The Day After Never post-apocalyptic trilogy. We had 46 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. – Muhammad Ali