Lyn and Chris Kimberly had no jobs and no summer plans on Memorial Day weekend in 2005. So the family marched into the Weston Public Library , took out as many books on the national parks as they could find, returned to their Weston home, scattered the books of the floor and began to read. When one of them read something intriguing, they put a colored sticker on the national park they were reading about. Then they got in an RV and drove to every stickered destination.
"A natural path formed," said Lyn Kimberly. "We took off two months and went to explore the national parks." The journey transformed into a career and summer plans each year for the Kimberlys.
Lyn and Chris had both been in corporate America for more than 20 years Lyn in market research and Chris on Wall Street. In 2005, Lyn and Chris quit their jobs, anticipating the purchase of a summer camp in Vermont a longtime dream.
"The deal didn't go through Memorial Day weekend," said Kimberly. That is when they rented an RV, stickered the map and started their adventure.
"All along the way we spoke to rangers, families everyone we could. Really doing market research to develop a business plan that we didn't even know existed," said Kimberly.
The Kimberlys started and still run American Wanderer , a summer camp where RVs are cabins. "Our destination is the parks," said Kimberly. "I want to turn the next generation into stewards of the parks."
American Wanderer has four two-week sessions for teenagers ages 11 to 17.
"History and geology textbooks come alive for the kids on these trips," said Kimberly. "To take these kids to the edge of the Grand Canyon and to look at their eyes their amazement brings tears to my eyes."
The Kimberlys' career path was as unpredictable as the path of those colored stickers on the map. But they are happy about where the road took them.
"Enthusiasm is oozing out of my pores," said Kimberly "I love what I do. The amount of passion I have for what I do. It is the best decision I have ever made."
Do you have a story of going from corporate America to small business owner story? Email Kdrucker@mainstreetconnect.us .
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