#LifeMatters, hosted by Tony Chapman, is a special 6-part series presented by RBC. In this podcast series, Tony speaks with Canadians who’ve faced overwhelming challenges, overcoming hardships and growing them into amazing opportunities. These true stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things might leave you inspired, opening up possibilities for your own life.
“Must be nice,” is a comment Bryan Baeumler hears frequently, from old friends or new people he meets through his projects and travels. “You’re so lucky,” is another one, referring to his successful businesses, HGTV Canada fame and latest venture that has taken him and his family to a remote island in the Bahamas.
As if it’s all just fallen from the sky.
The thing is, Baeumler couldn’t be farther from an overnight success, having started his first construction business as a teenager, over thirty years ago. In fact, he speaks often about the need to put in work, sacrifice and energy before being able to reap the rewards that come only with time and effort.
Plus, Baeumler is ambitious, exceptionally hardworking and always up for a challenge. “I’m the guy who always looks for the more difficult route, the road less travelled,” he tells Tony Chapman in the third episode of the #LifeMatters podcast. And it’s that uncharted path that led him and his family to Andros Island in the Bahamas.
“It’s known as a sleeping giant,” he tells Chapman. “It’s bigger than all 700 other islands of The Bahamas combined, but it’s the least populated and least developed island. I needed to know why. As soon as we arrived, we were met with the most amazing, warm, welcoming people. And we had this feeling that we were seeing long lost family. It felt like home.”
With 90 miles of beach without a single footprint, coconut groves, blue holes and the third longest great barrier reef in the world, the island struck a chord with Bryan and his wife Sarah. When they found an old hotel for sale, they spent five minutes thinking it over before deciding to buy it, completely restore it, upend their entire lives and move their family to Andrus Island.
Weighing the What-Ifs
A lot of people asked the Baeumlers ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’ After all, the Baeumlers have five of the number one record-breaking shows on HGTV, a great construction company, a custom cabinetry business, endorsements, a summer house, kids in private school… overall a great life. Bryan’s response was: ‘What if we spend the next 30 or 40 years doing exactly what we’re doing today?’
“I just said, what’s next? Are we just going to continue on the hamster wheel? Or do we take this crazy path, risk everything, do something completely different and have this amazing adventure?” he tells Chapman.
For Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, the choice was clear. And while there have been ups and downs — including an extended closure due to COVID-19 — it’s been a rewarding experience that has brought their family closer together.
For anyone feeling stuck in life and afraid to make a change, Baeumler says it’s all a matter of perspective. “If it all disappeared tomorrow, we could still eat. I could still swing a hammer. Losing everything doesn’t necessarily mean losing everything. It means you have an opportunity to start over, knowing what you know now.”
For other stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, listen to the #LifeMatters Radio Show Friday’s at Noon on I Heart Radio and these stations:
- Newstalk 1010, Toronto
- CFRA 580 Ottawa
- CJAD 800 Montreal
- CJBK 1290 London
- Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
- CKLW 800 Windsor
- CKFR 1150 Kelowna
- Fridays at 1 p.m.
- CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
- Fridays at 8 p.m.
- BNN Bloomberg, CFTE 1410 Vancouver
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.