We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnny Welsh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnny, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Sometimes I do not know whether giving up or staying the course is my best option as far as careers go. It is difficult to predict certain industries. Who predicted that a global pandemic would completely shut down non-essential businesses? Giving up and maintaining just enough to get by has always been the easy option. I have tried not to choose that as it offers the least amount of reward. By reward, I refer not only to financial gain but the feeling of satisfaction that comes with accomplishment. Many times that feeling could mean more than material riches. It cannot be taken away. I have had the most wonderful career as a bartender for decades. The situations and events that have unfolded over the years have given me endless content to write about. I chose some fun topics, embellished a bit, added a splash of wine, and turned them into books. They have gone on to win multiple awards in non-fiction and humor categories nationally and internationally as well as hitting number one in several categories. I am still writing books, but the pandemic has forced me to make a career change much sooner than I had anticipated. My personal experience and enthusiasm for buying and selling homes have landed me in a good position with a local real estate company. The best part of it all is that I don’t have to give up that which I love best which is the social interaction with people. So, this reason is why I feel a compelling urge not to give up in this unprecedented time in history. To quote my mentor, he said, “Over time, I have realized something very dear to my heart. Whether I help in the buying or selling of a property, it is, and always has been people who interest me the most; their history, their futures. It’s what they’re trying to get out of life, or what they want to put back into it.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
“Who needs a drink?” This is how I would start and end my bartending shift. I could make drinks and serve food while surveying my audience of that shift. Who was in the mood to chat? I had the time to get to know the people that visited our high mountain town of Frisco, Colorado. That was the best part of my job. We would exchange travel stories and other unique experiences of life. This interaction has stood the test of time. The travelers would stop at the local haunts and bring tales from the road. The locals would share theirs of nearby legends. I think this casual conversation was a model for what I wanted to write. I like keeping things simple so I can relate to a much larger demographic. I remember being a junior in college at Syracuse University and one of the deans of my school called me in and said I had to choose a major. It’s funny that I hadn’t chosen one yet. Somebody must have missed something. I was fulfilling all the core requirements for arts and sciences and my electives coincided with pre-med. My other favorite classes were Italian languages. They were considered intensive classes and worth double the credits. During this meeting with the dean, I realized that I could choose a degree in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture and use my remaining electives to fulfill the pre-med requirements. The summer after graduation I applied to Seneca Falls School of Chiropractic. At the same time, I applied as an intern at an organic farm in Tuscany, Italy, that doubled in Etruscan and Roman archaeology. In the same week, I was accepted to both. I was terrified at the decision I had to make. Do I go to Chiropractic school and become a doctor, or do I go live in a 12th-century castle and picks olives and grapes? I chose the latter and this began my career of traveling and writing which went hand-in-hand with my bartending career upon my return to America. Bartending allowed me to earn a good living while keeping the ability to travel. That one decision has done more to shape my life and who I am more than anything else in my life. You never know which decisions can be life altering.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living in this small mountain town for twenty-three years has afforded me the time to explore and find my favorite spots. I have several hikes in the area that I would like to show visitors. Then, I would get them on bicycles and take them on my favorite routes on the bike path which reveal certain historical treasures as I like to call them. If it is wintertime, we would go to my favorite ski resort, Copper Mountain. Once there, I would take them to the powder stashes that I know about. Our dining desires would bring us to 5th Avenue Grille, my favorite spot to eat and drink. It is also the place where I have worked for a decade and a half. If I am willing to go to the place where I work when it is my day off, that says something about the restaurant. Most of the restaurants on Frisco Main Street are above and beyond expectations. One little gem that I like to share is the Frisco Historic Museum located on 2nd Ave. It’s almost a full half block of historic cabins from fur trappers to home-steaders that can be entered. There’s a chapel and a jail as well. Photos behind bars in the jail cell are fun to send to friends and family, at least in my case.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am without the support, love, and encouragement of my newlywed bride, Kristy Marie Smith. She brightens not only my life but every room she enters. That bright energy comes from her passion to be as creative as we want to be in this life. That means not giving up and discovering new ways to achieve our successes. Another team who has been influential in my life is my mother and father. In my first book, the dedication reads, “For Mom and Dad. Mom, who stressed the importance of a good education, and for Dad, who paid for it.”
Other: My new career in real estate can be found at the following link; https://realestateofthesummit.com/agents/johnny-welsh/
Kristy Marie Smith, Johnny Welsh, Mark Fox