The New Normal: Silver Lining After Layoff

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"I'm sort of embracing the layoff as an opportunity to pursue something maybe I would have had the courage to pursue, but maybe not," she said. "My layoff has definitely been a blessing in disguise."

And then there's Tamsin McMahon.

When the newspaper she worked for started cutting jobs, McMahon decided to take a hike: a 2,650 mile, six-month journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. And she found a way to get paid for it by writing freelance travel articles along the way.

"I think I am going to look back on this year as a really successful year for myself," McMahon said when ABC News caught up with her near Cabazon, Calif.

The Powells of Texas trek has brought them to a point where they are now earning as much as Chris was bringing home in construction. They have hired three employees. Misty spends six days a week at the store.

Chris works mostly from home, doing the ordering, the accounting and taking care of the kids.

While you can't put a price on the increased family time, that's a benefit of their new life.

"Every day we know that there's the possibility that we may wake up tomorrow and it may not be so successful," Misty said.

Chris agreed. "It was going to be really hard either way because of the recession," he told ABC News. "If it's going to be really hard, you might as well go for your dream."

ABC News' Christine Brouwer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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