Will You Preview Our Podcast?

Hi friends! We need a few good people with an interest in good entertainment to help us out.

Will you be a beta tester for our podcast?

Ross and I have created a new podcast that centers around the idea of creating a musical theater season within certain constraints that change each week. We think it’s fun and funny, and we’d love to get some feedback on our pilot episode before we release it to the world!

If you’ve got a half hour or so to listen, and another five minutes or so to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here or send us a message with your email and we’ll get you on the list as a beta tester! This isn’t just for fans of musical theater, although that doesn’t hurt. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A full year on the road: So long, 2017!

What a year it’s been! We hit the road in October, and we’re so overjoyed that we’ve been able to make this crazy adventure work for another year. How amazing is it that we were full-time travels for all of 2017? And we’re cautiously optimistic that 2018 will be the year we see our income increase and our lives become more sustainable. (Believe me, we have some serious plans to make that happen.)
2017 was the year we:
Celebrated the New Year at the most amazing Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum aka the only way I’ve found to get the equivalent of my Disney fix outside of Disney. (It’s that great!)
Visited Austin and participated in the Women’s March.
Visited New Orleans and the one and only Eric Bolivar after WAY too many years of saying we’d get down there.
Stayed at a Walmart with views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Experienced wonderful museums & historical sites.
Visited Savannah and Charleston (we’ll be back) and got tastes of many other cities, including Brunswick, ME, for the first time.
Spent many months visiting Disney World, experiencing Flower & Garden Festival, Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Holidays and Food & Wine Festival. We also had a truly special Christmas dinner and some amazing treats and fun at Disney Springs. Plus Jellyrolls and Sanaa with Ross’ sister Emily and her husband Ryan.
Ate a ton of homemade ice cream, custard, gelato and frozen yogurt!
Spent an outstanding summer visiting all there is to see on the Outer Banks and making the best friends we’ve met on the road so far. Way too many moments to name, but a few include our first blue crabs, beaches, all the historical sites, lighthouses, a seafood buffet for our third anniversary plus wine, whiskey, a first martini and more with our friends.
We made friends with multiple cats.
We purchased a car, an adorable Chevy Sonic that we’ve nicknamed “Hedgie”.
Explored Delaware for a weekend, including John Dickinson’s plantation and Dogfish Head Brewery.
Played music in assisted living facilities, senior centers, preschools, bars, churches, theaters and open mics, including one with outstanding homemade ice cream.
We got a few enjoyable tastes of upstate New York, including Rochester, Albany and Binghamton.
Jamie played keyboard in a genuine praise band at a contemporary Methodist church service.
We led a ukulele workshop for seniors that was literally a dream come true – we were paid to teach music for free!
We visited with family and friends and despite the distance, had Christmas with a few family members too.
Jamie finally updated this blog to make it easier to search and follow our travels!
We held our first music recital in Bethlehem, NH!
We’ve continued to build our businesses, from teaching online music lessons to working as a virtual assistant (Jamie) and as a podcast editor (Ross). We even auditioned at Disney (Jamie, two times) and entered a competition to handle social media for Cancun.com (both of us). We’re thinking big and bold as we head into 2018.
Ross got a Nintendo Switch after patiently waiting until we had the money for it! Jamie got a Groot (from Guardians of the Galaxy) that she enjoys dancing with.
In addition, Jamie flew back to NH to lead the band for the musical The Drowsy Chaperone in Littleton and Ross held down the fort in Florida for almost a month without her. Jamie also had a birthday party while on the Outer Banks that included homemade ice cream cake and some of her favorite people – thank you Ross for the nudge to make that happen!
We are so lucky that we’ve been able to do this, and we’re so thankful to all of you who’ve supported us, whether in promoting our work, purchasing an EP, taking lessons or sharing gifts that have helped make all of this happen. What’s amazing about this lifestyle is that these things have almost exclusively happened as a part of our normal week. We rarely take “time off” for more than a day or two each week, and yet we’ve been able to have an incredibly fulfilling year with tons of adventures and even some relaxation (thank you, Outer Banks beach access!). We realize every day how incredibly fortunate we are.
As we look ahead to 2018, we’re setting goals, designing schedules and finding ways to make even more success in the upcoming year. We hope you’ll follow along and join us now and again.
With love,
Ross & Jamie

Enjoying the perks of “settling”

We’ve been staying in the Orlando area for almost two months now, and in settling down for a while, there are a lot of perks. We’re enjoying full hookups and access to high-speed internet (we never thought we’d be so thankful to have Comcast), and we’ve been Squeak tonguebefriending a lot of cats, including one who has adopted us that we’ve nicknamed Squeak due to her adorable squeak instead of a meow.

We’ve gotten tons of Disney parks time in, seeing the Halloween decorations in the Magic Kingdom, enjoying the Food and Wine Festival and experiencing the holiday magic throughout the parks. Probably the biggest highlight was our gift from Ross’ parents – dinner at San Angel Inn, Mexico at Epcot followed by a reserved seat for the Candlelight Processional with Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel, the Little Mermaid) as the narrator.

  

Jamie has also auditioned twice for roles at Disney – once for Finding Nemo: The Musical and once to be an improv performer. No luck thus far, but it doesn’t hurt to try! The absolute dream would be a role as a musical director or performance coach, but we hope this gets me noticed at least.

We’ve also done a wee bit of performing (an open mic here, a few church services) and have been booking future gigs like our lives depend on it – which they kind of do! And we’ve got a new website up for teaching online music lessons! New students can save big with our “holiday special” if you book before the end of December.

We’re also enjoying the opportunity to visit with family and friends. So far we got to see our friend and performer Judy Pancoast and we’ll be seeing Ross’ sister Emily and her husband Ryan for Christmas. We also plan to visit with some of our friends from the Outer Banks while they’re in town early next year, and we’ll be reaching out to my grandparents and aunt for a visit soon too. And there’s the chance for other family and friends visiting in early 2018 too! So all of that is really wonderful. If you’ll be in town by the end of February, please let us know!

I’ve been loving being a paid blogger for Outdoorsy, and my most recent article documents why I think ice cream should be a popular RV and road trip activity. In a similar vein, an opportunity to apply to manage the social media for Cancun.com has taken the world by storm, and it sounds so perfect for Ross and I (as a team) that we have applied for it. If you want to help us pay off our debts and spend six months living and working in Mexico, we’d greatly appreciate you voting for us here. No need to sign up for anything and voting is super easy – just click the button! And if you really want to help in an extra, above and beyond way, you can actually vote for us DAILY. Sharing our link and our story with your friends and family helps us get additional votes too!

Happy Hanukkah if you’re celebrating, and if you’re celebrating Christmas, we wish you a merry one. Lots of love and peace to all of you this holiday season, and thank you for your support and for following along on this journey with us!

Booking Hard or Hardly Booking?

Ross and I have been hard at work. I’m following a weekly schedule I’ve created for myself, and it keeps me busy. Mornings I blog or work on my book and work on building our business, and then most days I do arts admin and Human Resources contracting I’ve been hired for. Teaching in the afternoon or evenings is also a part of my day.

Ross, on the other hand, is hard at work pounding the pavement for short-term employment, remote work as a podcast/audio editor or composer and bookings.

Hence the blog title. Some days, it’s easy to get fed up that we don’t have more success with bookings. I’ve reached out to at least twenty local churches in the past week. Ross had reached out to a similar number of venues, and he’s applied for at least that many jobs. When your rate of return is low, it’s hard not to feel like you’re hardly booking anything. We’re still establishing a name for ourselves in Florida, and it’s not an easy market to break into without contacts.

But from what we’ve read, the key at this stage is numbers. The more we ask, the more we succeed. 1 out of 30 isn’t a great rate of return. But 10 out of 300 could get us enough work for the next 4-6 months, if we got the right types of gigs. And the more we ask, the more those people forward our emails…so things could grow exponentially if we play our cards right. How nice would 50 out of 300 be?

So the effort continues. And in between, we’ll talk to Groot at Disney World.

Top Five Activities for Adults and RVers at Disney World

As some of you may know, my husband Ross and I are in love with Walt Disney World in Florida. We never thought we would be, honestly, but thanks to a week-long vacation courtesy of Ross’ sister in January 2016 (which I planned almost every detail of far in advance), we realized the magical, even relaxing place that Disney can be and knew we needed to come back. When it became clear that we’d actually be pulling off this crazy plan to RV across the country, we realized we would be becoming Florida residents (for health insurance)…and what would the fun of a Florida visit be without Disney annual passes?! 

We became residents this winter and were able to soak up Disney World off and on for two months while staying in a nearby RV park, the cheap but charming Mouse Mountain RV Resort. We’re now back in the area for four months or so before we head to our next workamping position in Colorado.  

We know Disney still maintains a reputation as a family destination. So here are our top five activities for adult RVers (or any adults) at Walt Disney World. 

5. Find Unique Gifts 

Although much of the shopping at the Disney parks is more uniform than it used to be, there are still some fabulous places to find unique gifts. The best (and most obvious) option is Epcot’s World Showcase, carrying a variety of gifts from around the world. Whether your loved one craves perfume from Paris, a marionette from China or a delicious candy or they haven’t seen since Canada, take a look at Epcot. Will you pay more here? Sure. But there are deals to be had, and there’s so much to see!

4. Explore the History at Disney World 

I’m a big history buff, as are many RVers, and there are some wonderful ways to learn about the history of Walt Disney and his creativity in the parks. Take a behind-the-scenes tour, like the ones in the Magic Kingdom on steam trains or on the history of the park itself. Ride the rides Disney created or played a role in, like Carousel of Progress, The Hall of Presidents or the Jungle Cruise. Lastly, be sure to visit Walt Disney Presents in Hollywood Studios for an exhibit full of historical artifacts from the parks and Disney’s childhood. 

3. Wander (and Eat At) Disney Springs 

Disney Springs is the latest version of Disney’s shopping and dining plaza. It’s centered around a beautiful lake and features everything from a movie theater to a Cirque de Soleil show (through the end of 2017 at least) to live entertainment, shopping and dining. 

It’s free to park and to visit, although some of the experiences cost extra, so it’s a wonderful way to get a taste of Disney without paying for a park day. Many shops offer free samples, and the atmosphere is festive, especially at night. 

Our absolute favorite place is Eliza’s Bakery. It’s gluten, soy, dairy, egg and nut (minus coconut) free, making it a paradise for those with food allergies or sensitivities, like me. Enjoy Mark Bittman’s favorite donuts, plus cupcake tops, brownies, cookies, bagels and more at this outstanding home of deliciousness. And share with me, please?

2. Eat and Drink Around the World 

Epcot’s World Showcase is one of the most popular adult attractions at Walt Disney World. And why wouldn’t it be? The area is gorgeous and transformative, with beautiful recreations of countries from France to Japan, with delicious restaurants and food stands and the option to drink while you shop and wander. It’s so popular, in fact, that local residents can purchase an annual pass that is ONLY good at Epcot after 4 p.m.! We love Epcot. Some days it feels like our favorite place, although that trades off with Animal Kingdom. The World Showcase can get busy, but strolling its shops and streets never gets old, and there are tons of delicious treats, meals and drinks to try. 

So this is our top recommendation to adults who feel there isn’t anything for them at Disney. Like to shop? Like to drink? Eat? You’re all set. Without any of the inconvenience of international travel. 

1. Visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom 

This park…seriously, our top recommendation is to spend time at Animal Kingdom. The atmosphere here is outstanding, especially in the immersive Africa and Pandora (Avatar) sections. 

There is a ton to see here, with animals from gorillas to exotic birds everywhere you turn, as well as free shows like Flights of Wonder and Kilimanjaro Safaris, giving you a glimpse of elephants, lions and much, much more. If animals aren’t as exciting to you as they are to us, don’t worry. The live entertainment in this park is outstanding, including two fully staged musicals (Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King), with a variety of musical acts showcasing music from around the world and our favorite evening performance, Rivers of Light. 

Animal Kingdom is also our favorite place to eat. You’ll find outstanding counter service options in Africa, serving the most interesting ethnic foods in the park, and we can’t wait to try Tiffins for a fancy meal. Be sure to try a Dole Whip with rum or a fancy mixed drink here too. 

You may notice I didn’t make many ride suggestions. This park really isn’t about the rides, although there are plenty to try, including a few great roller coasters. What makes this park special is that you can wander everywhere and never visit a ride, or even purchase anything, and still have an amazing experience. 

What’s your favorite part of Disney World? And if you haven’t been, what would be first on your list?

Back in the Swing of Things

Well, Ross and I just spent the night parked at the Harrisburg Mall in Pennsylvania, so I think it’s time for an update! We are back on the road again and are thankful to be traveling. 

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge all of the wonderful family and friends who hosted us, welcomed us and made time for us in New Hampshire. And what a fruitful time it was too! We performed our family show in Littleton, NH after a day of preschools and a senior center performance, and we performed at a bar in Fryeburg, ME called Top of the Ninth. We also led an incredible ukulele class for seniors and enjoyed some in-person lessons and a recital with some of our New Hampshire music students. And we shared our duo show in Concord and I performed with the amazing Jocelyn Duford in our Broadway show, Jocelyn’s ABC: Adult Broadway Cabaret. 

The time flew, as we knew it would, and after some repacking and repairing/checking on ourselves and our vehicles, we headed out again. We left Wednesday mid-afternoon and made it all the way to Glen Falls, NY. The next day we drove all the way to Harrisburg and enjoyed wandering the mall after we arrived. The hills and foliage in VT, NY and PA have all been beautiful. 

Our next leg of our journey will take us a few hours south. Beyond that, we need to determine how far east or west we will keep as we head toward Florida. We may connect with family on the way, and we may just keep trucking toward FL.

Last night it was below freezing here, but the RV is still at 55 degrees, so I am not complaining! PJs, two layers of socks and heat warmers and I was good to go. 🙂 Our house battery is still struggling to regain its charge when we drive, unfortunately, despite a “normal”ish report from our mechanic. So we may need to plug in tonight or tomorrow, which is fine.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day! 

 Affordably Awesome in Delaware

When Ross and I were planning our route north to New Hampshire from the Outer Banks, I noticed that we’d be driving through Delaware. Since neither of us had ever been there, we decided to stay out there for a weekend and see what there was to see. 

Most of our days in travel mode, we stay for free or almost free at Walmarts, truck stops, Cracker Barrels and rest stops. But when we will be exploring more fully, a campground frees us to leave our RV in a safe space while we adventure. 

By far, the best affordable option seemed to be a state park. We had a few to choose from, but Killens Pond State Park in Felton was ultimately our choice. For $27 per night, we had water, electric, a bathhouse (with lukewarm showers) and a shady site in a beautiful natural setting. There’s also a nature trail, which we didn’t have time to check out. 

We were in the area for about 48 hours – not a lot of time, but we really made the most of it. I began the adventures with a visit to the John Dickinson Plantation. (There’s even bus/RV parking!) This is a fabulous, free historic site, with a great video, exhibits (including one focused on the lives of slaves and servants and information on how they were eventually freed) and an incredible tour (a personal one, in my case) where you can tour almost the entire house and the surrounding plantation, including some outbuildings. I’m still in disbelief that this is free to visit. Thank you, taxpayers! I consider this a must-see if history and the lives of our founding fathers interest you. 

(If you’re in the area, consider a visit to the free Air Mobility Command Center down the road.)

While I visited the plantation, Ross set up our RV. When I returned, we ate dinner and then headed out for one of the most highly rated ice cream parlors in the state. Hopkins Farm Creamery was very tasty, although the overall experience left a bit to be desired. (Maybe it was the time of day…) But it was an affordable night out, and we then turned in to rest up for the rest of the weekend. 

On Saturday, we had our eyes on the Dogfish Head Brewery. Ross loves beer, and Dogfish Head was his first, enlightening experience with craft beer, so it meant a lot to him to visit. Their free tour, which takes about an hour, is free and seriously awesome. You get two free samples chosen by them, two you choose yourself, and there’s a separate liquor tasting available as well. Did I mention it was all free? Ross and I both enjoyed it all, and being gluten-free, I appreciated the hard cider and birch soda (“beach beer”) offerings available at the bar. The tour was really inspiring – such a wonderful success story about building a business and following your passion! Kiana was our amazing tour guide. 

If you’re curious, we sampled Seaquench Ale (a light offering), India Brown Dark IPA, Sick Cider, Beach Beer (birch soda), Pompous Hippograff, and Palo Santi Marron 2014. 

The brewery is in Milton, Delaware. There’s an adorable food truck out front and they have a restaurant elsewhere by the beach. Milton reminded us of Portsmouth, NH, very walkable with really cute architecture. 

We were prepared to leave town, but Ross indulged me and we stopped for ice cream on the way out of town. King’s Homemade Ice Cream is a no frills, cute parlor with excellent ice cream. Worth a stop here or in Lewes!

Our next stop would take us far afield, but Ross was particularly eager to find some city life in Delaware. We headed toward Wilmington, which was nearly two hours from Dogfish but we were up for an adventure. We had fun following our noses, eating some delicious gluten-free pizza, wandering a “farmer’s market” that felt like an underground flea market (technically in Pennsylvania!), and lamenting that the comics shop we came in search of had closed early. We then spent some time in 2nd & Charles, a wonderful music/gaming/books/what have you chain we had enjoyed previously elsewhere. 

On our way back, we passed Nemours, which sparked the idea of me exploring solo the next day while Ross played video games. So we packed up the camper, I headed out to see this amazing mansion and gardens that has become a museum, and Ross headed to a rest stop to play games. 

Nemours is truly an amazing place to visit. If you love ornate architecture and gardens, you will be in heaven. Pack a lunch and make a day of it if you’d like, but do plan to spend at least three hours, minimum, exploring it all. I was in heaven! 

When we found out we couldn’t stay overnight at the rest stop, we headed another hour north to a fabulous rest stop with great wifi for the night. It was a wonderful weekend that filled us both up with some awesomeness! 

Delaware is a great place to vacation. There are tons of breweries we didn’t get to nearby (into Maryland as well) and lots of other fabulous museums and beaches we will have to check out next time. 

And if you happen to head there from the south like we did, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is awesome! There is a gorgeous seasonal restaurant and gift shop, with an outdoor historical exhibit with amazing water views all around you. Make sure you stop as you cross the bridge, it’s such a neat experience. 

Have you been to Delaware? If so, what did we miss?

Concord, NH This Weekend!

Hello, New Hampshire friends! (Other friends, hello to you as well!)

We just wanted to send out a quick note to make sure you know we’re back in New Hampshire for a few weeks. We’re teaching and performing a lot while we’re here, but the most exciting weekend is THIS weekend, where we are in Concord for three days in a row!

On Friday, September 29, you can see Ross and I sing and play at the Hatbox Theatre in Concord. It promises to be a fun and silly event – and you’ll get a free double album with your ticket purchase. How awesome is that?

On Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1, I’m accompanying the phenomenal actress and singer Jocelyn Duford in Jocelyn’s ABC: Adult Broadway Cabaret. It’s recommended for ages 12 & up due to some adult language; and trust me, you’ll love it, whether you love musical theater, hate it, or don’t really care either way! It’s a show you won’t forget.

Jamie is also performing in downtown Concord as a part of the Piano Project from 9:30-11:30 AM. Stop by if you’re around, it should be very fun. At the Capitol Commons building.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see some of you soon!