How Did We Make Money This Fall?

The most common question people have as we spend time with people this fall is an essential one: how did you make a living this fall?

I write this from Raleigh, NC. We’ve got some really generous family members hosting us during our East Coast adventures as we head south and then West to New Mexico.

We are currently in relaxation mode, taking a few weeks to continue our online work but mostly relax and recuperate from our extremely busy fall in New Hampshire.

So here are all of the ways we made money this fall, if you’re curious!

1. Ukulele Classes

The number one way we made money this fall was teaching group ukulele classes. Thanks to grant funding, Ross taught three groups of about 15 people an eight week series of classes for older adults. The classes taught them to play the instrument and gave them a social outlet, and many of the students are committed to continuing to play in a group or individually in the future.

In addition, Ross taught a couple of classes to last year’s Littleton group, who have continued to meet weekly, and he taught an additional series of classes for students 12 and older as well.Ukulele class, New Hampshire | Ross and Jamie Adventure

2. Music for Yoga

Ross played music for yoga classes while we were here. He improvises ambient music on keyboard and guitar, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a yoga class. We look forward to doing more of these wherever we travel in the future.

3. Music for Libraries & Senior Centers

Ross and I perform a variety of originals and covers in different concerts for different audiences. This fall we performed Splish Splash, music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, at a library; and Ross performed his solo Christmas concert at a senior center. We have a variety of offerings and perform at concert venues, cafes, libraries, senior centers, schools and more.

4. Produce & Record Demo CD

Our friend wrote an original musical and hired us to produce and record a demo CD for it. We hired musicians and did a live recording during one mammoth day. It was an absolute blast! I cast it and played piano, Ross played guitar and he was the audio engineer.

5. Direct & Accompany Musical

For the same musical, I was hired to direct a staged reading! I also played piano for it and Ross played guitar. It was a big success and I’m extremely proud of this, as I was the demo CD. It was a wonderful chance to get some of our favorite people together for a project, as was the demo.

6. Music For Church

I’ve spent about ten years of my life accompanying church services, and I’ve also got a concert that I perform at churches with Ross. I love accompanying services on piano and organ and enjoy working with church choirs too. I played the organ for a recent church service.

7. Online Music Lessons

One of our main sources of income while traveling is teaching music lessons. We teach voice, piano, ukulele, guitar as well as music theory and technology, songwriting, conducting and even drums.

8. Virtual Assistant Work

I work as a virtual assistant for a variety of clients. I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses and nonprofits, helping with marketing and social media, grantwriting, writing and editing, research, data entry, customer service…any kind of office assistance that can be done remotely.

9. Blogging

The final way we made money this fall is that I wrote blogs for one of my clients. I blog about travel, food, ice cream and RVing.

Hopefully you found that interesting! This lifestyle is challenging but extremely rewarding, and this fall we were blessed to truly be doing what we loved and making a living at it.

Thanks for reading!

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Two Years Passed: Ever Thankful

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure

Well, our two year mark came and went this October, and we were so pleasantly busy with work and fun in New Hampshire that we didn’t take the time to call it out. But in the aftermath of Thanksgiving and with our stay here ending, it seems appropriate to take a few minutes to talk about what we’ve accomplished and where we are at now.

When we hit the road, this blog was something I updated inconsistently, with sometimes daily and sometimes monthly posts. Now I have a weekly post that I’m quite disciplined about sticking to, and though the format varies, I think we’ve honed in on what it covers with more certainty now. I’ve also kept the same level of discipline with my ice cream blog.

Botanical Garden, Denver, CO I Ross and Jamie Adventure
The Botanical Garden in Denver is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen in our travels.

When we hit the road in the fall of 2016, we were mostly living off of savings. We had a rough plan to book enough work to live on, but weren’t actually sure how to make that happen. Now we’re currently able to earn about a quarter to a half of what we need for income online, depending on the month. So while we’re still depending on outside income sources (like campgrounds and arts organizations), we have a growing base of remote work and some clear goals and benchmarks for how we can make our remote work more sustainable and sustaining. (One wonderful way you can support our work is through supporting our businesses, whether you need a podcast editor, want to commission a song or a jingle, take online music lessons from us or hire us for social media/marketing/writing/editing and other virtual assistant work.)

When we hit the road, we had no clue about booking. We may still be learning (constantly), but we’ve had gigs from senior centers to libraries to coffee houses to bars to churches to yoga classes, and we’ve taught lessons as well as performed in communities from Tucson to Orlando, from Boulder to Maine.

We’ve made several good friends that we remain in contact with, and we’ve been able to maintain and strengthen existing relationships through meetups with friends and family who have moved or traveled while we’ve been on the road.

RV Site in Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
One of the nicer monthly sites we’ve enjoyed.

We’ve taught an introduction to ukulele class for older adults, an eight class series, that has now been tested successfully with four different groups of adults. We’ll soon have a great promotional video that we can use to promote those classes too. We’ve also proven that Ross has a wonderful ambient music set for yoga classes and that Ross and I make a great music performing team. We’ve experimented with composing together as well.

We’ve sampled some of our country’s best gluten-free eats (hello, Colorado!) and have had outstanding ice cream in cities and towns across the country. We spent almost six months of our lives at Disney World, spent many days at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and fell in love with both Silver City, New Mexico and Fort Collins, Colorado.

Silver City, New Mexico I Ross and Jamie Adventure
Playing gigs as we travel is as good as it gets. Especially when they throw in amazing food and drinks!

As we say goodbye to New Hampshire, we are incredibly thankful of all of the family and friends who’ve gone out of their way to see us (and spoil us!) during our time here. Thank you to everyone who purchased a meal for us, collaborated with us, hosted us and everything else in between. And to those we weren’t able to see this time around, we look forward to visiting with you when we return – or when you meet us out on the road!

Disney World, Orlando, FL I Ross and Jamie Adventure
One of the many events we loved attending at Disney World with our annual pass.

We do have to admit that we’re happy to say goodbye to the snow, the ice and especially to the frustration that comes from plans that are disrupted due to weather. We’re looking forward to a warmer winter, with lots of sun and daytime highs in the 50s and 60s, and while we’ll miss our family and friends, the quiet and relative isolation of the communities we’ll be returning to in New Mexico will give us the perfect opportunity to hunker down and build our businesses.

As we head into year three, it is with a renewed intention to build successful remote careers on our own terms. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

p.s. I may spend a future post exploring some of the fun we had here in New Hampshire it. There’s been far too much of it to cover in one post!

A Whirlwind in NH

Ross and I have been so, so busy! This past weekend was memorable because it gave us some well-earned time off. We spent time with some of our closest friends and family, and it was wonderful! (I saw my friends Tom and John as well as my brother Robbie, and Ross spent time with his best friend, Pat. I also saw my mom for a bit.) Thanks to everyone who is making time to see us during our stay. It’s made our time here so special.

I recently wrote a post for Outdoorsy with some nice autumn campfire treats. I hope they inspire you to enjoy your culinary adventures this season!

An Evening in Laramie, WY

Ross and I recently headed to Laramie, Wyoming. While our main goal was to get some homemade ice cream, which I will be sharing about here, we also were able to fit in a visit to the Wyoming State Prison.

Laramie, WY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

The location for this prison is absolutely gorgeous. It was pretty awe-inspiring, honestly. We also noticed a few RVs parked there, so I imagine they allow overnight parking. When we arrived, we only had an hour left until they closed, so it was a true whirlwind tour.

Laramie, WY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Seeing the cells (and going inside them), reading the stories of the outlaws and the women and men who probably didn’t deserve to be imprisoned…it was powerful and truly fascinating. Wyoming was a really tough place for a long time, and that was definitely clear here.

Laramie, WY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

After our visit, we visited a game store and headed downtown for homemade ice cream. And then we went for Mexican, which ended up being pretty delicious and easy, even gluten-free. It was a great night!

Laramie, WY | Ross and Jamie AdventureLaramie, WY | Ross and Jamie AdventureLaramie is a college town and the downtown is both quirky and cute. I will enjoy a future, return visit, and we were glad we stopped.

Thanks for reading! And if you enjoyed this, consider giving our affordable visit to Delaware a read.