Celebrating But Staying Flexible

It’s been a good week here in the RV. We’ve gotten some clarity around options for the future and we got offered a fun job recording a song. We’re doing our best to stay focused, but with all that’s going on in the world, we’re each taking time to a) advocate for the causes and people who need it (namely BIPOC) and to b) take some time to check in with each other and try to make sense of everything in the world right now.

As someone born to a Jewish father, with Jewish family, the anti-Semitism has been particularly frightening to experience this week. I know it’s nothing like being a black person, or a trans person, in our country right now, but it’s so strongly reminiscent of Hitler that it’s really tough not to worry if we aren’t doing enough or if it’s even too late to stop this train.

But I promised you I’d talk about celebrating right now, and honestly, I think that’s important. When we all have tons of extra stress right now, carrying the burdens of the world, having our own opinions and beliefs challenged, facing the constant stress of racism or persecution and of course of COVID…it’s a very tough time. So taking time, as you can, when you can, for little celebrations can be key to maintaining some level of normalcy or joy.

June is a big month for us. We got married in June, and my birthday is in June – this week in fact. Because I’d also set a financial goal for June (and hit it!), I had scheduled an incredible nine course meal and wine pairing to celebrate at Walt Disney World, on my birthday.

Well, you’ll be shocked to know that the reservation was canceled – and honestly, with COVID, I’m kind of glad it was canceled, because it would have been really hard to say no to attending if they’d been open right now.

So in its place, we’re celebrating my birthday in a bigger way than usual, with fancier food and drinks, Jeni’s ice cream and a gluten-free cake. I was also able to take today off (Friday), giving me a coveted three day weekend! Always a treat as I’m self-employed and don’t get any paid vacations.

Even if your own celebration looks different from mine – a luxurious bath? Fancy tea? Backyard distancing with a friend? – I hope you’re finding time and the means for a treat now and then. Ross and I have also recently put in an order for a mystery box – it’s like an escape room, except without a timer and with a mystery focus. There are also lots of “date night” boxes out there if you need ideas for those. You can do them as monthly subscriptions or, in some cases, as one-off boxes.

I think the key to celebrating right now is flexibility. Go into things knowing your favorite food may not be available right now, and you may need to make due without or change up the day if you run out of key ingredients for a cake before grocery day (eggs, perhaps?). Trying to be open and thankful each day is really saving me right now. (It was super helpful when I found out my day off would be full of thunderstorms, so a garden walk was out of the question!)

Thanks for reading, and stay well. Be safe and take care of each other.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

 

 

 

Making The Lives We Want: Our Scorecard

Though we casually refer to our travel blog as “Ross and Jamie Adventure”, the actual name is Making The Lives We Want: A Practice In Living. I named the blog long before we hit the road, secretly writing away and documenting my thoughts as we navigated this crazy dream – becoming full-time RVers, traveling the country, giving Ross the chance to be a touring musician and ultimately finding a new place to settle down.

“Ross and Jamie Adventure” goes back to when Ross and I married in June of 2014 (almost six years married, and we’ve passed ten years together now). We coined the phrase then, creating an email with the moniker for handling our wedding details. It felt right. Even when our disposable income was almost non-existent, we always loved going on adventures, from our first New Year’s Eve together (also our anniversary) spent at Santa’s Village, to drives around northern New England for ice cream, museums or just whatever we’d see, to our short but magical comedy & music cruise out of Miami, to our epic two weeks of mostly camping and living it up in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Even though we’d never dreamed of anything like this when we got married, should it really shock anyone that we decided to embrace adventure fully with a life on the road in late 2016?

Obviously our adventures are looking very different right now. So instead of discussing traveling, I’m revisiting our name to ask the question, are we making the lives we want?

Here’s how things have evolved since I started this blog.

  • We bought an RV; and then when that one turned out to be a clunker, we bought another RV (this time with financing!)
  • We sold most of our furniture, got a storage unit and pulled a lot of favors with family and friends (thank you!!)
  • We traveled the U.S., especially down the East Coast, across the southern part of the United States, spent some time in the Pacific Northwest and cut a northern route back to NH (in several combinations).
  • One or both of us has performed in many communities across eleven states, from bars to libraries, restaurants to yoga studios and clubs to churches.
  • We went from mostly workcamping (at campgrounds in NH, TX, NC, CO and NM) when we weren’t performing to building a thriving virtual assistant business to supplement our not-insignificant teaching and performing income.
  • We’ve eaten premium and super premium ice cream across the U.S. in at least 19 states.
  • We’ve made new friends, spent time with family and old friends, fallen in love with several communities and continued to expand our time table from at least one year to coming up on four years this fall.
  • We’ve participated in yoga classes (Ross as a musician, Jamie as a student) in at least a half dozen communities.
  • We’ve created new goals for the future, no longer content to return to the status quo but instead working to remain location-independent indefinitely.

Of course, it’s that last piece that makes us particularly well-suited to endure what’s going on right now. Working remotely combined with relatively diverse streams of income has meant that instead of panicking when our gigs were canceled, we knew we had a lot of other income streams that, thus far, are doing okay. So we live in gratitude for the blessings we have, for all of the privileges that have made this possible and for all of the people who have supported us along the way when our RV needed work or we needed someone to watch our cat or store our keyboard.

We really are making the lives we want. It keeps evolving, and we keep redefining what that means. We aren’t rich, but we’ve lived lives that so many people have only dreamed about. We are rich in experiences, and whatever comes next, we’ll remain eternally grateful for what we’ve had.

Wishing you health, safety and comfort, friends. Take care.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Thankful and Fearful for Stay-at-Home

So the order to stay at home has finally come down from the governor of Florida. Since we’ve committed ourselves to staying here for the long haul, and since we’re Florida residents, staying put at this campground in central Florida remains our best option.

When the order came down on Wednesday, my feelings of thankfulness quickly made way for fear. Had I done enough to stock up on supplies? What if deliveries didn’t go as planned? What if my clients don’t need me to work for them anymore? What if we can’t get the aid we need? What if, what if, what if…

There are so many unknowns right now. I can’t do anything about that. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other, and hug my immediate family (my husband and my cat), and enjoy the meal in front of me or the beautiful sunny sky.

So each day, I will try to soak in a little bit more of the things that I love that I can control or enjoy right now. I’m having tea with family this weekend. I make phone calls, I write emails, I send texts. I relish “virtual happy hours” with co-workers and remote yoga classes and days without needing a/c and nights full of sleep. I write letters to representatives and know when to turn off the news stream. I discover new TV shows with my husband, appreciate his cooking evermore and work my way through my client checklists to keep my clients as happy as possible.

I know I can’t control it all forever. I know my family can’t either. But we can take care of ourselves as best we can. We can do the work to clean and isolate and exercise and give ourselves room to grieve and cry and also laugh and breathe. And we can know that whatever tomorrow brings, however long this journey is, we will have done all we could to live our lives in joy and thankfulness in the midst of adversity.

Sending so much love to all of you. Thank you to everyone who is making it possible for me, and others like me, to stay home. And thank you, for doing your part each and every day as we work to kick this virus to the curb.

Stay safe, friends.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Present Over Perfect

Present over perfect. I’ve started reading this book, and I almost could have written it myself.

When we decided to take this journey, my physical and mental health were near a breaking point. I was ready to find a new way, though I imagined it was going to be a temporary break.

Over time, I’ve come to realize just how exhausted I was, and just how much I’d overdone things. It doesn’t matter that I usually get eight hours of sleep – it wasn’t enough.

And now that we’ve created this amazing, almost sustainable life for ourselves, I’m working harder than I have in many years, and I have to keep checking in with myself, making sure I’m not overdoing it. But things feel so different. I’m grounded. Even on a busy day that could be stressful, I take the time for breathing, for walking, for myself and even when the obstacles get thrown at me, I remain continually, pleasantly surprised and thankful that I feel comfortable and capable.

Present over perfect. I just started this book, but I couldn’t resist a reflection. And a recommendation. Celebration, FL | Ross and Jamie Adventure

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

 

Why Harvest Hosts Is The Best

If you’re looking for an affordable place to stay in your RV, you can save big bucks at a Walmart or gas station. You can find some land in the middle of nowhere. But if you want an experience that is both affordable and extremely unique, I highly recommend a Harvest Hosts membership. Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I invested in a Harvest Hosts membership for my husband and I last December, but it wasn’t until recently that we had occasion to use it. After spending several months in Deming, New Mexico, we made a reservation to drive just down the road to a local winery. Checking in was easy, and we were encouraged to park wherever we liked. We were treated to gorgeous views and found a bit of shade near a tree for the RV.

Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

At around 5:30 pm, we headed inside, ready for a wine tasting. The wine was delicious, as was the platter of food I ordered – with two varieties of cheese, olives, grapes, salami and chocolate disks, it was extremely tasty and also gluten-free. It was fun pairing the food and wine, and when the tasting was complete, we indulged a bit further by purchasing a (cheap) bottle of wine for later. Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Harvest Hosts locations are happy to give you a place to make in exchange for your business while you are there, and this was a fantastic first experience. Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

The next day, we had a long drive ahead of. We made it to the Santa Fe area for our stay at an alpaca farm! When our hosts said the shop would be closed the next morning for shearing, we changed our plans a bit, so that we could make our purchase that evening. We were warmly invited to mingle with the dogs and alpacas, and after an early dinner, we enjoyed a full tour of the farm followed by a chance to shop for alpaca products.

Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We purchased two hats (one would have been a fair trade, but we couldn’t resist!) and were happy to support a local business. The sunset was gorgeous, and the next day, I had a lovely walk around the neighborhood before we hit the road. Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I love that with Harvest Hosts, you can purchase nice things or experiences instead of paying for a campsite often super close to your neighbors. I also love that Harvest Hosts makes travel days fun – something neat to look forward to at day’s end. And finally, my favorite part about a Harvest Hosts membership is that you can stay for up to twenty four hours. So if you’re late risers like we are, or you have a long day of travel and want to rest after or explore the town, you can! The only condition is that you arrive during their business hours. Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

To put that into perspective, we had to arrive by 5 pm at our alpaca farm stay. That means we could have gone out to eat and enjoyed the town almost all day the next day if we wanted to. Isn’t that awesome?

Though this two night stint was a blast, I am really excited to take advantage of our membership later this summer when we are touring the Pacific Northwest. As long as you’re self-contained, why not enjoy a farm or a museum rather than a truck stop? I think it will also make for much more memorable experiences than a gas station or another Walmart parking lot.Harvest Hosts, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I’m a big fan of Harvest Hosts. If you haven’t tried it out yet, please consider a membership. My links here are affiliate links, so you’ll contribute a bit toward our travels when you purchase through our link.

Have you tried Harvest Hosts?

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Practicing Patience

Patience isn’t fun. Patience isn’t sexy. But patience is definitely important. It’s a really useful skill. And I think it makes you a better person – perhaps a more grateful one – if you practice it consistently.

There’s certainly something to be said for getting stuff done, but when things aren’t within your control, patience can make the difference between enjoying life and being anxious while you await what’s next.

We are in a period of patience right now. We are working our butts off hustling. Trying to get more music students. Finding folks interested in our online ukulele course when it’s ready. Continuing our work for existing virtual assistant and podcast clients while trying to find more of them. Continuing our creative projects, like our podcast. Growing our creative projects and, when inspiration hits, occasionally starting new ones.

We are tracking our progress, so we can celebrate milestones along the way. But this is the tough slog, if we let it be that.

But how can it be a tough slog, right? We’ve got gorgeous weather, plenty of Mexican food, friends and family and new places to explore. And we’ve got some resources to lean on, at least for a couple of months, while we keep building our businesses.

So I call upon patience for the long haul and enjoyment in the moment. As much as possible. Our lives are truly wonderful, and we look forward to continued growth and momentum. Patience.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Doctor’s Orders: You Need More Nature

I think we all know we’d like to get outside more. But have you read about the growing body of science supporting that?

I wrote an article on a recent study about this for Outdoorsy. Hope you enjoy it and get some outdoors time this winter!

p.s. I recently updated our Recommendations page. It’s a great resource, especially for RVers and campers or people curious about working remotely. Please take a look and share with others who might be interested! If you purchase with our link, we get cash back or an extended membership.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

 

Doctor’s Orders: You Need More Nature

Most of us know we should get more time outside. But did you know there is a growing body of science to back that instinct up?

I recently wrote an article for Outdoorsy giving an overview of why doctors say you need more nature.

I hope you enjoy it!

Ross and I have been taking it easy in New Mexico. I’ve been getting lots of work done, and we’ve both been resting up from a virus that has hit Ross especially hard.

One of my projects was updating our Recommendations page. This is where we recommend some of our favorite things, and if you purchase them through our link, we get either some cash in the bank or an extension on our membership. Please check it out and keep it in mind if you want to give yourself or someone else a gift this year.

We did manage to do a day trip to Albuquerque, which was a blast, and we were both really excited to check it out further in the future.

We’ve been hoping to check out another event in Santa Fe (with a backup plan in Albuquerque), but the weather forecast here is full of cold and snow, so it may not work out this year.

In any case, we’re enjoying lots of Mexican food and a comfortable stay while we get organized and get ready to head south for milder temperatures soon.

Stay safe and warm this week, and Happy New Year!