Music Projects and Bills – Oh My!

Music for yoga, Alamogordo, NM I Ross and Jamie Adventure

Ross and I have been working almost non-stop on our businesses this winter. Ross in particular has been very focused on two projects: his online ukulele course, and his new album, an ambient album composed with yoga and meditation in mind.

The number one challenge in working on both projects, but particularly the ukulele course, has been the limitations of Ross’ current gear. Ross has an old, reliable, wonderful laptop, but because it’s almost ten years old, it just can’t keep up in the video department. After waging battle after battle to edit and render video his laptop, Ross finally admitted defeat and came to me for help in choosing the next step.

After much debating, we decided we’d get him a new iPhone. The fanciest one, so it would have all the space and specs to do everything he wanted. (To be fair, his old phone was about three and a half years old,  and it was no longer useful as a phone, so some sort of replacement was imminent anyway.) Ross spent his first week with the phone testing all of the things to make sure he’d be able to edit the videos on his phone and wouldn’t still need a computer. The phone passed all the tests with flying colors!

Unfortunately (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?), we’ve since found that while the phone itself is equipped for it all, the editing apps can’t handle long (10, 20, 30 minutes) videos without crashing. After putting up with it for a while, it became clear that for Ross to get his course ready at the speed that I was asking him to (aka within the next few months, not the next few years), we’d need to invest in a new laptop.

It was a tough decision, but we eventually decided to go with what we could afford without debt, which turned out to be a gaming laptop with great specs that can handle all sorts of video editing. It won’t replace his existing laptop, but it should be an incredible asset for video editing. (Please send all the good vibes/prayers/happy thoughts are way that we’ve got all we need to succeed in this department!) The extra benefit of going with the computer? Now we can market Ross as a video editor for real – he’s got the gear he’ll need to edit video for anyone who needs it.

Luckily, in the midst of the ukulele course editing drama, Ross was able to distract himself by recording/editing/mixing his new album. We’re putting the final touches on cover art and hope to release it before the end of this month. In the meantime, if you’d like some free tracks, head here to join the list and get some free stuff!

Music for yoga, Alamogordo, NM I Ross and Jamie Adventure
Ross playing music for a Buti yoga class. He’s played Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Restorative Yoga classes too.

So if it seems like we’ve been quiet in New Mexico, it’s because we’ve been oh, so busy with projects…and making the tough decisions about financing a phone and not financing a laptop. And we’re extremely thankful that we can handle these purchases – we haven’t forgotten that if this had happened two years back, we’d have been forced to ask friends or family for help.

One fun piece of news – our new podcast, “Finishing The Season”, has received some happy (5 out of 5) ratings on iTunes! Here’s what Christie Conticchio had to say in her review: “Jamie and Ross have an undeniable chemistry and conversation in regards to everything Broadway. Jamie is so resourceful and knowledgeable about music. Her fun personality comes through. Ross adds his opinion and banter which makes this show so fun.”

That’s the news from Deming today! We’re setting up CD release parties and working on booking out through the summer, and we’ll be returning to New Hampshire as teaching artists (both of us!) this fall. Life is beautiful and we’re exceedingly thankful.

Stay warm and safe, wherever you are, and we’ll talk to you soon!

p.s. We’re giving away some private music lessons on Facebook if you’re interested! Just find the post and follow the instructions.

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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.
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A Quick Solo Jaunt To New Hampshire

At the end of February, I had the opportunity to return to New Hampshire for a visit. The main reason for my trip was to accompany the auditions at the NH Professional Theatre Auditions, but I managed to squeeze in a social night with the Actorsingers teaching a couple of songs, many outings with friends and family, returning to play a church service at the Congregational Church of Henniker as well as a few online voice lessons.

Snow In NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure It was also a good reminder of why I escaped NH – in major part, the weather!

Robbie and Mom, Manchester, NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Dinner with Robbie and Mom

It was such a busy and fun trip. My friends and family were incredibly generous, and I had amazing meals, hugs and conversations. People truly went out of their way to spend time with me, and those conversations and the love have continued to fuel me since then.

Dad, Concord, NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Breakfast with Dad

Thank you so much to everyone who made time for me, and my sincere apologies to those I didn’t have time to connect with. I look forward to seeing you all on a future visit. The Puritan, Manchester, NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure

The Puritan Backroom does gluten-free very well.

Much love from the Southwest!

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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.

Progress and Pretty Views

I set some goals for this year. Most of them are financial and career goals. I’ve also got a series of health habits that I’m building.

I know that some of them are ambitious. I have absolutely no clue how I will accomplish most of them. But by putting own foot in front of the other and doing the next thing I know how to do, I managed to hit all of my goals for January.

New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

The sunsets here are the best.

I’m feeling different. In fact, I’m being different. I spend less time scrolling social media and more time learning through podcasts and self-help books. My daily walking habit is now paired with weights again (yayyy) and at this writing I’ve been walking 30-45 minutes daily all week. I’ve also started meditating a few times a week.

I’m really proud of myself. I’m also feeling kind of lonely. I love who I am, I love what I do. And I could use more friends. Which is tough with our lifestyle. I’m going to try to be more intentional about texting, emailing and even Skyping friends to stay in touch. I hope that putting the intention out there will help me make it happen.

Music for Buti Yoga, Alamogordo, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Today was great. Ross played music for Buti Yoga, which is a much faster style of yoga that almost resembles tribal dance. I participated. And we got some great conversation in with local folks.

I feel like I should have a grand summary, a conclusion that ties all this together. But it’s kind of random, I think. My life is great. I’m so thankful. These walks are such a gift. And I hope you’re doing well too, wherever you are.

Museum of Space History, Alamogordo, New Mexico | 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. 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.

Wacky Weather In New Mexico

We’ve been enjoying our stay south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’ve been cooking up delicious Mexican and New Mexican cuisine (easy on a budget here) and we even celebrated Ross’ birthday by playing his new video game (yes, I played with him!) and having an incredible dinner out by a little cantina with an owner who’s extremely versed in what it means to be gluten-free.Pack’s Restaurant, Willard, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

100% gluten free…and options for celiacs too!

They even gave Ross cake for his birthday! And the taco was literally the best I’ve ever had. (The shell was perfection.) In other words, life is good. But boy, the weather has been ridiculous! We’ve been through two winter storm warnings (that disrupted our plans) and one “special weather statement” in only a couple of weeks. Braving the wind we expected, and the cold, but not the snow!

New Mexico snow | Ross and Jamie Adventure
At least the views are gorgeous!

Nevertheless, we extended our stay here. Since we are trading for a campsite, it let’s us conserve our limited funds. And honestly, the people here are just fabulous. We spent about seven hours partying (with outstanding food) the day before Christmas Eve, and on New Year’s Eve we contributed to a potluck and played games for more than four hours before relaxing on our own. We’ve eaten and drank well throughout and have really enjoyed getting to know everyone here.

Turner Inn & RV Park, Mountainair, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Workampers are some of the best people! Christine, Deanise and owner Ruth.

Nevertheless, it’s time to move on. The cold is wearing out our RV gear and the snow is getting to us mentally. Time to seek warmer climates and enjoy exploring new cities.

We will be staying in the Alamogordo area next, and we will be playing music while we are there. Where we book work will help dictate our future travels.

Thanks to all of the friends and family who made this holiday season special, wherever we were. Squeak, Ross and I resolve to eat more frozen custard and green chiles in the coming month.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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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.

 

We’ve Arrived!

Back in our RV and life is good.

We are still adjusting to small-town life and life on a tight budget again, but we are back in our RV (which seems to be in great shape, minus a broken water filter that must have occurred in transit) and are so thankful.

Our cat, Squeak, is happy. We are happy. And pretty exhausted.

Ross and Jamie Adventure

But with daytime temps in the 50s and sunsets like this, who can complain?

Sunset, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

More soon on where we’ve been and what our plans are. But until then, Merry Christmas, if you celebrate! Ross and Jamie Adventure

Overseen in a botanical garden in Oklahoma City

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!

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!