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!

___________________________________________________________________________________

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.

 

Advertisements

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!

Returning to NH: A Word From Ross

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

A post from Ross this week:

When you leave your hometown for whatever it is you’re looking for, you accept there are things you will miss. Jamie and I left the familiar behind for something new, something unknown. We left behind green summers and cold white winters. We left favorite haunts like Amphora and Maia Papaya. We left behind students and friends and family. There are so many things to miss about home but our focus was on the adventures before us. And what adventures we’ve had! This year alone we’ve spent an excessive amount of time at Disney World, adopted an amazing fuzzy travel companion, visited New Mexico and extensively explored Fort Collins. We met new friends, ate delicious food, and played our music all along the way. We never stopped missing all the things we love about New Hampshire but there is so much to see in this country. It’s almost overwhelming (in a good way) to think about how much we’ve done in such a short time.

As we approached New England in late September the landscape grew more and more familiar. Reliance on GPS lessened as I found myself on roads I’d driven time and again. There’s comfort in the familiar – even the places that drove me nuts when I lived here. Coming home is a reset – like going to sleep allows the brain to process all the information of the day, spending time with friends and family, sharing our stories and taking part of all our favorite parts of home cleanses our minds in anticipation of what is to come.

The next leg of our adventure is just around the corner, but right now I’m focused on visiting the coast, eating a bunch of seafood and hanging out with friends as long as I can while I’m here. You know, all that stuff that I’m going to miss.

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure
Ross, Jamie, Mom and Grampy enjoy NH’s favorite chain, Common Man, in Concord, NH.

Visiting A Botanical Garden in Fort Collins, CO

As you may know, I’m a sucker for flowers, nature and gardens of all types. The older I get, the more I realize this is true and seem to embrace it.

For instance, last night I was stressed and tryin to avoid a panic attack. My solution was to take a walk on the nature trail here in the park.

When I started walking, I was wishing I had a friend who’d take my call after 10 pm. By four minutes in, I was filled with gratitude, pure and simple, for my surroundings. It was almost an immediate fix. Telling, right?

So Thursday morning, I made a trip to the City of Fort Collins’ botanical garden. They suggest a donation of $5 for admission, although that felt a little steep to me today. (By next year, that would be a steal, once the construction and expansion are complete.)

I could tell you stories about their outdoor kitchen and Garden of Eaten, and rave about the colors and flowers I saw. But instead, I will just share some photos, so you can enjoy too. Thanks for stopping by! Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureGardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Live Updates and Live Music

Life! What an incredible gift this life is. Every day I am so thankful for all of the incredible blessings in my life, from our family and friends, to able bodies and minds, to passions and skills and privilege and the courage and freedom to pursue our dreams and use our gifts as we do.

This week, I’ve had tons of thoughts running through my head. I’m happy to be taking a lot of time to myself today and yesterday, because it’s really been a roller coaster. In addition to working at the recreation center, I was given the task of hiring new employees, and that has easily added at least five hours a week as long as significantly more responsibility into my schedule. On top of that, I’ve applied for a couple of jobs, written my weekly blogs, taught music lessons (Conducting is now in my repertoire) and provided social media work for my clients, and Ross has started editing another podcast in addition to his existing work for other clients and ourselves. We are busy! But I’m so thankful that we have so many income streams, and we’re steadily chipping away at saving money and paying off debt acquired in the leaner times.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming year, and we’ve got some great goals that we are working towards. Our major goal is achieving financial independence, so that we have enough work employed online that anything extra, like music gigs or workcamping or a local part-time job, wouldn’t be needed, and if we took it, it would just be gravy. We’re lining up wonderful opportunities in New Hampshire this fall. I’ll be directing a reading of a new musical. Ross will be recording a demo CD for the musical. We’ll be performing, of course. And we’ll be teaching a (free!) ukulele class for older adults in both Lebanon and Haverhill, NH.

We’ve got some additional goals for ourselves. We are planning to get enough work while we’re in NH to keep us afloat this winter, which would in turn give us more time to build up our businesses and even build a few sources of passive income through a few projects we’ve got up our sleeves. We’re hoping to book some work in the D.C. area as well as Raleigh in early December, which would finance both a mini-vacation in D.C. and a visit to see family before we head back out west.

We’ll be in the Southwest for the winter (seeking any and all gigs or shorter-term workcamping arrangements in New Mexico and Tucson, AZ), and in April we’ll be in Austin, TX. By June, we’ll be in northern New Mexico, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM.

We’ve got big hopes and dreams, and we’re still figuring out how to finance it all. We pursue great opportunities and trust the universe to lead us. And thank you to all of our friends, family and followers who reach out to us with opportunities and suggestions. Your help is greatly appreciated.

I’ve spent yesterday and today decompressing, and I took a fantastic six mile walk yesterday across Fort Collins, including some of the gorgeous Poudre Trail. Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureWe also performed at an open jam at Scrumpy’s (our favorite cider bar), Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventureenjoyed watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at the Lyric Theatre (with delicious gluten-free eats) and finally visited one of the Fort Collins libraries (best wifi we’ve found in Colorado so far). Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureSometimes you need to really take a break, and I’m so thankful I forced myself to disconnect yesterday.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t read it yet, you might enjoy this blog on how to find live music while you’re on vacation. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, wherever you are.

Daytripping with Dad

A couple of weeks back, we were really blessed to have Ross’ dad visit us from New Hampshire. He flew in early Tuesday, with plans to fly out Saturday evening.

Despite the fact that it was his birthday and he’d flown out to see us, he basically treated us the entire week, so we had to get sneaky if we wanted to pay for anything.

We had an incredible week. Tuesday evening he visited us at the campground and then we headed downtown for an outstanding Brazilian meal that was almost entirely gluten-free. Apparently it’s a chain, but the experience was truly special, with outstanding salads at an epic buffet, an assortment of appetizers (with additional on offer) and then an endless array of meats brought to the table. Finally we saw the dessert tray, and much of it was gluten-free. We highly recommend this experience, even for the less adventurous among us! Outstanding. Also, Happy Birthday, Stephen!Brazilian at Rodizio Grill | Ross and Jamie Adventureimg_2930Ross and Dad | Ross and Jamie AdventureDessert at Rodizio Grill, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Wednesday wasn’t a teaching day, so we headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming just to say we did. The Visitor’s Center was absolutely outstanding, with amazing exhibits, and then we headed to Dad’s Cafe, an incredible allergen-free cafe where the entire place is gluten-free! We enjoyed our soups, sandwiches and cookies before spending the afternoon visiting local museums. The first was free, and the latter (we treated Stephen) was perfect if you enjoy railroad memorabilia or miniatures.

After our day in Cheyenne, we headed into downtown Fort Collins for some tasty Mexican food (and a great gluten-free menu). We capped it off with dessert at Walrus ice cream because we were too drunk to drive yet! It was okay, but the gluten-free cone was delicious and Stephen loved his sundae.

On Thursday, Jamie spent the morning writing a blog post while Stephen adventured on his own. Then we hit the Museum of Discovery which does an incredible job of creating an interdisciplinary, hands-on museum experience unique to Fort Collins and the area. After the museum, we took a distillery tour, enjoyed a few drinks and went back for more Mexican food.

Friday, Stephen spent the day hanging out while we worked. We had a campfire that night with a singalong, and he helped tend it and took a few train rides with Ross.

Saturday we did more work at the campground while Stephen surprised us and spent the day again. He managed to stay pretty cool despite the heat and we definitely enjoyed the company before he headed to the airport.

We had an amazing week, honestly feeling like it was a vacation for us. Thank you for your visit! It was so great to see you.

We will share further details on some of the highlights in future blogs. Thanks for reading and have an awesome week on your own adventures!