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.

Six Months on Ross and Jamie’s Adventure

Happy Friday! I’m happy to report that we’ve passed the six month mark of our full-time RVing life change/adventure! When Ross and I agreed to do this, we promised each other we’d stick with it for a year and re-evaluate then. I’m happy to report that after six months we’re just as excited to be doing this and looking forward to year two this fall.

One of the amazing things about this lifestyle is the way it changes your sense of time. We had many conversations two and three months in where we realized it felt like we’d been doing this for months instead of years. After all, we’ve visited tons of states (20 I believe, with notable time in all but a couple of them), hanging out in nature, exploring museums and historical sights and trying to learn what living like a local would look like in cities and towns across our nation. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to see already, and we aren’t ready to stop, although our pace is slowing down currently to give us more time to make money along the way. As we celebrate this milestone, I wanted to talk about how this experience has differed from our expectations so far, and about some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. 

Assumption: Life on the road will be full of adventures.

Reality: Yes, life on the road will be full of adventures. Some of them will be awesome and some of them will be frustrating, like when your house battery won’t stay charged or when the pilot for your fridge won’t light. Also, maintaining a balance between real life and playing tourist is harder than it looks! 

Assumption: Once we have more time to ourselves, booking shows will get easier. (Not that we ever thought we’d be an easy sell!)

Reality: Free time helps, but the lack of great internet while we travel kind of balances this out. Booking shows has proven to be one of the hardest types of work we do on the road! That being said, it does get easier with practice and a routine.

Assumption: Finding part-time work when we settle in a place should be pretty easy, especially in a tourist area. 

Reality: Most businesses don’t want temporary workers, so getting a gig isn’t as straightforward as we wanted and we can’t emphasize that we are nomads when we apply. (And this problem was much worse before we had a car! Limited businesses within walking distance narrows your options further.)

Assumption: Being on the road will be stressful, but the freedom will help make up for the new stress. 

Reality: Overall, we are MUCH less stressed than we used to be. It’s gotten easier with time. Financial stress is real, but if you organize your time well, this lifestyle is usually a dream come true. And days when you have to work super-hard are easier knowing they’re financing this lifestyle. That being said, your anxiety and depression don’t go away because you hit the road! Make sure you have strong self-care habits, maintain your personal space and work to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. 

Assumption: We’d have tons of free time to work on music projects and booking once we hit the road. 

Reality: We have to work VERY hard to make time for this. Because we’re juggling so many income streams and responsibilities, the music making sometimes takes a far back seat. We’re working on making this a regular part of our schedule, but it’s something we are still working on. 

Assumption: We probably wouldn’t be back to New Hampshire for another year or so. 

Reality: I’ve gotten two gigs in New Hampshire since I left. So I flew back in December and in March for a few weeks. Who’d have thought I’d be offered higher-paying theater work once I moved out of the state?! (Ross, unfortunately, is waiting for New Hampshire to call with his gigs. We will be both be back this fall for a month to teach workshops and perform.)

Assumption: It will be harder to not have a regular community on the road. 

Reality: We have made friends wherever we’ve gone. Although our social lives aren’t particularly exciting, we find people who care about us and share stories with us everywhere. It’s been pretty wonderful. We miss our friends and family, but we definitely feel welcome wherever we go. (It helps to be able-bodied, white, a male-female couple and relatively privileged. We know this and are constantly thankful that we can feel relatively safe and welcome wherever we go.)

As we look forward to the rest of this year, we are currently on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (Report on Florida, Savannah and Charleston to come!) After Labor Day, we will visit New Hampshire and then head back to Florida if our plans stay on track. We will stay there through the winter and possibly spring. 

Thanks for reading and following our journey!