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.

Visiting Ruidoso, NM

Last weekend, Ross and I made our first visit to Ruidoso, a touristy kind of ski town with a casino in New Mexico. I’d booked Ross a gig playing music for a yoga class there, so we headed in a few hours early to explore.

Ruidoso, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

It reminded me of Estes Park, Colorado, the community at the base of the Rocky Mountains. There were tons of cute galleries and shops, including a boutique called 25th in Mid that I will definitely go back to for US-made tops at affordable prices. We also loved the bookstore, which also carries amazing backpacks and purses, games and gamer toys that are really fun.Ruidoso, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I definitely want to return and visit the winery, but I did visit a local coffee shop for gelato, which was delicious despite the clueless staff.

Sacred Grounds, Ruidoso, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Ruidoso was a fun place to spend a day or a half day, and it’s an easy trip from Roswell or Alamogordo. Have you visited Ruidoso?

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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.

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!

Return to Boulder

We recently returned to Boulder. We visited some of our favorite spots, including the bookstore and a delicious fast casual Brazilian restaurant called Five on Black where almost the entire place is gluten-free.Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Unfortunately our yoga class was canceled due to rain, but we did visit a tasty chocolate food truck to sample drinking chocolate and a truffle, and we still had a fun gig at The Laughing Goat.Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

We also got to meet Shack, a wonderful blues performer who opened for us. He’s extremely talented and will be representing Colorado and competing at the international competition this year! Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopWe’ve only got a few weeks left here, so we are doing our best to make the most of it and not get stressed about the silly stuff. We are also continuing to work on booking gigs in our free time.

We are excited to return to New England. From visiting family and friends to eating at our favorite places and cooking with local produce, there’s a lot to look forward to. And we have tons of teaching and performing to do too!

Thanks for following our journey, and let us know if you have ideas for us this fall.

RV Tailgating Tips

If you know Ross and I, you probably know that we are basically clueless about sports and fine with that. So you might be shocked to learn that I was recently asked to blog about RV tailgating tips for Outdoorsy.

I may not care about football, but I know how to research and I like being paid to write. So here’s my article on RV tailgating tips. Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by.

Want us to perform near you? We are seeking work in New Hampshire, particularly places we can perform our original music (cafes, theatres, restaurants, yoga studios, libraries).

Further out, we are booking Raleigh, D.C., Greenville and anything else near those East Coast cities in late November and December. Suggestions and contacts are welcome.

Thanks, and have a wonderful day!

Knowing When To Say No

I’ve been struggling recently with knowing when to say no. When do we say no to a job opportunity? A networking opportunity? A discount for a thing we wouldn’t have done otherwise?

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on articulating what is essential and what is flexible in my life. The answers are constantly evolving. What does it take for us to settle down? Is there a perfect job? A perfect location? When does it get close enough to perfect that the difference isn’t of much consequence?

We are truly in love with Colorado. Yesterday we visited Greeley and Windsor; two more great communities in the corridor that we could envision ourselves living in.

And yet, we are nowhere near being able to afford a house here. Is that okay? Will we ever buy a house? Is living in an RV (or maybe a pet-friendly apartment) and renting a small studio space good enough? And if so, how long will that be true?

There are more questions with every answer. For now, we’ll keep the faith and do the work and trust that if we build it, they will come, whether they are clients or job opportunities or a clear next step or location.

Falling in Love Can Be Fun

We’ve fallen in love, friends. With a mountain town in New Mexico. As I write this, we’ve been in New Mexico for about a week and a half, and we’ve got less than a week before we start work in Colorado. We’ve had such an amazing trip so far. After where my last post left off, we spent a few nights in Texas, including our first night at an Army Corps of Engineers park. Ross and Jamie AdventureCampsite | Ross and Jamie AdventureIt was insanely gorgeous, with water views at our site, and I only wished the nature preserve across the street had been open while we were there. (They even had a little conference room I was able to work in the next morning before we left!)

The nice thing about having to plug in every other night (due to our house batteries being too weak to power the fridge) is we’ve gotten to check out all sorts of beautiful campgrounds along our route. We spent one night in Las Cruces, a city we really love in New Mexico, and we liked the campground so much it’s on our list to return for a month this winter. They’ve got fantastic internet and are actually within walking distance or just about to lots of great restaurants and ice cream.

After our night in Las Cruces, we made our way toward Silver City, New Mexico. We had two gigs in Silver City, both on Friday evenings, and when we saw how charming Silver City was (especially the downtown, where we played our shows), we knew we wanted to stay all week. After our gig at Diane’s Restaurant, I decided with the generous tips we’d received we could justify splurging and staying at Rose Valley RV Park, which is definitely the prettiest campground we’ve ever been to. (Especially for a private campground!) Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureSilver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureThe sites are spacious and feel very private and you’re surrounded by nature, and there’s a walking trail and the nicest bathrooms/showers you could ask for. Plus, the laundry was really affordable and the people couldn’t be nicer, and it’s extremely convenient for exploring the city. So this is another park we’d love to come back to in the winter. (Only complaint is the internet isn’t great, but they have a little hut where it’s pretty usable for email and easy web work like I need it for, and our cell phone signal was fantastic.)

We fell completely and totally in love with Silver City. Ultimately I think Ross and I might be a little bit torn between Silver City and Las Cruces, but with Silver City being at about 5600 feet above sea level, it seems to stay about ten degrees cooler, so that wins major bonus points with us. We love Las Cruces because it has a great downtown and an arts district and a huge local food movement, and between the college, the four local (free!) museums and the local music and theater scenes, there should be plenty to keep us busy…and it’s only four hours from Tucson, and a few hours north of El Paso.

Silver City was new to us this trip, and in addition to the gorgeous scenery that seems common throughout New Mexico, we found a charming, historic downtown with an amazing urban walking trail, a great local music scene that embraces original music, tons of galleries and cafes and fantastic food and drink that we can afford. It’s a college town and seems to check all of our boxes, with the possible exception of theater, but a community theater opened in 2014 and with the support of the local community, there’s a ton of opportunity there. It’s smaller than Las Cruces, but in many ways that means there are more opportunities for us to be a big fish in a small pond. It’s also an easy two hour drive to Las Cruces or an easy one hour drive to Deming, which is a bit of a bigger city, and it’s only 3 hours from Tucson or 2.5 from El Paso (and only 4 from Albuquerque), meaning more culture and airports are available to us easily.

Silver City is on the list. The “yes, we can move here” list. Honestly, Las Cruces is too…but I think Silver City has charmed us even more somehow. We’ve still got lots of exploring to do, but we would be happy to call Silver City home when we’re ready for a stable base.

I feel like I should tell you more about what we actually did in Silver City! Lots of work, of course, between our gigs and our other work on teaching, virtual assistant work etc. Both restaurants that we played at (Diane’s Restaurant and Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery) had outstanding food and drinks. Diane’s definitely has a local focus – we both had outstanding burgers with local green chiles on them – and Ross enjoyed a few local brews while I was a weirdo and drank port! Very tasty. We had to rush to get to Silver City for our gig at Diane’s, so it felt a little bit like eating on the go, but it was really delicious.Ross Malcolm Boyd, Diane’s Restaurant, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Little Toad was a much more laid back experience, thankfully! We checked into our hotel room (it was really cute) downtown at about 3:30 p.m., and after chatting with the local store starting Magic games in the community (Ross) and finding the most charming café for coffee and tea (owned by a former touring musician), we rested up and headed over to Little Toad. They had a basic system in place, so Ross set it up to sound fantastic with our gear and then…we indulged.

I was so excited to have another delicious, free meal, and I wanted to make the most of it. So we started with Cowboy Irish Nachos. Homemade, crispy potato chips as the base, with seasoned beef, cheese sauce (probably the only thing about it that didn’t taste gourmet, but it was still really good), tomatoes, and green chiles….it was insanely delicious. It truly hit the spot. Then Ross had a fun burger and I had a house-smoked salmon plate, with extra tomatoes and cucumbers in place of the rye toast. Delicious and refreshing, not too heavy – which is good because I’d just eaten a ton of nachos! Then Ross was full, but I continued onward, because there was a gluten-free cheesecake! It’s described as having a hint of lemon and a gingersnap crust, and it was absolutely perfect. Perfect. I can’t wait to have it again this fall!Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We were also treated to some amazing drinks. I had their own tequila as the base for a Paloma, with grapefruit juice and soda with a salted rim. It wasn’t sweet, just sour and salty delicious. I also had two amazing martinis. My favorite was the Lavender Lemon Drop Martini, with their house-infused lavender syrup, but I also enjoyed the Red Chile Chocolate Martini with their own Red Chili vodka, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon and Mole bitters. Ross tried their whiskey and also enjoyed an IPA and a porter of theirs, and he was really pleased with it all.

Our show was a big success there too. The next day, I ran around grabbing a gluten-free muffin, walking the urban trail downtown, exploring the area around the Visitor’s Center (and seeing Billy the Kid’s house for two years) and I toured the local historical museum downtown, which had an exhibit on Flamenco from Santa Fe. Ross took it easy, and then we headed to Cactus Jack’s, an entirely gluten-free restaurant and grocery store, so that I could get a delicious pizza. (I also found gluten-free gnocchi for a future treat. Yum!)

We never actually got to any of the other “tourist” stuff in the area, including all of the amazing natural wonders, because we had to work and we loved taking advantage of exactly where we were for the week. But that leaves plenty for us to do when we return. We did manage a visit to Vicki’s Eatery though. It’s currently the only place to get homemade ice cream in town, but that is changing in a few months! Vicki’s ice cream was outstanding…Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Now we’re spending a couple of nights in Deming before heading to our next performance in Alamogordo and then north to Colorado. It’s been an incredible trip, despite the challenges.

Oh – and our cat is expecting kittens any day now. I’m pulling for Thursday morning before 10 am. Fingers crossed!

A full year on the road: So long, 2017!

What a year it’s been! We hit the road in October, and we’re so overjoyed that we’ve been able to make this crazy adventure work for another year. How amazing is it that we were full-time travels for all of 2017? And we’re cautiously optimistic that 2018 will be the year we see our income increase and our lives become more sustainable. (Believe me, we have some serious plans to make that happen.)
2017 was the year we:
Celebrated the New Year at the most amazing Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum aka the only way I’ve found to get the equivalent of my Disney fix outside of Disney. (It’s that great!)
Visited Austin and participated in the Women’s March.
Visited New Orleans and the one and only Eric Bolivar after WAY too many years of saying we’d get down there.
Stayed at a Walmart with views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Experienced wonderful museums & historical sites.
Visited Savannah and Charleston (we’ll be back) and got tastes of many other cities, including Brunswick, ME, for the first time.
Spent many months visiting Disney World, experiencing Flower & Garden Festival, Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Holidays and Food & Wine Festival. We also had a truly special Christmas dinner and some amazing treats and fun at Disney Springs. Plus Jellyrolls and Sanaa with Ross’ sister Emily and her husband Ryan.
Ate a ton of homemade ice cream, custard, gelato and frozen yogurt!
Spent an outstanding summer visiting all there is to see on the Outer Banks and making the best friends we’ve met on the road so far. Way too many moments to name, but a few include our first blue crabs, beaches, all the historical sites, lighthouses, a seafood buffet for our third anniversary plus wine, whiskey, a first martini and more with our friends.
We made friends with multiple cats.
We purchased a car, an adorable Chevy Sonic that we’ve nicknamed “Hedgie”.
Explored Delaware for a weekend, including John Dickinson’s plantation and Dogfish Head Brewery.
Played music in assisted living facilities, senior centers, preschools, bars, churches, theaters and open mics, including one with outstanding homemade ice cream.
We got a few enjoyable tastes of upstate New York, including Rochester, Albany and Binghamton.
Jamie played keyboard in a genuine praise band at a contemporary Methodist church service.
We led a ukulele workshop for seniors that was literally a dream come true – we were paid to teach music for free!
We visited with family and friends and despite the distance, had Christmas with a few family members too.
Jamie finally updated this blog to make it easier to search and follow our travels!
We held our first music recital in Bethlehem, NH!
We’ve continued to build our businesses, from teaching online music lessons to working as a virtual assistant (Jamie) and as a podcast editor (Ross). We even auditioned at Disney (Jamie, two times) and entered a competition to handle social media for Cancun.com (both of us). We’re thinking big and bold as we head into 2018.
Ross got a Nintendo Switch after patiently waiting until we had the money for it! Jamie got a Groot (from Guardians of the Galaxy) that she enjoys dancing with.
In addition, Jamie flew back to NH to lead the band for the musical The Drowsy Chaperone in Littleton and Ross held down the fort in Florida for almost a month without her. Jamie also had a birthday party while on the Outer Banks that included homemade ice cream cake and some of her favorite people – thank you Ross for the nudge to make that happen!
We are so lucky that we’ve been able to do this, and we’re so thankful to all of you who’ve supported us, whether in promoting our work, purchasing an EP, taking lessons or sharing gifts that have helped make all of this happen. What’s amazing about this lifestyle is that these things have almost exclusively happened as a part of our normal week. We rarely take “time off” for more than a day or two each week, and yet we’ve been able to have an incredibly fulfilling year with tons of adventures and even some relaxation (thank you, Outer Banks beach access!). We realize every day how incredibly fortunate we are.
As we look ahead to 2018, we’re setting goals, designing schedules and finding ways to make even more success in the upcoming year. We hope you’ll follow along and join us now and again.
With love,
Ross & Jamie