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.

A quick check-in from Florida

Hope this finds you and your family well. I’d love to hear how things are going where you are.

Here in Florida, the governor has announced that all but 3 counties (the ones hardest hit) are opening up Monday. Restaurants and retail at 25% capacity etc….it will be interesting. As you’ve no doubt heard, some Florida residents have been pretty ridiculous flaunting whatever freedom they have right now, so it’s hard to say if opening up somewhat will make it better or just make them even more carefree and ultimately more likely to endanger all of us.

I spent some time yesterday reading NH’s plan for the next phase, and I was so impressed. PDFs of maybe 25 pages total with super detailed plans on rollouts in all industries as well as specific ones, including state parks (ocean beaches will stay closed!) and campgrounds (NH residents only will be welcome). In light of the campgrounds part, my current leaning is that we won’t go back to New England this summer. Even if family offers to host us, I don’t think we’d be comfortable doing so with this virus on the loose (we’d need to use their shower and laundry facilities at minimum), and if no campgrounds will have us, it just doesn’t make sense to go up there.

We’re still considering our options for the fall. Do we drive up in the RV just for a couple of weeks, for doctor’s appointments, and then leave again? Do we fly again and stay in a motel or air b & b and rent a car? Do we drive up in a car as an in-between of those options? Or do we find doctors in another part of the world entirely?

Yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty. But we’re so thankful for so much. Delicious meals (thank you Ross!) and plenty of food and supplies. A wonderful family. Sunny days, and cooler nights. A safe and comfortable home. Regular online sessions and phone calls with family and friends.

We’ve also submitted our video to the Tiny Desk Concert. We were able to perform (through the miracle of technology) with our favorite drummer, Tom Holmes!

Life is good. Wishing you all the best. Take care!

P.S. You can still show your support and get yourself incredible resources by purchasing the Essential Work from Home Bundle from us this 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. 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.

Happy New Year and Next Steps

Wow, it’s hard to believe 2019 is ending and 2020 is beginning! We have managed to fit so much into this year, it’s really been a banner year for us. So here are some of the highlights of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished this year, with a few musings for the future.

We started the year off in New Mexico, and we actually spent almost six months there, with ample time in Tularosa/Alamogordo and Deming, where we threw down routes with a state park pass for hiking and history and trips to Tucson, AZ (the desert museum is always our favorite), El Paso, TX (free theater, yoga and flying out of the airport to NH), Las Cruces, NM (ukulele festival and of course all of the free museums and parks) and Silver City, NM (performing, good eats, amazing shops and ice cream). We also spent time in neighboring cities, including a few visits to Roswell to perform, explore and eat excellent ice cream. In May and June, we shifted north, basing ourselves south of Albuquerque mainly, with visits to ruins, time in Taos (the best chocolate ice cream ever!), Santa Fe art explorations for our anniversary and of course a full week falling in love with Albuquerque during the Senior Olympics. We performed a lot throughout New Mexico, with the anchor being at yoga studios, which meant meeting people and, for Jamie, lots of free yoga classes!

At the end of June, we headed north, dusting off our Harvest Hosts path rather than going the campground route, and fell in love with new parts of Colorado, including Pueblo, Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs and a variety of Denver suburbs, with an RV park bordering a huge park perfect for Jamie’s walks. While staying there, Jamie flew to Slovenia, and while Ross’ promised work fell through, he took advantage of the location to see more of the music and comedy scene in Denver and get further work done on his ukulele course. We also performed together in Denver at Your Mom’s House.

After Jamie returned, having said her goodbyes to her grandfather, it was a quick dash out of Colorado, with the next month spent exploring Boulder, CO (complete love and wonderful performing experience!) and a visit to Tillamook and the coast for a few days. We also stayed at a winery with hookups, washer dryer, an open schedule and the nicest people imaginable, and our Tillamook location was perfect for the beach and had absolutely amazing food and drink for purchase.

From Boulder we enjoyed the gorge as we headed north (oh, we also boondocked on the gorge, just amazing!) and spent wonderful time with family in the Eastern part of the state. They catsat for us while we spent almost a week in Seattle, having an absolutely incredible time with Jamie’s cousin, enjoying a Star Wars stage show, outstanding ice cream and our first pho in addition to a great performance. We also fell in love with Seattle, made easier with a gorgeous week of weather, and Ross bought a new game system. When we returned to Ross’ family, via some delicious ice cream, we had some RV trouble, and a generous gift made it easy to get back on the road quickly.

Then it was time to head back. We spent a great night at a brewery in Missoula (with okay beer but tasty seltzer and a great location), and Jamie and Ross went into the town and walked her old haunts, getting ice cream too of course. The next day, Jamie got a call that her grandfather had passed away and the funeral would be in four days. So it was time for quick decisions.

While Ross would take a more typical pace across the country, with a stop to see friends in Iowa, Jamie raced, loading up on a gluten-free bagel sandwich with lox in Missoula, MT before departing at noon Wednesday. She made it with minutes to spare to an 11 a.m. funeral on Saturday in New Hampshire! She also got some tasty ice cream and a nice walk in Wisconsin as well as tons of city driving experience along the way. Ross’ mom acted as her travel agent, booking motels as needed on her path.

Jamie was reunited with Ross and Squeak about a week later, and the fall was full of teaching artist work (ukulele for Ross, theater improvisation for Jamie), performing for yoga and at Amphora (so much delicious food and drink!), teaching, socializing and of course producing the musical Goblin Market at the Hatbox Theatre.

After a full fall, with amazing Hatchland soft serve and Sweetly Offbeat gluten-free cheesecakes, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving together before heading south. We spent time with Ross’ sister and husband and Jamie’s cousin and wife and new baby, visited an awesome cheap winery, had an incredible visit to Savannah where Ross declared we could move there based on the dessert cafe alone and then made it all the way to central Florida, where we are now, in time to visit Galaxy’s Edge, eat a cookie butter sundae and eat a s’mores sandwich, amongst other things, at Disney World before year’s end.

We’ve accomplished a lot this year. We’ve quadrupled our virtual income. We’ve seen tons of bucket list places and found several new places we’d consider moving to. We produced a show we are incredibly proud of.

We also hit a few snags along the way, as Jamie learned the importance of narrowing her focus as a VA and of putting excellent business management practices in place to make her as successful as she can be. Meanwhile, a ukulele course we’d hoped to finish in quarter one is still in process a year later. We’ve also had to let some of our projects, like this blog, slide sometimes to meet our deadlines. But we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and truly accomplished a lot along the way.

Thank you to everyone who has taken lessons from us and hired us for work this year. Thank you for all of the generous gifts and for cheering us on along the way. We’ve passed the three year mark and while our path is still somewhat unclear, we are narrowing in on next steps as we prepare to settle somewhere, at least part-time, in the relatively near future.

As we gear up with ambitious plans for growth and fun in 2020, we thank you and wish you an incredible year. Happy New Year!

Ross and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss 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.

Goblins and Parties in Concord, Oh My!

Well, as we’ve mentioned, Ross and I have been super busy here in New Hampshire. This past week, we had the final classes and “final sharings” where our ukulele and theater improvisation students, respectively, got to share what they’d learned with the community. Both celebrations were a huge success, and we are extraordinarily proud of the work we’ve been doing with older adults. If you have any leads on venues for us or potentially funding sources, please let us know!

Next up we are diving even deeper into our production of the musical Goblin Market. Get ready for puppetry and poetry, in a take inspired by the world of Jim Henson fantasy films and with an astonishingly talented cast of singers and actors who move. It’s a beautiful and unique show, and you can learn more and purchase tickets here. It’s at the small Hatbox Theatre in Concord, a fantastic venue, and we’ve got an amazing VIP party on the docket for Friday evening. (You can save big if you purchase your ticket for that now!)

Otherwise, we’re plugging away at our work, teaching and helping our clients as virtual assistants. Life is good and we’re thankful for all of the opportunities!

Getting Back In The Game 

We are in the midst of fall in New Hampshire! That means foliage, apple products, ice cream while it’s available, visits to Amphora Fine Greek Dining and of course lots of family and friends. 

It also means we are super busy! We are producing a musical while we are here, which still feels bizarre since we’ve been away from producing shows for three and a half years. Our cast is outstanding and I’ve been happy to see how much I’m enjoying the process. I was half afraid I’d be bored! 
But I love the process of creation, and it’s great to be back in the midst of it. And our production team is outstanding, helping us make the show much better than we could on our own. 
With all of my work building my virtual assistance business, maintaining our music teaching business and everything else, our blogs and podcasts have taken a back seat. I look forward to renewing weekly posts as our schedules free up. 
In the meantime, we hope you’re having a wonderful fall! 
NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure
NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure
NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure

_______________________________

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.

Back in NH

Hi all!

I’ve got SO MANY posts for you, but life has been super busy and I needed a little break from blogging.

Suffice to say, summer was amazing overall and we are excited to be back in New Hampshire for a few months.

Here are a few photos from recent adventures to tide you over.

Thanks for stopping by! New Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | Ross and Jamie AdventureNew Hampshire | 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.

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.

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!

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.