Prioritizing community

When we finalized our plans to move into an apartment and settle down in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, both Ross and I were particularly excited about the opportunity to find community.

Previous to hitting the road in an RV, we’d both found community mainly in the arts. Though I was still seeking a “best” friend or two, for the most part, we were happy enough day to day with our social circles. We had friends of different ages, friends who we’d invite to parties, and the friends that we performed with. It wasn’t perfect. Ross struggled to find a strong, accepting music community with plenty of opportunities for him, and I didn’t have the close friends I was hoping for. But we knew we were lucky to have lots of friends and fellow musicians that we were sad to leave behind when we started traveling.

As full-time travelers in an RV, our definition of community shifted. We found online community with other RVers or musicians, in-person community when we settled into a campground for a while, and in some places, we were welcomed into the local music community too. When we hit it off with friends while workcamping, held in-person meetups with friends we’d met online, or stumbled into a wonderfully accepting music community (think Seattle, Denver, Orlando, and most ESPECIALLY Portland, OR!), we rejoiced and made the most of it. And when the pandemic hit, Ross found community with musicians from around the world at ukulele meetups.

By the time we moved to Canada, we were ready for other types of community. The need had been exacerbated by the pandemic as well. We were ready to find a local farmer’s market, a regular grocery store, retailers, restaurants. We were ready to build lasting relationships and find a musical home that would accept us and sustain us moving forward.

For Ross, finding community has happened fairly naturally. As a student, he met classmates and professors and was soon getting invitations to parties and musical performances. He started performing in ensembles and socializing during and in between classes, and together we enjoyed local holiday festivities and concerts with the wider community (when COVID protocols and our own comfort permitted).

For me, finding community has meant taking deliberate actions on a regular basis, and following my intuition. I had a hunch that music would be a great entry point to making friends, and that hunch was completely correct. It led to me making a couple of wonderful friends within a few months of arriving here, and I’m now collaborating with dozens more through Island A Cappella and Luminos Ensemble. I even made a friend through a purchase on Facebook Marketplace!

My friend Jenn and I, at a wonderful comedy show, pre-Omicrom variant.

I’m now regularly receiving invites and getting to know my new local friends. I’ve even joined a local book club, one of those things I’d “always wanted to do” pre-pandemic, but never had.

And while COVID often slows things down for a while, each of these efforts has had some positive effect. I have both in-person and virtual meetups regularly.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to strengthen my existing friendships, with Zoom meetups and phone calls with friends and family: our personal development mastermind, RVing friends, monthly family teas, and monthly check-ins with family and friends from so many places in my life.

I spent so many years feeling frustrated that I didn’t have the close friends I wanted. If I threw a party, it was always a hit. And I could cast a show or a concert. But who did I call or text when I was struggling? Honestly, for most of my adult life, I didn’t have anyone, or if I did, it was my partner. My husband is amazing, but we do better as a couple when we each have our own friends too.

Now, as I’ve struggled with anxiety and overwhelm in no small part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on those tough days, I have a list of people I can connect with. I can make plans with friends. And in any given week or month, I’m getting some of those 1:1, deeper conversations that are one of my favorite things in the world and that energize me.

So if you’re challenged in finding community right now, I wanted to encourage you. I believe it’s absolutely possible. It may take months or years (even decades!) – but it’s possible, if you are able to carve out the time. Especially if you will prioritize it. Join a book club (online or not), a musical group, a walking or hiking club, start a group to attend theater shows together, volunteer…the possibilities are endless!

And one of my goals for this year is creating a retreat so that I can foster and share that kind of relationship-building that I’ve found so helpful and comforting in my own life and business. (Do let me know if that interests you!) I’ll be leading virtual retreats and, in the future at least, in-person ones as well.

Where do you find community? Is this an area that you struggle with? Have you found virtual outlets for when in-person gatherings aren’t feasible?

Please comment, and let me know. I’m so curious. And thanks for reading, friend.

The Rv has sold, and the adventure continues

Hello, friend! How are you? How is life in your neck of the woods? Are you safe, and healthy, and happy most of the time? We sure hope so.

Since our last update, so much has happened. Read on for updates on where we are, what we’ve been up to, and what’s next in the life of Ross and Jamie.

We moved to Canada! To be honest, it happened six or so days later than planned, because in our rush to get everything complete, we managed to initially take the wrong COVID test! It then took multiple tries taking the PCR test in northern Maine to get our results back in enough time (within 72 hours) to cross over the border, but the pluses were that we got to enjoy some vacation time in Bangor (a much more fun, progressive, and affordable city than we’d realized) and got a tiny taste of Moncton, NB too, where we spent our first successful night in Canada. Once (hopefully) COVID is behind us, Moncton will be close enough to us for a day trip or easy overnight stay, so we were excited to get a little preview of it.

Though we’ve had a ton to do since we arrived, from coordinating the sale of our RV (thank you to everyone who assisted with that!) to purchasing some furniture, from learning where to buy groceries to setting up a bank account (still working on that one this week), to learning how to see doctors and mental health professionals here (there’s a big wait list for primary care physicians here, but having access to free mental health clinics a truly beautiful thing).

At the same time, Ross has gotten started at the university and has already played a few concerts on acoustic guitar (while simultaneously continuing his ukulele teaching and podcast editing), and I’ve started singing again (apparently I’m a soprano 1?) and will be the director of Island A Cappella, a barbershop singing group affiliated with Harmony, Inc., beginning in January of 2022. I also sang at a church this summer, so it’s been fun to get back into the arts, and the extra income doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks to school and the music ensembles respectively, we are each making friends and dipping our toes into having a social life and community here on the island. After five years of travel, it’s exciting to set down roots and really invest our time, energy, and money in a community.

Of course we both have supportive friends and family back in the US, and we’re thankful for Zoom and cell phones to keep us connected with them. Social media helps too, and we’ve been scheduling time to connect virtually with loved ones.

We’ve both had our struggles in adjusting to things, but we still wake up every day thankful to be here and eager to keep doing the work to grow and thrive here. We know how privileged we are, and we don’t take it for granted.

After a much-needed social media and blog pause, I’m looking forward to growing my coaching business and our music business in 2022. If you’d like support in creating the life of your dreams too, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to offer you a free session to help you get clarity on your priorities and find your path forward.

Thanks for reading, and have a beautiful day!

______________________________

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! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • 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.
  • 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. 

Big News About Where We Are Headed Next

This week has had lots of excitement. My new group coaching program, Crafting Your Life Adventure, is launching soon, so I’ve been sharing lots of tips and information on Instagram and in my Facebook group.

We also got word that as of April 5th, Florida residents can get the vaccine, so we are seriously considering a trip to Florida in the coming weeks (perhaps to spend a month or so there, depending on which vaccine we get).

But our biggest news, which I am THRILLED to finally be able to announce, is that we are moving to Canada this fall!

Ross has been teaching music for more than fifteen years, and he has an associate’s degree in audio production that he frequently draws upon as a composer and as an audio/podcast and video editor. But what most people don’t realize is that he has never completed a bachelor’s degree or a degree in music.

As we debated where we wanted to go next, we were reminded of how much we LOVED our honeymoon on Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. In fact, after spending time in Charlottetown, we had multiple conversations where we kept saying “how do we live here? How do we get back here?”.

Moving to Canada isn’t easy, but it was a dream that we kept in the back of our minds all of this time. With the uncertainty of health care in the US, our desire for better options kept resurfacing.

Last fall, we decided our next step should be to attempt to go to Canada. Since Ross hasn’t had the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree yet, that seemed like our best course of action. I’m thrilled to report that Ross got into his top choice school, the University of Prince Edward Island, and he even received a $3,000 merit scholarship from the music department!

He’ll be studying music education, composition, and classical guitar, and he’ll be getting his bachelor of music degree. I am SO proud of him – keep in mind, he just bought a classical guitar for this audition, and he’s only been playing it since December!

If you’ve never been to Prince Edward Island, it’s astonishingly gorgeous. Like, take your breath away. Though we are going to miss New Mexican cuisine, warm winters, and being able to visit our favorite spots in the U.S. via RV (gosh we will miss our RV!), we are looking forward to unlimited hot showers in an apartment in an awesome city (Charlottetown) and plan to purchase a van large enough to camp out of when the weather is nice.

School begins in September, so we will head to Canada in August, provided visas and all of the other details come together as planned.

Can you believe it? We are thrilled!

If you’d like to support our adventures, consider purchasing a Harvest Hosts membership or one of these other products using our link. You can also share our blogs and social media posts with your friends and family.

And two other incredible ways to support us would be these:

1 – Buy Ross’ play the ukulele course – perfect for beginner and early intermediate students

2 – Buy Jamie’s Crafting Your Life Adventure course – perfect for aspiring adventurers, whether you dream of starting a business, traveling the country, or creating a schedule full of joy and freedom (or all of the above!)

Thank you so, so much for supporting us and this amazing life adventure. It’s been almost five years of RV life, and we are so blessed. We can’t wait for what’s next!

______________________________

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! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • 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.
  • 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.