Four Years Of Thanks

It’s been more than four years of being full-time RVers (with vacations along the way, but always returning to our home), and with all of the uncertainty in the world, I’m feeling especially grateful that we followed our dreams and made this adventure happen.

There were so many things that we didn’t know when we started out. If I’d known then that we’d burn through our savings, that we’d have to spend so much money on repairs, that we’d clean toilets or nasty equipment or even experience a few truly horrendous things along the journey, would we have done it?

But, of course, if I knew the bad stuff that would come, then I’d likely know the good stuff, and how could I have passed that up? Getting to meet extraordinary people, visiting gardens and museums and animals and the ocean….eating extraordinary gluten-free food, amazing ice cream, the freshest Mexican and New Mexican cuisine and meeting up with family and friends (some we hadn’t seen in ages) along the way.

(Just a few photos from the past year or so below!)

We’ve worked full-time and part-time jobs, built businesses, checked off bucket list items and built new dreams. We’ve found communities that feel like home and places we look forward to returning to, and we’ve gotten clarity on what is and isn’t important in our lives.

And when I created the tagline for this website (Making The Lives We Want: A Practice In Living), I didn’t have any idea just how much we’d be leaning into it. I’m so glad we have.

I hope that whatever you’re going through, you’re okay. And if you can, take one small step today to make the life you want. Even if it’s just taking time for a cup of tea or a short walk. You deserve it.

Take care, and be well. Thanks for reading.

______________________________

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. 

 

Planning To Head West

It’s taken us long enough, but we’ve finally made up our minds (so far!) about where we are headed next.

As with much of full-time RVing, it’s subject to change and dependent on weather and our Florida neighbors and of course on our wonderful RV/home and how happy it is when it’s time to leave and travel across the U.S.

The Colorado Springs area has been one of our absolute favorites, although we spent less than a week in the area, and based on our research and what we know so far, it’s a top contender for a place to settle down, either part-time or all year. It’s also one of the more affordable parts of Colorado, a state we absolutely adore and full of TONS of favorite places worth of day and weekend trips. So we’ll be calling our favorite campground at the beginning of August to make a reservation. With limited campsites, we may or may not get an acceptable site, but we’ll give it our best shot!

In the event that our top choice campground isn’t available, we aren’t comfortable winging it for WiFi heading into the winter (see what I did there?), so we’ll instead make our winter home Las Cruces, NM, a community we love with great weather and some of our favorite places to eat and enjoy frozen custard.

Our plan will be to arrive on or around October 1 at our new destination, whichever community that may be, and we’ll be taking some time off of work to make the travel days even easier. Unlike some past travel days, we’re planning out our route very carefully, including anticipated stops for gas, to avoid extra exposure and stress due to COVID-19, and we plan to quarantine ourselves for two weeks when we reach our destination to avoid infecting anyone at our new destination.

We anticipate that we may choose a campground midway to flush our tanks and such, but otherwise we anticipate relying on Harvest Hosts as much as possible – it’s so fun to get goodies like wine and treats instead of paying for a campsite!

We’re so thankful for the flexibility that RVing allows us. Please send us all of your good thoughts and prayers and vibes for a safe and easy transition. Hoping our tires & overall RV are happy, that our car is too, and of course that we’ll all stay safe and healthy throughout our adventure.

Keep fighting for what’s right and staying safe during these challenging times, friends. Sending you hugs & thanks for reading!

______________________________

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. 

 

The Future Is Unknown – So Enjoy Today!

Hi everyone! Nothing super exciting to report this week. We’re continuing to find ways to have fun in a small space, from cooking elaborate meals and trying new fruits and vegetables to finding new things to watch on Disney+!

We’ve been talking a lot about what’s next for us, and COVID-19 has really thrown a wrench into our planning. Will we feel safe traveling? Will we feel safer elsewhere? When will we again want to go into a theme park, or feel safe going into a bar for an open mic night?

Our goal has been to try out Portland, OR for their music scene…but if the music scene isn’t open to us yet, we’ve actually got several other favorite places in Colorado and New Mexico we’d be happy to spend time in. So we keep expanding our list of options, clarifying our goals and staying as flexible as possible.

Are your plans changing because of COVID-19? What do you think things will look like next spring?

______________________________

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. 

First Time Adventuring Out in a Pandemic

I will start off by saying that I’m incredibly privileged right now. In addition to all the usual privileges I have as a white American, I work mostly from home (yes, we lost of all our performing/in-person teaching gigs, but that’s a small percentage of our income most months), most of my clients still have lots of work for me, I have a car and I live in a nice community and can walk to things.

All that being said, I also live in an RV without laundry facilities or a useful shower situation (no hot water and it’s the best place for us to store supplies), so that means I incur extra risk just by living aka keeping myself clean.

Because of that, we’ve been using the money we’re saving by not going anywhere to fund grocery deliveries and take advantage of Misfits Market. We’ve also taken advantage of pharmacy delivery or drive-up contactless pickup when needed.

And all of that has meant that until this past weekend, we hadn’t stepped foot inside a building outside of our campground.

But this weekend, that changed! We’re still being super cautious, but since I was celebrating my birthday this past week, and since it looked like I would be able to visit a local botanical garden without going inside a building, I headed out.

The bad news? I had to go inside to show them my ticket (purchased online), which meant going in a building at the start and end of my visit, and since I hadn’t yet received my equipment for stealth bathroom use on the go (I totally have now!), I also had to visit a restroom in the garden.

The good news? They were following social distancing and cleaning guidelines impeccably well, and until the last fifteen minutes or so of my early morning garden visit, I rarely encountered anyone on the trail with me.

This won’t be something I do every week. In fact, given the spike in cases in Florida, I’m quarantining myself for two weeks as a precaution, just to give myself some piece of mind. But the reality is that visits like the one I did this past weekend should probably be a part of my routine, in moderation, to help me stay both sane and safe in the coming year (or however long this is our new normal).

With Disney World opening up soon, we could be planning a trip, but the more we ponder it, the less likely it seems that we’ll feel safe doing that anytime soon. It’s really important to us that we a) protect ourselves and b) don’t help spread the virus to vulnerable people.

So I’m thankful for equipment like this (I did lots of research, there are lots of options to choose from – I was even considering a portable toilet for the car!) that will give me extra piece of mind as I go exploring in the coming year. Who needs a gas station bathroom when you’ve got your car?!

TMI? Sorry, but I’m sharing in case that helps anyone else.

Be well and stay safe, friends.

______________________________

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.

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.

______________________________

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.

Passing Time

Time passes quickly and slowly right now. We haven’t been in a store since March 16th. Our days are spent in the RV or at the campground, doing the same things we used to do there – working, relaxing, creating – but there’s no escaping to Disney World or Orlando and the like to break things up. 
In some ways, that should make it easier to focus on our goals. But with the world falling apart around us, focus is a much, much tougher thing to attain than it used to be. 
We interviewed a new potential client yesterday. Video editing and some virtual assistant work – we love the type of work and when the right clients connect with us, it’s an absolute joy! Being able to be picky about what we want to do is a blessing in itself, of course. We remember our blessings and our privilege every single day. 
Life is simpler than it used to be, in some ways. We spend more on food than we used to, and we actually budget for alcohol, so we’ve got weekly produce from Misfits Market, twice monthly food and supply deliveries from Aldi and Amazon (yeah, trying to limit that) and though we’ve only done takeout/delivery once so far, I’m sure it’s a matter of time before we do it again. I also budget for yoga classes, affordable ones but nevertheless an indulgence and an appreciated gift. 
And then, of course, there’s the logistics. Produce delivery means I spend about two hours getting the box in the RV without getting the germs transferred to the RV, and all produce gets washed before it gets put away. Shelf-stable deliveries get quarantined in the car for a few days since we are running low on Clorox wipes and can’t seem to refill them. And as the temperature increases, getting outside for walks requires a system all its own, especially with the addition of a mask. 
Yes, the mask. So far, behavior around us isn’t changing in regards to mask-wearing. We are still one of a handful of people wearing a mask around the park. This last week Florida “opened up” again, at least somewhat, with all but the three hardest-hit counties allowing retail and restaurants to operate at lower capacity, assuming their city or county didn’t restrict things further. 
We know, of course, that that’s a dangerous thing. So we strengthen our resolve to control what we can control and try not to panic when we have to be in shared spaces and around other people. 
Ross said to me last night that the thing he really misses is our ice cream dates. And I agree! Going on an adventure and stopping for a cup (or two!) of ice cream is one of our favorite things to do. Being unable to do that, at least in a manner we feel comfortable with, is definitely a bummer. We are so looking forward to that changing.
Our July gig has been canceled, so we officially have no more reason to be in Florida. And yet with the uncertainty of next week and next month, is there really a reason to go to another state right now? We are residents here. We were hoping to go back to New England in July, but NH campgrounds are closed to non-residents this summer (which we applaud!), and our work seems really unlikely to go on as planned (library performances? Teaching older adults?) so we weigh pros and cons, feeling like sticking with a situation that’s working well could be the best course of action. 
And then there’s the news of Disney Springs, Disney’s shopping complex, opening May 20. We certainly don’t feel comfortable going back yet. But the whole reason we are here is for Disney World. So how long will it takes for us to get comfortable with the idea? A month or two? A year? 
Right now, we feel safest staying put. That may change in the coming weeks or months. 
Meanwhile, we pray for our family and friends and for those less fortunate than us. So many are struggling right now, in so many ways, and of course our essential workers aren’t being given the protection they need to do their jobs, or in many cases, adequate compensation. We continue working to build our businesses knowing that the more we earn, the more we can give back and support others. Thank you to our front line workers in all industries. Truly.
I hope you’re well and taking care during this time. Virtual hugs your way. Thanks for reading! How are things where you are? 

______________________________

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!

______________________________

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.

Partner struggles with both of you at home? We can help!

It’s time for some positive and productive good news, am I right?! Ross and I have been working on something big, with a group of experts on a lot of topics, and we can’t wait to tell you about it!

With the continually evolving news and social media noise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed right now. Even more unnerving is the fact that we can’t predict when this will end or the full impact it will have on any, and all, of us.

The switch to working from home, full-time, is one of the huge shifts for many in this season. We’ve been working from home since we hit the road in October of 2016, so we know how challenging it can be; setting up an office in your home, navigating the new “normal”, avoiding feeling isolated – it can be debilitating. Which is why I was so excited when I was contacted to be a part of a huge panel of experts from across the country to bring video resources (and other downloads) to a national platform.

The “Essential Work From Home” project has developed in the last few weeks to specifically get all the expert tactics, strategies, supplies and contacts into the hands of those who need it most now, and Ross and I are thrilled to be a part of it.

The panel consists of dozens of experts in their field from across the nation, who created practical and timely resources that will help you—and your friends, family, colleagues, and networks—adjust to all the complications we face while working from home in this season.

One of the courses I’m most excited about is “Money Talk: How to Adjust During Crisis”. There are also fun courses covering nutrition & organizing your meals like a chef (aka super efficiently) while working from home, and they’re great…and I can’t wait to check out the rest! There will be over 30 courses by the time we complete the project…they are relevant with actionable information you can put into effect immediately to reduce the churn, confusing and overwhelm. It’s like having a team of experts right by your side!

We are still finalizing all the technical details, so the # of courses will continue to grow in size. HOWEVER, as we prepare everything, we’ve been asked to do a FB Live where we’ll share some of our expertise and we would LOVE to see you there!

What expertise, you may be wondering, are we offering? Well, our specific course is called Navigating Relationships When You’re Both Working From Home. As you might imagine, it’s both helpful and hilarious (because, hello, it’s us!) and we are super proud to be able to help people with such great content during this time.

Screenshot 2020-04-09 at 7.46.02 PM

Want to join us for a Facebook Live? We’ll be going live from Ross and Jamie Adventure’s Facebook page (as well as Jamie’s personal page) this Saturday at 5 p.m. EST. (Also,  people on the live will get a special link with early access to purchase the bundle of over 30 courses at a super introductory rate, so don’t miss this chance!)

Whether you want to purchase or not, it’s going to be a very fun interview where we talk about what we do and how we do it, so please join us if you can.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you can make it to the FB Live session so I can keep my eyes peeled for you!

Be well, take care, and hope to see you Saturday!

P.S. We’ve also added a few new affiliate links below – for Built Bar and for Misfits Market if you’re looking for amazing protein bars that taste like candy or for cheap organic produce, delivered to your house! 

______________________________

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.

The Best Part

The best part of waking up early is getting to see a gorgeous sunrise.

The best part of a nutritious breakfast is how it fuels you well for the day.

The best part of a bowl of ice cream is how delicious it is! Though science would say the first eight bites.

The best part of visiting friends is creating new memories and reminiscing on old ones…well, unless the food is amazing, in which case that’s pretty great too.

The best part of working hard is the financial freedom you can create for yourself and how you can spend the money.

The best part of living in Florida is the sun and the Disney time.

Hope you’re enjoying the best parts of your week, even if there’s a lot you’d like to change.