Dear readers, life has been busy. I share some updates as I play catch up and pull this travel blog from the back burner.
I learned a couple of essential things during 2020’s Pandemic Roadtrip (the 4-month road trip I took from March to July, 2020). One was that I needed community and a safe and comfortable space to call ‘home.’ The other was that I had some work to do before I would be making a living while on the road. I love life on the road, so I have been working hard on these essential to-do’s.
There are a lot of factors that go into ‘making a living on the road.’ Infrastructure, employer support, and work that can be done remotely.
Infrastructure needs are electricity, cell and internet service, and reliable equipment. These solutions change over time through trial and error, breaking and replacing, and money, as some solutions are quite expensive. At present, I use a hotspot on my phone or tablet to connect with computers and can do a lot of my work from my phone. I do have to find a camp with reliable service for any to work. I use a Jackery Portable Power Station, which powers all my devices and can be recharged through solar power, plugging into the truck while driving, or at a power outlet. The Scamp provides me with space to keep all my devices out of the weather and organized and the comfort items that make a workday feel similar to what I would have at home.
Work that can be done remotely is more readily available now due to pandemic and advancements in communication forums. So much work is done online anyway. When I set out in 2020, I tried to make a living as a travel writer and freelance writer. Now, I have two jobs that I enjoy that are fulfilling and supportive of my lifestyle. My travel writing forum, Sunshine Ink, is the third job that I am working to pull off the back burner.
I have been busy getting the other two jobs to a place of stability and support. I am the Development Coordinator for Turning Point Center for Youth and Family Development, a Fort Collins-based nonprofit. I worked for Turning Point when I first moved to Colorado, in 2007, as Case Manager for the girl’s residential treatment program, and fell in love with the mission statement and nonprofit environment. It was why I decided to pursue a Masters’s in Public Affairs with an emphasis in Nonprofit and Community Services Management. I wanted to be on the administrative side of nonprofits. I left Turning Point in 2011 and returned in September 2021, but on the administrative side. I manage the grants, marketing, and fundraising efforts. I was doing this full-time, but I dropped to part-time at the start of 2022, putting in 5-20 hours a week. I am grateful for this part-time work and the opportunity to keep helping the good things happening through Turning Point. I feel a calling to serve in the Mental Health field, but I have grown too sensitive for direct client work. I am grateful to help build up these essential community resources on the backend.
I decided to further my career in writing and media by taking on a full-time job at North Forty News and New Scene Weekly. I started as the Vice President of Community Engagement in January 2021, a full-time job that has me learning how to create good newspaper content and market it. Working for the newspaper has been a lot of fun, and it creates opportunities to further connect with the community. I enjoy sharing stories about the goodness happening and opportunities to educate people on what is happening in their communities. The boss is supportive of my lifestyle, and I get to include content from my adventures and travels. It is a fun outlet for Sunshine Ink, and I am excited to be making time for more of that.
Sunshine Ink has been on the back burner, and I have even had to turn away work. It is time to make it more of a priority again. It is challenging finding the hours in the workweek, but I am gaining routine in my other jobs, and there is a big season of adventure in the works for 2022. Am excited to share about it.
There are a lot of factors that go into ‘needing a home base’—many obvious and perhaps saved for a longer conversation. For me, the bottom line is that I needed an anchor—a space to feel home and safe and close to humans. Tired of renting and living with family, I bought a house in the downtown Wellington area in January 2021. It was a project house that kept me busy the rest of that winter, and I had fun making it ‘home.’ It has plenty of room for all my toys and needs, is in a great location and neighborhood, and was an excellent investment for money gained from the 2018 farm sale. I see someone I know everywhere I go. I volunteer, share community news, and have neighbors who kindly watch over my home while I am away.
Buying the house and the money I put into it created more financial strain and pushed sustainability on the work front. I started 2022 with three full-time jobs to manage, which was stressful as it had been throughout 2021 as I was juggling time between these same three employers. Nevertheless, I made some changes and am fortunate to have employers who understand my needs and see the value I bring. As the dust settles, I am grateful to have plenty of work to sustain my new lifestyle. All my jobs are done remotely, from my home office or office on the road. Elements of work are better when home, of course, and I plan my trips around important work deadlines or seasonal obligations.
When I ended Pandemic Roadtrip, I purchased a Scamp, a 13ft camper complete with a bathroom. It belonged to my mother, so I scored a trial period and family payment plan. I took a 2 1/2 week trip to Arizona in March of 2021, where I spent much of the time at my foster brother’s house. I lost a door on the drive down, had issues with the battery, and was grateful for the help. I took the second trip to Oregon in June 2021, where I spent 2 1/2 weeks traveling around the state. That trip was incident-free and full of confidence builders. I am on the third big trip (February to March 2022), a month finishing out winter in the desert, mostly boondocking, with a 6-night stint in driveways visiting friends and family. Every trip, I learn more things, and it’s fun figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and how to solve new problems. While traveling with the Scamp costs more in fuel and stress, the benefits of having it outweigh the costs. It is a fun space to do life from.
A lot has changed in my life since 2020’s Pandemic road trip, but it was all in line with goals that stemmed from that life-changing trip. This pandemic has been life-changing. As life settles into a new path, I feel grateful for the change in plans. Life is far from perfect, but I am living it to the fullest and constantly working on the things that need tweaking.
My next challenge is getting back on track with Sunshine Ink. Follow me on Social Media to see pictures and stories of my latest adventures, and sign up through my website to receive my blog.