Oh boy…this post is going to be tough. The ramblings you are about to read are really a purging for us, but we hope you find them honest and meaningful to you in some way as well. So where to begin…um, how about the beginning?
When we decided to walk away from everything in 2009, in search of a simpler existence, we knew our expenses would be few but we still would need some income. I had been selling on ebay/Amazon for quite some time (still do), which helped us a lot. But I needed more, because I couldn’t travel with a huge inventory in the rv. So I embraced the online world like an eager student. I’d known nothing about monetizing blogs, writing online, etc. It was a steep learning curve but I was devoted – and when I put my mind to something, there’s no turning back (stubborn).
It was so much fun to see comments and interest grow from people we met on blogs, in forums, etc. We didn’t just write on this blog, we have tons of articles on our other four music and rv blog niches, PLUS we wrote on article sites like Squidoo, HubPages, Wizzley, Infobarrel and many more. When you write from the heart each day, over time you sit in awe of how much content you develop. Though we never made a fortune from it, we made enough…and how gratifying it was to receive income each month from writing about things we enjoyed! It was the ultimate compliment.
But over the years, things began to change. The more content you write, the more you are tied to the computer. I don’t know how it happened, but we look back over these past four years and think, “where in the HELL did our simple life go?” Posting wasn’t “fun” anymore, it was required. Each morning I’d get up and have to check all of the content/comments, etc. Then I’d have to put up more and more. Basically, our rv dinette was becoming an office cubicle. This is exactly what we were trying to get away from in 2009.
It wasn’t just the time it was stealing from us – in addition, Google began cleaning up the web (a good thing) in the past year, but there were gonna be casualties…people like us, caught in the crossfire. I never considered our content shady in any way, but I wrote on sites that got hit. In addition, Google didn’t like one of our blogs (it decided, without telling us, of course). So now we were wasting time on this planet by reading and studying how to get them to like us again. HUH? We wrote for years on the blog, from the heart…now we have to worry about this ridiculous stuff?
The final decision was this: We are actually private people. We like our privacy…we can’t even stand being in rv parks, because they aren’t private. Other online writers always said to me, “you HAVE to have a facebook account, you HAVE to do Twitter, Google Plus, blah, blah, blah…” I am proud to say I’ve never done that. No offense to those who like social media…I just don’t like it and never will. I’ve reached a point where I want to keep my magical experiences, mountain drives and the like to myself. I don’t want to feel I have to bring the camera to share it with the world. We took the plunge into this lifestyle to have peace…the online world sucks us back into all of the stuff we thought we’d left behind.
The above were the main reasons why we made this decision. The other was losing my mom in January 2012. How losing someone you love so deeply changes you as a person. We should treasure each day we have with the ones we love – not worry about Google algorithms or glancing at our loved ones over the top of our laptops. We may not have much money, but we are living proof that money isn’t required for happiness. Need versus want mentality can really change lives.
So time at the computer was really making us feel like we were once again taking our time here on the planet for granted. We always poked fun at those who are glued to their smartphones, rudely texting and responding to “virtual people” while a living, breathing loved one is right in front of them. But how were we different? These damn computers were sitting out and turned on every day. Yep, it’s time for them to close and start collecting some dust. We’ve enjoyed having no cell service all summer – now it is time to let go of internet time.
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We won’t sign off leaving everything open ended – we’ve met so many amazing rvers thanks to this blog (and we will continue to follow them on their journeys…which is lovely, healthy reading we both enjoy), so we will tell you what is on the horizon and beyond.
We are fortunate enough to need very little income, so we will continue doing what we love – thrift stores/garage sales. Though not for everyone, we love scouting around and finding deals for ourselves plus gems for the bank account. We’ve done quite well with this, love spending the time walking around new towns and stores…so if it feels good, we’re doin’ it! Just last weekend we found a $500 Civil War book set – it’s like a treasure hunt and can be quite addictive (just warning you!).
We leave Glacier Park, MT on September 28th – guarantee there will be a lump in our throats. We will visit my stepfather in Illinois for a week, then central Illinois with my daughter for another week…then we are trying Amazon Camperforce in Kentucky! Yes, it will be hard work…and not mentally stimulating…but we did the math and will make enough in those 8 weeks to last us the rest of the year…For us, two months of only working/sleeping/eating to buy us 9 or 10 months of complete freedom is so worth it.
Music and other creative endeavors – we are going to really try to get more gigs in Montana May-September 2014 (we’re coming back to Montana May 1st next year!!). We only performed a handful this summer, but it is our passion and the money is an added bonus. Also, we have the skeleton frame of an rving ebook we’ve wanted to write, so we are thinking of doing that as well, just to try it once for fun. We also will keep working on Zazzle, because it is fun to do and makes some nice extra income (mainly around the holidays).
So that’s our “plan” – but in truth, we know the healthiest living is one day at a time. That is why we are letting go of the online path. If today were all we had, how would we want to spend it? When we answered that question, we knew turning off the damn computer was the only choice for us.
To our rv blogging friends, we will see you over at your sites and wish you safe, happy travels. To everyone else, “thank you” – it’s been a really fun ride.
Jim & Robin
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