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I usually stick to talking about RVing and travel on the blog, but today I want to get a little more personal. At the end of each year I write a “year in review” blog. I first discovered this practice from Chris Guillebeau and then stole it for my own blog. My goal for the post is to share an honest account of where I’m at in my life, what went well that year, and what I hope to improve.
It’s not the end of the year at the moment, but it feels like the right time for a life update post. Alyssa and I have celebrated a lot of big moments lately and I want to share those with you (people who have been awesome enough to follow my blog). We also have a few major projects in the works that I’m excited to finally be talking about! Eek! <– Me being pumped.
Where We Are Right Now
Alyssa and I are currently in Vancouver, Washington staying with some friends in a driveway (free wifi and free laundry and unlimited hot water!).
What We’ve Been Up to This Summer/Year
We’ve covered a lot of ground this year (see map below). The blue icons indicate places we visited this spring, green icons are places we traveled to this summer, and the red dots are placed we’re traveling too this fall.
If it looks like we’re coming through your town and you’d like to meet up for a drink, drop a comment below and let us know!
Two Huge Projects We Just Completed
Huge Project #1 Hourly America
The past two years Alyssa and I have been working on Hourly America. Hourly America is the documentary about our 50 state road trip where I worked a different hourly wage job in all 50 states. This was the initial project that caused us to hit the road in an RV and experience this lifestyle for the first time.
Last week in Portland, Oregon we premiered our film to a theater of 270 people. We were both terrified to show our first film project. We knew that we have a ton to learn about film (heck, this is our first one), but it was a proud moment none the less.
We will be hosting a few additional screenings in select cities across the country (Austin, Nashville, and a few others). We’ll also be releasing the film online in the coming weeks as well. You can watch the trailer here :).
Huge Project #2 Writing a Book
I wrote a book! Well… an eBook (but still counts Mom).
After 25 interviews from my podcast and over two years of getting our business off the ground, I put together a resource to help others who are getting started RVing. More and more, 20 and 30-somethings are hitting the road in an RV and trying to figure out how to earn a living from anywhere.
The RV Entrepreneur is meant to serve people who are trying to answer the question, “How can I make a decent living while driving an RV across America?“
Writing this book was a huge undertaking. I spent the first two months “researching”, which really meant procrastinating out of fear. In the end, I got it finished and sent it out to a small group of people who pre-ordered a copy. I’m currently revising it again, getting feedback from professional writers and other RVers, and will be doing a book launch on October 2nd! I’ll let you know when it goes live.
Until then, if you want to read the first two chapters for free, you can do that here.
Two Big Upcoming Projects
Project #1 Merging Our Blogs
The past three years both Alyssa and I have kept our own blogs (heathpadgett.com & alyssapadgett.com). In the beginning we figured that our blogs would be on separate topics. I would share stories from my perspective on the road and likely talk more about business, Alyssa would share stories of me accidentally locking her in the shower.
However, the past couple years we’ve started blogging more and more on the same topic – RVing.
More specifically, we’ve started talking about what it looks like to build a life and business on the road. Since our content is covering the same topic, we realized it made the most sense to combine our efforts and share an online blog (we are currently in discussion on name ideas for the new blog: if you have any creative ideas, drop a comment in the thread below).
Project #2 Launching a Software Company – CampgroundBooking.com
I’ve had so many ideas for products or businesses over the years. It’s been difficult not to chase all of them. Traveling to all 50 states, learning film, building a remote income and this blog has forced me to focus on doing less. I put my tech start up dreams on hold while we made a film and built a lives for ourselves on the road.
However, during that time I also discovered a lot of big needs within the RV industry. The more I’ve traveled and immersed myself into this community, the more I’ve been able to see how far it is behind in technology.
One of the biggest technological needs within the RVing community I’ve seen is online reservations at campgrounds.
Earlier this year I met a web designer named Bob Orchard. Bob is a full-time RVer and we were kicking around business ideas in the RV industry. We both brought up online reservations and how there was a huge need there. Since February, Bob and I have been communicating via Skype calls and Slack, putting our ideas together on how to get this business started.
A little over a month ago, we decided it was time to kick things up a notch. We recruited a developer named Paul and are within weeks of launching an actual product.
We ultimately decided to focus on building a campground management software. While the end goal is to push the RV industry towards instant online bookings, this was the most logical step forward for us.
The majority of campground management software solutions are clunky and outdated. CampgroundBooking.com has all the look and feel of a modern SaaS solution that will serve a huge need in our RV community. If you’re a campground owner (or know one) who is interested in being a beta user of our software, shoot me an email.
Over the coming months and the next year, Bob, Paul, and I will be building this business as we all travel full-time in our RV’s. I’ll do my best to document progress and what we’re learning while we build a company from the road.
Side note: Alyssa and I will continue to work with film clients as we’re getting CampgroundBooking.com off the ground.
820 Days on the Road and Counting
A few weeks back I looked at Alyssa and said,”I’m tired. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss Texas. I want to go home.”
It was the first time I had brought up the possibility of truly going home and getting off the road (not just missing queso). I was exhausted.
My podcasts schedule was behind, client work was piling up and I couldn’t see the end in sight. I was also dropping the ball on my monthly blog posts for WinnebagoLife.
During Hourly America, travel was propelling us towards our goals of making a documentary. Each long drive day meant one step closer to achieving our 50 state/50 job goal. This summer I felt like our excessive travel schedule was pulling me away from our goals, instead of helping us reach them.
Alyssa, the wise sage that my wife is, dropped some wisdom on me.
I was trying to do too much.
Right before we hit the road this summer, we brought on two additional online course clients, I started writing my eBook, and still had to manage a blog and weekly podcast schedule. On top of all that work, we were traveling to a new place every couple days.
It was impossible to keep up with everything. Every spare second we weren’t traveling, I had my laptop open and was trying to get work done.
Sometimes I jump to the most extreme solutions for my problem (i.e going home because I’m tired and overworked). But Alyssa pointed out that I could simply remove some things from my plate and we could slow our travel schedule down. Since launching the eBook, premiering Hourly America and finishing one of our client’s courses this past week, I’m already feeling much better.
Alyssa was right. It wasn’t that I was ready to go home and quit RVing. I just needed to evaluate my bandwidth and be realistic.
This has been one of my biggest struggles in this lifestyle, knowing my limits and striking a balance.