onepointtwentyonejigowatts asked: Hi, i've been a follower of yours for quite some time. I love watching your adventures unfold, and I just have to ask - how do you afford all this? You're pretty much doing what I wish I could do, and I'm baffled as to how you still get around to the 'normal people' things. Keep being awesome! :)
Hi! Thanks for the kudos, and for following along on this crazy journey of mine! =)
When I originally started Amanda Rae Was Here, I had a simple goal: to chronicle my solo road trip across America in July 2011. I had no idea how long I would be out on the road, but because I’d lost my job two weeks prior to the apartment-fire fiasco, I received a substantial chunk of compensation over many weeks that followed. I received some money after the fire and with careful planning (camping/staying with friends and family/dirt-cheap motels), I was able to blow it all and have an absolute blast for seven glorious months. I understand that these are some pretty unique circumstances, but despite all the heartache, I feel SO lucky that it all happened as it did. (But, seriously, don’t go burning down your house.)
Perhaps a bit ironically, I chose to move to Aspen when I needed to start making money again. I was given an opportunity that was too good to pass up, I feel at home in the mountains, and I have family and friends in Denver. I’ve been a freelance writer and editor for the better part of a decade, so I began picking up assignments at Aspen’s many media outlets and doing ad and copy writing for local clients. I’ve also been a contributing editor at a cheese magazine—YES, A MAGAZINE ALL ABOUT CHEESE—since 2008. Sometimes I bartend for fast cash. In June I’ll start selling fine-art photography. And I have a couple of other odd jobs, one of which I might post about this summer…
Freelancing is a hustle, and I’m nowhere near my salary glory days being on staff at an award-winning regional glossy in the Berkshires, and I don’t have a huge apartment to myself or much to my name anymore besides a desk, wardrobe, and a few toys…but I have absolutely no regrets. I know it will all work out; the past two years represent just a blip on my timeline.
It can be unsettling, sure. But Aspen is Paradise, and it’s working out so far. I haven’t been blogging as often because I haven’t been traveling as much. I make my own schedule, and I save my money where I can to spend it on new experiences. To me, that’s what life is all about.
James Fallows, in his commencement speech at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, June 1996.
In the past few weeks, I’ve begun planning my second-annual solo Triumph odyssey to the Black Hills Classic, my third trip to Sturgis, South Dakota, in August. I am positively giddy just dreaming about it.
There are routes to map, friends to contact, lodging to secure, camping stuff to (maybe) ship, and a few new pieces of gear—which I expect will make the ~600-mile journey from Aspen a bit more comfortable—to acquire. (Still, no windshield yet!)
I’ll share some thoughts on the voyage—past and future—in the coming weeks. But, like Fallows says, “[the adventure] is in the doing, not in the preparing-for.”
[Sturgis, South Dakota, August 9, 2012]