blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates to sponsor a post or place an ad contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Turn Old-Time Crafts into RV Travel Cash
Copyright Janet Groene 2021
Are you a woman “of a certain age”, yearning to take off in an RV but too young to retire and too old to work in today’s high tech job market? You’re not alone. Hundreds of women are Out There, earning a living on the go with skills they learned from their mothers and grandmothers.
You may prefer to sell your wares at craft fairs and arts festivals but you have to pay for a booth or table. Many RV-ers go this route but if you are a recognized expert in your field there may be a better way. Sell your lifetime knowledge.
Here’s just a sample of women I’ve met in my travels:
* In the Ozarks, a woman who makes fiddles by hand. She demonstrates violin making, often playing in a program as well at campground events. She also sells the violins. She’s paid a modest fee for her appearances, which usually come with a free campsite. Her travels focus on places where bluegrass and folk music are popular.People who make other folks instruments are also in demand.
There is demand at bluegrass festivals for instrument makers and also specialists in repair of old-time instruments. At ethnic festivals there is demand for folk specialists in Celtic, Polish, and Greek music, dance, food. Barbershop and Gospel quartets. Irish dance teachers. Chain saw artists. Sandcastle builders. Ventriloquists. Tim Allen got his start with a comedy shtick on tools.
* In the Smokies, a woman who crochets rag rugs. She sells them on consignment in souvenir shops but she also gets paid to teach the skill. Her travels have taken her to pioneer festivals all over North America.
* An RV full-timer who travels with cast iron cookware knows cast iron cooking inside out. Even seasoned campers are wowed by her seminars and demonstrations, from fire building to making awesome meals. She charges up to $50 per attendee but that includes the demo, a copy of her book and a meal from the food she prepares.
Grants and Government Jobs
You may have to do a lot of research, state by state, but here’s just one example of government jobs involving old-time skills. Key search words include docent, visiting artist, artist in residence, master crafter.
The Bureau of Historic Preservation in the Florida Department of State offers master artist programs that pay $750 for three months, $1,500 for six months and $2,000 for eight months. They look for people who are highly skilled in a lost art such as basket making, Everglades skiff making, saltwater fly tying or Cuban guajiro singing. Artists and apprentices apply as a team and must have Florida residency during the contract. Your state may have a similar program.
Use Time-Honored Skills
You might work several hours a day at a quilting frame in an historic home or bake biscuits in a campfire at a living history event. Perhaps you have the acting skills to pose as an interpretive character ort as a docent at a state park or state museum. A campground may be hiking an activities director specializing in children’s arts and crafts. Some talents will get you a stipend and free campsite. Others a full salary and benefits.
Storytelling is a skill popular with campers. If your talent is the spoken word and your topic highly specialized, such as regional or ethnic folk lore, look into registering with speaker’s bureaus such as speakinc.com, premierespeakers.com, apbspeakers, com or keyspeakers.com. You don’t have to be a polished orator. I met an RV full-timer who travels the country, speaking to hunt clubs on how to field-dress birds or animals. He commands a high fee for appearances, where he also sell his book on the topic.
The key words are “highly specialized”. Some men and women have become specialists in an historic character and do a one-person show appearing as, say, Mark Twain or Martha Washington. Everyone these days, it seems, is creating a side hustle so it takes grit and ingenuity to find one that can travel with you, is something with little competition and can be sold nationwide.
The knowledge you gained from your grandparents or from a college course you took many years ago may be your secret weapon.
The old vaudeville joke is, “Get your act together and take it on the road.” Now that RV’s provide an economical way to travel without hotel hills, that advice has a fresh ring to it.
Live and travel in an RV, earning a living along the way. My book is based on my ten years as a full-time nomad and travelwriter. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, starts with making the decision, leads you through the preparation and lifestyle and ends with easing out when and if that time comes. https://amzn.to/3knbvll