“It takes a village”, an African proverb (and a book title by Hillary Clinton) means a whole society or village needs to help raise our kids to become the best citizens that they can be. In simple terms, it means that parents need to rely on neighbors, teachers, friends, and even strangers when raising children. Let’s face it, it is no easy task raising a child and often times, especially as they get older, they are out of our sight. It really benefits society to have children become successful in school and spend the money on education as opposed to the court system and/or on building more prisons.
I received no handbook after the birth of either of my children, so I am happy when other folks lend constructive advice to help shape my children for the better (and improve my parenting techniques). In the past week though, I realized that “It takes a village” really applies to all of us. In other words, if we all worked together for the common good and towards a common goal and to help each other, it would be a better place in our community, in our country, and dare I say – in our world. If we spent more time identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, picking a solution, and working towards implementing these solutions, I think we could solve a lot of problems. It is easy to bicker and point fingers, but frankly, I think it is pretty easy to see problems and come up with ideas for improvement.
First and foremost, we have let everyone know about our upcoming adventure, and I have been pleased and surprised how folks have wanted to support us. In the past week, we have made some great progress towards our trip and I owe it all to the assistance of other people.
We have renters, a big relief! It happened so quickly that we never even advertised our house for rent. My friends Lisa and Dean have friends who want to move to Bend but they wanted to rent a home first to see if they enjoyed the experience and to determine the best neighborhood to purchase a home. Those friends happened to be visiting this weekend and they thought of us; their friends came over during the weekend and wanted to rent our home. One major thing off our checklist:)
Last week, on Thursday and Friday we met with people that helped us on our blog (do you like the new design?) with the potential of monetizing our blog (we won’t be retiring). If we can make some money on the blog, it will reduce the amount of money that we need to pull out of our savings. Chris Mezzetta (www.linkedin.com/in/chrismezzetta) is an expert on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a subject I knew nothing about. SEO helps people find your blog amongst the millions of articles on the Web, so his advice was very helpful. We also met with Stephanie Hicks (www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniehicks) an author of Peachy Green – an excellent blog about living green. Stephanie is the first person I met who actually makes money writing a blog; it almost felt like a Bigfoot sighting. She was kind enough to share her expertise with us and we are beginning to implement some of these ideas. SEO is key as is joining other sites that can point back to your Website or blog.
Of course, if you read my earlier blogs, you know we made a penny (yes, one cent) thus far for our efforts but for me it is gratifying to get my thoughts and feelings out on paper and have the occasional response/feedback in the form of comments. As a side note, we will be giving away some of our items that we don’t want anymore, so check our Facebook account or our posts and you might be able to use something we do not need or want anymore in our continuing purging process.
Also, this past week, Kristin and Nancy gave me the name of an RV expert over in Portland. My husband will be going there shortly to look and possibly purchase an RV. My friend Hallie gave us a couple of more useful books to borrow: Frommer’s 100 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up (we plan to see most of these places) and a survival guide that is interesting and helpful but I hope that we don’t need to use all of the advice since it includes trapping, skinning, and eating wild animals. Also, the survival guide discusses building shelters and eating bugs…hmmm, looking forward to eating some plants that I can easily identify, so I do not end up with toxic food poisoning.
Many other friends are offering places to stay along the way (family homesteads, friends’ homes, and vacation homes) and we are getting a lot of excellent ideas for travel locations to visit. A friend offered us a trade, a case of wine if we place their sign in our window (done). Yes, why not get some kind of trade or sponsorships. We can dress our dog or ourselves in your clothes. We can drink your beer or wine (easily)! We can hand out your candy along the way. Whatever…sponsorships/trades might make more money than our blog.
Okay, so we also made other progress or should I say my husband made serious progress! If you read, “Honey-do List” – an earlier blog – you know that things were not going smoothly. I am happy to say my experiment is working! Communicate your needs to your spouse with some rewards attached. Since my last blog, my husband has refreshed our blog; fixed our printer; signed us up for new medical insurance; got passport pictures taken and made and filled out passport paperwork (to be turned in today), since we have decided to go to Mexico and Canada; he has grocery shopped and shopped at Costco; and he has played more often with our kids. He is also trying his hand at being a freelance writer on Hub Pages.
Oh success! Things are going smoothly and we are making good headway. We have decided to clean up one drawer, closet, or cupboard each day so it is not a mad scramble at the end. We still have a long list of things to do: prepare the house for renters (grouting, cleaning up pine needles, staining the deck, cleaning up the yard, etc); purge the items, buy the RV, sell his car, purchase more insurance, update our will, prepare a route, prepare a budget, etc so the process continues and we will keep you posted.