Why Touring Freedom?
Touring Freedom is a lifestyle.
I created Touring Freedom to help people create an income on the road while traveling full-time
Generally, this applies to three types of people:
- Those who already have a business, but need to learn online marketing techniques in order to create a more reliable location-independent business.
- Ecommerce sellers who have relied upon platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy and need to bring customers to their own website for more control and fewer fees.
- Anyone who doesn’t yet have a business and recognizes the need in online marketing to grow an income on the road. Just check out the latest tech to travel for your next road trip with the 2020 Airstream International for sale at Airstream of Santa Barbara.
With everything going on with COVID-19, I’ve seen a lot of questions about traveling in this type of environment. People are asking questions like, “we were planning on hitting the road soon, but now with everything going on, we’re not sure anymore…” and then they go on to explain their situation and concerns.
Obviously, there is a lot to this question and it’s a difficult one to give a simple answer to. So, I’m just going to tell our story of Traveling During COVID.
Let’s do this.
Hey, I’m Jason Wyatt and I’m here to help you on your journey TO your journey. My goal is to help you build a completely mobile income, so you can enjoy a location, independent lifestyle.
A lot of this episode will be my own personal experience focusing on travel and the challenges surrounding travel, but the fact is running a business became very difficult during this time as well. Since my main business is to help other businesses get more customers and clients, I definitely felt the effects. So, while most of this will be stories from my travels, there are some key business takeaways that will naturally be included.
When all of this started, we were in Florida for my wife’s business. She does a lot of in-person shows on the road and there was a home and garden type expo in Jacksonville that she was doing.
Now at this point, we had heard a lot about the virus on the news, but it didn’t seem to really be a big deal. We had heard about things like bird flu, swine flu, ebola, zika, and many others before. None of that had ever affected our life in any way. There was no reason that this was any different, right? I guess at this point, it was “the boy who cried wolf” scenario where we had heard it so often before with nothing really happening, we didn’t see any kind of significance this time either.
Well, our first indication of how bad things were going to get was when we were preparing to do the show. We always provide hand sanitizer at our booth. We usually keep a stockpile, but we were out at the time, so we went to Sam’s Club to buy in bulk as per usual.
You can probably guess what we found there. A bunch of empty shelves.
We thought, hmm… That’s weird. Sam’s is never out of hand sanitizer. We buy it here all the time!
Well, maybe we can find small bottles at Walmart or Winn-Dixie (that’s a grocery store for you yankees). Instead of buying two like near gallon jugs like we usually do at Sam’s, we’ll just have to buy a bunch of smaller bottles. Might be a little more expensive, but we won’t have to refill our small bottles like we usually do, which let’s be honest, is really a pain anyway.
Walmart was the first stop, simply because that’s what was closer. Of course, we were again faced with empty shelves. This is when we started to realize that this might not be a localized thing. It might not be that Sam’s Club just happened to be out of stock. People might actually be scared.
Alright, we checked Sam’s and Wal-Mart, but those type of places are everyone’s first stops anyway. People don’t run out to Winn-Dixie to buy hand sanitizer…
So off we went. Headed to Winn-Dixie. We know this is gonna be hella-expensive, AND we’re going to look crazy because we’re going to have to buy so many bottles, but we don’t care. We need it. If people are THIS concerned about this virus, we are going to NEED hand sanitizer to offer to the customers.
Of course, we were wrong again. Winn-Dixie was out too. At this point we knew that people were going crazy. We had just gotten into town, so we didn’t really know what the local environment was like and how the locals felt about the virus, but if they had bought out Winn-Dixie of hand sanitizer, the overall consensus wasn’t good.
But that didn’t change our reality. We NEEDED hand sanitizer. Like, the more we found out about what the local environment was like, the more we needed this sanitizer, ya know? If these people were that scared, they’re gonna want it.
But what were we to do? It didn’t seem as though anyone was gong to have anything. We were about to give up. Then I had a brilliant thought! Hand sanitizer should be a simple project. Just mix together a few easy-to-find ingredients and you have hand sanitizer, just like the kids making slime.
So I consulted the trusty Google machine. Searched for a hand sanitizer recipe, and YAY! I was right! It was easy to make at home. All we needed was isopropyl alcohol and a aloe gel or something…. So we leave the empty shelves in the soap area where the sanitizer should be and we run over to the pharmacy area where the isopropyl alcohol is.
Or, should I say where it should be. It was gone too.
Ok, the recipe says I can use witch hazel, whatever that is. Let’s look for that.
Oh, it’s gone too.
And the aloe?
This ain’t good.
Everything is gone. All the shelves are empty. People are losing their minds.
Then the biggest realization: if people are this scared, is there anyone going to actually show up at the home & patio show?
It started getting scary because at this point, we knew this was going to directly affect our income.
Well, we did the show and not only was the attendance down, but since our product requires sampling, few of the people who were there were interested in trying it.
Fear was obviously everywhere.
We came away from that show making a little bit of money, but not near as much as a show like that would usually produce.
We left there and went to Georgia for another show. This time it was an arts and crafts show. This one was outside, so surely people wouldn’t be scared to come out.
So, we set up our tent and display on a Friday evening for a Saturday morning show. By the time we left, the whole place was ready for a crowd of people first thing the next morning. Everyone was set up and ready to go.
Later that night, it was around 11 or 12, we see a Facebook post saying the event has been canceled.
That blew us away! It was unthinkable to cancel an entire show! We couldn’t believe it. So we arrived at the venue the next morning ready to sell.
All that we found when we got there was a bunch of vendors packing up and leaving.
At this point, we were upset. Losing a show like that isn’t a big deal, but they could have at least let us know before we went through all that trouble to set up!
Oh, well. Looks like we have the weekend free. So, we headed back down to Florida to hang out with Fulltime Families at Ragan’s Family Campground. They were having a rally down there that we were sad we were going to have to miss, but now we could make it at least in enough time to get to hang out with everyone.
Now Ragan’s Family Campground, if you’ve never been there, is not JUST a campground. It’s a huge park of fun. It has a water park, a swimming lake with one of those inflatable obstacle courses, and even ATV trails through the woods.
When we got there, it still seemed like life as normal. People were concerned and there were a few people choosing not to participate in gatherings due to pre-existing health concerns, but for the most part, everyone was hanging out and having a good time with friends.
Over the course of the next few days is when it started to get really bad. We were hearing news that some states were limiting social gatherings at the state government level. We didn’t quite understand how bad it was outside the campground until we posted pictures of ourselves hanging out at the waterpark on Facebook and people lost their minds. It was like people thought that because we were hanging out at a waterpark, we were surely going to die. But within the campground, everyone still seemed to be having a grand ol time.
Even when we went out in town the few times that we did, everything seemed to be relatively normal.
When we left there, we headed back up to Georgia to see friends. We stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart. Now, since we left Jacksonville, we hadn’t seen a city in about two weeks or maybe a little more, but now we were at a Wal-Mart in kind of a medium-sized city. This was our first indication that we might be living through the apocalypse.
I went into that Wal-Mart to grab some meat. I can’t remember exactly why. Maybe we were planning a cookout. But I was looking for steaks.
The entire meat department was empty. When I say empty, I mean empty. If I wanted meat, I was going to have to settle for tripe or chittlins. I was suddenly a vegetarian. As you’re listening to this right now, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t experience it yourself, you at least saw pictures of similar situations. But to me right then in that moment, this was unthinkable. Unheard of. Shocking.
As all of this was going on, we continued to get emails of more and more shows canceling. We had scheduled our travels for this year around my wife’s show schedule. We had a show almost every weekend. We only had 8 weeks off the entire year, and most of those were in January and February. Now, with every day that passed it seemed more and more likely that we weren’t going to be doing any shows at all this year. Now, to her that was stressful. She loves her business. But to me, it was a relief! I hate for my travel schedule to be tied to shows. I felt like I was finally free! After all, we didn’t absolutely NEED the show income. I had my marketing business and had also set up her business to be able to run online. This wasn’t a problem at all.
We decided to head to Alabama to start re-planning the year ahead. When we got to Alabama, that’s when we first heard the “phrase of the year” otherwise known as social distancing. It seemed that most everyone in the campground in Alabama was social distancing. That didn’t stop us from having gatherings where people played guitar and everyone sang along. We just had to do it at a distance. It wasn’t like we were all sitting around a fire. At that campground, we had a Facebook Messenger group we used to communicate and schedule things like that, and that proved very useful.
It was during this time when restaurants started closing down. This was a small town in Alabama, so most things were normal, but the one or two restaurants that were there were shut down or only had curbside service.
This is when I started to get concerned about our income. Many of my clients were in the restaurant business and if they weren’t able to do business, what would they need me for, right?
And then there was the kids. My kids are very much the outgoing type, especially the 4-year-old. He’ll stop and talk to anyone. I remember one specific occasion where I was trying to get his mind off not being able to play with other kids, so I took him on a bike ride. At one point, I realized he was no longer behind me. I turned back to try to see where he was. I found him about 50 yards back sitting down at a picnic table with another family. We didn’t even know these people. That’s just the way he was. I say “was” because I unfortunately had to do my best to break this child’s outgoing and friendly spirit.
It was only a couple days after this when the campground shut down the playground. Up to that point, there were a few families who still allowed their children to play, but that was over. I’m telling you; you’ve never seen a 4-year-old cry like that little boy was crying that day. That playground was everything to him.
To make it worse, he didn’t understand at all. We tried to explain it to him, but there was no way to make such an outgoing little boy who loved people to understand why he could no longer be around people. Every time he tried to do something and we would say no, he would get upset and ask why. When we responded, “you know why. Why can’t you do that?” He would give an exasperated “because of the COVED”. This was a heartbreaking struggle that we dealt with on a constant basis for months.
After the playground shut down, it was fairly obvious that life as we knew it was going to be drastically different. Everything was shutting down.
There were a couple bad storms in Alabama while we were there. It was basically their tornado season. One of them was bad enough to scare us into getting out. So, we decided to head to South Carolina. That’s where we ran into our first traveling hiccup. This was a Thousand Trails park and was first come first serve. We were told before we got there that they had room, but this whole campground was tight. There were a couple of open spots, but nothing we could maneuver into or out of.
We instead decided to head to North Carolina. There was a park there we wanted to visit, but it didn’t open for a couple more days. I believe it was April 2nd if I’m not mistaken. That meant we had a few nights to burn before we could check in. That was no problem. We were able to find some parks between the two locations that we had discounts for that allowed us to make the trip at a rather leisurely pace.
We got to North Carolina right as they opened for the season. There were several other families checking in at the same time and everyone was looking forward to getting into the new park.
This park was a Thousand Trails park and something interesting happened a day or two after we checked in. The entire Thousand Trails system shut down. No one could check in to any of their parks.
If I don't already have a business, how can you help me?
If you don’t already have a business, I’d like to help you create a digital products business. There, you can learn the basics of digital marketing. At that point, you can decide to focus on that business or use the skills you have acquired to help clients with their marketing… OR BOTH!
This sounds like a "get rich quick" scheme. What's the catch?
This is FAR from a get rich quick scheme. In fact, I can guarantee you that you WON’T get rich quickly at all. This is building a real business. That takes time and effort.
The only exception to this is if you already have a business offline or on another platform. In that case, it is possible to create rapid growth online that your business had previously not accomplished.
I don't even have an idea for a business. What do I do?
Chances are you know something that a lot of other people would like to learn and you don’t even know it!
In the off chance that this is not the case, you can always build your business as you are learning a topic. Just be completely honest that you are learning and helping people using what you’ve learned!
I need immediate income and don't have time to build. What do I do?
In most cases, I recommend doing some freelance work to bring in some income while building your own business. You may even find that freelancing ends up being your business!
I already have a successful business. How can you help me?
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First, you’ll either start an online business or bring your offline business online and build the website to support it.
Next, you practice your marketing skills while growing the business you created.
Take on marketing clients, create other niche sites, or simply take your original idea to new heights!
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