There are a lot of uncertainties in life, but one thing I know. Dreaming big isn’t enough – not if you want to live big dreams. It takes hard work and sacrifice. Above all, it takes passion. In our particular case, it takes selling everything we own and going tiny.
My husband and I have an eight piece band called Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures. We want to make it big. We want to travel the world. We want to play in front of crowds of fans every night of the week until we’re so old that our bodies collapse on stage. But there’s just one hitch: freedom from the American dream.
We never really sought out the American dream. Instead, it sought us. You live life, and you accumulate stuff. People who you know start buying homes and filling them with nice things. They start having babies, buying cars. We keep buying music equipment and stage costumes. We pay $1,600 in rent to live in a beautiful 1920’s fourplex just two minutes from any of the music venues we want to play in Austin. Life is great, but it’s expensive and stifling. We are stuck in a rut, and we need a way out. Before we’re ever going to tour the world playing music, we need to be debt free.
Whenever we ask friends how they were able to get into music full-time, it’s always the same story. They were somehow independently wealthy (or comfortable and dependent) enough where they didn’t have to maintain day jobs for years, until one day, if they were lucky, the dough finally started rolling in from music. This, in no way, describes our situation.
Kevin and I both came from young, broke, overworked, struggling, loving parents. I was a first generation student who’d paid her own way through school with full-time college jobs and student loans, and Kevin was a scrappy musician who’d scraped enough money to put himself through massage school. There never was money in the family, and there isn’t really now, so that kind of help isn’t exactly an option. There was always love and creativity on both sides of the family though, so we had that going for us.
My husband and I have made a lot of tough decisions together in our decade as roommates, and our eight years as lovers. The decision to try to go all-in on music or not, has by far been the biggest decision of our lives. Not because it’s not our biggest passion. Moreso because it’s the biggest risk. This has beat out our decision to move halfway across the country from Maryland to Austin. It’s bigger than our decision to get married, and it dwarfs our decision not to have children.
This music move has involved years of household scrums (yes, I work in tech), countless budgeting sheets, and a dedication to studying the art of “making it.” The thing about going big though, is that you never know if you’re actually going to get big. You could be constantly going there, and never arrive. Kind of like a bound half moon. You can show up to yoga every day and inch those fingers closer together, but they may never touch. It’s not something you hope for, but it’s a very real possibility that you have to acknowledge.
The decision to finally build a gameplan around music came after an inspiring year and a lot of soul searching. In 2017, we’ve had the opportunity to visit Thailand, and connect with a lot of friends, old and know, who had figured out how to do exactly what they wanted to do with their lives. Later on, we had the opportunity to take the whole band to Spain, where we realized we really did have it in us to become international touring musicians. (More on these adventures in later posts.)
While crunching numbers, talking with friends, and writing a few blog posts about tiny living for my day job, I started reconnecting with a decade’s long dream of going tiny. I mean selling everything except for the music equipment and the Vitamix, and going from a 1,100 square foot home down to 200 square feet on wheels. This is a blog about that adventure.
There are lots of moving parts, and a lot to consider. Like a carefully composed hit single, we plan on pulling everything together – from our careers to our finances – even if it takes five years of relentlessly hard work.
Only once we’ve freed ourselves from the American dream, can we focus on our true labor of love – our band.
Please follow me for a real-time journey in making music, paying off debt, traveling the world, and setting the stage for living our best lives together. It’s going to be a wild ride.