A few weeks back I was invited by the makers of a new web presence called "Ask Me Anything" (or AMAFeed.com). They were trying to get professionals in different industries to participate, including authors. I looked over their concept and decided it would be a great way to interact with fans and followers, and that perhaps people would ask questions they wouldn't otherwise ask on Facebook, LinkedIn or via email.
From the AMA website:
"From all walks of life and nearly every continent on the planet, we came together to build a community of passionate knowledge seekers... With a shared mission and a passion for questions, we're driven to build tools that empower our community to openly share their thoughts and experiences through AMA, the greatest interview format on earth."
I think it's a great idea and I have set up 2 Ask Me Anything events so far, one about my writing mystery novels and another about writing on the road, and both have kept me busy. You can find them at authorsama.amafeed.com/user/47451 and click on one of the AMA session headings listed. You will need to register for a free account to read anything on the site, but it's quick and easy.
I answered nearly all the questions on the day they were posted, though questions posted before the actual event starts aren't viewable until the time arrives. The second event is ongoing now and I have answered 27 questions so far.
My publicist is in process of sending out a press kit for radio stations or other media that might like to interview me while I'm on the road. It quickly occurred to me that many of the questions I'm being asked are great sample questions for DJ's and interviewers. Obviously someone wanted to know what was asked and they cover a wide gamut of ideas.
I'll be posting other AMA event after the current one closes, though I'm open for the next subject. Let me know if there is something that sounds good to you. In the meantime, if there's something on the current subject you'd like to ask, feel free to post it there. After all, you can ask me anything.
I was going to post this in my Travel blog, but it's really about my life and not so much about travel.
A lot has been written about how great it is living the good life of retirement in an RV, but now that we're into our second month, I'd like to suggest some reasons it's not so great. Mind you, I'm not advocating turning back and selling the 5th wheel, but it hasn't been all wine and roses either. Here are 9 reasons NOT to become an RV nomad:
9. You don't have a garage. Or car port. Wherever you are camping, there's probably shelter for you and your spouse from tornados, large hail and the like, but probably not for your RV, pickup or tow vehicle.
8. Local news is... well... local. Even when we find stations from far-away cities, TV news has become trivial. Do we really care that there was a robbery in Davenport, Iowa, or that there's a marathon being run in Rockford, Illinois? Not really.
7. Limited night life. Ever try to find a karaoke bar in the middle of rural Missouri or Illinois? I tried to today. No luck. Even if I find one, I hesitate being an outsider at a local redneck establishment.
6. No neighbors from Monday to Thursday. This might be a good thing for someone living in the city, but when you are hoping to meet other nomads and share some wine or other beverages, the middle of the week sucks.
5. The opposite is also true on the weekends: tons of families (and children) camp from Friday to Sunday, and we're way past dealing with kids.
4. Fuel cost. When you think about it, it makes sense. We sold our high-gas-mileage Kia because we couldn't take it with us -- we're pulling a 5th wheel with our Ford F350. But that also means that sightseeing is done using diesel at 15 mpg instead of gas at 30 mpg. Our only driveable vehicle is a gas-guzzler, or, I should say, a diesel-guzzler.
3. It feels like we're on vacation, but we're not. The temptation is always there to eat out at the local hangouts, do all the tours, drive everywhere. However, we're on a tight budget in order to sustain this lifestyle and often we have to stay put in the campground instead of spending all of our time -- and money -- as tourists.
2. Guilt. Let's face it, when you have to get up at 4:45 am every morning for years because you have a job to go to, sleeping in until 7:30 am feels great but comes with unexpected guilt. Ditto with not going to work and collecting a nice paycheck. Intellectually we both are all-in on our budget, but emotionally, we feel like we should be more productive.
1. Cleaning, fixing, prepping -- there's always something to do. When you have a bricks-and-sticks house, you have room to spare, possible even a storage or clutter room. That is a luxury we don't have in our 360-sq.-foot 5th wheel. Set a glass down on the wrong surface and the whole place looks a mess. Things break on the road, and you can't wait until something becomes serious before fixing it, since you don't want to be living in your rig while it's parked in a repair facility.
There are other reasons not to partake in this lifestyle and we're sure to learn many more of them. But, after a few weeks on the road, these are my first impressions. Feel free to add your reasons in the comments. You'll feel better.