How I Traveled Across America with $2.82


After driving more than 9,300 miles in 3 1/2 months, I reached Seattle from New York City. The problem was… I spent all my money. I had 2 choices. I could start a new Kickstarter page and raise some money to get home or i can take a little risk: make some money in Seattle, fill up my tank and head East with hopes of making the money along the way. Sometimes you just have to take the hard way… The next day I unloaded my piano (and my dog) onto the streets of Seattle at Pike Place Market and played for 5 hours. Luckily, it was a sunny filled day and the tourists were flowing. I made a whopping $190! This was enough to take me all the way to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho which was 320 miles away.

I spent that night sleeping in my truck (which I built to be very comfortable and safe) The trick to sleeping in your car is finding the right place to park— Especially in a busy city. One of the tricks I developed throughout my travels was to park my truck in a crowded Hotel parking lot, that way you fit in with the rest of the group without any problems. In fact, during the 1 1/2 months of traveling back home, I spent most of my nights sleeping in the truck. The one downside was finding a place to shower, but I’ll get into the strategies I created later.

Once I got to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho I spent most of my money and had to jump back on the streets to get me to the next location (Glacier National Park). But I never felt pressure, I just went with the flow of life and understood that with plenty of confidence, I can do this. I figured out a routine to get myself from city to city, doing what i loved, meeting plenty of people, and traveling across America.

The important thing was to manage my spending carefully. My main expenses were gas and food. I lived very Simple and didnt need to spend money on unnecessary things. This is HUGE! Living on the road made me understand how many unnecessary objects we have in our lives and that living a simple life without so many possessions kept me more organized and free. In fact, in the beginning of my roadtrip I brought way too many things with me and ended up giving away half of what I brought.

On top of all that, living the life of a frugal traveler, I still got to do all the fun and adventurous activities. In fact, I had so much freedom with my time, every day was filled with excitement. The challenge of traveling without any money and the fact that I was funding my trip by doing what I loved (Playing piano on the streets of America) made the journey that much more adventurous.

But dont get me wrong: Playing piano on the streets is NOT easy and still takes hard work, especially when you’re playing for more than 4 hours at a time. Even so, it was my dream life: Traveling, Making enough money, and doing what I love. Here is a list of all things I got to do starting with $2.82 in my bank account.

  • I visited and played piano in 4 National Parks
  • I Experienced the nightlife in each major city
  • I went sightseeing and even rented a bicycle to go mountain biking in Moab, UT.
  • I was able to make enough money by playing piano in every city to get me to the next location.
  • I never felt any pressure to keep moving and took my time.
  • In the end, I never turned a profit, but managed to do everything I love while still breaking even!

 

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