A Major Step: We’ve Been Published and I’ve Been Hired for My Dream Job!

Rootless Living Magazine L. Merredith "Bringing the Clark Cortez Back to Life"

Hi, y’all! It’s been awhile and Andy and I have tons to share with you, which I’m hoping to write in separate posts so be prepared for topics spanning from hikes and camps to multiple sclerosis updates and additional major health news, along with marriage and Green Card talks and updates on our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome restoration … so I’m gonna dive right in and stick with our antique RV because the news we want to share with you is exciting: We’ve been published in a magazine and I’ve been hired to work there!

The news first came when I wrote an article that was featured in a magazine called Rootless Living. In short, the magazine is for digital nomads, by digital nomads, which means the stories told within the magazine’s pages are — as the founders say — “from real people who live, work and thrive in this rootless lifestyle everyday.”

True, Andy and I are not nomadic yet, but we are working our way in that direction and so we hope our story can benefit anyone out there who is interested in restoring an antique RV with the end goal of travel and life in it. Because of this, we were accepted into September/October’s renovations issue, which told the tale of our steel beast’s overhaul in our article called “Bringing the Clark Cortez Back to Life.”

Four months after this article came out, I applied for the editorial assistant position at Rootless Living — and let me pause here to say I had been checking the publication’s “Work with Us” page, honestly, multiple times a day since the start of 2021. Being open with you, this was the second time I applied so I was bubbling with hope for a chance to be allowed in. Excitingly, I was offered the position in January 2022 and I still wake every day humbled for this opportunity.

Now full background on this publication because I love to drum up support for it: Rootless Living is a relatively new bi-monthly magazine that came out in 2020. Created by two people who live nomadically, founders Demian Ross and Nikki Kirk brought their visions to life as they were the only two to work for Rootless Living. Their magazine’s goal remain to alter mindsets by inspiring people to live nomadically, which means writings focus on this lifestyle with articles that range from sharing what others have learned as they travel, showcasing ways to make money nomadically, and igniting wanderlust through exploration.

Since 2020, the magazine grew — and grew quickly. Looking at the start of 2021, they published a second almost bi-monthly magazine called RV Today, which has just been picked up by two bookstores: Barnes and Nobel and Books-a-Million. RV Today takes a different approach — Its motto is for RVers, by RVers and the goal is to encourage people to get inside recreational vehicles (whether that is a Class A, B, or Cs; trailer; school bus; van; or other) to experience RV travel. Writings in this magazine span from showcasing beautiful places to visit and what to do in those areas, sharing RV experiences and secrets, and recommending products used by other RVers.

It is because of the growth and second magazine that I was able to be hired. I’m the editorial assistant, and I work alongside Jess Stiles, who is the managing editor. (And yes, I’m totally calling out team members because I’m going to have a ton of links below in case you wanted to follow them to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle and RV travel.)

Working for these two magazines though has created such a radical mind-shift for which I am fortunate. First, the people I work with not only chose to leave their corporate jobs but chose to work these jobs. I worry you don’t fully understand what this means so here’s an example: Demian tells us often, “If at any point this job does not become fun anymore, tell someone because that is its entire point.”

That means work for these publications is not about money or paying bills — It is about diving into what you believe … because you want to.

Everyone does not have to work — They instead choose to work … and are choosing to work here because they enjoy their jobs. This mentality would be equivalent to — on a grander scale — winning the lottery and still choosing to go to work each day … not because you have to — but because you want to. Radical.

This mind-shift also seeped into my current full-time job as a teacher — and it came at a perfect time because I confess, I was in a dark place mentally. Let me explain: In March 2020, the world went on lockdown due to the global pandemic, and teachers scrambled to move education virtually with zero notice. The following 2020–2021 school year, I was thankfully allowed to remain teaching virtually due to my pre-existing health condition; however, I — and nearly every teacher — had to return in the 2021–2022 school year as less-than glorified babysitters because parents could no longer afford to care to their children stuck in virtual at-home learning. It was in this school year, every teacher witnessed first-hand how education had mutated. Teachers were expected to maintain CDC COVID guidelines in all schools, except in all schools CDC guidelines were incapable of being followed. Meanwhile, with the authority to dictate the return of teachers, parents’ voices turned to roars. Here, teacher mastery was stripped by parents as parents dictated what was taught inside classrooms. Books, topics, conversations, and knowledge on slavery, the Holocaust, wars, evolution, current events, and more were harshly erased because those topics were “to upsetting” for students. The list of banned books continued to build. At the same time the power to rule what happened inside of the classroom came from everyone who was not actually in the classroom. For instance, Virginia’s governor created a tip hotline, allowing kids and parents to phone in to report teachers teaching “controversial material” — and the price? Revoking teacher teaching licenses. On top of being terrified of what to teach, teachers feared for their lives. There were still school shootings — multiple deadly shootings — which insinuated that teachers should be the bulletproof vests between intruders and students. (This, by the way, speaks nothing against my school … but it was worse because it was education as a whole.)

Exhausted? I am — and hey, you more than likely weren’t even the one teaching. However, I say all of this to illustrate the 2021–2022 school year was — by far — the one that carried the most fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, and more than any yet. And I say this with nearly ten years of teaching experience. Essentially, in Year Nine, I learned the education system was and is fundamentally broken.

So what did I do about it?

I looked for a change. It was in this hard school year that I was hired at Rootless Living and RV Today, which means not only did I land a drastically different job, but I seamlessly landed my ultimate dream job — a job that I prepared for at university and interned for after graduation, and a job that has me writing and publishing. This was a job I longed to have since being a young child because it spoke, breathed, and lived what I am most passionate about — nomadic travel. Not only that, but having this meant Andy’s and my goal of living rootless had become a reality. Andy and I could support ourselves with his career and my publishing position alone … which meant I no longer needed to teach. Plus, with Andy’s job 70% remote — and the other 30% requiring travel — my new position put into perspective our dream plans because it not only paved the road for Andy and I living nomadically but this position supported it.

Knowing we could leave now made us analyze when we chose to leave … and that in turn made us think about why we chose to stay. True, we have not finished our Cortez overhaul, but also I learned I wasn’t ready to leave teaching. Realizing this made my mental health magically restored.

I returned to school each day changed. I had gained a keen ear for listening while also having a strong voice to speak out for others and myself, and I set my own long-needed personal boundaries.

It was the radical mind-shift I had been taught from my magazine job: Knowing I did not have to return to school allowed me to return to school. I now was a teacher because I chose to be.

For fear though that I would be rebuffed as an inadequate teacher due to having a part-time job, I essentially told no one about my magazine gig. If anything were to come up, I wanted to prove that I could balance both workloads — and balance them happily.

It is now my six-month anniversary working for these publications, and I’m so insanely proud to be a part of them … and equally proud of my magazine team. Everyone I work with is genuinely incredible and believes in the importance of sharing stories. Because of this, if I’m in good company with you, I want to feed like-minded minds:

First, if you are interested in the contents of our publications, consider subscribing or snatching a digital or glossy-aged print issue. In the print world, this is the biggest way to show your support for the writers and publications.

Other ways to show support are on social media. I’ll link to our magazines and those behind the scenes — but know there are additional equally remarkable co-workers. (I am only quickly listing those in charge or/and who I work with most closely.)

Talking about staying connected: If you haven’t subscribed to Andy’s and my website here yet, scroll to the bottom of this page, type in your email address, and click the “Subscribe” button. This means an email will be sent to you each time we post — no hassle, just an update! Don’t forget we are also found on Instagram and YouTube, too. All of this truly does help support us.

Last but not least, I want to thank our friends Katelyn and Howard Newstate from Newstate Nomads. They originally told me about Rootless Living and my position.

Now for you — No one likes a one-way conversation so leave us a message in the comments telling us how you’ve been, what you have been up to, what exciting news you would like to share because I’d love to celebrate with you!

Author: L

Hi there! I am the impulsive do-er, the jumper, the one tugging to move past comfort zones to embrace a life of sheer surprise. I am a writer -- a pursuer of stories -- because I believe in the destination over the journey. I am a chaser of sunrises and sunsets and cherisher of the moments between. I have an overwhelming curiosity, an insatiable desire travel, and an obsessive yearn to turn dreams into realities. For all of these reasons, the word that best summarizes who I am is "seeker" -- I am forever a seeker.

9 thoughts

  1. You so accurately described the current climate in teaching! Congrats on your new position and may you always feel f*** yeah about all your endeavors!!! 💞

    1. You are amazing — Thank you for taking time to read this and to write. I appreciate it much and I hope you feel the exact same way as you continue down your road to good health and happiness!
      L (and Andy)

  2. 2022 has been a time of inventory and growth. I offered to volunteer at church rebuilding our Men’s Fellowship. Doing that has meant that the church, through an elder, has asked me to shore up the places where I am not enough to lead and identify my strengths as a leader. I’m good at confessing lack. Acknowledging strength? Oy. That’s hard. Needed, though.

    1. Hi Alan,
      Great to hear from you and hope you’ve been well!
      You message is nice to hear — for everyone. I think the hard part is taking the time to find strengths within ourselves. You have tons, including a major talent in writing and kindness — but ah, the trick is that you have to see these in yourself, which is where we all struggle.
      Good luck as you continue to move forward — This sounds fulfilling and meaningful and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all hope to find in life?
      L (and Andy)

  3. Midaughter… Beautifully written, but why would I expect anything different.? To the point, no punches pulled. Well done. !! Love and miss you both. Midad. XX

    1. Hi midad,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and support us both. It means a great deal. We miss and love you both tons — Have you hugged each other yet from us? If not, definitely do so… again hehe
      L (and Andy)

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