Who Is “Bessie”​ the Patriotic Bus?

During the first wave of Covid, like so many Americans, we stayed away from crowds and spent far more time at home. To pass the time we watched a lot of YouTube videos. That is when we became fascinated with people travelling around America and dozens of foreign countries, making videos about their travels and the people and places they encounter. They travelled cheaply but they always stayed at some of the most beautiful places in the world, especially pristine beaches.

Some of these ‘Digital Backpackers’ were earning the money to continue their travels by posting their videos on YouTube. They are called “Vloggers.” YouTube pays them based on how many people subscribe to and watch their videos. We saw many vloggers go from zero to over 100,000 subscribers in these two years. YouTube pays $55,000 a year for achieving and maintaining that number. And when their number of subscribers increases, sometimes to many hundred of thousands, their YouTube income increases proportionately.

My wife and I run a nationwide charity to support US Military, Veterans, and their families. Patriotic Hearts. And so we got the idea of creating travel videos too. We could travel America and go to other beautiful places and begin posting videos on YouTube. At the same time, we could expose more Americans to our unique programs that connect communities to their local US Military and Veterans families in a warm, engaging, and powerful way.

The first thing we did was to look around for an RV to travel in. We found a 20-foot Minnie Winnie Winnebago. It was old, 1989, but the engine had only driven 32, 000 miles. So we got it and fixed it all up. Now, we are staring a YouTube Channel for her, Bessie The Patriotic Bus.

We have not taken a lot of pictures since our children grew up and moved away. So we needed to purchase some equipment and learn how to use it. Our modern camera-phones can do this. But most vloggers also use a Go Pro. It is very compact, records pics and videos, and is waterproof. But acquiring Bessie and the necessary equipment was only the beginning. We are now in the process of learning how to make watchable videos that you will enjoy. All of this has been a bit harder and more expensive than we expected. But it seems like a great way to share our message and to have a great time with eachother in our waning years.

So far, we have only made a few videos. We are traveling around our the beaches of Southern California right now. And we filmed our mini-trip to Baja California, and now we are also beginning to film the beautiful California Missions established by the Spanish in the 1700s. And in November we are spending a month in little beach villages in Mexico where retirees can live very comfortably for a fraction of the price in America or Canada.

Here is a brief video we put together yesterday:

Come with us as we explore America and other beautiful places. And you will be helping us to support our US Military, Veterans, and their families at the same time!

Mark and Tori Baird



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