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Grab a guitar, tie a tip jar to it;
ride around New York City, singing songs by the Beatles, Dylan, Bright Eyes, Billy Joel, Simon & Garfunkel, Flaming Lips, Gin Blossoms, and of course GioSafari;
repeat for three to five hours.

Then you'll get an idea of what my life has been like for the past month or so.

The idea was largely conceived one night in mid-January as I was talking with my roommate, lamenting my lack of funds to pay rent, to buy [anything], to survive in a city as expensive as this. I crunched some numbers and determined that I'd make enough money to get by if I earned as little as $25 per day! I guessed that I could make that much within about three hours. I resolved to try it out for one week and see whether it could be sustained - whether I could actually make ends meet by busking at train stations three hours a day, six days a week.

The first four days were fairly successful. Sometimes it took more than three hours to earn the $25; I stayed until I reached my goal and it was always within a reasonable time frame. I often made more than 25. I started to get pretty excited about the prospect of paying rent and beginning to scale back my debts.

Then I became very ill for an entire week.

My hopes were somewhat dashed during that week until my tip jar finally arrived in the mail (I’d left it in Florida after the Eagles & Snowbirds Tour). With my trusty tip jar, I was now equipped to busk on the moving trains – an endeavor that had whet my whistle when I played on the trains for the No Pants Subway Ride 2010 (pantsless, of course) on January 9.

With my tip jar fastened to one of my tuning pegs, I rode around NYC for close to four hours, earning over one hundred smackaroos. On my first day!

Over the next four or five days I earned anywhere between $50-100 per day and knew immediately that playing the trains would be far more lucrative than busking in the stations. Within a week I had two “centuries” (days that I earned at least $100) and earned about $450. Things were looking up! I could pay off my debts much quicker than anticipated and I’ve felt on top of the world!

It’s now been about a month since I began busking on the trains as my primary source of income. And boy, do I have stories to tell!

This post was also in three parts. To read the rest, click here.