A new generation of nomads
By Melanie Carr
Traveling the world before retirement is a dream that many people chase, and there are few better ways to make this dream a reality than by hitting the open road in an RV. You can wake up with a new view every day, embark on adventures anywhere you choose, sleep under the stars – you get all of those dreamy experiences that inspire wanderlust. Before you set out to realize your dream, though, there are many factors that you should take into account. The good news is that you’re not alone. Many others have gone before you, with more taking to the asphalt every day. This collective experience means that you have far more information at your disposal than those who set out decades ago did.
The first question you should ask is ‘How can I afford this lifestyle?’. If you’re looking to set out on your own, you should also consider what that means for you, and plan accordingly. The industry as a whole is recognizing the need to create resources for the younger generation, making this transition much easier to navigate. There is a constantly expanding pool of resources, from education to community, at your disposal to help you along the way. Here are a couple of pointers to help you prepare for hitting the road.
Earning an income
Traditionally, workamping has been the most well-known and talked about method for earning income while RVing. While this is a great way to support your lifestyle and possibly get a free camp site along the way, it is not the only way! Thousands of RVers fund their lifestyles through taking their career on the road with them. For example, professionals in marketing, programming, graphic or product design and consulting, and even personal assistants, are able to conduct the vast majority of their work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Some of these RVers work for large organizations, where they were given the opportunity to work remotely, or transitioned their job to be away from the office. Some have started their own businesses, such as online retail, website development and social media marketing. There are those who have turned their passions into income, including jewelry design, photography, blogging and travel writing. All the while, they have created their own ‘corner office’, soaking up the glorious views offered by leaving traditional living behind. All you have to do is make your rig’s layout work for you. Best of all? The choice will be yours.
Regardless of which option you choose, ample resources are available to help you find what best suits your budget and interests. Remote jobs are in higher supply now than they’ve ever been. Search engines dedicated to remote work include flexjobs.com and remotejobs.com. More popular platforms, such as Indeed or Monster, have acknowledged the needs of this demographic, and now offer filters that pinpoint remote positions. If you want to take it a step further, some RV clubs and organizations have created their own job search engines. These include Workamper News and Escapees RV Club.
So, you’ve figured out how you’re going to fund your dream. Now you have to make sure you can keep that dream job! Once you’ve hit the open road, you’ll quickly learn that internet is your BFF. After all, it has made this amazing lifestyle possible. Whether you rely on your cell phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, you’ll find that very little communication is possible without some type of internet connection.
If you’re working remotely, your coworkers in the office will most likely have the perception that you are on vacation. The key to overcoming this is to be reliable! There’s nothing that will confirm their suspicions or burn you faster than not being able to complete a project or attend a meeting because you couldn’t get connected. The same goes for client-driven jobs; to maintain customer satisfaction, you need to be available to take care of them.
It is important to do your research and plan your travels according to your work schedule/obligations. If you know you’re going to have a heavy work week for which you will need solid connectivity, plan ahead and make sure the area you are going to will have coverage. This may be via solid cellular signal, purchasing a connection from the campground, or heading to a local library or coffee shop to borrow internet. There are several ways to find this information, including campground reviews, mobile apps, and reviewing the coverage map for your particular cellular provider. Resources like www.rvmobileinternet.com are available to help keep you informed and answer your questions along the way!
People are social beings. No matter our age, we crave social interaction. You’re about leave your family and friends behind and move into a 250-square-foot RV, so a fairly common concern is how you are going to fulfill this need. Lucky for us, the RVing industry recognizes the need to bring people together. We like to share our journeys, after all!
Most of us prefer to spend time with like-minded individuals. The challenge is in narrowing down which commonalities appeal most. There are groups specific to the type of rig you use, groups based on your adventure style, those that bring together RVers based on lifestyle, and so many more. For example, Escapees RV Club has created a lifestyle group called Xscapers, which provides resources and community for RVers who are working full-time while they travel. Another popular group is Fulltime Families, which meets the needs of those who travel with their children. Regardless of how you want to connect, you are sure to create the support network you need to thrive.
Grab life by the…
Ultimately, it is up to you to choose how you want to live your life. Do you want the traditional nine-to-five life? Or, do you want to give society the middle finger (sorry mom!) and live on your own terms? Us younger generations have made it clear that we will stop at nothing to make our dreams a reality. With a little hard work and wanderlust, there’s nothing to keep you from hitting the open road.