When we talk to people about living life on the road, one of the most common questions that comes up is, how do you support yourself while also having this amazing life of travel. This is an easy question, with a complicated answer.
For us specifically, I am a technology consultant, and work for one of the big four global consulting firms. Years ago, before we began our life of travel, we chased the American dream, by moving from state to state, to work for various retail corporate offices. I was heavily recruited due to my experience in implementing supply chain software technologies. I decided almost 8 years ago to stop relocating my family to pursue updates to my career and instead, I'd become a consultant, and essentially do the same as I had for years, only working for the same company while helping out many different companies.
As you can imagine, being a consultant is a good starting point for living the digital nomad life. Most firms don't care where you live, as long as you have access to an airport and you have access to the internet. We've discussed in this article about how we achieve internet access. To satisfy the other requirement, we simply plan our routes where we stay somewhere close to a National, Regional or International Airport.
We typically stay in a location from anywhere from one to three weeks, and move on the weekends. When we move, we usually try to limit to 300-350 miles. This leaves us a couple of days to check out a new area. Then, I will fly on Monday and return on Thursday, so I'm remote on Friday and away from my family a few days a week. Keep in mind, that this is not something abnormal for our family. In fact, it has been quite the norm, for most of our marriage and represents most of the experience that our children know.
My number one piece of advice for anyone that is interested in following my footsteps, is to find something that you are passionate about, and then find the internal drive to become the best at it. This is the philosophy that I've deployed throughout my career, and it's helped bring me success.
I also understand that this might not be possible for everyone. Perhaps you are someone who doesn't like to work with computers for a living. Maybe you are more of a hands on type of person, and would prefer following a path of manual labor.
Here is a list of some resources available to you, compiled from talking to friends while living this life.
Manual Labor Jobs
RV Armor - This company has remote roles all throughout the country. They specialize in replacement and repair of RV Roofing systems. There installers are all remote and travel from job site to job site, and manage the install and repair service
Amazon Camperforce - Each year, during the peak of the holiday season, Amazon hires a workforce contingency that helps manage the increased shipment volume during the couple of months of November and December. Typically, campground fees are covered by Amazon, and then they pay a good wage, in exchange for some long days of warehouse work
Beet Harvest - This is a very hard job that happens each year. Minnesota is one of the largest, where workers can make up to $2500 in a couple of weeks, but workers are expected to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
Workcamping - There are always postings for workcamping roles all throughout the county. A work camper is someone who works for a campground for a period of time, in varying roles (like maintenance, front desk, housekeeping, etc). The agreement with each RV Park is always different. For some folks, they get a spot for free, including electric and no monetary compensation for something like 20 hours a week. Still other places will not only give you a spot for the time worked, but also pay an hourly stipend. Negotiate with the parks over the specific benefits you will get with them, and keep your options open
Adventureland – This is a theme park located in Iowa, which hires 14 year old's and above. This is a great opportunity for a family with older children to not only earn some money and potentially including RV site, but also usage of the theme park while off-duty, making for some low cost entertainment
Woofing - Most of the time, woofers don't earn any income, however, they typically receive a site on farm land that they can use while working. These are almost like volunteer positions working on farms. For folks that have a small nest egg built up, this might be a great option as you can gain some amazing experience working with animals and maybe even perfecting some green-thumb skills
Pipeliners - There are thousands of families that travel the oil fields, all over the country. Pipeliners work very hard, but earn a really decent living. Also, most of the job sites, have facilities for campers and RVs to park.
Catastrophic Workers - Sadly, tragedy always strikes all over the US, from Fire to Flood, to catastrophic storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. When these tragedies strike, insurance companies will bring in a workforce contingent to help manage the increased volume of claims. Cat workers travel to the aftermath areas throughout the country and function as insurance adjusters.
Electrical, Wind and Solar Installation - These positions are similar to the pipeliners. For commercial project work, workers will relocate to a job site to help install the various components.
RV Inspectors, Repair and Customization - There are several remote RV inspector roles in the marketplace, and tons of schools available to teach the trade. Given the increase in RV sales in the US, the need for independent RV inspectors is growing. In addition, with so many rigs on the road, the need for RV repairs is more than enough to keep any RV mechanic busy from season to season. Also, people love to improve their rigs by making smart modifications to their rig. As such, folks skilled in brake installations and axle replacement are always in high demand
Professional and Technical Jobs
IT for various firms - Most IT organizations have both on-site and remote roles. Usually, the more technical the role (and less functional), the higher the likelihood that you can work remote.
Online Marketing - I've met numerous people over the years that do Google and Facebook advertising, as well as manage other forms of marketing.
Photography - We've met numerous people that travel and do photography for a living. They either do family pictures for promotional work, or we've also seen where they capture some of their favorite images, and then sell them on the internet
Web Design - This is similar to Online Marketing, as many companies will hire web professionals to help with website design and customization, and these types of roles lend themselves well to remote working
Online resources - Remote.co and Flexjobs.com are two resources for traveling professionals that are legitimate work from home jobs. Several of their jobs are free to browse and then a small subscription service manages your access to additional details and the complete listing of open roles. Many fortune 500 companies list on both of these sites.
Travel Nursing - Nursing is always a field that is in high demand. However, many don't realize that there is a huge need for travel nurses to help augment the staff throughout the country. These roles usually offer subsidies for housing and food, and then still pay extremely well. Positions can vary in length, but we hear of many positions that are 8-10 weeks in duration.
Online Tutoring and Education
There are many different companies that are remote working roles, to support tutoring and education services to students around the world. VIPKids, Cambly, Tutor.com, Varsity Tutors and Chegg.com are some of the resources available for these types of roles.
In summary, you can see that there are many possible options for making a good living on the road. The real question is, where does your passion lie, and how hard are you willing to work, to make the digital nomad life a reality.
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