Living an RV lifestyle for an extended period of time while you’re retired is one thing. It’s quite reasonable to sustain the RV lifestyle while living primarily or completely on a combination of pension, IRA, dividend and rental income, annuities and the like. But in today’s low interest rate environment, capital doesn’t deliver the income it used to. And lots of people successfully manage RV living for months at a time and even full-time and permanently while they’re still working for a living.
It’s A New World
We live in a digital age, and for people who still have to earn a living but who are attracted to the RV life, that’s a game changer. Just in the last three years, we’ve gone from an unconnected world to a connected one, with easy access hi-speed WiFi is ubiquitous in multiple locations in every small town – and is routinely installed in today’s mobile homes and travel trailers.
But it got even better than that. A few years ago, if you wanted to sign a document, you had to download an emailed document or get it from a Web site, print out the PDF, physically sign it, scan it, and then email back the file. One document could take 10 minutes to deal with, easily – and have you scavenging for printer paper, ink and a pen. But now, new developments in security, encryption and digital signatures have made it easy for road warriors to upload large documents to the Cloud, download them and sign them right from their tablets from the front (passenger!) seat of their RV, and upload these same documents with fully valid and legally binding signatures in seconds.
Where until a few years ago it was, indeed, quite difficult for people outside of a select few professions to earn a reliable income while out on the road traveling in an RV, WiFi, cloud computing, Google Docs, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Apple and a small army of more specialized technology vendors have made it quite realistic for almost any disciplined information worker to not only get by on the road, but prosper.
Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard, authors of Technomadia (“Tech” + “Nomads.” Get it?) have been living full-time on the road for the last nine years. Granted, they both have some technology know-how: Cherie had previously owned a home-based software development business, while Chris was pursuing a career in Silicon Valley, when they met online, fell in love, and threw it all away to spend their lives together living and working on the road. At first it was a tiny T@b Travel Trailer, but soon they upgraded to a converted bus.
Now they earn an income from their small technology consulting company, called Two Steps Beyond, and blog about their professional, financial and technological lives on the road on their Website, Technomadia.
Since they’re technology geeks anyway, with at least enough understanding of electrical engineering and lithium battery technology to be dangerous, they write at length about the gear they use to stay in business on the road, powering not just their lights, air conditioning, heater and water heater, but also two computers, a printer and various mobile devices and a high-speed Internet router. You can read all of their technology reviews at the RV Mobile Internet Resource Center.
Their site – and the many they link to – will be a valuable resource for information workers of all stripes – graphic designers, web developers, software engineers, freelance writers, attorneys, insurance claims adjusters, sales professionals, entertainers and many others.
Some people also figure out a way to monetize a website. You probably don’t want to carry a lot of inventory in the RV if you run an online store. But it’s possible to supplement your income from electronic book sales, crafting, content subscriptions, drop-ship print on demand clothing platforms and the like. The sky’s the limit, and some of these sites are generating six figures and more.
What about people who work more with their hands? How can they earn a living while living the RV lifestyle?
Turns out there are a number of options for you folks, too!
For example, you can explore workamping. In its most basic form, this amounts to a campsite/RVpark staffer in exchange for a hookup and a modest income. You can be an onsite handyman, caretaker, security guard. But don’t limit your hunt to the RV facilities and campgrounds themselves. You can work anywhere within reachable distance of your campsite, for any employer willing to take you on!
If you have good references, and you know where to look, you may find lots of shorter-term, temporary or seasonal employment opportunities as butlers, house-sitters, landscapers, property and estate caretakers, and the like.
You might try looking for opportunities on CoolWorks.com, which bills itself as the headhunting bulletin board for “Jobs In Great Places.”
Note: Working from the road isn’t for everybody. If you’re traveling to fun, interesting places (and what would be the point of RVing if you weren’t?) there will be lots of distractions. You won’t have anyone but yourself standing over you with a stopwatch to tell you to get to work. You’re going to have to supply the initiative, ingenuity and know-how yourself. But if you have that, it’s easier than ever to make your extended RV trip a reality – even while you run a business or hold down a job.