One of the biggest questions I am asked when I tell people I live in a camper full-time and travel is how in the hell do you afford to do it. Most people don't like talking about money and I get it, it's a touchy subject sometimes. But the fact is, money is a necessary evil of life and unless your rig is paid off, it can be expensive.
Grant and I are by NO means rich. I ask my dad all the time if my life up until now was just a test and I have a trust-fund waiting for me. He doesn't think it's funny... but you have to have some humour in your life sometimes.
I really don't mind talking about how we afford our lifestyle. I'm not going to go into details and tell you how much we have in the bank, but I'll tell you the kinds of jobs we work in order to travel.
Yep. As of January 2020, I am a trophy wife to a pipeline x-ray tech. You caught me!
Ok, that's kind of a joke... and kind of not, unfortunately.
That was never the plan at all and you can bet your ass it pains me to depend on a man (girl power all the way) but it's what we have to do right now. Thanks, COVID!
It's true, I quit my jobs (yes plural... I hustled pre-lockdown) in order to travel and be on the road full-time with my fiance. For us, it didn't make sense to pay rent in two different places and since Grant's work has him move locations at the drop of a hat, signing an actual lease and me having a "normal" job is hard.
We already had the fifth-wheel, so it just made sense for me to join him on the road.
What I had planned when I quit my jobs was to find a job working remotely from home. And then COVID happened and all of my applications were sent back with letters regretting me that they were no longer hiring due to the economy crashing and "these uncertain times."
So here we are, me a stay at home dog-mom and Grant working his life away in the west Texas summer heat.
Ok, on a real note, we are so freaking thankful that he is still able to work and we are still able to travel.
His job is the main way we are able to support the lifestyle we have right now. We do have a budget in place that will have everything paid off in a year which will give us the opportunity to leave the pipeline behind us and work with other travelling job opportunities which I will explain... (wait for it) Now!
We first found out about this thing called workamping via Facebook groups. Search them, you'll find all kinds of groups of fellow RV full-timers looking for seasonal work.
Each workaming opportunity is different but basically you will work for a park or campground. You'll work X amount of hours that will cover full hookups and then any hours worked after that will be hourly pay.
When the oilfield crashed earlier this year, Grant (and his boss) were convinced that we wouldn't have any work for at least the rest of the summer. We then picked up a workaming position that I'm still so sad we had to turn down due to the oilfield picking back up (it's bitter-sweet).
Grant was going to work maintenance on the grounds and I have cleaned cabins, worked in the office and taught yoga on sight. The yoga was an added bonus since I was a yoga teacher as one of my past jobs.
This is popular for many full-timers, however, don't expect to make a ton of money doing it. If you have your rig paid off and your monthly bills are lower, definitely check it out! You can end up living in some AMAZING places which are definitely the up-sides but it won't make you a millionaire.
Work From Home
This one I am obviously still working on but I have found some pretty cool resources that could be useful in helping you find remote work.
FlexJobs is a job board that searches other job boards for truly remote work. There are all different kind of opportunities so I'm sure you'll find something that will fit your personality and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, the hiring rate isn't that great in most places right now, but that won't last forever!
FlexJobs is not free to use because their staff does provide a service of searching the deepest depths of other job boards to filter out the remote jobs. I don't know about you, but I don't have time for that!
Job searching can be exhausting and this is one place that helps you help yourself so that you will be able to support the lifestyle of a traveller.
By all means, if you are able, create your own online business, start a blog, or use your digital nomad skill to create the job you truly want. That's what I'm doing... Nobody would hire me because the economy went to shit so I started this blog in hopes of monetizing it.
I will say that blogs do not take off and make you money overnight. Sometimes they take years before you are able to live off of their income, but it isn't impossible.
This was my plan before Grant ever came into the picture and made me an accidental trophy wife.
For 10 years I worked as a bartender/server/hustler to pay for my life. Don't get me wrong, it straight up SUCKED sometimes but at the end of a busy night, you see the cash money you're going home with and it's all worth it.
My plan pre-Grant was to travel to whatever destination I chose, find a server job, and work until I felt that travel itch again. In fact, I was doing this before I converted to RV living. Truthfully, one of the main reasons I wanted an RV was so that I wouldn't have to worry about waiting for leases to end or paying security deposits.
The thing that is so appealing with the service industry is that having a high turnover rate is normal, you don't have to wait for a paycheck, and you determine how much money you make. You can always pick up more shifts or work that double shift on Monday that nobody wanted.
It's not a glamorous life at all and sometimes it's freaking hard; Your feet hurt, you don't sleep on weekends, and your diet goes to shit but you have the best days as your off days.
I still hate going out on weekends because I got so used to server life with Monday being my weekend. Do you know how many people are out on a Monday? Nobody. That means hiking trails are empty, you get the best campsites in the park (even if you're late), and restaurants always have better deals during the weekdays.
See, server life isn't looking so bad now, huh?
Ok, it's not for everyone, but it is an option for you to support your full-time travelling habits.
These are just the tip of the iceberg of how people afford the full-time RV lifestyle. Some options are going to be better than others, so be smart and research what will last. You can find a stable income to support your travel itch.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Let your inner hustler come out to play!
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