One of the biggest things holding people back from becoming an RV nomad and full-time RVing is money!! Sure, you can wait until you retire, but it is possible to start RVing while still working. There are many, many ways to leave behind the J.O.B. and start RVing. I’m going to share my journey from the cubicle to the open road!!
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Jessica Goes to College
So, I don’t want to take it back too far, but… Like so many other American’s I went to college right after high school. My degree was in Biology with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. I was a dedicated full-time student and spent summers job shadowing veterinary dermatologists and orthopedic surgeons while working part-time at a veterinary hospital and picking up pet sitting jobs here and there.
The more time I spent learning about veterinary orthopedics, the more I wanted to pursue it as a career. Then it hit me, these doctor’s were not working 9-5, they were working 12 hour days and checking in on patients on the weekends. I quickly realized that I wanted to have more time in the future, eventually, I would want a family and I wanted to devote more time than these doctors were able to.
So…what were my options.
Career Plan B – Something Sciencey
Once I realized that veterinary was out for me, I started looking into careers in the sciences. My very first “real” job was a pharmaceutical company. I was 23 years old and was hired as a Quality Control Chemist. While I didn’t have a chemistry degree, I was just one class shy of minoring it in, so…I was qualified.
Fast forward several years and I found myself working as a government contractor. The money and benefits were fabulous, but I was already starting to feel the stress that comes with “Work-Life-Balance”. I was a new mom commuting at least 2 hours each day. My job was not rewarding and my baby… suddenly reviewing paperwork didn’t seem so important.
Career Plan C – Remote Work
Three years into my contract position, I had my youngest child. That was it. That was the last straw. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go back, but I still wanted to work. How could I make it work?
This is where it really gets interesting…
I called my boss up and told him I didn’t want to go back, but I wanted to help them out. How could we work something out that would help fulfill my contract on my end, but still allow me to be with my kids? I tossed in that “telework” idea. Since having kids, I had on occasion worked from home (Sick kids can’t go to daycare and sick kids get their moms sick). I had already proved that I could work from home.
I also provided my contracting with: a list of every task that I could complete 100% from home and I made sure these were tasks that I was solely responsible for. This way they would know whether or not I was actually working or playing with the kids (or more likely sleeping and changing diapers).
Since I had a proven track record of performing well in the office and on my work-from-home days AND I could easily be held accountable for my tasks, my company said yes.
There were a few other factors that made it easy for them to say yes:
- They had a few “green” initiatives and work-life balance initiatives that I helped them check off their list
- The contractor didn’t actually have enough space on-campus for all of its employees. Me working from home equaled one much-needed open cubicle
I was the very first 100% remote employee for both my contracting firm and contractor.
Now, I wasn’t even RVing yet! So…let’s get to that…
Career Plan C1 – Exploring the Local Life
Somewhere along the way, I started learning about side gigs/hustles.
The seed had been planted several years before. We listened to a podcast (2008/2009, back before everyone had a podcast) and quickly learned that this couple was making a full-time living off of this fun podcast they made in their house. That seed started taking root…
Years later we connected with one of the podcasters and he introduced us to Pat Flynn’s podcast.
Our lives were never the same again.
Suddenly, the idea of being able to make money online, from home was possible.
Somewhere along the way, the RV lifestyle also came into play.
Here we were: 2 working-aged adults, 2 kids, 2 cats, and a dog selling it all and moving into a 26ft travel trailer. My remote work could be done from anywhere, they didn’t care how or where I get it done. So along with that job, I started blogging and vlogging. Robert joined in too.
Before long, we were bringing in a little bit of money here and there. We started thinking this was something that could become more than just a side gig/hustle.
We started meeting others that were full-time blogging/vlogging or able to just work remotely. It was incredible to see this world opening up.
Decision Time – What do I Want to Be When I Grow Up
For four years I juggled my remote work and Exploring the Local Life. It was clear that my true love had become a business. My remote job had become stale. I was there to collect a paycheck, my heart wasn’t in it. I felt guilty for keeping a job that I didn’t like, there was nothing wrong with the job. How could I feel this way about a position that allows me to travel, pays me well, gives me full benefits, offers more flexibility than I have ever had in my life? Yet here I was. Dreading each day that I had to log in. Feeling guilty on all sides. Even when I worked Exploring the Local Life, I felt guilty.
Just before my 10 year (YES, 10 YEAR) anniversary with my contracting company, a memo went out stating that my department wasn’t being renewed under their contract. The department would continue being a part of the contractor, but I would be with a new contracting company.
I would basically be starting a new job, but doing the same exact thing.
I couldn’t do it.
When asked by the new contracting company, “May we ask why you have decided not to move forward with our company?”. I replied “Honestly? I am going to live my dream.”
Look Mommy – I’m an Entrepreneur
So today, I can officially say I’m an Entrepreneur. Whoa. I have been one for a few weeks now, but I still keep saying it over and over.
It’s kind of hard to wrap my brain around it all. Even as I type this. Even as you are reading it. It took me many years to get here, but I think I needed those years. It’s all happening exactly how and when it was supposed to.
I’m full of hope right now. I don’t have a set system in place to ensure a $10,000 month every month. What I have is determination. Over and over in my life, I have done things folks didn’t think I could do: homebirth, breastfeed, remote work, RV full-time, Unschool my kids, marry my best friend (this actually happened before all those other things), etc. Sometimes you gotta believe. I’m not saying I’m going to sit in a corner and believe that I am an entrepreneur and not do anything. What I’m saying is that I’m becoming, believing it before it happens, taking steps in that direction (write more, train, seek out work relationships, etc.), and then walking it all out.
So, how can you become a working-aged RV Nomad?
You might be reading this and thinking, well, that’s all great for you, but what about me?
Well, what do you want to be doing? Write down what the perfect day would be for you? What does it look like? How does it make you feel?
Start there. Feel it. See it. Believe it.
What small step can you take today to get you closer to it?
Maybe just take that perfect day and do it one day. Film it. Take photos. Plaster those photos everywhere. Watch the video.
Then take action.
- Go to that conference about photography.
- Write reviews about the wineries in your favorite town.
- Attend a digital nomad online summit
- Hire a business coach
- Join a mastermind
Remember, it starts small. Just a little seed that you water little by little and one day it grows.
If you are thinking, OK Jessica. This is great, but can you give me some resources?
I sure can:
- The Book “Getting Started with Remote Work: Start Living Your Dream Life” by The Wayward Home founder Kristin Hanes, a journalist published in Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, The Lonely Planet, Fodors, etc. This book is a great place to start. Lots of inspirational stories and tips from successful RV nomads.
- Make Money While RVing – How to Land that RV Remote Work – Ideas to get folks started on ways to make money.
- 6 Ways to Make Money While Full-Time RVing – 6 jobs that will help you fund your RV travels!
- Online summit all about how RVers make money called: Make Money & RV Virtual Summit. This is a great resource to find how others have successfully moved to a traditional job to one that allows RVers the freedom to travel.
- Become an RV Tech!! Course!! Not only is it great to know how to fix and maintain your own RV, but this a business that you can easily take on the road! (Become a Road Life Project member and tell select Exploring the Local Life during sign up!).
My story is just one journey to becoming an RV nomad. Everyone’s story is different. The one common element is the desire for more freedom. So what are you doing to hit the road while working? Share your very own RV nomad story in the comments!!