It would be pretty friggin’ sweet if we were both “Trustafarians” and could lazily float between locations without worrying about money. But, we have bills to pay and need to earn a living, just like everyone else in the real world.
One of the most common questions people ask is how we do this—how we work—while on the road. So, we thought we’d quickly cover some of the details, as well as the lessons we’ve learned at this point in our journey. Which might come in handy if you’re considering working remotely (whether mobile or otherwise).
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
Between living, exploring, and traveling full-time via RV, as well as parenting and enjoying our own pursuits, it’s super important that we efficiently manage our time.
Fortunately, we worked remotely for many years before setting out on the road, and most of what we learned naturally transitioned over to RV living. So, we have a pretty good idea of when we can spend all day making memories with the girls, and when we need to put our nose to the grindstone and bang out a 14-hour marathon.
For the most part, though, the flexibility in our schedule allows us to (for example) go on early morning MTB rides with the girls and then work during the afternoons and evenings — the best of both worlds.
After a lot of hard work over many years, we’re now at a point where we can set our own boundaries and choose how we want to spend our time—despite some hilarious working conditions (more about this in a second).
Holy Internet, Batman!
One of the first “reality slaps” we had after setting out was realizing how dependent we are on a continuous, blazing fast internet connection. After all, since we don’t frequent larger cities, rarely hit RV parks, and seldom (if ever) use public Wi-Fi, it can be a hit-or-miss shit show if we’re not careful.
After a ton of research, we found DayPassWireless, a company that offers JetPacks from different cellular providers, but without having to sign any contracts. All we have to do is let them know where we’re going, and their team sends us a Verizon (better reception in remote areas) or Sprint (better near highways) jetpack.
The catch is that we only have 1 GB of data per day, and going over quickly becomes expensive. During the early stages of this adventure, we learned that we could hit 8GB+ in a single day without batting an eye, so we now carefully monitor our usage and—mostly—cut it off before going over.
As long as we’re in relatively populated areas, though, we’ve found that the AT&T hotspots on our phones work perfectly. Even once we hit the limit on our technically “unlimited” plan, Derek’s found that he can continue working mostly unaffected.
However, when Jamie hops on video conference calls, using one of these third-party hotspots is a must. Otherwise, it’s like being transported back to 1995 dial-up speeds.
Money-wise, internet access is proving to be our second most significant monthly expense during RV life. But, it’s a necessary evil, since it’s what keeps our businesses running.
Unique Challenges & Opportunities
Outside of the internet, another obvious problem is finding sufficient space to work.
We lived in a tiny older home in Denver before launching out, so we were already comfortable living in cozy quarters. But, the RV’s Barbie-sized dinette table feels like working in a corporate cubicle, which just ain’t our scene.
We plan to chase some sweet weather throughout most of this trip, though, so we can just walk out the RV’s door and plop down wherever we choose. So far, we’ve worked from the truck, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, coffee/motorcycle shops (rad!), and even the emergency room.
In RV life, desk finds you! 🙂
There are times when there’s too much going on, whether the kids are eating, exploring, or fighting, the dog’s barking or trying to avoid coyotes, other RVers are making noise, Derek’s trying desperately to focus on writing, or nature’s being especially loud.
In fact, Jamie had birds and alpacas squawking in the background during a call with her stage manager last week. You can imagine the laughs (she obviously doesn’t allow that to happen with clients)!
The good news is that the girls totally get it. After spending most of our professional lives in the events and writing worlds, they really don’t know anything else. In fact, they could probably be PAs or junior copywriters at this point!
I’m sure anyone who runs a business from their home gets it.
But, the bottom line is that everything becomes a family business when you work from a space the size of an airplane bathroom, so whether it’s location or activity, we make sure to keep things fresh by changing it up throughout the day.
As long as we have power and an internet connection, picnic tables, lounge chairs, and coffee shops are common work locations.
Sure, there are challenges to working remotely via RV. But, we get to carefully choose our clients, wake up doing what we love each day, and live life (mostly) on our own terms.
Traveling For Work While RVing
A big part of Jamie’s work involves travel. When she has a trip coming up, people often asked how she knows which airport she’ll fly from. Her answer? She “wings” it (HA)!
Seriously, though, we typically choose the best location as a family, based on a combination of factors like internet access, nearby amenities (gas, groceries, laundry, restaurants, etc.), activities for the girls to enjoy, and overall cost. Only then does Jamie book her flight.
This isn’t the first rodeo for Derek and the girls, as they’ve done this for a long time (basically since Livi was an infant). They know how to set a groove and get into their own routines while she’s gone.
Years ago, Jamie would prep food, wash clothes, and do all sorts of shit before she left. But, she eventually realized it was just her Type A personality kicking in, and he had everything covered the whole time.
Now, for the most part, the family just drops her off at the airport, says their goodbyes (with a few tears for good measure), and knows exactly what to do from there.
Once Jamie returns home and has had minimal time to recuperate from her chaos, and once everyone melds back into their usual routines, we figure out where we’re headed next—whether it’s a new location in the same area, or something else hundreds of miles down the road.