How Nomads Make Money on the Road

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I am a nomad; living, working, and traveling around this great country and loving the nomad lifestyle. I belong to a lot of Facebook groups where I answer questions regarding full-time no-mad life and working remotely. I have more than 10 years of remote work experience and I try to help others who are trying to figure out how to earn an income while traveling full-time.

As a full-time nomad for more than three years, the number one question that I get asked is, “How do you make money on the road?” What they really want to know is how they can make money on the road. The good news is, that there are lots of websites to help people find what works for them, in whatever category they have experience. There is something for everyone, whether you are looking for full-time work, part-time, temp jobs, or even gig jobs.

At the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to watch the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

Most full-time nomads are of retirement age and receive some sort of retirement income. Many nomads have put their time in, working 35 to 40 years and have put money in savings for their retirement years. This leaves them free to travel and explore without concern for a monthly in-come. But sometimes, the retirement income is not enough and they decide to supplement with a part-time job or a camp host job. Or maybe they just need enough money for bus repairs, so they pick up a side gig for a few weeks.

On the other hand, younger nomads, perhaps with no savings, need to find full-time work to fund this adventurous lifestyle. Some people will stay in an area for several months and work a local job or campground job, and other nomads are lucky enough to find remote work that they can do from their converted bus while parked anywhere. In whatever town you land in, there may be seasonal work or places that are looking to hire someone just for a month or two while the tourists are in town. There are camp host jobs available at a lot of the campgrounds and RV parks that you see around town.

Camping at the ECETI Ranch for star gazing and UFO searching under Mt. Adams near Trout Lake, Washington.

I have worked exclusively from home for about ten years. Most of that has been working for a corporation, where I kept regular hours just as if I was going into the office. As a traveling nomad, I have successfully been able to work 40+ hours a week, as long as I have a Verizon cell signal. I love working from my vehicle or campsite picnic table, where the view changes with each new location.

Working from home, also known as remote work, does take some discipline to actually stay in your chair for eight hours and not be distracted with pets, TV, dirty dishes, or social media. I know that working in my home environment, for me, is more productive than working in a regular office.

The boondocking view outside of Williams, Arizona on Historic Route 66.

When I worked in the office, there was always someone stopping by to chat, there was the weekly birthday cake or pot luck and of course the endless meetings. These distractions usually meant I would be working later to make up the time. Working from my campsite is so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

Finding a remote job can be tough and does take some time to do the search, submit an applica-tion or resume, make a good impression with the phone interview, and making it across the finish line of being hired. No different from a traditional job search. Whether you are looking for full-time work all year long, part-time work a few months out of the year or just some short-term gig work to fill your Saturday, this information may be helpful for you.

Most nomads don’t know where to begin. My ad-vice is to look at your skill sets and see what you can do with what you already know. For instance, if you have office work experience, you can see if there are job listings for remote work using your particular skill set. If you are more of a physical hands-on type worker, you can see if there is work in the area that you are camping in. The good news is that several online websites can help you with your search.

My go-to sites are RatRaceRebellion.com and Indeed.com. They both have lots of legitimate jobs that you might be interested in and some are for large corporations with good benefits. For Indeed, just type “remote” in the search bar and that will get you started. I think all of the Rat Race jobs are remote.

The always beautiful coastline of the Pacific Northwest.

There are lots of legitimate companies that will hire customer service people to work from home. If you don’t mind being on the phone and can commit to being available during certain hours, this might work for you.

Some people will take this type of easy to get job, while they are looking for something that is better suited to them. This can also be a good way to get remote work experience to put on your resume.

If you have experience working in the tech field, mortgage fulfillment, or customer service, you should be able to find a remote job fairly easily. There seems to be lots of these types of jobs available to work remotely.

If you have experience in the medical field, especially nursing, there are travel opportunities out there. Travel nurses will get an assignment for a certain town for three weeks to three months and then move on to the next assignment in a new location.

There seem to be a lot of online teaching opportunities. Teaching English online to Chinese children or tutoring is very popular among nomads with the right credentials. There has been a recent uptick in tutors being needed to help with students who are now doing homeschooling.

The iconic Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona.

There are some gig worksites that offer small jobs, which can be perfect for someone that just wants a few hours of work here and there. Gig sites are also good if you are a freelance self-employed person looking to start your client list.

Some gig sites to look into are Fiver, FreeLancer, Upwork, TaskRabbit and Thumbtack. If you have secretarial skills, graphic design, bookkeeping, or data entry skills, this might work for you. The last two can work for people who are looking for plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, or handyman work.

Then there are the sites that have job listings for people with a vehicle who can make deliveries and run errands, such as; Uber, Lyft, Roadie, and Instacart. These might be better suited for people who are near larger towns. I’m not sure how well they work in small villages. Maybe if you are the one person offering this service in a small town, you could be successful.

If you are just looking for a few extra dollars a week, you can post a message at your campground or RV park letting people know you are available to babysit their kids, walk their dog, pet sit while someone is away for the day, light housekeeping, or sell your baked goods.

If you need full-time work, you could offer more substantial services to fellow nomads, such as RV washing, sewing seat covers or curtains, solar installation, or engine maintenance. Is there a service that you do now that you could see yourself doing on the road?

Campgrounds, RV parks, state parks, and national parks are always looking for people to work with them. Sometimes they will give you free or reduced camp rates and some also pay a wage on top of the free campsite. Some of these jobs might include camp host, general store cashier, yard maintenance, or a long list of other jobs. Sites that can help: workamper.com, workamp-ingjobs.com, and nps.gov.

Great hospitality camping at Loretta Lynn Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

If you are the entrepreneurial type and want to start your own business, there seem to be un-limited opportunities. You could sell something online, such as essential oils, vitamins, crocheted hats, or jewelry that you make. Some nomads sell their wares at Flea Markets, Fairs, and Festivals all over the U.S. Nomads can also sell their services online, such as accounting, tax preparation, office assistant, or tech troubleshooting.

Temp Agencies are another option. Maybe you just want to work in the winter and travel in the summer, or perhaps you need a short-term temporary job to cover some unexpected repairs. There are temp agencies that can place you somewhere for a few weeks or a few months or just on weekends.

Some temporary agencies are nationwide and therefore, when you get to a new town, you may already be in their system. Then when you are ready to move on to another state, that same agency can put you to work at your new location. Now you have the information you need to get started on your job search. When you get to your next destination and get set up and comfy, you can begin your research to find a job that fits into your nomadic lifestyle. Most of the sources that I have listed can be accessed with your phone, tablet, laptop, or public library computer.

Take your time to explore as many different job listing sites as you can. Give yourself plenty of uninterrupted quiet time to explore all of the possibilities. There is sure to be something that will work for you and bring in the income that you desire. Good luck, safe travels, and happy job hunting.

Peaceful boondocking at Telephone Cove outside of Laughlin, Nevada.

By Chris Conley

Chris Conley, aka RemoteChris, has been a full-time nomad since early 2017 and has worked remotely for ten years.

She has traveled to more than 15 countries and 43 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

A solo female traveler, she shares her journey and travel adventures at RemoteChris.com and can be contacted by email: chris@remotechris.com.

She shares travel pictures on her Facebook page. Just for the ladies, she hosts a Facebook group for women to talk about remote work and living the RV lifestyle, called Remote Work RV Women with RemoteChris.

Her book Remote Work and Cheap RV Living is available on Amazon.

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