Finding Work On The Road
Q. Hi, I just landed on your website and I LOVE it!
We are about the same age, losing our home in Georgia and have been looking for an RV and work. The only thing is we know we need a roof over our head, thus the RV. He is scared to go out and I am excited, especially after reading your stories and outlines. What a plethora of information.
However, we have depleted our savings and have no retirement. We know we want to go out west. The question, do you feel in your experience, that there would be work in and around, in other words, do the locals of the areas you visit welcome you and would they employ you even if it was for a short period or what would you suggest or what have you seen in your travels?
Obviously, free camping is good, but we will need to do something to put gas in our vehicle to keep moving on. I am curious to hear what you may suggest. What about flea markets, have you run into campers doing that or what about a soup kitchen from your RV or a mom & pop store or restaurant? What are your ideas of keeping the gas tank full?
I await your reply as I pack. Also, being in your extended van, how did you decide what to bring, instead of the whole closet and kitchen? As a girl, I need to know. Thanks so much!!!!!!
Marianne's Reply: Hello Kate.
The last question first... I bring along one pretty blouse and a scarf that I can wear with my best pair of jeans if I need to be "dressed up" a bit. Otherwise, I find that these things just take up far too much closet space for the amount of times I need them. Besides, there will always be a thrift store to purchase an outfit if you need it, for instance, for a job you may land.
As for work, there is not a better source of ideas on how to find work than this book, written by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, an RVer who has personally been successfully finding work on the road for many years. It's called Support Your RV Lifestyle. It will inspire you to look in unthought of places. Which, in this economy, is what you'll need to do.
Yes, there are plenty of people buying and selling flea market stuff from their RVs. To experience that (at it's most extreme) go to Quartzsite, Arizona in January! Personally, I don't know how they manage it - collecting and reselling all that "stuff" means having to find a place to put it all and extra weight as you drag it all around the country. But, I guess, if you like the whole garage sale and flea market experience anyway, there must be some money to be made at it, because many RVers seem to be doing it.
We've also met RVers who buy and sell on E-bay while traveling. I think they may buy and then sell again without taking delivery themselves because you'd need to have an address to actually receive goods and if you're constantly on the move, this may not work out so well. I'm not sure how they do it.
To set up and sell prepared food items from your RV, I'm sure would entail regulations and permits and you might need to re-apply in each new location but it may be worth checking into. I doubt the regulations for selling "things" such as crafts would be as tough as for food items. I would target small town fairs and festivals, since larger scale events usually mean a larger vendor's fee. We occasionally see RVers selling crafts from their campsite but my guess is it provides more of a hobby than an income.
As for people welcoming "out-of towners" to come and take part time jobs. That will probably vary from one area to another. Picking fruit or other seasonal farm work are often hard-to-fill jobs. They won't pay that well, but the job is usually fairly easy to get.
If you're traveling with a laptop, you might also consider an on-line business or even just writing a blog that you can monitize. Nomadic Matt offers an e-book with suggestions to help increase your blog's traffic and attract advertisers.
Hope that is a bit helpful. And you should definitely check out Jaimie's book. Good luck.