“You can sell these fish you’re catching
You can buy yourself a boat
Hard work and dedication
And the next thing you know
You reinvest your money
You’ll be captain of the fleet
You’ll be sitting pretty down on Easy Street
And you can do anything that you wish
He says, you mean fish?”
—“Fish,” Garth Brooks
Well, since Emerald LaFortune’s piece, “Women F&$#ing” Fish, Too” got such a great response and because this is an outdoor magazine, I thought I’d write about fishing as well. OK, this article isn’t really going to be about fishing as much as doing what you f&$#ing want.
So, we’ve established the idea that living in an RV is a viable way to live a simpler life, but the main reason my husband, Spanky, and I do it is so we can fish, both figuratively and literally. Fishing for us means traveling. It means putting ourselves in awesomely uncomfortable situations. It means tackling hikes across Iceland and through the Andes. It means camping alongside the American River, and sometimes it means actually fishing, whether that be for trout or gold nuggets—you’ll see.
But, the truth of the matter is we can’t all sit around and fish every day (Or can we? Muha-muha-ha). This girl’s gotta eat, and I cannot live on fish alone. So what are the options for making a living on the road?
First, that depends on what your objectives are for going romad (road-nomad). Is it to pay off debt? Is it to live more simply? Or, like us, is it to work your butt off so you can “fish”—in other words, do whatever the heck you want to half the year. When I tell people what my husband and I do, most folks are astounded that we just happen to have the perfect jobs for our lifestyle. It’s amazing that we just fell into the perfect situation—either that, or we are just complete dirtbags. (Believe me, my grandma is always questioning how we’re able to travel all the time. I’m pretty sure she’s convinced I’m doing something illegal or running from the cops, or both.) Contrary to what our friends and family members think, we actually work really hard. I like to think of it as a work sprint. Work hard for a few months then kick back. So what do we do during our sprint, and what are your options for working while wandering?
This includes writing, photography, marketing, web design, you name it. For me, it’s writing. A few years ago my husband really got into gold prospecting (yes, there is still gold in them thar hills). He got a membership for a nationwide organization and would receive a newspaper and a magazine from them alternating bi-monthly. At the time, I was writing my travel memoir, but I was feeling like I needed to earn my keep a little more, so I called the organization and asked if they needed a writer. I pitched a few ideas and before I knew it, I was their lead freelance writer. The key is to find a publication you like to read (or one that sucks and desperately needs help) and start making pitches until you’ve pitched so many ideas that they can no longer say, “Buzz off.” Other options for starting out are sites like Elance and ProBlogger. Both have job boards that do not cost to search. Just find a job you’d like to have and make your pitch. Despite this seemingly easy equation, a recent article by Jennifer Miller of the travel website BootsnAll pointed out that, “according to a survey of ProBlogger readers, only 20 percent were making more than $500 a month, and only 13 percent made over $1,000 a month.” She continues to burst bubbles and damper dreams by reminding readers that according to federal guidelines, making $11,700 USD a year is considered living in poverty.
2. Trade work
If you don’t want to be a starving artist, get into the trades. My husband works on power lines and takes contract jobs wherever he can find them (actually, wherever the union hall can find them). As a journeyman lineman, he can sign any union book across the country and get called out to work within a few weeks, sometimes just a few days. It’s an amazing gig that is flexible, pays well and is perfect for the adrenaline junkie who can’t bear to sit behind a desk all day.
3. Traveling nurses
We’ve met a couple of traveling nurses on the road; in fact, we met a husband-wife duo, Steph and Seth, who were both nurses traveling together in their RV with their two pups, Bear and Sox (or as their Hollywood name goes, BearSox). We met the troop near “beautiful” Stockton, Calif., where they had a contract for three months. After that, they connected up with their recruiter again and headed down to Los Angeles. Now the couple and their two furry kids are in Orlando, Fla. working another three-month contract with Disney World as their backyard playground.
4. Camp hosts
If you enjoy the outdoors (dumb question), then being a camp host at one of our nation’s parks might be just the ticket. You can find camp host jobs through federal land managing agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. KOAs also offer work camping positions. Some positions are paid—or at least offer some expense reimbursement—and others simply offer a place to park your home on wheels, so know what you need and what you are getting into before you sign up. Also, most jobs are seasonal, lasting just through the summer months unless the job is in a warm weather location, such as Arizona or Florida. Other work camping websites to check are:
Duties include greeting guests, collecting fees, preparing revenue and attendance reports, problem solving, cleaning facilities and light maintenance.
Created by Jerry and Cynthia Winegard, this sites matches potential camp hosts with campgrounds and RV businesses.
Traveling with your spouse or significant other in tow? Working couples.com offers part-time work in exchange for a free place to park as well as other perks like free laundry, propane and Wifi, depending on the park. Some positions come with a small salary or offer full-time positions with a larger salary. Either way, you’re in it together. The website states, “You must love the outdoors and be real people-people.”
So, if you want to spend your life fishing (i.e. traveling, hiking, treasure hunting, etc.), instead of sitting in an office, give these opportunities a thought. What are you waiting for? Go on and wet that line.