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How We Make a Living While Traveling Full-Time in an RV

Mike and I have been traveling full-time in an RV for a few years now. We’re not retired. We didn’t inherit any money. We don’t currently have any passive income. So how do we do it?

Good old-fashioned hard work.

Background story: 

Before we started traveling, we both had full-time jobs with the typical 2 weeks of vacation a year. Mike was working second shift for an aeronautical engineering manufacturer. I was working first shift as an outpatient physical therapist.

We decided we wanted more out of life. Instead of working like crazy just to enjoy 2 weeks off a year, we wanted to create a life that WAS a vacation. Of course we still have to make some kind of money to pay bills, but why not have a job that fits the lifestyle we were looking for?

So we decided to quit our jobs. We got a lot of questions and concerns from family and friends, asking us how we planned to make this work. “How are you going to retire?”. “Don’t you want to work your way up in your company and make more money?” I get it. These are valid questions, and trust me, we have thought about this, but we had a plan.

We made the decision in February of 2016 to travel around the U.S in an RV. We gave ourselves 6 months to save every penny possible, liquidate everything we owned from 2 homes, buy an RV and hit the road. In the meantime, we did all of our research. We researched types of RV’s, price, budget, jobs, and looked to other people who were already living this lifestyle.

There is no way we could plan for everything. To a certain extent, part of this lifestyle includes winging it. We didn’t really know what to expect until we actually got out there.

So we saved and saved and finally sold everything before hitting the road in August of 2016. This was the cut off we gave ourselves. Did we feel ready? No, but I’m not sure that we would have ever felt 100% ready to just leave the lives we knew. We left anyway.

Neither of us had a job lined up when we left. It was a little scary, but if worst came to worst, both of our employers told us we were welcome to come back anytime. (This is why you always keep a good relationship with your employer.) This, however, was the last thing we wanted to do.

How we earn money:

I decided to continue with my physical therapy career, but start travel therapy instead. I had no idea where to start, but with a recommendation from a former PT classmate, I got the name and number of a recruiter who assists in job placement. I called her and told her my goals and preference for job location, and she started looking for open positions right away.

(Click here for more details about how to get started in a travel PT career)

Because we both work, we have a specific way to look for jobs so we can make sure we get jobs in the same location. Since I’m working with a recruiter who assists with job placement, we decided that once a PT position was open in a location that we both agreed on, that Mike could then start looking for a job in that area.

My recruiter found an open position at a hospital in Lake Havasu City, AZ. I had a phone interview within a few days, and they hired me on the spot! The job started in 2 weeks, and it was a 13 week assignment. Mike then immediately got online and looked in the “Jobs” section of Craigslist. He found a few jobs he was interested in and called ahead of time to let the employers know he could come in for an interview as soon as we got to town. Before long, Mike got a job at Harbor Freight unloading trucks on second shift.

While working at Harbor Freight, he also interviewed for a first shift position at a parts washer manufacturer. He got the job and started working for them full-time, and worked part-time at Harbor Freight.

Cool side note: While my recruiter was searching for open PT positions, we headed for the FL Keys for a quick vacation. We routinely ate at one particular bar and grill, and Mike was offered a job position there. Then on our way to AZ, our RV broke down requiring a tow from AAA. Mike then got a job offer from the tow company on the spot. So there ARE jobs out there! You just have to be willing to take any jobs as they come up; winging it, like I said earlier. But we had our jobs waiting for us in Havasu; otherwise, we would have stayed for work until we were ready to move on.

After 13 weeks, we weren’t quite ready to leave Havasu. The recruiter I had been working with took some time off work, so I got another recommendation by a co-worker for a second recruiter. My new recruiter applied for a physical therapy position in Kingman, AZ. I was hired on immediately and continued to work there the next 6 months while Mike worked his 2 jobs.

After 9 months, we were ready for a change. My recruiter then got me a great position in Fort Bragg, CA.

Mike followed the same process and started applying for jobs he found on Craigslist. This time, he interviewed for 4 different jobs and got offers from all of them. He currently works for a family-owned RV repair shop, which fits perfectly with our current lifestyle.

Future plans: 

We plan to continue this process, as well as continue to research different ways for passive income and remote work in preparation to diversify our income as well as plan for our full-time sailing life.

We are currently working on building our blogging and vlogging business, as well as beginning the process of remote work. We currently have a few options that are good for us, with a little bit more research:

  1. Online fitness consultant
  2. Remote medical coding/transcription, medical sales representative, reviewer
  3. Travel agent
  4. Data entry
  5. Online administration assistant
  6. Online teaching
  7. Handy man work

I mentioned that we do not have passive income YET, but we are working on this.

Every one has different skill sets, even some you may not realize until you try them. Here are some other options for remote work that require little to no previous experience:

  1. Financial Operations Representative with an insurance company
  2. Bookkeeping Support Specialist with a finance company
  3. Junior Financial Planner with a finance company
  4. Phone auditor with an insurance company
  5. Customer Service for a credit card company
  6. Travel consultant
  7. Virtual assistant

There are several websites that offer these positions, with stated descriptions, compensation, and expectations. My recommendation is to do a search and compare these websites according to your specific skill. My top websites include:

  1. Remote.co
  2. Virtual Vocations

Traveling full-time comes with its own expenses, but is also a great way to save some money as well, depending on your lifestyle. Now that you have a better understanding of the type of jobs and compensation, click here for typical expenses for the RV lifestyle.

2 comments on “How We Make a Living While Traveling Full-Time in an RV

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