The Work Vanlife Balance, Volume 3

The Work Vanlife Balance, Volume 3

Finding Your Career

You want to travel long-term. Be free from daily commutes and office lighting. Watch sunsets by the ocean, count the stars in the Milky Way, and sleep by mountain streams. But you don’t want to starve. You don’t want a vehicle break down or medical emergency to end all your travel plans. And, admit it, you still want an iPhone with unlimited data. That means you need to find a career conducive to travel. You need the Work Vanlife Balance.

Working from the road has its challenges but overall has been a huge step for us toward sustainable long-term travel. To be honest we’re still figuring out exactly what our new careers look like. And while we’re still learning, we’ll share what’s working, to help you take one step closer to your travel goals.

Everyone’s situation is different, but we’ve learned that being flexible and open to new ideas when approaching a career is a must. When you have realistic expectations, and take a practical approach to your job search, working while traveling can be a reality.

Want a career that lets you work remotely and travel? Find out how to build the perfect digital nomad career for long term travel in this post
The Work Vanlife Balance means your home, office, and transportation are one and the same.

Three Qualities of a Remote Career

In my previous life (well, just before vanlife) I worked in corporate training. One of my classes was a career development workshop. The gist of this workshop was to focus your job search on positions that have 3 qualities:

  1. Interest – The job or career path you have a passion for.
  2. Skill – The skills you currently have, or are willing to gain.
  3. Need – The organizational or industry value of the position.

When I originally facilitated this workshop, I didn’t realize I would later use these 3 qualities to find my remote position. When discussing considerations for working on the road I shared some top remote careers and best sites to find remote work. This article will cover how to use these three qualities to help find a career conducive to travel.

Want a career that lets you work remotely and travel? Find out how to build the perfect digital nomad career for long term travel in this post
When exploring a career, look for something you’re interested in, have the skills to be successful at, and has a market need.

Pursue Practical Interests

Practical? How is quitting your job and living in a van practical? Believe it or not I took a very practical approach to find a job that interested me on the road. It was also the job I did before—developing eLearning. I always assumed eLearning was something I could do remotely. It wasn’t until recently I realized it could be done on the road.

While this approach worked for me, there are many professions that don’t translate well to remote work. The traveling dentist, for example. Yanking abscessed teeth and tossing them out the RV window is a very disturbing thought (and disturbing that I thought of it).

On the other hand, many careers do relate. Look at your current career. Are there any transferable skills that could translate to remote work? Are there tasks that could be done from anywhere? All my interaction is through email, phone, and web conferencing. I am much more productive now that I don’t have to attend so many meetings.

If you completely hate your job (I’ve had those jobs before too), a career change may be in order. Here is a great list of some jobs you can do from home. Many of these careers could also be done on the road. While additional training may be needed for some of these careers, you have probably gained many transferable skills from previous jobs.

Want a career that lets you work remotely and travel? Find out how to build the perfect digital nomad career for long term travel in this post
When you find the career you can take on the road, new experiences are around every corner and on top of every peak.

Get the Skills to Pay the Bills

There are tons of options to gain work skills: school, interning, and volunteering are some of the most obvious. However, when on the road these options can be limited. Online courses through are a great way to learn skills in programming, design, social media, video, and photography. If you don’t want to pay a fee, YouTube has always helped me refine skills on the go for free.

If you have a more urgent need for money while on the road there’s also the option of getting your hands dirty and working some manual labor (yes, people still do that). If your interests aren’t “paying the bills” yet, take on some seasonal work in farms, orchards, or vineyards to help finance your time on the road. Many international travelers teach English and other languages abroad. This allows travelers to explore other countries and make money doing it.

Ensure You’re Needed

While it may be competitive, there is still a lot of opportunity to work remotely. Freelancing and contract work is on the rise. Some companies are realizing that remote workers can be cheaper than maintaining employee work space in the office.

Some of the best advice I can give to find a remote job (or any job really) is not to wait for employers to find you. Perfect your personal brand and email potential employers regarding what you can do for them. Even if a job posting does not specify it is a remote position, if you know you could complete this job remotely, tell that employer why. Companies may have opportunities for remote work but don’t realize it. Help them!

Want a career that lets you work remotely and travel? Find out how to build the perfect digital nomad career for long term travel in this post
The freedom to work when you want and where you want gives you the opportunity to make the most out of every day.

If you have ever looked for remote work, you may already know it requires perseverance. But with focused planning and realistic expectations, you can achieve your dream of travel, and work remotely while you do. The Work Vanlife Balance can be a reality.

What is your dream job? Could you take it on the road?

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Want to know the ins and outs of working remotely while traveling? Check out how to find your career and have the Work Vanlife Balance.

4 thoughts on “The Work Vanlife Balance, Volume 3

  1. Even though lots of jobs can be done remotely, and from home, my experience is that my management prefers to have the employees under the same roof as themselves. It gives them control and they know they can reach you at any time they want face to face, while phone and e-mail might not give the same instant contact. My job can easily be done from home, but I have to ask upfront if allowed to do so unless I am sick and have to. So, I still have to commute 2-3 hours every day. This means that I am, after 10 years in my current job, sick and tired of 45-60 hours weeks + 10-15 hours extra commuting, and they will soon lose the key employee they are most dependent on.
    I desperately want to travel the world instead of confining myself inside an office for 20 more years until retirement. But as I see it, I have to be self-employed to do so.

    1. Thanks for the great comment, Frida! It is awesome you have a passion to travel. Self-employment is an avenue many nomads take. However, I have met individuals working in accounting, writing, sales, design, customer service, and PR that work remotely for organizations, and are in charge of their own hours.
      I’ve found Nomadic/Travel and work is as much a lifestyle change as it is a career change. My advice is to approach the lifestyle aspects first. Figuring out what you need to live “nomadically” can really put the job part in perspective. You may find you won’t want or need to work 40 hours a week – the less you have and the less you need usually equates to lower expenses. This may allow you to pursue other career opportunities that are conducive to the nomadic lifestyle. Best of luck moving toward your goal!

    1. Some tasks and jobs are definitely more of a shoe-in for remote work than others. We’re amazed by how many people we’ve met though that do all kinds of work from the road. The workforce shift that’s happening is really interesting.

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