Non-Traditional Work Options

Apr 23

Non-Traditional Work Options

This was originally published on July 10, 2014

When we share our dream of full-time travel, we get several different reactions. Many people say they would do it in a heartbeat. Others say they don’t want to give up the security of their jobs. Others don’t see how they could earn a living while traveling.

I’ve discovered many non-traditional jobs in researching for this dream. We’re not retirement age and do still need to earn an income. There are pros and cons to many of these types of non-traditional jobs, but if you’re willing to minimize your lifestyle there’s no reason why you can’t travel and still earn a living.

I’ve mentioned our freedom businesses before, and two of them are great for non-traditional work whether your’re on the road or not. One of them is offering a service. I offer transcription and VA services for clients around the country. I’ve worked with insurance companies, writers and students. Scott is also a life coach, and once my training is complete I’ll be joining him. We’ll be launching our life coaching business in September 2014.

Workamping – This is the first type of non-traditional jobs I came across. Campgrounds and other businesses use workampers as seasonal or even full-time employees all over the United States. I first heard of this on a trip to Stone Mountain. The sky trolley operator was a workamper. Disney and Amazon also hire workampers for seasonal positions. o

The pros – The cost of your RV space and utilities is either comped or discounted while you’re working for the company. You’re in an area for about 3-4 months, so you have time to really explore and get to know the area. You learn new skills, meet great people, and usually keep a part-time schedule. When you’re working as part of a couple, the duties are typically shared – one does the office work and one does outside type work.

Cons – You need to have a camper or some type of RV for many of these jobs. Other types of housing is not always included. Read the ads carefully. Some places only comp your site in exchange for a certain number of hours of work. This is more of a volunteer type situation. Others will pay minimum wage after you’ve worked for your RV site. Even jobs that pay for all hours worked typically pay minimum wage. If you’re working as a couple, sometimes only one of you is getting paid. The other is working for free. Before accepting any type of workamping job, do the math. If you take the job, even with a comped RV site, will you earn enough for what you need?

Resources for workamping: – Scott and I found our current job in Texas through this site. We found a position that includes housing and pays a salary. The site has several free job ads but you can also subscribe for a nominal fee. We usually signed up on the quarterly plan. It’s very affordable. They’re also offering another site now specifically for hotels and innkeepers –

Workamper News – This is one of the oldest workamping newsletters out there. It’s been published for over 20 years, first as a print newsletter then online. If interested, you can request two sample issues from them before subscribing.

Recreation Resource Management – This is a private company that oversees several campgrounds throughout the United States. From what I’ve read, they offer a certain area on an ongoing basis, but since they run so many in several states you can keep working for the same company and but work in a different location. Work in Colorado one season, then head to Texas for the winter, then maybe east again into Alabama and Florida.  All of their job postings are free. Be sure to join their email list for updates when jobs become available.

CoolWorks – I check this site often for my son. It’s geared to the young and single, but does have a section for older people and couples. Several of these jobs are outside of the United States and many offer onsite housing so you don’t have to have an RV. The job listings are all free for users of the site. – The site may need to be updated, but they have a variety of jobs similar to CoolWorks. These include being a counselor at a summer camp or a musician in Colonial Williamsburg.

Gate Guards for oil fields – I seriously looked into this for a while. The money is great and jobs are plentiful. You do need an RV for these positions. But the cons were too much for me. You work as a couple and each person takes a 12 hour shift. Someone has to be awake for their entire shift. There are no days off, no relief people unless you hire an approved person on your own. You’re usually far away from a town, so someone has to do a double shift or you need to hire a relief person so you can do your laundry and buy groceries. Despite these difficulties, several people have worked as gate guards for 3-4 months, then used the money to travel for 3-4 months before returning to a new job.

There were several blogs I’ve read in the past about gate guarding, but the companies are now asking bloggers to not post photos or anything about their work for security reasons, so it’s difficult to read anything that’s been updated recently.

WanderingWendels – Couple that blogs about gate guarding and offers a great introduction explaining the job. They also have a list of companies that hire gate guards.

MyOldRV – This is the site I read the most about gate guarding. If you want to know the highs and lows, this is the place.

Traveling Nurses – This was something I had no idea existed, but it’s a great way to travel and still earn a great income. This isn’t something that can be done quickly, though, unless you’re already an RN. Then you must take a multi-state licensure test. Housing is usually handled as well but if you had an RV and could build in travel time then maybe a gas stipend or campground fee could be negotiated instead.

It would be great if a profession such as massage therapist or cosmetologist could also have a multi-state licensure option. It would open up the way for so many to be able to travel and still have a business and an income.

All of these options are for non-traditional work, but there is always the option of owning your own freedom business, which is what Scott and I are doing now and working toward being self-sufficient. But the option of workamping during our travels will help us continue to be able to earn an income and experience an area instead of passing through. We can’t wait to get out there on the road!

Do you have some type of non-traditional work? Do you want to take it on the road and travel? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.


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