The Montana and North Dakota oil fields are like a modern day gold rush, say Shane and April. They are part of the movement of people heading north, looking for jobs. Having no success online, Shane headed to Sydney, MT with a $500 credit card, hoping he could find work. He was hired right away.
At first Shane lived out of this truck and a Laundromat where he could use the restroom. With his wife and daughter coming, he had to find better housing. He lucked into finding a relatively new trailer for sale and the family is now living in an RV park. They hope to find more permanent housing- an RV is just a stopgap until that happens.
Shane and April hope to make a life in Sydney. They like the town. If this is truly like a gold rush, the early birds will do well, but opportunities will peter out and the companies and workers will move on to the next "strike-it-rich" place. Like Shane and April, many RVers have headed north, some finding jobs, some not. They have also found that RVs are not built for extended subfreezing weather. One enterprising fellow has responded by building an indoor RV park in Williston, ND! An RV company is now making super-insulated trailers in response to the demand for warmer, temporary quarters. Like many gold rushes before this, often the people who make the most money are those who supply the miners, or in this case, oil workers.
Shane and April are fortunate. They took a chance and are part of the boom. An RV will serve them for the time being. May the force stay with them! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
Though we were kept pretty busy with the Workamper Rendezvous, George Montgomery (the RV Tax Master) and I got out early one afternoon and strolled down the main street of Heber Springs and admired the creativity evidenced in the Scarecrow Stroll. Merchants are competing for prize money and it adds a festive air to the downtown shopping area.George is sitting with a scarecrow golfer. Sew 'n' Vac's scene went nicely with their store.
I posed with a gypsy woman outside Dancing Cranes, incense and other smells wafting through closed doors. Across the street on the corner, a bank robber has hoisted funds from the Eagle Bank!
The neatest scene, though traditional was this one in front of the courthouse. And across the street, this clever pair are rockin' and a rollin'. I could figure out how they got them to stay up!
The scarecrow artist was an eye-catcher, representing a local gallery. And this colorful Earl Grey was, of course, in front of a tea house!
The Workamper Rendezvous was quite a success. Classes were offered in Workamping and making money on the road plus in living the RV lifestyle. And there were plenty of opportunities for learning from fellow RVers and for networking. RV camping was in Corp of Engineer campgrounds by the lake.The next one is scheduled for October 2013. Keep your eye open if you want to attend a fun and educational event! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
A couple of recent articles have showcased people conducting business out of RVs. It can be done!
This first article is about Airstreams being purchased to use as mobile offices. A couple of entrepreneurs are mentioned in this San Francisco Chronicle article including a fellow who designs online businesses and a woman who is a designer and photographer and describes herself as "location independent," as she calls it.
The Wilson family have taken their music business on the road in a Carroll County News article. The family of two adults, four children and a dog plus assorted musical instruments plays at music festivals and teaches at workshops as they travel across the states. They plan to eventually settle down, but for now, it is a great adventure and there are no leaves to rake!
Those thinking about becoming a mobile entrepreneur might find this article at RV Daily Report summarizing a study concluding that small business owners want more from mobile technology. A majority of my RV friends use their mobile devices for many purposes- communication, banking, posting on social media sites, tethering their computers to gain Internet access. As mobile technology improves, RVers will benefit even more- both for personal and business use.
RV travel offers many ways to make money. Having your own business as you travel gives you maximum flexibility to change locations while still earning money. In some cases you can be parked in what appears to be the middle of nowhere.We actually had a cell signal in this camping area in Monument Valley! Support Your RV Lifestyle! offers a number of ideas that RVers have used to earn money in their own business. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
AARP suggests five areas where you could work short-term jobs and earn much more than typical Workamping jobs. If you have this background or skills, you might find these types of jobs in your RV travels. You can read the full article, but here are the five mentioned.
Check out the article if you have a background that could lend itself to one of these areas. It might give you flexibility to RV travel more, even if you do work in a location for a short-term assignment. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
It worked out we had time to go through Yellowstone. Since we'd be ending up in Jackson, we decided to go via West Yellowstone, then down through the park to Lake Village for a photo tour before going to Jackson. We have friends working in West Yellowstone. One couple - Tom and Nancy - had already left. Paul and Joan were still working and through an email the night before, we found out they'd be working. We could stop by the Yellowstone Outlet where Joan worked and Paul could come from another branch around the corner.
They both love this job because they can get somewhat duded up. Another favorite employer was Corrington Enterprises in Skagway, AK where Joan got even more dressed up with a fancy hat and Paul dressed as a stampeder. Here and in Skagway, they get asked to pose for photos with tourists. Paul, especially, loves to joke and clown with the tourists and make their visit fun.
Joan is a talented lady. If you notice to her right, a head, made up and decorated that head sporting a hat. Below is a look-alike next to Paul. Paul jokingly asks, "Can you tell which is the dummy?" Paul is known as Buffaloman and wouldn't you know, we spotted a painted buffalo near the Chamber of Commerce, just around the corner. Down the street in a shop are beautifully painted gourds for sale that Joan paints.
We only had a short visit, but enjoyed meeting Paul and Joan in person. They have worked in two places that Bill, my late husband, and I worked: Skagway and at Coulter Bay in Grand Teton National Park.
We worked our way from stop to stop down to Old Faithful. We had lunch at the historic Inn. Sharon, our server, turned out to be a Workamper from Oregon. She had stopped here in 2003 as a tourist and came back as a worker. The other Workamper led our photo tour. Doug has been in the park for years- I think he started in the 80s, originally as a bus boy! He started the photo tours in 1998. Our friend, Betty, also gave photo tours in the historic buses but is not working in Yellowstone this year and recommended Doug, if we could get him. Doug has been living in a 5th wheel for the last few years in the summer while working here. (He's holding window cleaner as a joke since I was also sending this photo to Betty. It's an inside joke about clean windows.)
There are so many Workamping opportunities in a national park that has concessionaires and in gateway cities right outside parks. Paul and Joan have an RV site with their job, even though they are not working in an RV park. And most concessionaires have low cost sites plus have meal tickets if you do not want to cook or just want a break from your cooking.
National parks are wonderful places to work if you love the outdoors. We've seen lots of wildlife even in our short time here. Working here allows you to experience the area in and around the park in way more depth than a tourist ever could. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
If you are still in the planning stage for retirement, whether it includes RVing full-time or not, this article in the Wall Street Journal brings up some important points.
Number one - Are you and your spouse or partner on the same page? Do you have an agreed upon time table? Are you both enthusiastic about RVing? Sometimes couples are surprised to find they have very different ideas about retirement and the two don't mix without a lot of discussion and negotiation.
Not expecting the unexpected is number two. Saving up an emergency fund before retirement or hitting the road can help you deal with these.
The article also advises buying big ticket items before retirement. If you can afford to purchase your RV ahead of time and get it paid off, you'll have a lot more flexibility. In fact, for full-time RVers, starting their adventure with zero debt takes off a lot of pressure and gives you more choices for travel.
The last point suggests that you might not be able to live off the interest of your investments alone. Here RVers are fortunate in that many expenses are more under control. For example, campsites range from free to upwards of $40/night (and sometimes even more). A few stays in Walmart or using your half-price campground membership can help lower this expense. (See our article on 10 ways to save money on camping.) You can also work or volunteer for your site and even increase your income. Support Your RV Lifestyle! will tell you how.
Thinking about these things before you retire or hit the road is a good thing. I recommend this article. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
Is working or volunteering a part of your travels? Whether you need to earn income- all or part - or like to work or volunteer to keep busy or to add structure or meaning to your life - let us know in our latest poll. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
I came across this blog post, "An RV Hobby That Pays." This couple has turned selling vintage jewelry into a viable business. Arlene finds old jewelry, repairs it, then sells it to antique dealers as well as directly to consumers in one of her two online stores.
As the business developed, they modified the RV to accommodate her jeweler's bench and storage cabinets. They now have a van to go jewelry hunting. The van serves as a "guest house" for company.They have both taken courses on jewelry repair and her husband on jewelry photography. Check out Arlene's sites at rubylane.com and rubyplaza.com.
If you are looking for a way to make money working on the road - without working for someone else - this story may inspire you! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
To file or not to file, that is the question. Also, should you file or your spouse? What is "file and suspend" and how can you benefit from that. For a couple, the answers to these questions can make a monetary difference to your RV retirement.
Read this article in the WSJ on "How to boost your Social Security Checks," then see if you can figure out the best strategy for you based on what you read. And, check with someone at Social Security. It could mean tens of thousands in extra money over your lifetimes. It could mean the difference between volunteering for a site vs. having to working for a check in your RV travels.
If you need ideas for either volunteering or working on the road, check out Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider's Guide to Working on the Road, 3rd ed. You can now purchase the Support Your RV Lifestyle Super Package, with book, companion CD and an instant download pdf file of the book. $34.95 includes postage. Separately, the package would sell for $48.85. Like us at Facebook to receive a coupon code for a $2 off discount. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak