We’ve been asked many times what we do for work, what the “Office” in “Where’s My Office Now” means, what technology we use, where our clients come from, and what it is like to work on the road. Ultimately, we’d love to develop resources for those of you interested in learning how to work on the road (or from anywhere in the world). In the mean time, hopefully you find our personal experience useful. I filmed a quick video, summarizing the post below.
What do we do for “work” on the road?
We currently create websites using the WordPress content management system and also provide other web services like search engine marketing and social media. Everything we do is self-taught. We have a small virtual team that we work with when a project calls for it. It usually works out that I spend more time on the computer, while Corey communicates with the clients and also takes care of the van… setting up camp, cooking, cleaning and giving me shoulder rubs. We each have van life roles and play them well.
How do we get our work on the road?
Our clients are our friends, friends of friends, family members, connections through Facebook, and people we have connected with on the road. Facebook has proven instrumental, as has the rapport from previous working relationships.
Where do we work?
The beauty in what we currently do, is that can we can work wherever we are, given that we have an internet connection (see “What technology do we use?” below). We often work in the van. We have a solar panel set up so if it’s sunny, we have an endless auxiliary battery to recharge from (look for Corey’s upcoming post on our exact set up). However, living in approximately 50 square feet, sometimes we crave a change of scenery and will find a local cafe to post up at. When we cannot find a local shop with a good working environment, Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee and Tea usually works.
What technology do we use on the road?
- MOBILE HOTSPOT – We did a lot of internet connection research at the beginning of this journey. The options seem to be restricted to satellite or mobile internet. Our dream is to have satellite one day. This would enable true off-the-grid exploration. Unfortunately, the satellite options investigated are mucho dinero. There’s no such thing as “unlimited data” for mobile internet connection, and for 14 GB/month, we were quoted $60,000 per MONTH. That’s not a typo. Clearly satellite is out of the question. If anyone knows of a good and affordable satellite solution that we overlooked, PLEASE let us know! We opted for a Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot… the MiFi 4620LE model. It works really well about 95% of the time that we have a good connection. Sometimes we plan our driving route based on 4G coverage, so that I can work while Corey drives. The MiFi can supposedly handle up to 10 devices. It’s high speed, portable and has a relatively long battery life (maybe 6+ hours?).
- ELECTRONIC BILLING SERVICES – Everything we do is electronic. We don’t use paper, except for the occasional note taking. Better for the environment and less clutter for the van. If a piece of paper needs to be saved, we will sometimes use the Evernote App which electronically files memos and photos. We track our time and bill out clients through a service called Paymo.
What’s it like to work on the road?
Just like any job, any trip, any life, there are ups and downs. Everything is always in flux when living and working on the road. We dwell in the center of the unknown. This is a wonderful thing but it can be challenging to stay on a work schedule. Another challenge is purely physical. My body doesn’t agree with sitting down for long periods of time. Stiff. Aches. I make every effort possible to work if it’s a driving day, but occasionally we do not have adequate internet connection. So, following a 6 hour Vanagon ride, I may work once we’ve arrived at our destination… and Corey may go biking. These are the downs of working on the road. However, we work anywhere from 15 -30 hours per week. Less than the majority of working Americans. We are free to create our days, working when we want. I like what I currently do. And I LOVE my life.
What have I learned working on the road?
- Technically, it’s a breeze. Mentally, it’s somewhat challenging.
- It’s helpful to make a brief note in the evening on what the most important tasks to accomplish the next day are.
- Aiming to accomplish high priority tasks prior to 11 AM (when possible) lessens the stress of the day ten fold.
- Although it’s easy to get down on where we are headed as a human race, we live in an AMAZING time. Today’s technology, communications and ease of travel make living our dreams so accessible! Due to automation and outsourcing, our job and economy market has clearly changed. Never before has it been so imperative to use our inherent creativity to leverage our skills and our passions to live the life we’ve imagined.
I’ll leave you with the words of Alan Watts. What Do You Desire?