Nissan’s Mobile Office Concept van never made it to production
but we sure could have used it 20 years ago • www.nissanpedia.org
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Vocations on Vacation: Working on the Road
It seemed ideal. We had no kids and our consulting and publishing jobs could be done from most anywhere, or so we thought. But this was pre-Internet days, and communication was by landline, fax and snail mail. We also worked about 50-60 hours a week, even up north. The energy and expense involved in pulling off the temporary relocation cancelled out the respite from the heat. In the end, logistics did us in.
Fast forward 20 years and it’s a whole new ball game. Smart phones, laptops, tablets. Email, social media, texting. On-line research, commerce, banking. And apps, apps, apps. Working on the road or from two places has become not only possible, but productive. And just in time. The trend of working in retirement doesn’t mean you can’t travel or migrate with the mallards.
Looking for Work in All the Right Places
Then there is workamping, which means different things to different people. Workampers are “people who drive RVs around the country, from temporary job to temporary job, docking in trailer camps,” according to Mother Jones magazine. The classic image is an older couple living rent-free in a campground in exchange for serving as campground hosts. At the other end are temporary staffers working tough jobs for low wages as their sole income, such as warehouse “pickers” who fulfill Internet orders and live in their RVs in company lots.
In between are part-time jobs that pay $8-12 an hour for tasks as varied as a gas company technician who checks for leaks to couples who travel around to demo food products at Costco. Many workamp jobs are found - surprise - at campgrounds. Some experienced workers advise looking for situations that pay by the hour rather than trading work for a campsite. If you trade, it might be hard to put a cap on your hours. But check out this workamper site and decide for yourself.
Whether you want to work on the road all year in retirement or prefer to settle in one or two places, tiny jobs exist everywhere. Or, you can create your own opportunities thanks to the Internet.
The key is to find something you enjoy. After almost 40 years, I still remember a quote from an interview I did with the sports information director at the University of Delaware, who would become my boss. He loved sports, and was thrilled that he got paid to write about them. He’s retired now, and at 70 gives tours of his beloved Fenway Park in Boston. What he said in 1976 still rings true for him, and for me, “I’m lucky, because my vocation is also my avocation.”