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post-title What we do and #vanlife tips for working and not working on the road

What we do and #vanlife tips for working and not working on the road

What we do and #vanlife tips for working and not working on the road

What we do and #vanlife tips for working and not working on the road

We’ve had a few people raise eyebrows when we say we left our jobs and hit the road. There are of course a bunch of people who plan long in advance of taking off on life affirming adventures – we do not fall into this category. We just celebrated (in a train station car park in Switzerland) a year of dating. So you can see, there was very little consideration that went into jumping in a van and heading to the hills.

About our Jobs:

James’s Job

James was a plumber. He embarked on this trip with the idea that he would find a new vocation, one that didn’t involve getting a regular face full of other people’s faecal matter and gave him a better chance of advancing in years without arthritic hands and crippling back pain.

He’s achieved that – he knows what he wants and he’s making the right moves to get that going with the knowledge that he worked his butt off to give himself a time buffer to work that all out.

The weird thing is, he misses it a bit. Not enough to start filling his diary for his return but he does miss elements of it – you would if you’d spent your entire working life in the same job right?!

My Job

I’ve been a freelancer for a pretty long time now so adjusting to not working from a desk is not something I struggled with but I wanted a change in direction too – something more suited to life on the road. Completely by accident, I have ended up with a new job (as well as retaining some old clients that I will no doubt work with until the end of time) that fits that remit perfectly, and saw James and I hoofing it across Europe last week to park the motorhome in a car park in the gorgeous town of Galtür, Austria for a major industry event that will go down as one of the lasting memories of this trip – more on that in the coming days.

Working on the road

So basically what we’re saying is you can work on the road, sustain an income and be in pursuit of a contented life all at once. That however requires planning and/or experience or balls of steal and zero commitments.

There are loads of ways people continue to earn whilst travelling but it needs real thought before you give up any level of security.

My top tips for working whilst on the road (Digital nomad style)

  • Be a digital nomad before you leave. If you don’t know if this kind of work suits you, or even how to you personally work with this kind of freedom you could feasibly screw it up – or spend the same 10 hours a day you do now, in a van, doing the exact same thing but with FOMO that might kill you!
  • GET MOTORHOME WIFI. The world is nowhere near as connected as you might think. Unless you want to spend hours every day in cafes and bars, spending more than you are going to earn on cappacinos and croissants, this is an essential. We’ll also be updating the best places to stay for great internet and some of the super speedy places you YouTubers out there will need to know for those render, upload, processing activities.
  • Get a travel partner who gets it. I’m lucky, James has borne witness to my work life long before we moved into a van so it came as no surprise to him that whether he liked it or not, he was my colleague, water cooler gossip buddy and sub editor. I still feel crappy on days when my commitments result in a delay hitting the slopes or I chuck a 1st world strop when I can’t get a decent upload speed

“FFS my friend Sam had 5G in the Kalahari – how have we not got f-ing signal in France???”

  • Remember nobody cares about your motorhome challenges. In fact, the less you discuss it, the better. You don’t walk into work and launch into detail about how you flush your toilet or the troubles you have with various domestic issues – now you’re on the road, they care even less. Partially because they’re secretly envious that you’ve buggered off and they’re still holding the fort – but woe betide you if you don’t deliver as promised. Get your s4!t together and don’t bore them with your stuff.
  • Charge everything, at every opportunity you get. I’m already in that mind set as someone who works in the live events industry, but even I’ve been caught out in recent months and it’s infuriating. If you’re not on EHU (electric hook up), you may not be able to charge devices, cameras, batteries and gadgets through your wall sockets and that will bite you in the backside when someone phones you and expects your computer to be live at the touch of a button. Houselifers (those who don’t live in a motorhome) have zero concept (or if they do they don’t give a hoot) of real power management  – the chances are the worst situation they find themselves in is their phone running out of juice for the 10 minutes they are between 240V holes in the wall. Do not give them an excuse to think you’re incompetent and can’t manage remote working.
  • And lastly – be excellent at time management. Otherwise, you’re an idiot in a van, working all the bonkers hours you used to, but with power issues to add to your list of job complaints.

If anyone has any questions about how you’d go about setting yourself up as a freelancer, how you get clients or how you manage on the road, fire away in the comments below or email and I’ll do my best to answer.

Comments (6)

    1. You have options!

      1) Plug in a generator that’ll provide you with 240V (meaning your plug sockets will work)
      2) Find a cafe/laundrette/tourist information centre that’ll allow you to plug in and charge – but don’t forget your adapters if you do this!
      3) You can charge your phone and some other devices through a 12V plug if you have one in your cabin / habitation area – think all modern motorhomes either have this or 12V USB sockets.

      Hope that helps!

  1. Hi, you mention that James was a plumber but obviously doesn’t do that anymore but you don’t say what he’s doing as a job on the road now. My husband is a plumber so I’m interested to know what James swapped to! Thanks, Lucy

    1. Ha! Well as well as keeping the show on the road from a domestic perspective, he’s trying his hand at new skills. He worked bonkers hours before we came away to make sure he could have some significant time off and try and carve out a new direction. So, essentially, it’s a team effort – I write, he does most of the pictures. However, a good plumber will never be out of work so if they were organised enough, a plumber with additional trades could probably get chunks of work all over the place as they travelled! Are you travelling or just thinking about it?

    1. Hi Pete,

      Yes – that’s an option for most people! We didn’t have solar power so we didn’t dare use our inverter as we only had one 100mAH leisure battery. Definitely not a situation we’d find ourselves in again!

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