Staying On The Road..
The big choice
I think the first, most prominent choice you have to make when it comes to the financial side of the adventure is when you will work. There are many options for this but the two main ones I will explore are working for 50% of the year and travelling for 50% of the year and the other is working “here and there” along the way. Of course your choices can be limited or broadened dramatically by what sort of financial situation you are already experiencing in terms of savings/debts/investments etc. So feel free to skip any irrelevant information.
Six months on Six months off
This is the plan we are currently following as we want the added security of travelling with a loaded savings account. We are currently living an extremely frugal lifestyle (for more information have a look here and here) so that we can make the most of my husband working for six + months and do some pretty serious saving. The best part about this choice is that you can either simply enjoy the six months you have off and really get into the holiday lifestyle OR you can then go a step further and still try to pick up some interim work while your back on the road; to extend your travel time beyond six months and retain some of your savings (this is also what we plan to do once we are on the road again).
This idea is also effective in terms of many employers offering six month contracts. Although I have to say – getting used to having a fairly scattered employment history as part of your resume is a fact of life if you plan on working your way around this beautiful country. As long as you are good at what you do, while you’re doing it you should be able to keep up a decent list of references. There is always the option of searching for “temporary” positions as well as simply informing your employer upfront of your lifestyle choice but emphasising the fact that it won’t inhibit the quality of your work in the meantime.
Here there and everywhere (working whenever you need to top up your money)
As long as you have some emergency money pre-saved as well as enough money for the first few weeks on the road until you get to your first destination there is no reason this choice won’t work for you. As far as I know most positions of this description are mostly word of mouth or found advertised on noticeboards (and a few websites I will add in further down) so it may take a bit of networking and sign spotting to find the right position for you but as long as your conscious of factors like seasons etc. You’ll find something! Don’t be afraid to ask around at caravan parks/camp sites/farms etc.
Some options for people with qualifications
Obviously there a lot of people out there who have a qualification of some description. If you have something to offer you should definitely put it out there. You could have sign writing done on your car/van or just make your own little a frame sign to pop outside at free camps/caravan parks etc. Some of the services I have seen offered along the way?
- Mechanical services. My husband is a licensed mechanic so we ordered a very cheap “sticker” sign for our van and we try to pick up work along the way. We keep our toolbox stocked with things we KNOW are needed along the road such as tyre plugging kits, spare caravan bearings and grease, spare oils/coolant etc. for servicing. We plan on having a small cardboard sign for the window of our caravan for when we are at free camps when next on the road. It will have a list of the jobs my husband can do and their cost. Our prices will obviously be a lot cheaper than the workshops you’ll find in the town without having to factor in electricity costs/rent etc.
- Hair dressers. All you need to do is put a sign outside with your price. I’ve seen some of the hair dressers who set up shop at the caravan parks and camps they stop at – with lines of clients waiting outside. Every extra $10 or $20 adds up and so many of us ladies love to keep on top of regular haircuts.
- Personal trainers. Personal training courses are available online now days and can be completed quiet fast. If you hold (or are willing to achieve) this qualification you could put a sign out at certain places (especially places you will be for prolonged period of time) offering a “come one come all” group session at $10 per person for the hour. You never know how many people might turn up, you could make $10 or you could make $200. If I saw something like this along the way I would give it a try.
- Massage/beauty therapy services. Same thing again – set up a sign and wait for the clients. The people you will come across along the way won’t just be frugal long term travellers (who can occasionally be stingy – by this I mean ME, lol) there will also be a lot of people on short holidays with “holiday cash” to spare. Holidaying people love to do things they wouldn’t normally splurge on at home so I’m sure many would take advantage of the service. Especially if you set your massage table up beachside.
Some options for those without a qualification or simply wanting to try something different
There are many options out there for people who may not have a qualification, may have a qualification that isn’t something they can work on the road or may simply want to try something different. Its upto you what you choose to do but I can guarantee you that trying something new will be a fun experience. I can’t wait to try some fruit picking or general farm labour along the way.
No qualifications required
- Babysitting. Remember we are all a long way away from our support systems. I don’t suggest people leave their children with any person but providing you have a good list of (contactable) references, a “police clearance” and are prepared to offer photocopies of your identification information to clients up front you could easily ask anything from $10 (cash) an hour. This is also a service you could “swap” with another family you connect with along the way. You watch their kids one night – they watch yours the next.
- Card making. I actually got this idea from my mother, she said that along her travels she has found herself unable to find a nice birthday card for a friend or family member. Craft is relaxing and soothing and a few supplies don’t have to take up too much room. You could offer crafted cards or printed photographic post cards, the sky is the limit.
- Small gifts/trinkets. For example: jewellery making. This is again another art form that doesn’t have to take up too much room and you could even hold market stalls if you are in the right towns at the right time. Many people have the same problem with finding gifts as they do with cards so being able to pick up a lovely little handmade gift/jewellery box/photo frame etc. would be very special.
- Sell home baked goodies. You could bake a few extra cakes/tarts/biscuits etc. Many a time I’ve stopped at a free camp in the middle of nowhere and craved something sweet. Even if you sold all your items for $1 or $1.50 each every little penny helps towards keeping you on the road (as long as you live relatively frugally)
- Online Sales. You could find SOMETHING, anything to sell online. Whether it be a service, a product – anything. You could make your own craft items and sell them or sell your old clothes, once again – every little dollar adds up. Many people make a good income selling things on websites such as Ebay ( http://www.ebay.com.au/ ) theres no reason you cant too.
- Fruit/vegetable picking. This work is of course seasonal and from what I have heard it can be labour intensive (but don’t quote me on that). Even though the pay isn’t always ideal the perks (I’ve heard many a story of taking home a mixed box of fruit/veg at the end of the work week) can offset that a little. I don’t really know enough about fruit picking to write a detailed post on it but I will include some links I find, at the bottom of this post for anyone that wishes to further explore their options.
A few other services that could pick up work along the road:
- Musician/singer – busking or at a pub gig
- managing caravan parks so that other managers or owners can take holiday leave. I have heard of alot of people doing this as work. Also taking on caretaker/gardening/pool cleaning/cabin cleaning positions at a caravan park, these jobs generally come from word of mouth so dont be afraid to ask!
- Pet sitter – babysitting pets for fellow travellers while they roam into national parks.
- Handy-man – caravans are frail, to say the least.
- Tutoring children – many home-schooling parents could probably use a little break plus it adds a little diversity and excitement for the children.
- Guitar (or any other instrument you have on you) lessons
- Online jobs (another thing I know nothing about but would love more information on).
- Freelance writing for a travel magazine (write it up, submit it, *cross your fingers*)
(feel free to make suggestions to be added to any of these lists in order to make them more comprehensive)
Fruit and vegetable picking information and general "travellers job's" websites:
So as you can see there is diverse range of employment options out there for us travellers. As long as you stay focussed on your goal - to work as little as possible and spend time together, with your partner/family etc. exploring this wonderful country, then you should be able to find the right travel job for you. Don't focus on getting rich, focus on getting by. When I look back over my life I can generally see a pattern that illustrates that the happiest times in our life have generally been the "brokest" times aswell. The reason for that? It generally meant my husband was struggling to get work (think: recession) so therefore we had lots of time together and due to trying to penny pinch we would find our own, free, fun; outdoors! When you haven't got much money you usually have alot more time, time to make th emost of life and enjoy the people you love to be with and the refreshing and exciting "outdoors". I think that most of my fellow travellers will agree with me here that once you get on the road and get a taste for the life/lifestyle one of your top priorities becomes finding ways to extend it. Unfortunately for those of us whom are yet to see that big red ball roll through our front yard and are therefore NOT bajillionaires, there is work to be done. There’s something for everyone
From the small amount of research I have done so far I can see there really should be something out there for everyone. There is a wonderful variety of money making ideas for us travellers and most of them consist of working on your own terms in your own time frame.
What does "living the simple dream" mean to me?
I always hear people from our generation saying "Ahh, living the dream" when they are doing somthing our of the ordinary - for example: sipping cocktails in a spa of a fancy resort or perhaps they post "living the dream" as the caption beneath a photo of them moving into their new $500,000+ mansion-esque home they have just mortgaged their life away for. At first I was confused by how simple my ambitions were. All I wanted was to live in a caravan and be able to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors with my husband and son, without my husband having to be at work all the time. So for me, this became my simple dream. I find myself having those "Ahh living the dream" moments when I am sitting in a natural hot spring with my husband and son, drinking a beer, ten feet away from a crocodile infested river. Now mine, my husbands and my sons life is all about chasing our simple dream.