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Workcamping vs Digital Nomad- The Reality Behind Nomadland

With the acclaim following Nomadland’s release and awards received, the world has learned a bit about the often-overlooked RV lifestyle and the people who enjoy it. Though workcamping and seasonal jobs, as depicted in the film, are common sources of income for RVers, the pandemic has expedited a rise in remote work among this mobile population.

As employers across North America shutter their pricey office buildings in favor of enabling their employees to work full-time from anywhere, the more adventurous among those employees are hitting the road. They yearn to travel while retaining their positions as graphic designers, programmers, marketers, writers, project managers, customer service representatives, and so much more.

 

From Workcamping to Digital Nomad

Gate guarding is exactly as it sounds- guarding oil field gates to ensure only those authorized to be on-site are coming and going from the property. This is a popular gig for RVers of all ages. The hours are long and exhausting, the environment brutal, and the work repetitive, but the money is enticing. Income earned in 2 months can support an RVer through months of travel and adventures. As shared by Jeannie Dees, who discussed her first and only gate-guarding experience in an article for Xscapers.com, “We can do almost ANYTHING for two months, right?”

Following her interesting experience in South Texas, Jeannie renewed her hunt for ways to earn income as she and her husband resumed their travels around North America. Through the RVer Job Exchange, she was able to apply for, and land, a job that promised stable employment with work she could do from anywhere- managing the social media accounts of one of the biggest RV clubs.

“After workcamping for a couple of months, I realized that I have trouble staying that long in one place. Fortunately, my husband and I are very similar in our need to travel frequently, so moving from a more stationary work experience to one that allows me to travel more often satisfied both of us. I’m perfectly happy roaming the country and working from my RV!”

We’ve talked with many more like Jeannie in the Escapees RV Club community, those who have looked to remote work to support their mobile lifestyle. We at Escapees saw enough demand for this that we revamped and relaunched our club’s job board for RVers.

 

Continued Rise in Remote Work Among RVers

The RVer Job Exchange was created to serve people like this, RVers who want to earn an income while they travel. Though it still includes more traditional workcamping gigs like camp hosting at popular parks, gate guarding busy oil fields, and managing seasonal RV parks, RVJE also caters to remote jobs like those mentioned above. The demand for these roles is overwhelming- in its first week of relaunch, RVJE saw more than 300 new applicants and nearly 100 new positions posted. In that time, we’ve also seen employers connect with and hire qualified RVers!

Through the exchange, Escapees also advocates for RVers as remote workers. As shown in Nomadland, many presume RVers are homeless, unskilled, or on permanent vacation. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but plenty of employers believe those assumptions are accurate. RVJE showcases the many skills and talents of RVers and emphasizes the out-of-the-box approach that is requisite for RV life. Allowing employees the flexibility to travel and work can make for a happier, and more dedicated, team. “I can honestly say that working for a company that understands full-time RVing and RVers was the best decision I could have made. It’s a relief knowing that I don’t have to hide my living situation from my employer,” says Dees.

Remote work among RVers has become so popular in the last year that Escapees RV Club recently hosted a virtual conference focused solely on this demographic of jobseekers, the Rethinking Remote Work conference. More than 3,000 attendees learned about building businesses on the road, bringing your corporate job on the road with you, managing income tax as a traveling remote worker, and more.

Sharee Collier, project manager for the conference as well as for RVer Job Exchange, has spent years helping RVers find workcamping jobs throughout North America. “Workcamping was my ticket to travel! It has led to 7 years of RV life, including many seasonal jobs, publishing my first book Live Camp Work: A Beginner’s Guide to Workamping, the growth of my website Live Camp Work, as well as amazing opportunities like working directly with Escapees RV Club to help connect RVers to the vast variety of jobs available for nomads!”

 

Digging deeper into experiences like these makes for a great human interest story, bringing to the surface this underexplored and unique demographic. They have grown rapidly through the pandemic and are changing the future of work/life balance. We are happy to share our experiences and connect you with RVing remote workers and workcampers.

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Escapees Lobby Hours Escapees lobby will be open 8:am-5:pm Monday-Friday beginning 10/4; however, Mail Service sign-ups are by appointment only at 936-327-8873. Masks are required. If you need assistance with your Escapees RV Club membership, please call us at 936-327-8873 or email us at clubbusiness@escapees.com.

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