I hated that work dominated 5 out of 7 days of my week. I’d come home and have some time before I needed to go to bed, yeah, but I’d be so drained from work and pressured to get all the chores that built up done that I wouldn’t find the energy to get out and do anything that really excited me. I was in a rut. My whole life revolved around that job. On my weekends I’d try to cram in as much fun as I could, to try to forget that come Monday (well, Tuesday was the start of my work week actually) I’d be doomed to go back in, a slave to the routine.
Working at Amazon might not be glamorous, but I love it so much more than any of the other jobs I’ve held since I became a ‘grown up’. The best part is it’s impermanence. There’s no need to try to impress anyone or burn myself out going above and beyond, I’m only there for a short time after all.
RVing has given me the freedom to work when I want to. I’m going home for Christmas this year for the first time in four years, all the standard full-time jobs I’ve held would not have allowed it – who got to take vacation during the prime times of the year was based on seniority, something I didn’t have.
There are draw backs to having to work while you’re on the road. I think the reason why most people stick with the 9-5 tedium is because it feels safe and comfortable. As long as you go in to work, the pay check will be there, week after week. As long as the company doesn’t tank and you get let go that is. There’s also the issue of finding the willpower to work when there’s so much new stuff around you to see and do.
Finding seasonal gigs while you travel takes more effort, and there is more uncertainty. What if you can’t find something before you run out of money? Well I’ve already written about ways to combat the fear, but there are some common sense things you can do. Build up a safety net, and start looking for work before you get low. Remember that you’re mobile now, and you have a much larger area in which you can look for work. In fact, as I start peeking around for my next gig I’m having a hard time nailing down where to start, there are so many places and options.
Now some folks will probably look at what I’m doing here at Amazon – 10 hour days, and planning to pick up as much overtime as I can, as hardly a balance between work and life, but let me explain my take on it.
My idea of a good work/life balance has me working hard in spurts for a time, and then having an extended period of time (like last September) where I don’t work at all and travel around and see stuff. In a traditional job, you get vacation time that serves the same purpose, but only as much as your employer sees fit to give you. Two weeks just wasn’t enough for me.
Since I’m overall working less than I did in my old life (so far anyway), I am making less money. I looked long and hard before I started RVing at what I wanted to do once I was on the road and came to the realization that hiking, sightseeing, reading a book down by a crystal clear stream, and watching the sun set don’t really cost a lot to do. I just avoided the touristy things while I was getting to Kansas that require more money. If you love the touristy things or eating out every night, etc., you’ll need to find a way to bring in more money, simple as that.
For others, the ideal work/life balance while on the road might be less hours per week but more weeks spent working per year. If this sounds like more your thing, there are many workamping jobs that revolve more around campground hosting work in this manner. You’d be working for the price of your site, and usually not much more, but it does mean less hours worked in a week. If you have income coming in another way this can be a great way to pay for your site and earn a little extra spending money.
If you’re able to work remotely or for yourself, you might find you have even more freedom in determining your work schedule. I really do intend to write more on remote income some point, when I’ve had more time to explore it fully. In the meantime for anyone looking for more information, Chris and Cherie over at Technomadia have a good post about more working on the road options. It is a great resource for aspiring full-timers.
What does your ideal work/life balance look like? Do you prefer working hard in spurts and then having some free time or would you rather work steadily and play steadily in equal measure?