I just love early spring. Down here in the land of palmettos and salt marsh we’re getting a taste of it already. The pollen started in the pine trees about a month ago and now there are little tree flowers everywhere. This picture was taken on my trip to Savannah, where these vibrant blooming shrubs were the first plants to start flowering. A couple trees even have tiny new leaves on them, but it’ll probably be another month before the majority of trees have them.
It’s a change in the air though, that really lifts my spirits. The days are getting warmer, and when things warm up the air smells different. As a RVer, it’s the smell of freedom. Warmer weather here means it won’t be long until things start warming up farther north, and that’ll expand the area in which I can look for my next job. During the winter I’m pretty well locked into the southern reaches of the country since Cas is a three-season trailer, but soon the whole country could be my oyster, as the saying goes.
One year I’d like to follow spring north, and see how long that takes. That’s a goal for the future, right now there is work to be done.
All of my tax refunds except South Carolina have come back in, and I already have uses planned out for that money. $128 of it goes for the speeding ticket that I got last month, but the majority of it is going to new tires for Bertha. The last time I took her in for an oil change I was informed that she doesn’t have much tread left. The price of truck tires makes me cringe compared to what I paid for my Honda Civic, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
On the summer job front, I sent in 32 applications in January to hear back from a total of two places. This time around, I heard back from the very first place I sent an application to a mere three hours later, a guest ranch located in the mountains of western North Carolina. I talked with the hiring manager the next day and got very excited because it sounded like a good fit for both of us, plus it would pay enough to cover all my expenses and let me save up some money. Sadly he’d failed to look at the availability on my application, they needed someone from March 20th through Thanksgiving, and that wasn’t going to work for me.
He told me he’d talk to his boss about it and call me back. I was prepared to try for a compromise and work until the end of fall (instead of trying out for the renaissance festival like I wanted to) if I could wait to start until April 9th because there is a wedding I simply have to attend that weekend and I couldn’t leave Lowe’s without giving them a two week notice, but I never got a call back. I tried calling them back the day after and got the owner of the ranch. He explained again that they needed someone for those dates, and that he’d have the hiring manager call me back. I never got a call back.
So with a strong sense of deja vu, it’s back to sending out applications again. At least this time around I’m making some money while I do so and the promise of spring has lifted my spirits. For all of you full-timing hopefuls out there who plan to pay your way through seasonal gigs, a couple tips.
From what I’ve seen so far, there seem to be a lot more nomad-friendly job options out there for the summer than there were during the winter. Whether enough can be earned during the warmer months of the year through seasonal work to afford to spend the winter not working remains to be seen for me, but that’s certainly a goal I’m aiming for as I’d love to spend my winters boondocking in the southwest, and maybe try making something crafty to sell at Quartzsite.
These jobs are mostly at touristy type locations, but they pay better than retail, grounds keeping, and other sorts of temporary jobs that were about all I could find in the winter. A lot of these tourist location jobs also pay at least part of housing and food costs, which makes them more viable as a real way to earn a living. Not all of them have places for RVers to park, but I’ve made a habit of sending an e-mail to the ones that list dorm type housing only and so far 2 out of the 3 I’ve done it for have had some (if more limited) RV parking, it just wasn’t listed in their advertisement.
Of course there are more traditional workamping jobs to be found during the summer too, the kind where you act as a camp host at a campground for part time hours and get your site paid for, but as I’ve repeatedly said when people ask me why I don’t do that kind of workamping, the pay aside from getting site and utilities is minimal or nil. Food costs me $200 a month if I’m careful. Health insurance is $60, vehicle and RV insurance totals $93, my smart phone is $85. I simply have to be bringing in a real paycheck to cover those costs. If I’m workamping, then I can only work part time at another kind of job to try to bring in the extra money, and trying to coordinate schedules for two part time jobs is a headache I’d rather avoid.
The other important point, most of these summer touristy jobs are found west of the Mississippi. I’ve been using CoolWorks.com to find most of them (you can search by state), and there are a lot more large parks out there that need staffing and less local people in the area to draw staff from. The cost for RV spots and such also seems like it costs less out West from what I’ve heard – it just seems like a friendlier place to be for full-timers although I can’t speak from experience. At the end of this year, I have tentative plans to head West and spend 2014 out thataway, we’ll see how it goes.
And that’s about what I’ve been up to. Some ebook progress was made yesterday when my campground internet failed to have a good enough signal for me to fill out applications and write and get this post up. Or should I say eguides? I’d been floundering for a while trying to figure out what to focus the ebook on to make it interesting to a wide range of RVers and RVing hopefuls. It had gotten so large and broad that I didn’t know what to do with it. I think I have the answer now though, I’ll be breaking it up into a few smaller guides that deal with more specific topics at a lower cost. That way people can just get the part(s) their interested in, and I don’t have to worry about how to bring all these diverse topics together into a cohesive whole.
Have a good rest of the week all, and good luck to all my fellow summer job seekers out there!