A Q&A on RVing and Working Online

On occasion, people e-mail me about things I think a lot of my audience would enjoy hearing the answers to, and this is one such topic. So I’d like to thank Quinn for her patience, as she asked me these questions over a month ago and this answer has been a long time coming. Here’s the relevant part of her original e-mail:

How has your camping style changed (or not changed) since you first started? I have been reading your blog over again from the beginning (such an amazing resource!) and I have noticed a shift in your work style away from seasonal workamping-type of jobs as the years go on. As a future digital nomad (I will be doing transcription) I was wondering how your camping style has changed with the transition to more online work. Do you boondock less? Have you changed your mobile internet set-up? Do you go into town more (i.e. libraries, coffee shops) to get work done? Do you have an outdoor office set-up?”

I’m going to break this down into parts and answer Q&A style.

Do you boondock less?”

Nope! I actually boondock a whole lot more. When I work-camped exclusively, a full-hookup RV site was always included as part of the work agreement. So I’d sit in an RV park for 3-6 months and work, then have a week or two to travel to the next job, then I’d sit in another park for 3-6 months. Rinse and repeat. When I had longer periods of time without work, I’d volunteer where I could still get an RV spot for free in exchange for volunteer hours.

I didn’t actually boondock for the first time until 2016, over three years into my life as a full-time RVer. That was also the year I started work-camping less. These days I boondock almost exclusively, I don’t make a lot of money as a writer/author/blogger, and not having to pay for camping is what makes this lifestyle viable for me right now. Eventually, I’d love to get to get to where I can afford to stay in campgrounds more and visit parts of the country where free camping is less of a thing. You can learn more about boondocking here.

Have you changed your mobile internet set-up?”

Yes, but it’s still pretty bare-bones compared to most RVers who work online. In 2012 when I hit the road, I relied exclusively on free WiFi to get online. I had a small data plan with Verizon that I used to navigate with Google maps and occasionally check e-mail and such, but I relied on the WiFi in the RV parks I stayed at for the most part.

I upgraded my data plan to 3 GB the summer I worked at Yellowstone (2015), since there was no free WiFi there (so yes, I did all my blog updates and online work using that tiny data package). It wasn’t until 2017 that I upgraded to an unlimited data plan with Verizon, and that’s still what I use today. You can read more about my mobile internet solution here.

Do you go into town more (i.e. libraries, coffee shops) to get work done?”

Much less now that I have an unlimited data plan. I specifically seek out boondocking spots that have good phone signal most of the time, and when I’m somewhere that doesn’t, I’m much more likely to just work in my truck along the side of a road that has good signal than to go all the way into town to visit a shop or library. I visited those much more often when I was relying on free WiFi.

Do you have an outdoor office set-up?”

Not really. My laptop has a matte screen which reduces glare and I occasionally will sit in my huge camp chair with my laptop and work, but I still find it easier to work inside. I have a tiny folding table I can set up while sitting in bed.

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So yes, my camping style has changed as my work situation has changed, but perhaps not in ways people who aren’t on the road yet would expect. I hope this answers your questions Quinn, and I hope the rest of you potential digital nomads out there also find some value here.

Looking for information on work options as a road nomad?

The Start Here page has a list of the best articles I’ve ever written on the subject.

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Thank you Patreon Inner Circle members, Paypal donators, and every single one of you reading this right now, for all the support!

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

7 Comments

  1. Norm H. on February 13, 2020 at 1:36 am

    Although not a digital nomad, I enjoyed this post because it reinforced an important point, “one does not need to break the bank to stay connected.” While all manner of signal boosters, routers, etc., may be nice, helpful, and useful, you are living proof that simplicity can still prevail. Thank you, Becky. And, congratulations on entering on your eighth nomadic year. Keep on, keeping on!



  2. frater jason on February 5, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    > I did all my blog updates and online work using that tiny data package

    Good on ya.

    People are crazy wasteful with bandwidth. Maybe I’m just old and remember what 300B was like, but I’m shocked at folks who think they will just DIE (fanning self) without 100GB/mo or whatever.



    • Becky on February 5, 2020 at 6:39 pm

      The times they are a’changing. 🙂



  3. Terri on February 5, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Becky, I love that photo at the top of your blog now! I have to say, one thing I have always admired about you is your ability to be frugal and always live within your means. I can’t believe you have been on the road for so many years now! And I know that the RV life isn’t all a bed of roses, so I have always like your willingness to be “real” in all of your posts. And to Quinn, who commented above, I’m not surprised that Becky wrote back to you!



    • Becky on February 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      Hey Terri it’s been a while! Good to hear from you and I hope Florida is still treating you well.

      Yes, I try my hardest to keep it real around here, even when I know I could be earning more money if I bent the truth. And this year it’ll be eight years on the road, wow how time flies!



  4. Quinn on February 5, 2020 at 4:34 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I was not expecting an entire blog post as a response to my email! You rock!! 😁 I’m so glad you still take the time to continue writing this blog and respond to questions. So many nomads I see on YouTube get so big and can’t/ won’t respond to questions (which I get, they probably get a lot of nonsense sent to them) and it really means a lot to me that you spent so much time creating this post. I really do hope to meet you on the road some day so I can thank you in person! 😁



    • Becky on February 5, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      You’re quite welcome Quinn! I wish you all the best with your plans and hope to see you on the road before long. 🙂



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