with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

House on Your Back, You’re Ready for Work

graphic of a man jugglingThere is something exciting about working on the road. The view outside your window changes frequently. You meet new people every day. Living in an RV, you can sleep in your own bed each night. There are new challenges all the time. You get to see the country and expand your mental and physical horizons. It is exciting, romantic, thrilling – all the things people assume.

It is also boring, monotonous, dull, frustrating, and extremely wearing on your mental and physical stamina. Working on the road tests your spirit. It means setting up and taking down your home every time you move. It means meeting new people all the time, and having friends and family you trust and rely upon far away. It often means not knowing where anything is. The simple task of finding a gas station or good place to eat becomes a complicated chore. It means begging and borrowing telephone hookups. The stress of being in different places all the time and of working in a world that expects people to have a house and a normal life is high. Trust us when we tell you it is very stressful and not very glamorous. But it does have its wonderful, romantic, exciting, and thrilling moments.

If you are up to the challenge and have developed a lifestyle and attitude that doesn’t rely upon material objects, and if you are an independent thinker and doer, this could be the life for you.

Home on the Road – Working and Living in a Small Space

Lorelle's desk on a heavy work day, photo by Lorelle VanFossenWorking in a small space like a trailer, everything you are working with has to be somewhere, and it all takes up space. It takes very little to clutter up a small workspace, as in this example of Lorelle’s desk on a very busy, and cluttered, day. Living and working in the same small space makes the ease of making a mess even simplier. Take care to have everything in its place and a place for everything. And make those places secure for the traveling days, and easily accessible for the working days.

Living the Simple Life: Can You?

Taking your life and work on the road means turning back the pages of time to a simpler life. Everything you need is pruned down to fit inside a mobile container, usually not much bigger than 8 x 30 feet. Your priorities and lifestyle change. A sunset shared is more valuable than a new dress, especially when there is room in your head for more memories but no room in the closet. Everything you have or want is now measured against size, weight, maximizing usage, and how you are going to store it.

Taking your work on the road means becoming very organized. Everything has a place and it must be put back all the time, especially when preparing to move. Most trailers have little space for storing volumes of books and papers, and the weight adds up quickly. An overweight trailer is a hazard on the road.

While the romance of working on the road is attractive, the reality of a tightly enclosed space and limited storage area wears thin really quickly. One person alone in a trailer doesn’t have to worry about much, but with two or a family, it gets both physically and mentally crowded. When you work on the road, especially from an RV, the lines between home and work blur, not much different than a stay-at-home worker, except the home is much smaller. The contest for space and priorities shifts and changes with the demands of the moment.

The simplified life of living and working on the road needs to be one that begins with a plan and clearly defined rules. You need to set work hours and stick to them. You need to limit distractions and disruptions. Set up arrangements with your family on when they can interrupt you and what takes priority for those interruptions. Some RVs have room for a small desk, but others don’t have the space, so you will need to bring out your working material during your work time and put it away when done. With a lot of organizing, structure, and flexibility, working on the road can be as exciting as the myth says it is.

Working on the road consists of three categories:

  • The Traveling Business: There are a lot of business which work well on the road. Sales, multi-level marketing, computer services, and just about any customer-oriented service business that involves a large geographic region.
  • The Traveling Employee: Many companies have traveling employees, people who are hired to move from place to place to work wherever they are needed, often covering a wide territory.
  • The Traveling Worker: Traveling workers are independent people who find work where they want, or where they happen to stop. Often called “temporary workers,” these people make up a large part of the US work force, taking the short-term jobs many businesses need.

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