Q&A: What About Money?!
I asked for questions and my amazing, awesome, super good-looking readers came through! Here are a few that I'm going to roll together into one answer:
What are you going to do for money? Can you work while traveling? What do you do about internet access?
We're slightly unique in the fact that by the time we hit the road full-time, Jake will be retired after 20 years of military service and we will have his retirement to live off of, but we won't be senior citizens. However, we're not talking oodles of money here. We certainly won't be hobnobbing with the rich and famous up in the glitzy RV parks. We're going to have to be smart and frugal, which is right up our alley because we've been living off the heat produced when you rub two nickels together for years. It's how we got out of debt. It's how we'll stay out of debt.
So here's our plan for making the money last and how to add to the pot as well:
Start out with a cushion and zero debt. We'll have the money from the sale of our sticks and bricks (hopefully, fingers crossed, come on housing market!) as a nice bubble, but we'd rather squirrel that money away to possibly buy land if we end up finding a spot that feels right. Also, I hope to be done with the conversion and living in the bus before Jake retires. I'd love to sell the house and be mostly stationary for a year so we can save up all of the money that we would have been putting towards the mortgage and electricity and taxes and insurance and maintenance and all the other house related costs that would be greatly reduced, if not totally eliminated, by staying on the bus. Finally, we are committed to remaining debt free all the way through the process of converting the bus and getting the house ready to sell. (Even if I am totally desperate to just fling money at the situation to speed things up, I know it's a shit idea and that it would end up making things harder in the long run.) (I'm saying all of this more to me than to you...I might be used to being this responsible, but it doesn't mean that I like it.)
Boondock as much as possible. Boondocking is staying where it is free to park, and similar to dry camping, there are no water or electric hookups. No biggie for us...we'll have plenty of solar and large enough water tanks to see us until the watering hole. These freebie locations can range from breathtaking wilderness to Walmart parking lots. I expect we'll see a bit of everything.
Drive strategically. Thanks to my Type A personality and deep love of an itinerary, I don't see us doing much aimless wandering. Fuel is not cheap and a large chunk of our budget will be going towards filling our tank. Currently, I think we will stay in places for a week or two before moving on. We're planning on towing our (paid off) Prius and using that to roam about each area instead of using the bus for exploratory trips.
Keep up our good habits. Digging ourselves out of debt taught many a lesson in the art of being cheap. Those habits coupled with a desire to consume less means that we'll continue to be conscious of how we spend our dollars. We'll keep eating at home, we'll keep skipping the little luxuries (sorry Starbucks...it isn't me, it's you), and we'll keep just not spending money until we absolutely have to, and then it will carefully calculated and only on overanalyzed purchases.
Side hustles and joining the league of digital nomads. Here's where most people will find the majority of their money making opportunities. It's a digital world and there are PLENTY of jobs out there that can be worked remotely. I currently freelance for several internet based companies and do a little bit of everything...website maintenance, writing, editing, photography, and admin work. I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to make this website right here into something that can chip in on gas occasionally. I've also been nursing a dream for years that knitting will suddenly turn lucrative. :D
After all of his specialized training, Jake is uniquely qualified to work as a consultant, so I imagine some of our travel will include him working a few of his own side hustles. We've heard stories from other full-timers who work as everything from IT consultants to travel nurses to oil rig workers to administrative support to artists to writers. We've heard of folks asking their current job if they can telecommute a certain percentage of the month and they just stay within a certain range from their office and come in as needed for monthly meetings.
This all ties in with having a reliable internet connection so you can do your work while traveling. There's lots of options there, too. Free wifi isn't hard to find these days, but if you need something more on demand and able to handle larger loads, first look to your cell phone company. Many have bundles that you can add right to your cell service to give you a mobile hot spot.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Next question please!
Thanks to Elizabeth from the My Baby's Heartbeat Bear blog and Robin of Robin Studio Art for these questions! (Y'all...I've got t.a.l.e.n.t.e.d. folks along for this ride! Check them out and spread the love!)