Work + Wanderlust: Navigating the Pros and Cons of the Work Camping Lifestyle

Are you ready to trade the conventional 9-to-5 grind for a life of adventure and exploration? Let me introduce you to the world of work camping, where the lines between work, travel, and lifestyle blur in the most exhilarating (and sometimes frustrating) way. Picture yourself waking up to breathtaking landscapes, setting up your workspace amid nature’s splendor, and clocking out to the sound of a crackling campfire. This is the essence of work camping.

Well, it is if you are a remote worker like my hubby. If you are a more traditional work camper (like me), you are probably working a schedule based on a contract and “commuting” to your job which usually just means walking across the campground to the office/store/maintenance building depending on your job assignment. 

At its core, work camping involves embracing a nomadic existence while pursuing a livelihood. It’s about parking your home-on-wheels wherever the heart desires and melding the responsibilities of work with the freedom of exploration. It’s a lifestyle that defies norms, inviting you to swap cubicles for sunsets, traffic for tranquil trails, and routine for rejuvenation.

Whether you’re drawn to managing campgrounds, providing hospitality services, or engaging in remote digital work, work camping opens doors to a life less ordinary. It’s a vibrant tapestry where your office extends to national parks, your colleagues include fellow travelers, and your commute is a journey of discovery. So, if you’re ready to redefine work, travel, and lifestyle on your own terms, work camping awaits with open roads and endless possibilities!

Combining work and travel in an RV lifestyle

There are many benefits to combining work and travel in an RV lifestyle. Obviously, the freedom and flexibility to go where you want is top of that list for me. We have traveled all over the US, seen some amazing landscapes, and explored almost 40 national parks. This has perfectly supported my travel blogging and photography mission. However, since I am on the newbie side for travel blogging and selling my photography involves, well, selling, it hasn’t provided the financial results I’d like. So it was time to try something new. 

Work camping is a lifestyle that combines work with travel. It has been gaining traction as an enticing choice for those seeking adventure while sustaining their livelihood. In this post I am going to delve into the world of work camping, shedding light on both its advantages and challenges. I’ll share some of my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned after a season of work camping and, hopefully, let you get a glimpse into the lifestyle to see if it is right for you. 

Let’s start with the Pros of work camping. 

Pros of Work Camping

There are a number of pros to the work camping lifestyle but I narrowed it down to my top 3: 

1. Location, Location, Location. You have the option to choose a location you will enjoy spending time in so choose a place that offers lots of exploring or whatever you like to do. We wanted to come to the NE and knew that it was a little more expensive so getting a seasonal job seemed a good way to explore the area without going broke. I applied for jobs in New Hampshire and Maine and then waited with fingers crossed. I lucked out and got the first job I interviewed for in the location I wanted…Maine!  An added bonus for me was the opportunity to learn how the campground industry worked so that I could be a better customer going forward.

2. Cost Savings/Earning Income. Many work camping opportunities provide free or discounted RV sites, reducing accommodation expenses. The job I accepted came with a discounted site and an hourly wage. Some additional savings we enjoyed included lower fuel costs because we weren’t moving as much and 

3. Community. Work camping introduces you to a vibrant community of like-minded travelers, fostering connections and friendships. I have met some wonderful people and made some great new friends. I have enjoyed meeting quite a few of the campers too. Helping people have a good camping experience was one of my personal goals when I started the season. 

Cons of work camping

With any job, there will be challenges and those will change depending on any number of factors but I believe that if you know what to watch out for it’s easier to navigate them when they arise. Here are my top 3 cons: 

  1. Impact on work-life balance. This one was tough for me because I was used to traveling to a new location every 2-3 weeks and exploring with my husband on weekends. Having a job meant the exploring was limited to my days off, and since only one of those matched up with the hubby, I was often left to explore on my own. When I was working, I was dreaming about my next hiking adventure but then on my days off it was either raining or I was exhausted and just wanted to chill. I mean, let’s face it, any job is going to reduce your free time and be either physically or mentally demanding. My job was customer-facing so once the initial rose-colored glasses period wore off (which happened just as we hit peak season) the ratio of good to bad customers seemed to flip and there were far more that were rude and demanding making the job fairly stressful on most days. 
  2. Irregular Income. As a work camper, you might face fluctuating income levels due to seasonal job opportunities. Additionally, you may be accepting a position that pays less than you are used to making. I went into this with my eyes open and knew that I’d likely be accepting a job for minimum wage and I was fine with that. If pay is important to you then definitely take that into consideration when accepting a position because it can become an issue during stressful work times.
  3. Physical Demands. My job was not as much physically demanding as it was stressful at times. I had no idea campers could be so demanding, and entitled. Boy, do I have some stories! Let me tell you about the couple who arrived at the campground and needed to use the bathroom (never mind that they had a bathroom in the trailer they were pulling). The bathhouse was closed for cleaning after they were sent there to use the facilities and they proceeded to cuss out the maintenance man and then come back over to the office and begin yelling and cussing at the office staff. Ultimately, they were “asked” to leave the campground but the arrogance was unbelievable. Rule 1 on travel day is DON’T ARRIVE HUNGRY OR NEEDING TO USE THE TOILET. Stop somewhere and take care of those things beforehand. Similar to not shopping when you are hungry. It will make the check-in process so much nicer for everyone.

Tips for Aspiring Work Campers

Are you still interested in the work camping lifestyle? If you answered yes, then it is time to find the perfect work camping gig that’s as tailored to you as a well-fitted hiking boot! It’s like a treasure hunt in the wilderness, but fear not, intrepid adventurer, for I’ve got some tips to lead you to your dream opportunity!

  1. Know Thyself: Start by listing your skills, passions, and interests. Are you a people person? A maintenance maven? A social media guru? Identifying your strengths will guide you towards compatible roles.
  2. Cast a Wide Net: Don’t be shy—apply to various types of work camping positions. From camp hosting to event organizing, the camping universe is your oyster. Also, The digital realm is your best friend. Search for work camping websites, forums, and job boards. Trust me, there’s a whole virtual world of opportunities waiting to be discovered.
  3. RV Park Prowess: If you’ve got your heart set on a particular RV park or campground, check their websites. Many post seasonal job openings for camp hosts and staff.
  4. Flexibility is Key: Be open to locations you might not have considered. The journey might lead you to places you’d never imagined visiting.
  5. Network Like a Pro: Join online work camping communities and social media groups. Fellow RVers often share golden nuggets of job leads and insider info.
  6. Craft Your Pitch: When you apply, tailor your application to showcase how your skills and passions align with the job. Your enthusiasm could be the deciding factor!
  7. Be a Research Rockstar: Research the places you’re applying to. Show that you’re genuinely excited about contributing to their community.
  8. Seasonal Secrets: Keep in mind that some work camping gigs are seasonal. This could be your ticket to experiencing various regions without committing to a lifetime on the road.
  9. Follow Your Heart (and Head): Consider what truly makes your heart race while also being practical. A job that aligns with your passions and pays the bills? That’s the jackpot.

So there you have it, aspiring work camper! With these steps, you’re poised to discover opportunities that not only match your skills and interests but also open doors to unforgettable adventures on the road. Time to don your explorer’s hat and set out on your work camping quest!

About
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My mission is simple: to inspire and empower adventurous souls like you to embark on unforgettable journeys into the heart of nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a passionate photographer, or simply someone who loves to wander, we’re here to fuel your wanderlust and provide you with the tools and resources you need to make the most of your outdoor adventures.

Join our vibrant community of fellow travelers as we dive into the beauty of the natural world, one adventure at a time. Let’s explore, discover, and connect with the world around us—together.

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