This post is written by my friend and business collaborator, Julie Chickery of Chickery’s Travels. She and her husband Sean have been living and working from their RV for many years. Today, they are working nomads who specialize in full-time RV finance. This is about their transition from traditional corporate jobs to working remotely.
Sean and Julie Chickery – Working Nomads
We started our full-time RV lifestyle 4 years ago and have both experienced a transformation in our careers to allow ourselves to be fully remote. Now we’re working nomads, traveling and working from our RV full-time.
Major Life Changes
When we first purchased our RV, we were in the midst of some major life changes. Sean was still on active duty in the Air Force and planning to retire in 18 months. We had also just become empty nesters.
It was surreal planning a move to his last military assignment with just the two of us for the first time in over 20 years! That’s when we decided to go for it and get the RV so we could “break it in” at the base campground. We figured we’d live in it there, and take it out on weekends to get used to everything. His income would also allow us to start paying it off quickly.
Finding Remote Work
As soon as we knew we were moving, I developed a proposal for my employer to allow me to continue my position remotely. I had six-months lead time before our move, and we used that as a trial period with me telecommuting 3 days per week. Although this positon was never intended to be fully remote, I had proven my value to the company over the previous 5 years, and was able to demonstrate that I could be just as effective working remotely.
As Sean prepared to transition from the military, he looked for remote work opportunities online. He used sites like Flexjobs.com, as well as researching specific companies. When he found a company he wanted to work for, he would go directly to their website to see job opportunities. Using this method, he secured a position managing the laboratory component of a medical research study that traveled around the United States.
He learned two main lessons from his remote work job search. The first was to research companies that employ people with your qualifications. GlassDoor and LinkedIn are both good resources for this. When you have a list of companies you are interested in working for, go directly to their website and peruse job listings. Second, don’t limit yourself to listing for remote work positions. The position he ultimately got was not listed as remote. However, it did indicate the availability for some telecommuting. During the interview and selection process he was able to negotiate the remote work arrangement.
Last year, we decided to start a business. We formed Chickery’s Travels as an educational and motivational website for other who are interested in full-time travel. Our business includes a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel. We quickly learned it takes a lot of time to create all that content, so I resigned from my full-time remote position to focus on Chickery’s Travels.
Sean also found a new remote position that is only half-time. Two weeks out of the month he travels as a laboratory accreditation surveyor. He found this position by networking with other laboratory professionals and tracking the company’s website waiting for openings. As soon as one was listed, he applied.
The other half of the month, he works with me on our business. We have found a good division of labor to ensure we are using our respective strengths to grow Chickery’s Travels. For example, I conducted the research and wrote most of our book, Full-Time RV Finance. Sean proofread, edited, and formatted it for publishing. I learned iMovie and edit most of our YouTube videos, while Sean learned GarageBand to edit our podcasts.
We’re both in our 40’s and plan to remain working nomads and traveling for the foreseeable future. Right now we are happy with the income from our military pensions, Sean’s travel job, and our growing business. We’re also looking for more ways to use the skills gained from our military and corporate careers to expand our business offerings. For example, we both have significant public speaking experience and have taught at the community college level. We’re taking those skills and combining them with our RVing knowledge to speak at RV shows and rallies later this year.
I’ve also started consulting with other bloggers to help them build a business of their own. In February, I co-hosted a workshop called “Blogging for Business” for about 80 bloggers at The RV Entrepreneur Summit. As a result, I’ve started to consult with others teaching them how to earn an income from their blog.
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