Hints of Spring

hints-of-springI just love early spring. Down here in the land of palmettos and salt marsh we’re getting a taste of it already. The pollen started in the pine trees about a month ago and now there are little tree flowers everywhere. This picture was taken on my trip to Savannah, where these vibrant blooming shrubs were the first plants to start flowering. A couple trees even have tiny new leaves on them, but it’ll probably be another month before the majority of trees have them.

It’s a change in the air though, that really lifts my spirits. The days are getting warmer, and when things warm up the air smells different. As a RVer, it’s the smell of freedom. Warmer weather here means it won’t be long until things start warming up farther north, and that’ll expand the area in which I can look for my next job. During the winter I’m pretty well locked into the southern reaches of the country since Cas is a three-season trailer, but soon the whole country could be my oyster, as the saying goes.

One year I’d like to follow spring north, and see how long that takes. That’s a goal for the future, right now there is work to be done.

All of my tax refunds except South Carolina have come back in, and I already have uses planned out for that money. $128 of it goes for the speeding ticket that I got last month, but the majority of it is going to new tires for Bertha. The last time I took her in for an oil change I was informed that she doesn’t have much tread left. The price of truck tires makes me cringe compared to what I paid for my Honda Civic, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

On the summer job front, I sent in 32 applications in January to hear back from a total of two places. This time around, I heard back from the very first place I sent an application to a mere three hours later, a guest ranch located in the mountains of western North Carolina. I talked with the hiring manager the next day and got very excited because it sounded like a good fit for both of us, plus it would pay enough to cover all my expenses and let me save up some money. Sadly he’d failed to look at the availability on my application, they needed someone from March 20th through Thanksgiving, and that wasn’t going to work for me.

He told me he’d talk to his boss about it and call me back. I was prepared to try for a compromise and work until the end of fall (instead of trying out for the renaissance festival like I wanted to) if I could wait to start until April 9th because there is a wedding I simply have to attend that weekend and I couldn’t leave Lowe’s without giving them a two week notice, but I never got a call back. I tried calling them back the day after and got the owner of the ranch. He explained again that they needed someone for those dates, and that he’d have the hiring manager call me back. I never got a call back.

So with a strong sense of deja vu, it’s back to sending out applications again. At least this time around I’m making some money while I do so and the promise of spring has lifted my spirits. For all of you full-timing hopefuls out there who plan to pay your way through seasonal gigs, a couple tips.

From what I’ve seen so far, there seem to be a lot more nomad-friendly job options out there for the summer than there were during the winter. Whether enough can be earned during the warmer months of the year through seasonal work to afford to spend the winter not working remains to be seen for me, but that’s certainly a goal I’m aiming for as I’d love to spend my winters boondocking in the southwest, and maybe try making something crafty to sell at Quartzsite.

These jobs are mostly at touristy type locations, but they pay better than retail, grounds keeping, and other sorts of temporary jobs that were about all I could find in the winter. A lot of these tourist location jobs also pay at least part of housing and food costs, which makes them more viable as a real way to earn a living. Not all of them have places for RVers to park, but I’ve made a habit of sending an e-mail to the ones that list dorm type housing only and so far 2 out of the 3 I’ve done it for have had some (if more limited) RV parking, it just wasn’t listed in their advertisement.

Of course there are more traditional workamping jobs to be found during the summer too, the kind where you act as a camp host at a campground for part time hours and get your site paid for, but as I’ve repeatedly said when people ask me why I don’t do that kind of workamping, the pay aside from getting site and utilities is minimal or nil. Food costs me $200 a month if I’m careful. Health insurance is $60, vehicle and RV insurance totals $93, my smart phone is $85. I simply have to be bringing in a real paycheck to cover those costs. If I’m workamping, then I can only work part time at another kind of job to try to bring in the extra money, and trying to coordinate schedules for two part time jobs is a headache I’d rather avoid.

The other important point, most of these summer touristy jobs are found west of the Mississippi. I’ve been using CoolWorks.com to find most of them (you can search by state), and there are a lot more large parks out there that need staffing and less local people in the area to draw staff from. The cost for RV spots and such also seems like it costs less out West from what I’ve heard – it just seems like a friendlier place to be for full-timers although I can’t speak from experience. At the end of this year, I have tentative plans to head West and spend 2014 out thataway, we’ll see how it goes.

And that’s about what I’ve been up to. Some ebook progress was made yesterday when my campground internet failed to have a good enough signal for me to fill out applications and write and get this post up. Or should I say eguides? I’d been floundering for a while trying to figure out what to focus the ebook on to make it interesting to a wide range of RVers and RVing hopefuls. It had gotten so large and broad that I didn’t know what to do with it. I think I have the answer now though, I’ll be breaking it up into a few smaller guides that deal with more specific topics at a lower cost. That way people can just get the part(s) their interested in, and I don’t have to worry about how to bring all these diverse topics together into a cohesive whole.

Have a good rest of the week all, and good luck to all my fellow summer job seekers out there!

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14 Responses to Hints of Spring

  1. jack March 14, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Becky watch out for the oil change places they try to sale things to you.I own a auto repair shop so I know. find a small shop you can trust have them look at your truck?

    • Becky March 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      It was a Goodyear actually Jack, the same one I went to when I lived in SC in fact so I trust their opinion. I indeed have not changed the tires since I bought the truck.

      But I do appreciate you looking out for me like that! I know a lot of places will try to squeeze money out of you, especially if you don’t look like you know what you’re doing around cars. That’s why when I found a place I trusted I stick with it whenever I can.

  2. Dennis Smith March 14, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Becky when your phone contract expries check Virgin Moble. I went from Version at $85 a month and got almost the same service for $38. Its a month to month but its great service.

    • Becky March 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I’ll think about it Dennis, but am not sold on the idea. Does that $38 include a data plan?

      My circumstances are a bit different than most. My $85 Verizon bill should be more but I got a 25% discount with them for working at Best Buy and I still have it now even though I’m no longer with the company. If I switch now I’ll loose that discount, plus I love how I can get a signal with Verizon about anywhere, it’s really important to me since I use my phone’s GPS to navigate and it works even out in the middle of nowhere. I know for a fact that Verizon has the biggest coverage area, followed by AT&T.

  3. Sam March 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi Becky,

    Through dreaming, desire, research, personal planning, and sheer determination, you’ve made a huge mental and physical transition to full timing; quite an accomplishment in itself, at any age. Yet, some of that freedom inherent in the lifestyle is just outside of our grasp because we’re still stuck in the JOB world, which means “Just Out-sourcing Barely”. We’re dependent on an employer who, while determining our worth, buys us at wholesale. sells us at retail and they keep the spread. In the meantime, we’re often tied to the employer’s business location for X number of hours each week which negates a significant measure of the freedom that full timing offers. If we have to put in the time and effort to derive an income, as most of us do to various degrees, why not be in a position in which we keep the spread? There are multitudes of small business owners and independent contractors, both stationary and transient, who are now self-employed and enjoy the fruits of their labor under more favorable tax laws. Not one was born into their position. After tasting the freedom of full timing, why should we accept the aggravation of locating, then working within the limitations of a traditional JOB? Especially part-time positions in which we have hardly any interest and get paid so little? Inspirational dissatisfaction is a powerful motivator. Once we determine “Why”, the “How To” will follow suit. Through that same dreaming, DESIRE**, RESEARCH**, personal planning, and sheer DETERMINATION**, another major transition can be made, a change towards self-reliance. Create your position and write your own paycheck. Find your niche. Research is readily available… read, read, read.

    ** emphasis added

    • Becky March 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      Haha, oh trust me Sam this has occurred to me. In fact I’ve wanted to work online/for myself longer than I’ve been serious about going RVing. I floundered around trying to figure out how I was going to earn a good living while being location independent for months before realizing that nothing was going to happen until I actually started living the life I wanted to live.

      And when I say months I don’t just mean I thought about it here and there, I dove into lifestyle design and minimalist blogs, not the get rich quick scammy kind of stuff but the ones who preach the truth. The first one I discovered that got me started on this whole deliberate living thing was http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/, but I quickly found others including http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/, http://rowdykittens.com/, http://paidtoexist.com/, and http://manvsdebt.com/.

      Have you managed to make it? Getting out of the rat race entirely and working for yourself? If you have, then you must know how much work it is. Starting this blog and writing those ebooks is the first step in my plan, but in the end it’s hard to say how I’ll end up ‘making it’. But oh, trust me when I say I’m trying. I just gotta keep taking jobs to bring in the money until then.

  4. Bonnie March 15, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Becky, another phone option you might think about is “Straight Talk”. There is no contract and you will have unlimited talk, text and data for 49.50 a month. That includes all the fees and tax.

    I made the change when my iphone contract was up with AT&T and I am so pleased. Actually I have the exact iphone 4S for work that is on the AT&T plan and I have held both phones going down the road to see which one has a stronger signal and the Straight Talk wins each time.

    Not sure if you have heard of an app called “KIK”? It is free and you have unlimited free texting and outbound calls, that is always an option for you if you have a smartphone.

    I hope to go full-time RVing as soon as my home sells, so maybe our paths will cross one day.

    Good luck in finding your summer 2013 job!

    • Becky March 16, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Hello Bonnie,

      I wonder who the provider for Straight Talk is. I’ll do some peeking into it. Although I have over a year before my contract expires anyhow and by then I’m sure everything will have changed again. πŸ˜›

      I’ll cross my fingers that the house sells quickly! I know it’s not the best market out there right now, but best of luck. And of course if our paths cross on the road I’d love to meet up with you.

      Safe travels and happy trails!

      • travelfables March 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Becky, the network provider for Straight Talk depends on the zip code you give them at sign up (where you use the phone most) , they have deals with Sprint, AT&T/ Tmobile , maybe even Verizon in areas, not sure about the last one though. I use the Straight talk for my Andriod- I gave them a zip in the North Georgia Mountains at sign up and got AT&T networks. 45 bucks a month. I don’t use it for my main internet though, (I use Millenicom for that), but Straight Talk is still a great deal for a decent smart phone plan.
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        • Becky March 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

          Good to know, thanks for the info! I’m probably going to go for Millenicom for my internet as well when it comes to the point where I have no choice. Right now I’m still squeaking by on borrowing friend’s internet when possible and campground WiFi when I can.

  5. Cherylyn March 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    I find your posts thought provoking, funny, interesting and realistic. It is helpful to me to read about the challenges as much as the enjoyments- such as pulling the trailer in someplace and not being about to turn around. What now! I think the idea of smaller more specific guides is more appealing to me. I’m working toward making some life changes and understanding the realities of full-time living is what I am looking for.

    I found a site called Flexjobs. I haven’t had time yet to do any research on it.

    • Becky March 16, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Heya Cherylyn,

      I’m glad to hear that IO is proving to be helpful for you. I try to give as realistic a picture as I can, because I think so many people who want to go full-timing imagine that it’s like being on vacation all the time and that simply isn’t the case, at least if you’re younger and not drawing social security and a pension.

      I just peeked at Flexjobs myself. It’s a subscription site, I checked out the pricing info and found this:

      “$14.95 for a month — a low-cost way to use FlexJobs, or if you anticipate a short job search timeline.
      $29.95 for 3-months — at only $10 a month, this is a smart option to give yourself a realistic time-frame to find the best opportunities for you
      $49.95 for a year — at less than $5 a month, a great deal with savings of over $120! Excellent for freelancers or people anticipating more than 3 months for their job search.”

      There seem to be a lot of testimonials and stuff on their site saying how great it is, but if it were me I’d be wary about spending money on it until I got to hear what some real people had to say.

  6. Alex Sewell March 17, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    Hello Becky! I’m Alexandria, and I discovered your blog, and I love it! I actually have a ton of questions, and I sent you an e-mail. πŸ™‚ Thanks,


    • Becky March 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Hello Alexandria, thanks for writing in. πŸ™‚ Because of how busy I am right now searching for my summer gig as well as balancing my current job with keeping this blog updated, writing a ebook, and having something of a social life, it usually takes me a few days to get to e-mails, especially if they require a longer answer. But I promise I will get to it when I have the chance. Welcome to IO and glad to have you here!

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