“Workamping” makes fulltimers possible

Thousands of people travel the country in their RVs full-time each year, but this lifestyle is sometimes hard to understand, even within the RV community. Many cannot imagine abandoning their jobs and home to hit the road 24/7. It certainly takes a special breed to become a fulltimer, as fans of RVNN's "RV Kitchen" know, but it's certainly doable.

One of the big hurdles for many is the idea of working from the road. With gas prices high and the need for food and other expenses, fulltimers will definitely need to make some money while they are on the move.

According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, "workamping" is one of the more popular working from the road jobs. The news source recently profiled 71-year-old David Standaert, who travels to wildlife refuges all across the country. Standaert works part-time at each park, which allows him to maintain his lifestyle. The parks pay him enough to get by and give him a parking space with free electricity.

"I have no problems explaining this lifestyle to people," he told the news source. "They may have a hard time understanding it. If I had to take planes and trains and pay for motels, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to see what I’ve seen in the last 10 years."

The news source reports that the "workamping" movement dates back two decades, and nearly 750,000 people are on the move, according to Steve Anderson, editor-in-chief of Workamper News. Most parks are familiar with the concept of workamping and will readily hire the volunteers. In general, Anderson says that many parks are desperate for help and operating on a shoestring budget.

Standaert acknowledges that things have been easier for him since he travels solo. "I got rid of the wife first, which made it all possible," he half-joked to the news source. Still, many couples decide to take up the workamping lifestyle as well. Standaert is currently working with Kevin Jones and Cheryll Compton, a married couple who are working at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in Sussex, New Jersey.

"When we told our friends what we were going to do, they asked, 'How long do you think you can do it?,'" explains Jones. "Every time we’re hiking on a beautiful mountain, we look off in the distance and say, ‘How long do you think we can do this?’ When we’re on the Pacific Ocean looking at 1,000 seals and sea lions, we ask, ‘How long do you think we can do this?’ It’s become our in-joke."