How the f*%k do we make a living?

Since we’ve been living our best #vanlife for 18 months now, we’re plugged in to a few relevant groups on Facebook and follow others with similar nomad tendencies on Instagram. One of the most biggest curiosities regarding our mobile, non-9-5 lifestyle is simply; “how the f*%k do you make a living?” It’s so often wondered about, that we thought we would devote a blog to answering it! We also wanted to share more details of our particular version of vanlife, since it seems to be a little different to others that we’ve seen or follow.The most obvious version of this question that is asked is how to make a living from your van, i.e. how to make enough money online somehow to sustain yourself. There are always some fairly obvious answers in threads responding to these kinds of questions, along the lines of; “you can sell your photos”, “create a blog about your travels”, “host a YouTube channel” etc. We feel like it’s stating the obvious to say that only one in a million people will get a significant income from these avenues, but since it’s suggested so much as a seemingly easy way to sit with your phone and immediately have an income, let us say it more plainly: only one in a million people will get a significant income from these avenues. So, we do keep a blog, we recently uploaded a few photos to Shutterstock and we’re able to slowly and organically keep growing our Instagram account. But there is NO WAY that we’re relying on or even expecting these things to give us any cash to live on. Before we decided to move into our van, we both had jobs that required physical and practical work. They were challenging jobs that meant we both had to keep on learning new skills and be very flexible to switch tasks often. Therefore, between us we have quite a wide and varied skill-set (you can read more about that here), which means we would consider doing almost any job that didn’t need a highly professional level of a specific qualification. We’ve found this to be quite useful. Once you start talking to people, you realise that almost everyone wants a bit of work done to their house/office/garden/business, and we’re able to apply ourselves to a lot of these requested tasks.

Sanding and painting
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That kind of leads into our next tip, which is just ask. We let everyone know what we’re doing and what we can offer, and if we’re in need of work we send out the messengers! Everyone we know contacts people they know and finds out what work is out there. We also check websites like Gumtree regularly, websites that specifically look for help on campsites, and work-for-food sites like Work Away. Usually we have a country in mind that we want to spend some time, so target our searches there. Sometimes though we just have to go where the work is (as we need an income!), so might stay longer in one country or another. We ask for comments/references from projects we complete and keep an online CV of sorts here and hope that with this growing portfolio of work we will eventually have a good reputation as reliable, skilled and efficient workers for any and all needs!Our version of vanlife works pretty well for us. It’s a way that we hope we can keep this lifestyle for the long term, rather than just travel as much as possible for a year or keep a van for weekend and holiday use while working full time in between. This way we’re able to choose our jobs, choose our hours and work together, which was another goal for us. After our first year on the road, we were able to pretty much fully book our second year with work projects. We keep our fingers crossed that the third year works out that way too!

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