If you’re newly retired and hitting the road, don’t let the word “work” get in your way of exploring workamping jobs. This mutually beneficial arrangement can be one of the best ways to rock your world by trying your hand at new skills, living in places you’ve always been curious about, and make new friends on the road.
My husband and I enjoy workamping opportunities so much that we choose to take on different assignments–in addition to our usual business endeavors–just to add some variety in our daily routines. Or because we’re gluttons for punishment. Either way, getting out from behind our computers is fun to us. As long as the job is more fun than work, we’re game for just about anything.
Workamping broadens your horizons
The range of workamping jobs available are as diverse as the full-time RVers who apply. Some arrangements are as easy as working two days a week in a RV resort.
My husband and I tried a job like that once. We had never worked in a real RV resort with all the bells and whistles and we appreciated the excellent job conditions. Plus, our boss was only on the grounds once a week, leaving us on our own to complete certain projects.
The only problem? An all asphalt, neat and tidy RV resort just isn’t our style so we won’t commit to a job like that again. We’re happiest in a true campsite with trees, dirt and open range.
We’re not shy about working in exchange for a campsite at places we either already love—or think we will. For example, last fall I worked at one of our favorite restaurants, the PieONeer Cafe, in the tiny way-station of Pie Town, New Mexico.
I not only got paid by the generous and kind proprietor of the cafe, but got tons of “Pie Credit” as well. Yum! All we had to do was ask if she needed help, and the job was there.
Other fun arrangements include our favorite, working as ranch hands at an historic dude ranch in Colorado. In fact, we love that ranch so much that in two weeks we’ll be back there for a summer of fence fixin’, launderin’, and grillin’.
Similar to the sugar beet harvest and Amazon fulfillment jobs for workampers, the ranch is a heavy duty, non-traditional workamping job that’s certainly not for every workamper. Workers have to be fit, flexible, and fun, or the long, busy days in July and August can become painful.
It’s gigs like this that tend to have the most rewards in my opinion. When I get past my aching feet and sleep deprivation, I see how much I’ve expanded my world by getting to know the locals, the repeat customers, and the awesome family who’s been running the show for more than 100 years. I’m a better person because of these experiences. You can enjoy that kind of fulfillment too if you’re smart about searching for it.
Thinking of exploring workamping jobs?
Summer is a great time for exploring workamping jobs if you’re thinking about giving it a go. As you roam around the U.S. and discover new areas, seek out conversations with camp hosts and resort workers. Ask them what it’s like to work there and how their current job compares with others.
You’ll find that people are forthcoming and happy to talk about their workamping experiences, good or bad. Although you can get similar information by talking to others in workamping groups on the Internet, a bird’s eye view of their job conditions can give you the whole story.
Next, start to assess your own wants and needs in an arrangement like this. Ask:
- How many hours are you willing to work?
- What kind of environment do you prefer?
- Are things like cell and Internet connectivity a deal-breaker?
- Can you physically perform the work without straining?
Know your preferences so that should a perfect workamping job appear on the horizon, as ours did eight years ago when we found the dude ranch, you’ll spot that opportunity and grab it with confidence.
Do you workamp? What are your favorite types of jobs? We would love to hear more.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.