If you’re thinking of taking a workamping job, one factor to consider is the job’s proximity to services, shopping and entertainment. Even if a job sounds like a perfect match, before you sign an acceptance offer, first do some careful research on the closest town to your temporary home.
Throughout the course of our own workamping history, we’ve worked at a variety of jobs. Some were set in the country but situated within easy access of major services, while others have been far from any town that would meet our personal definition of “decent.” The jobs that fell into the latter category made for extremely long commitments once the novelty wore off.
We’ve since learned that if the town closest to your potential workamping job isn’t a place you’d like to visit for business and pleasure, you may want to rethink the gig. Because even if a job itself is fun, if the location is inconvenient or devoid of any amenities critical to your happiness, life can get extremely challenging.
For example, one of our favorite workamping jobs that we’ve repeatedly returned to each summer is located on a ranch. The property is over one hour from the nearest town that has supermarkets and shopping in a “big city” of 50,000 people. Since we’re paid staff and only have one day off during the high season, this distance makes taking care of domestic chores like shopping and banking a real chore. Despite these disadvantages, we enjoy the job enough to return each summer.
This year, however, things had changed in town. The day we arrived we were excited to see a small, new grocery store had opened up just two miles from the ranch. The store is owned by two enthusiastic new residents who’ve stocked the shelves with a fantastic variety of fresh produce and pantry items of exceptional quality. We took one look around and knew that if they could keep providing quality groceries, we might not even have to drive to the big city.
It was then that we decided to challenge ourselves to “eat and shop local.” We wanted to see if we could spend an entire summer living off items from this grocery store and other merchants in town. Anything they didn’t carry, we would order online. The goal was to simplify our lives by avoiding the one hour commute to town each week.
I’m proud to say that we met the challenge. From the groceries provided by local proprietors, to our Amazon account and the smartphone mobile banking app that enabled us to deposit our paychecks, we never left the vicinity for anything except fun. Not only were we able to enjoy our precious time off, but we only bought one half tank of diesel fuel between Memorial Day and Labor Day!
Our “shop local” challenge wasn’t always easy or cheap, but overall it kept us sane while working on the ranch and managing our own business. Our shop local challenge also taught us that whether you’re workamping for a season or longer, taking a long, scrutinizing look at the nearby towns is a crucial step before making that commitment.
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.