Seasonal and Remote Work in the Midwest

Back in the day, the American dream was a two-bed, two-bath house with a white picket fence and a pension. Today, a growing number of Americans are giving up that two-bed starter home in favor of living a more mobile life. Data from 2016 says that as many as one million Americans now live in RVs, trading in the 9-5 and backyard in favor of the open road.

These so-called ‘modern nomads’ each have their own reasons for condensing their lives into a space of a few hundred square feet. Some do so because the cost of living forces them to, but others are embracing a different kind of American Dream: the kind where their backyard might be Grand Canyon National Park and their job could change seasonally. Getting out of the city not only adds excitement back into their lives but improves their mental health.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be retired or self-funded, you still need a source of income to support your lifestyle. Many people rely on gig work, but it’s helpful to know what kinds of jobs are available to you before you leave. We’re covering life on the road for RVers living in or traveling around the midwest.

Living on the Road: Is It Possible?

Let’s start with the big question: are people really happy living in an RV — can you survive the tough seasons when they bring serious heat and plunging temperatures? The answer is yes, people are happy with this lifestyle choice, but people have different levels of tolerance. It’s important to give it a test-run before you sell your house and all your stuff.

You will soon find that your choice to live and work from your RV will impact more of your daily choices than you first realized. You’ll need to learn to track your budget, particularly if you rely exclusively on seasonal or gig work. What’s more, you’ll find that everything you buy needs to serve a dual-purpose: you have far less house than before but you still need your own version of the ‘essentials.’

RV-ers say that one of the most important parts of learning to embrace life on the move is knowing how to pick the right campsite. Selecting a campsite is a skill that improves over time, but sharpening it is important because the campsites’ location, amenities, and general tone can make your time there worth every minute or could send you peeling off down the highway.

A Seasonal Roadmap of the Midwest

Many of the seasonal jobs in the Midwest revolve around agriculture. The region’s climate and growing season mean that farms and agricultural centers are flat-out with work for only a few months a year and at rest (or preparing) for the vast majority of it. When the growing and harvesting seasons arrive, it’s all hands on deck.

If you love the idea of being outside and working with your hands, then there’s no shortage of farm and ranch jobs available to you throughout the region. You can find these both online and by asking around locally. A few of the job resources include:

  • MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service)

Keep in mind that farming involves a significant number of skills, and some employers will look for a certain level of experience. Additionally, remember that you’ll need to work in all weather conditions.

Other seasonal jobs available in the midwest (and the rest of the country) include jobs like:

Retail is popular among people who travel year-round. Amazon even has a program recruiting people who live in RVs for help during peak seasons.

Remember that you can also tune into other resources dedicated to the upwardly mobile, including Facebook groups or the Workamper newsletter.

How to Work a Full-Time Job from Your RV

While some people embrace the gig life, it doesn’t suit everyone. The physical element associated with most seasonal jobs means these positions often exclude those with disabilities, including invisible disabilities. You might even find that you love your current job, but you just want to do it from somewhere else.

The good news is that you can work full-time and travel in your RV. While you won’t have a wired wi-fi connection, you can find cellphone services that dominate the Midwest region, which means you can work just about anywhere. You just need to find a remote job, and they’re increasingly easier to come by.

Some of the most common remote job titles include:

  • Writers
  • Accountants
  • Account managers
  • Engineers
  • Consultants
  • Project managers
  • Customer service

If you work in data, you’re also more likely to find a job in your field. Data entry and even data scientist positions are increasingly available both because they cater to remote work trends and because almost all data-related positions are on an upward trend, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nomadism is at the heart of the American dream: the option to go where you want to find work and happiness is important. It’s also never been easier than it is today. The road is open and the world is your oyster — all you need is four wheels and an internet connection.

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Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and wilderness enthusiast. When she's not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the mountains on her ATV.

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