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What We Do For Money

by Adam Doolittle
What We Do For Money

In a lot of ways, it seems like it was just yesterday. I was sitting in my grade 10 Careers class, probably goofing off and not really paying attention when I heard my teacher Ms. Bennington say something like, “…on average most adults go through 7 different career changes during their life.” That was probably the only thing she said during that entire course that really stuck with me. To me, I thought it was crazy that most adults would change jobs 7 times. I always thought that the goal was to find that one perfect job and stick at it until your 65. My dad worked the same job from when he was young until he retired. My mom has only changed jobs once that I can remember. You can see why changing careers 7 times seemed ridiculous to me. Now that I’m about to turn 30 and I am roughly 10 years into my adulthood I can actually say that Ms. Bennington was probably right. Teachers are always right, though, aren’t they?

Careers #1-3

After graduating college for radio broadcasting, I worked for almost 10 years in the industry. Throughout that time, I changed jobs and moved 3 times. At first, radio was exciting and fun. However, as time continued, working in radio took its toll on me. It had become and continues to be a 24/7 job – especially if you want to advance and have any chance of making a livable salary. The burn out factor in radio is huge. I know a lot of young broadcasters that worked in the industry only to leave it a couple years later. When I was let go from my job in the spring of 2015 I knew I was done. I didn’t want to be in radio anymore. Career change #4 was on its way.

Career #4 & #5

For about 8 months I worked for a telecommunications company doing data entry. The job was fine and paid the bills but I knew that it wasn’t going to be a career and that I would have to figure out Career #5. It was while working at this job that I determined that being a full-time RVer would be Career #5. Yes – being a full-time RVer doesn’t pay the bills. We still have to work different jobs to maintain this lifestyle. However, when people ask me now, “what do you do?” I answer with, “I full-time RV,” rather than “I work in radio” or something else that has to do with work.

When I tell people that we full-time RV, they have one of two reactions. They either say, “That’s awesome! Good for you,” or they ask, “But how do you make money?” When we first decided to full-time RV we had to decide exactly how we would make money to pay for this amazing lifestyle. The fantastic part about this lifestyle is that it can be done relatively cheaply. Our largest bill at this point is my cell phone bill. Because we don’t constantly move around, we don’t’ have to worry about constantly fueling up a large rig. We also Workamp at Jellystone PEI which takes care of our site fees.

Since our expenses are minimal, we don’t have to stress about having high paying careers to pay for the common expenses that most common households have. This change has really allowed us to escape the stress of an everyday job. We also don’t have to work 40 hours a week if we don’t want to. If we both worked 20 hours a week, we’d be more than OK financially.

What Adam’s Been Doing For Money

It was almost a year ago when both Kate and I really decided that we didn’t want to continue working at our current job for a long period of time. One of the things that we discussed was that we wanted to be back, living closer to the ocean. We talked about moving back to Prince Edward Island after living there from 2010-2012. After deciding that, we both started looking hard and fast for jobs on the Island.

One afternoon, Kate found a good paying job opportunity working for the Government of Canada in Summerside. After she applied, she urged me to apply as well. That was August. By November, we were contacted by email asking us to drive to the Island for testing. After completing the testing, we were notified by mail that we had both tested extremely well. This set up well for us in regards to getting the positions. However, months would pass and we heard nothing and we basically moved on. In fact, that was the time when we actually decided to full-time RV.

Then during the afternoon of February 15th, many, many months after first applying for the job, I was contacted and a job was offered to me. Then I had to make the decision of whether or not to take it. Of course, we had decided that we were going to be full-time RVing and in doing so, I was unsure if I wanted to work a 40 hour work week. After weighing out the pros and cons, I determined that it would be a good opportunity. Both because it would allow us to save up some money for the journey and it would also be a good addition to the resume should full-time RVing not work out.

On March 29th, I started working for the Government of Canada. I won’t go into details on what I was exactly doing, but it turned out to be one of the most satisfying jobs I could ever imagine having. I was hired on a contract for just over 3 months and in that 3 months, I learned a lot of different things.

The one thing that I learned working for the Government of Canada is that they have their procedures and you follow them. That’s the job. It’s a black and white world. Sure, there are some open interpretations of the procedures, but for the most part, when I would go to work, I knew exactly what I would be doing from the start of the day until the end of the day. To some, that may sound boring, but I can assure you that after working in radio, it was actually kind of refreshing.

Working in radio is a very gray world; completely the opposite of working for the government. There’s no guidebook on how to do radio. Radio is done differently from station to station and market to market. Once you think you’ve got something figured out, you’re then told that things have changed and to do it differently. There’s also an incredible amount of creativity involved in radio which is a great thing. The downside is that being creative 24/7 can be very exhausting. In addition to that, having creative differences with multiple members of staff can be stressful at times.

The other thing that I really liked about working for the government was that the workload was for the most part completely independent. I ordered work and when it came, I would work on it until it was completed. There was teamwork involved but it was to help each other answer questions rather than coming up with ideas/solutions together. There was never a moment where I would be upset with another co-worker or vice versa. As a group, we got along fantastically and I met some amazing friends while working there. These are friends that can easily be lifelong friends and I only got to know them in the span of 3.5 months. Throughout the 10 years of working in radio, I maybe have a handful of people that I still keep in somewhat regular contact with.

Don’t get me wrong, working in radio was rewarding at times, but working for the government really opened my eyes. Not once did I leave work at the end of the day stressed. Not once did I have to continue working from home. Not once did I have to work on the weekend. Not once did I dream about my job. To me, it was perfect, especially for this new lifestyle of ours that is meant to be as free of stress as often as possible.

What Kate’s Been Doing For Money

The following has been written by Kate

130/78. That’s my latest number. It’s for my blood pressure. The stress that I allowed myself to feel in my former career was slowly killing me. My number used to be 156/95. That was the highest reading I ever had. My head hurt and I could feel a heat in my eyes. I’m not sure if that describes it properly, but that is how it felt. My eyes were actually hot.

I wore a high blood pressure cuff for 24 hours to get properly diagnosed. My highest readings were between 9am and 5pm. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the cause of those high readings. I took a medication that my doctor at the time called “alarming” for someone my age. My doctor actually asked me if I would consider another career. At that time, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

130/78 is my number now. I’ve lost some weight. I’m not stressed out. I only take ½ of a blood pressure pill now and by the end of the year, I should be able to get completely off the medication. In the end, it was all because I said goodbye to my 20-year career working in radio.

Like Adam, when we decided to become full-time RVers I had to decide how I would make money to pay for our adventures. The decision was quite an easy one for me. For the past 4 months, I have been working as a server. I started off at a bakery/restaurant working 3 days a week in May. I waited on tables, ran the cash, scooped ice cream, bagged cookies and cinnamon rolls, and cleaned. It was super busy. The money was ok but I did find myself wanting more hours so I started searching for a serving job that offered 5 days a week.

In late spring, I met a woman named Gay Nichols. She had bought a restaurant in Summerside called Sharky’s. She is from England and had previously owned a restaurant in Antigua. I was the first server that Gay hired for her restaurant which was scheduled to open up for the tourist season in June.

When I first started working at Sharky’s (before it opened), Gay had kept trying to get me to do some of the jobs that are considered “management jobs” and I resisted. In my heart, I knew that I didn’t want that added stress. We did work it out that I would schedule the servers and myself and another server would take turns doing the orders for liquor and other supplies. It’s worked out quite well.

The past 4 months have taught me that I do not want a job that I bring home at night. As soon as I walk out the door, I no longer think about work aside from telling Adam about my day. For the past 20 years, I brought my work home with me almost every night. I brought it with me on vacation. I would worry about the slightest email or text. Serving can be stressful at times, but it isn’t a constant source of steady worry. I truly do have fun at my job and I get to meet lots of amazing people. Plus, the money is good, I am learning something every day, and this is a job that I can do anywhere in Canada.

Here is a list of 5 things I love about serving.

  • I love when people love their food. I love food, so I feel that I am bonding with the customer when I can see how much they enjoy their food. It’s kind of like when I used to bond with the listeners about music that we both loved.
  • I love walking and being active in my workday. I no longer sit for 8 -10 hours a day. Now, I am walking for up to 9 hours a day. This is actually a love/hate issue because my feet kill me at the end of the day but I don’t care because I worked out all day. I’ve lost 15lbs since starting as a server and I still eat a lot of ice cream and Ah Caramels.
  • Tips. I think that is pretty self-explanatory.
  • When people listen to me rave about a desert and buy it. It’s an up sale win for me and the restaurant. Trust me, though, I never lie about the desert. I love deserts so I make sure I try it before I sell it. For example, on a Sunday afternoon, I sold an entire pan of Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp. I ate a piece for lunch and told every customer that it was a MUST try. Plus, I will warm it up for you and serve it with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  • Helping people. Helping customers find the perfect dish for them on the menu or helping them find their hotel, bringing their pet water out on the deck, or just going the extra mile and having people sincerely thank me is truly rewarding.

What We’ll Do For Money In The Future

The future for us is in Vancouver Island. That much we know. What we’ll do for money is completely up in the air but that’s ok. Starting in September, we’ll start looking at job boards to see if there’s anything interesting worth applying for. Kate will more than likely find a serving position. She’s been told by various customers this summer that she’ll have no problem doing well financially working as a server on Vancouver Island.

As for me, well…I have no idea what I will do and you know what, I’m not at all that worried about it. I could work at a grocery store like I did when I was 15. As long as it gives us some money and doesn’t cause any unnecessary stress, count me in.

In the future, I would love it if one or both of us could become self-sufficient with how we earn money. There are a tremendous amount of ways to make money these days thanks to technology, even if you’re nomads like us. In doing so, this would allow us a lot more flexibility in where we can go on our journey.

Kate’s also been working on a special project of her own. She has written a book which could be a source of future income. However, she hasn’t touched it since we moved to PEI. Her book is in its first draft and she’s actually a bit nervous about sharing it with other people, which I get. I haven’t read the book yet, but I know from what she’s told me, that it could shock some people which is likely why she’s been holding it back a bit.

Amazon

We’re also currently set up as an Amazon Affiliate. Basically, if you see us mention a product that we like anywhere on the website that is linked to Amazon and you purchase that product, we get a small commission from that. We haven’t put a lot of effort into this yet but will be in the future as there are plenty of bloggers who do really well just through Amazon. If you order from Amazon, we’d love it if you’d use our link by clicking here. Bookmark it and use it anytime you order through Amazon and it’ll help continue to fund our adventures which we really, really appreciate.

Here we are at Career #5 – Full-Time RVer. Will we make it to 7 different careers like Ms. Bennington predicted all the way back in that grade 10 Careers class? Time will tell, but for now, it’s hard to imagine wanting to move on from this fantastic but rare career choice.

 

How many different careers have you had? Do you work from home or the road? If so, what do you do?

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7 comments

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Leila Crawford August 10, 2016 - 9:13 pm

Wonderful blog written about the two of you, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Very interesting and informative and of course I wish you the best of everything every day of your lives. Take care my friends and talk soon!!!!

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Leila Crawford August 10, 2016 - 9:13 pm

My comment is above!!!!

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Erica De Serranno August 18, 2016 - 8:21 pm

Kate has always been such an outstanding friend! I’m amazed at your stories at the same time I’m not. I always knew you would go places and see more than me! Your and Adams life is an inspiration.

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Kate McCallum August 18, 2016 - 8:56 pm

Thanks Erica! Can’t wait to see you in September!

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Joe February 16, 2017 - 4:30 pm

First of all, your blog is a nice read. Thumbs up. I´ve been busy reading since I stumbled across this blog, looking for information about full-time RVing in Canada. Being from Germany and waiting for my permanent resident for Canada to be approved I was wondering if this kind of living would be my “career #5” as well.

Please allow some questions:
– Some websites claim that full-Time RVing in Canada is much more difficult compared to the U.S. since Canadians are required to have at least a registered address for mail. Is that right? Do you have still a registered postal address in place and who cares of it?
– How about health insurance? As a newcomer to Canada I was told not to stay longer than a certain amount of time outside the province where your health insurance is granted in order to ensure that you continue to have coverage.
– How would you consider full-time RVing with teen? After all our school experiences in Germany (fast paced, unnerving high pressure, mobbing) I was thinking about homeschooling- would you recommend this?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Adam Doolittle February 19, 2017 - 4:31 pm

Hi Joe, thanks for reading. We’re glad you were able to find it informative. To answer your questions…
-Yes, full-time RVing in Canada is more difficult than the U.S. but still it’s quite possible. We forward our mail from one address to the next as we move so that hasn’t been too big of an issue.
-The health insurance thing depends on the province. We’ve heard that you basically have to stay for a certain period of time each year in that province to maintain your healthcare but this depends on your province and can also be worked around.
-As for full-timing with a teen, it’s more than possible. There are plenty of full-timing families out there who homeschool and live a life on the road.

We hope this somewhat answers your questions.

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Steve Harvey May 15, 2018 - 9:32 am

Hi Guys, I’m happy that I found your site. I too worked in radio for 11 years combined, in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. My last radio gig was at CJRW in Summerside. I was the “broadcast engineer” that transformed CJRW from an AM station to C102 Spud FM. Ever since I was a kid, I loved radio. I wanted to be a “DJ” just like Wolfman Jack and of course Dr. Johnny Fever. I also became interested in the technical side of radio when I was very young – 4 or 5-ish. I needed to know where the little man inside the box was. Ah but I digress. I would still be working in radio today if it paid better. I’ve had several jobs before radio and after but despite the relatively low pay, it was my favorite “job”. Eventually, I signed up to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force and begin my career. This is what I have been doing for the past 19 years. With retirement for me a short 6 years away (2024), and my wife, who has just retired (medically) from the RCAF due to injuries she received while on tour in Afghanistan, we are seriously considering living full-time in our 5th wheel. For us, having moved around a lot for the military, we start to get anxious if we stay in one place too long. We have purchased what we thought would be our retirement home but after only 2 years of living in it, we are getting anxious for the next adventure. Don’t get me wrong, we love our home – 3 beautiful landscaped acres in the countryside with great neighbours, but we just can’t seem to “sit still”. We were posted to CFB Esquimalt in Victoria and fell in love with Vancouver Island. When we start living the nomad life, if we are not “down south” for the winters we will probably be on the island. We are watching your BLOG/Site and enjoying your articles and stories and who knows, if you are still on the road when we begin, maybe we can connect and talk old “war stories” about the radio days.

Cheers,

Steve and Mireille

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