Two Solo Techs Balancing Work and Life on the Road

With age and experience comes an understanding that the only certainty in life, besides death and taxes, is change. Embracing the disruption isn’t easy, but solo RVers Marshall Wendler #115061 and Tyler Williams #146012 figured out how to make it work for them. At a relatively young age, these two solo Xscapers found a way through personal and professional turmoil, and today they’re living the dream life they wanted as digital nomads. 

Tyler Williams- Finding Balance in the High Tech Wild West

Two Solo Techs Balancing Work and Life on the Road 1The life of a tech worker can be as unpredictable as life itself. Two years ago, Tyler’s career and home life were turned upside down—twice in less than a week. He remembers the details vividly: On a Monday, his employer asked him to make a semi-permanent move to Amsterdam to oversee a major cloud computing contract. Excited about the career move, he immediately stored his possessions and terminated the lease on his home/office by Tuesday night. But by Thursday afternoon, the company announced that his project was on hiatus, only two days before Tyler’s flight departure. He literally had nowhere to sleep when the bomb fell, but instead of panicking, he leaped into his new RV life.

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“I’ve camped my whole life, from family camping in pop-up campers, to a school bus conversion my dad did in the 80s, to Boy Scouts, I’ve been around it,” he explains. Even under pressure for a place to live, finding his first rig came relatively easy. Within days Tyler was the owner of a used 1992 motorhome and the envy of his father, who had always wanted to RV full-time. Tyler’s new rig would be a place to continue his work from home job, and maybe even allow him to travel for fun instead of just work. The move was a no-brainer, but he decided to keep his nomadic metamorphosis from his employer.

“I wouldn’t tell work; I’d just keep working from ‘home’ until the Amsterdam trip happened,” said Tyler. “Two years later, a new RV and 15 states later, that trip isn’t a reality, but there is a potential it will still happen ‘sometime soon,’” he says with a laugh.

He didn’t know it then, but there was no need to conceal his new lifestyle from management. “I’m really good friends with my boss, and a few months later he found out about it. He was stoked, and super excited!” Other colleagues are equally as supportive and even envious about Tyler’s lifestyle choice.

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“Going into full-time RVing, I didn’t have many expectations, just to wait out the trip overseas! Since then, it’s evolved ever so much,” he explains. “Having the luxury to move my house, and have flexible plans has considerably opened my eyes to places I never imagined I’d go. Finding the right balance of free things and fun things helps to justify every morning waking up saying, ‘Where am I living today?’”

In the last year, Tyler has logged over 180,000 air miles for work. But being an Xscaper has still given his life the social boost that he wanted. From airport to campground and back again, somehow he finds a way to balance the two different worlds.

“My biggest challenge is that I still travel a lot for work internationally and domestically. And most often times there’s ample notice, but not always. It’s those times when you are in an unfamiliar place on the opposite side of the country that you have to figure out things like, Where do I store my RV? How long can I leave it unattended? How much am I going to waste in groceries in the fridge/freezer, etc.?”

As the lucky recipient of a lifetime membership with Thousand Trails, which his parents purchased in the 1980s, Tyler finds that the continuity between parks eases some of the uncertainties that accompany last-minute work travel. “They have been great. You know the people, the rules, the expectations; it’s remote enough and they always have storage when you need it.”

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But whether he’s lounging by the pool after work at some swanky Hawaii hotel or checking out a hipster hotspot in Amsterdam, the 34-year-old solo nomad always misses his home on wheels. “I absolutely get homesick from not being around my RV! I really like to think it misses me as much as I miss it when I’m traveling.”

 

Marshall Wendler- A Camp Addict with an Entrepreneurial Heart

Two Solo Techs Balancing Work and Life on the Road 5Thirteen years ago at age 34, Marshall Wendler bid farewell to traditional employment. Entrepreneurship was calling, and it was time for a change. With his wife fully supportive of the switch, the North Carolina website developer took a leap of faith, got what he wanted and more. But not all of it was good.

“My wife and I decided to try our hand at making money online since that seemed to be what all the cool kids were doing,” he recalls. From selling on eBay.com to affiliate marketing, the couple’s online businesses were a hit for a few years. Then, a major change in Google search engine policies had a negative impact on their income stream. After taking a temporary customer service job in the IT field to pay the bills, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon afterward, she died from it. 

“To make a long story short, my world got turned upside down,” he recalls. When the darkest days of his mourning subsided six months later, Marshall embraced the wanderlust in his soul. Two months later, he was on the road. “I’ve wanted to lead a nomadic lifestyle since I was in my early 20s. After I was widowed, I decided that if I didn’t become a nomad at this point in life, I might never do it.”

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Even after becoming a full-time RVer, he stayed at his “temporary” IT support job for another two unfulfilling years. Marshall ignored his entrepreneurial instinct until he met Xscaper Kelly Beasley #120701, a kindred spirit and solo RVer also searching for a sustainable income stream.

Almost immediately they formed a business partnership and combined their talents. After working on it for eight months, Kelly and Marshall’s first Internet venture wasn’t taking off as they had hoped. They regrouped to pinpoint a business that would, and five months later they launched CampAddict.com, an Internet resource for all things camping and RVing. Their hard work paid off, and today the website is going strong as their only source of income. Whether they’re traveling together or apart, Kelly and Marshall continue to work hard and play harder, living by example to share the RV lifestyle with others.

Of course, every business has daily challenges, and for a digital nomad, that often means finding reliable Internet service. “Connectivity is obviously a huge consideration and sometimes a point of pain,” says Marshall. “Running a website means that you always need access to the Internet. If I’m not creating content, I’m answering comments or updating the website. Connectivity is one of the biggest factors (if not the biggest) when it comes to deciding where to head next. No connectivity? I won’t be showing up there!”

Despite the occasional constraints of running a business from the road, Marshall manages to set up his home/office in killer destinations that cost little to no money. “I’m boondocking pretty darn close to 100 percent of the time and avoid commercial RV parks like the plague,” he explains. His meticulous expenses spreadsheet shows that in 2018 he paid on average a whopping $1.31 per night in camping fees, up from $.11 in 2017.

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Since joining Xscapers, he’s connected with more people like Tyler, those who appreciate the lifestyle and understand what it’s like to work remotely. “The Xscapers community makes it very easy to find your tribe and travel with people you enjoy spending time with, sometimes for weeks at a time.” Group get-togethers offer plenty of “shiny objects,” as he calls them, that compel him to get out more and socialize. “It’s all about the work-life balance that everyone loves to talk about. Having people around greatly helps with this. They ‘make’ me get off my butt and do stuff, whereas if I was by myself I’d be more apt to sit in front of the computer. So having a healthy network of people I enjoy spending time with is key to making sure I lead a balanced life.”

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Author

Rene Agredano

Rene and Jim are enjoying their 12th year as full-time RVers and location-independent entrepreneurs. Follow their travels at LiveWorkDream.com

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