People usually assume that I am the nurse, because gender typecasting, but once they figure out that I cannot identify their weird rash—they want to know what I do for work.
Here are 3 of the top ways that I’ve made money on the road:
1. SEO BLOGGING: Companies want their websites to show up on the first page of any google search, so they need to post the key words that you, the browser, search for. They also need to add content to their pages often, so the page appears active and up to date. That’s why they pay people like me to write consumer focused articles that are Search Engine Optimized (SEO).
You might recognize the format of this blog post from internet articles you’ve read. Quick intro, easy to skim list ( 3 signs you need lasik eye surgery, 5 items to pack in your carry on bag, 3 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY ON THE ROAD etc.) , and a summary. It’s predictable—which is no fun, but it’s good work because I can decided when and how often I’m on the job. This sort of writing is soulless and, I believe, makes the Internet a worse place. I am sorry.
2. OTHER WRITING: SEO blogging has helped me get a grasp on HTML, which I really enjoy. This has lead to other writing projects, like website copywriting. These projects are harder to predict, but they pay well.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to find pay for a few creative projects. This is much more gratifying than business copy. It feels like a lucky thing to get paid for writing, which is crazy. Writing well is a skill. People should be paid for their skills and artists are people too.
3. HOT AIR BALLOONING: Who cares about writing! The whole point of this post is to tell you that I am now a member of a hot air balloon flight crew! You. Heard. Right.
I met the pilot while playing tourist in Tucson. He off hand mentioned that some passengers become crewmembers, and I knew I had to pick up that rope. As a crewmember, I head out by 4:00 am to help them unfurl the balloon, attach all the proper lines, and set the balloon into the sky.
Then—the exciting part—I drive the chase vehicle! We bump along through the desert and around farm fields. We’ve gotten tangled up with mesquite trees, barbed wire fences, and angry (probably gun wielding) ranchers.
I like how heavy the balloon feels—it’s like a 340 lb. raincoat—not silky the way you would expect. I like how I have to fight to pull the balloon back to the ground. Hot air is strong and stubborn. Once the balloon is down, the other crewmembers and I “milk” out the hot air like we’re squeezing a 100 foot long tube of tooth paste. It is dusty, sweaty, unglamorous work, but it is the only job I’ve had that ends by 9:00 am with a glass of champagne.
I should reiterate that we lead a simple life. Writing, and hot air ballooning are not going to pay down my student debt. Have we mentioned we have some student debt?
I’m a modern lady and I’m accustomed to keeping my own finances, so the travel lifestyle was a big shift for me. It’s hard to say goodbye to a steady paycheck for a more volatile lifestyle, but the benefit of freelance/temp/side gig work comes when I get to say “yes” to chasing hot air balloons on Monday and hiking with friends on Tuesday. It can be a bit nerve wracking--but it can also be a lot of fun. I suspect the secret--which must be true of both anchored and itinerant life--is to seize the opportunities as they present themselves and continue to pursue your interests.