I'm a U.S. citizen with a remote job; as long as I have my laptop, power, and an internet connection, I can go anywhere. I want to make this happen within the continental United States - I'm not sure whether I want to try to visit all 50 states, or do the state capitals thing, or what, but I know that I'm tired of stagnating in one place - I'm bored, and travel will address that.

I have an idea to take my car and just drive to different places, taking my job with me and rooming wherever I can find it. Although this is feasible, costs add up over time (even at cheap motels) and I'm trying to find a way to minimize this type of cost in the general sense. (This means that at times, I could stay at hotels, motels, etc, but it wouldn't be a habit.)

A friend of mine suggested national parks, and state parks might also be an option. I'd really just need camping gear.

The last option would just be to sleep in my car, which would honestly suck, but would work.

I want your opinions and expertise. Has anyone on here had experience doing this? Are there any options I've forgotten in order to accomplish a somewhat nomadic lifestyle in the continental U.S.?

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    Kinda difficult to get Wi-Fi in the middle of the woods... – Karlson Oct 22 '13 at 15:39
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    That is a very vague question. You listed most options and subsequent problems. Now, deciding whether any of them is acceptable or cool is not our role. We will not live in your car nor in cheap motels all over usa, but you will, so you decide. I seriously do not see any valid question here. You can read the existing questions on that topic: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/20402/… travel.stackexchange.com/questions/14082/… – Vince Oct 22 '13 at 15:39
  • @Vince Thanks for your reply. I'm not looking for validation - I'm looking for any options that I may have overlooked. I'll definitely make the final decision, but I'd like to be as educated as possible, which means considering all of the options (especially the ones I've missed). – lunchmeat317 Oct 22 '13 at 16:04
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    Ok sure, then change your questinos to "Are there any other options I forgot?". You are asking "What's the best way?" which is completely different. – Vince Oct 22 '13 at 16:05
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    This is a really great topic but, unfortunately, it's not a good question for Stack Exchange in its current form since it's a general discussion question. If we had our blog going that might be one place for it, the chat room is another idea since some of us regulars are often there too. Otherwise each time you think up a specific and objective question on this theme that would have "one right answer" post a question here about each one. – hippietrail Oct 23 '13 at 9:25


  1. National Parks will allow you to stay up to 14 days consecutively, at which point you must move on. BLM land, on the other hand, such as around Quartzsite, AZ can be done up to 9 months. An RV would be very, very useful here. You can boondock for free.
  2. Legal Nomads and Tim Ferris both recommend renting accomodation for a few months at a time, using Craigslist as a resource. This may optimize your tradeoff.
  3. Don't forget local parks and local churches. Many will allow travellers to stay for the night, and indeed the Trans-America Trail even has spots marked out.
  4. Local WalMarts and other big box stores will let you boondock for a night, maybe two. It's not a long-term thing, however.

If you need additional work, plus a place to stay

  1. Many campsites need camphosts. Tey will let you stay in a place for free, in exchange for light duties around the site.

  2. Many volunteer opportunities exist that will give you a place to stay. Church camps, Peace Corps, Teach for America - travel opportunities exist.

  3. Becoming a Truck Driver may give you the road freedom, a place to stay, and some income. That said, if your real source of income is IT, the schedules may be a bit too tight to accommodate.
  4. In cities, Homeless Shelters sometimes take in volunteers to stay the night with the residents. Local churches may do the same.

More generally

As to actually living the nomadic life, its something I keep dreaming about researching, and the overall consensus seems to be that an RV will let you do what you want in this regard. For the last several years, I've been following RV Dreams in particular, as the two people who run it post their daily experiences and their finances. Its not a trade-off free environment, but there seems to be much to recommend it.

Income on the Road is readily available - IT work is usually the best, although Workamping can earn you minimum wage and a place to stay, if you don't have other skills. Beyond that, there is a whole internet segment dedicated to Digital Nomads

Additionally, this book by some guy named 'Tynan' talks about easing into the nomadic lifestyle. He covers much of the same ground, saying an RV is your ticket to freedom. His book tends to be a bit more preachy on the exhortative side, but he covers the subject fairly well.

One major caveat - and this from a guy whose been struggling not to jump in for the last four years - it's a major lifestyle change. I'm 41, in the process of trying to get divorced but still take care of his kids, and oddly enough, financially stable enough to swing this. When my divorce is complete, I will have more than enough money to not work again. This is an amazingly tempting idea. But you know, the reality of leaving corporate America is scary in and of itself. If you're young, it might be perfect. If you're old, it might be exhilarating. And, from what I've read, it might even be doable :)

Just don't forget its every bit as much mental as it is physical and financial.

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    Truck drivers generally work to a tight and demanding schedule, which won't leave a lot of room for your 'remote job'. Other than that, great answer. – DJClayworth Oct 22 '13 at 20:10
  • Truck drivers with their own trucks often have to look for the next load to deliver as soon as they drop the last one off. But trucks are not cheap ... – hippietrail Oct 23 '13 at 9:27

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