Make Money & Travel
Changing Lanes remote programmer
We recently started a new blog series where we interview various full-time travelers, sharing how they make money and travel. Our goal is to help inspire and educate others on the various ways to work remotely while living a nomadic lifestyle. If you’re new to our blog, we have been full time RVing for over two years. We support ourselves by investing in real estate; specifically in mortgage notes.
Today’s interview is with Chad and Tara (and their adorable dog Daisy) from Changing Lanes. Their story of becoming full time RV’ers is unique. Even though they had the ability to work remotely long before hitting the road as full time RV’ers it took a serious medical condition to inspire them to change lanes and transition into full time travel. Take a look to see how they are able to make money and travel.
Tell us your story! What made you want to take the leap to full time rving?
It actually all started after Tara got extremely sick with chronic Lyme disease. She was stuck in the house on IV’s for about 9 months and watched a lot of travel shows on TV, including Big Time RV and Going RV. We started watching the shows together, and one day the idea of us full time RVing came to me. After all, I already worked a 100% telecommute job so it was really a matter of figuring out reliable internet. So I asked Tara “how would you feel about selling everything and traveling full time?” She loved the idea – and here we are now living as a full time RV’ers. While Tara is still sick, she now has her own bed with her anywhere and everywhere we go. On her good days, we get to explore all over the country. It’s definitely something that would not be possible in any other way and we LOVE it!
Tell us about your RV!
We have a 2018 Grand Design Momentum 397TH. It was our first ever RV and it’s 44’ long and 20,000lbs! We went all out and we’re still very happy without purchase. We’ve made a lot of mods to make it home, but it’s a labor of love for sure!
How are you able make money and travel?
My job (Chad) is a bit unique in that I created my own position. I’ve worked for a large global bank for about 18 years. In my original role, I did a lot of automation programming in shell and perl (computer systems). Even though we had lots of reporting tools, all of them sucked. So, I started writing our own data collection agents along with a front end database and UI (PHP). Other teams saw that we had good data and wanted their systems inventoried also. Word spread, and more and more teams wanted to use our system. Now the reporting system is a globally used platform with lots of tools collecting data from the custom agent I wrote as well as a dozen other databases to help manage about 200,000 servers globally (yes, it’s a BIG bank – LOL). We now have about 5 people (including myself) that manage this tool’s infrastructure and do ongoing development primarily in PHP, MySQL, MSSQL, and Perl. Our positions started to test telecommuting a day a week, then 2, 3 etc. about 10 years ago and gradually morphed into full telecommute about 8 years ago.
In addition to my income/job, we also make money from our Youtube Channel “Changing Lanes“. We get paid through google ad-sense and affiliate marketing. It’s not enough to pay the bills yet, but we hope to make our primary income someday. Tara handles all of our youtube editing, uploading, and optimizing!
What was it like asking your boss to rv full time?
Since my job (Chad) was already 100% remote, I still have my 9-5 job as well as the benefit that’s come with a normal “day job” such as insurance, etc. So, it really came down to asking my boss if we could give it a try from an RV. We decided if we couldn’t make it work (internet, etc) then we would come back to our home area till we got it working, or I would try to find a job with more flexibility. Luckily, our internet setup has been super solid for over a year and a half and across 15,000 miles and over 60 campsites.
what does a typical “day in the office” look like for you and What do you actually do in your line of work?
I do programming and Tara does our editing for Changing Lanes. We both sit in front of a computer all day but we don’t mind. We turned our garage into a remote office, and it’s really nice to have an area that gives us enough space to work with some pretty awesome views!
what piece of advice can you give to our readers who want to rv full-time and work remotely?
Learn as much as you can ahead of time about RVing and give yourself at least a year to make the transition (downsize, study, plan, rv shop). You don’t know what you don’t know, so look at as many RVs as possible and learn as much as you can. Also make sure you know what your expenses will be and that you have solid income. Our biggest expense currently is RV parks. We weren’t exactly frugal in that department in our first year. We are boondocking more this year to try to keep our costs around $30/night on average.
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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