Where Could My Office be?
An interview with Van Lifers Emily and Corey from ‘Where’s my Office Now?’
Corey, Emily and Penny Rose are a couple and dog who have been roaming the wild open spaces of America for the last three years, in their 1987 VW Vanagon Westfalia named Borscha. Over that time they have traveled over 60,000 miles around 46 states. They have funded their travels through Emily’s work as a freelance web developer. They set out on their journey with a question;
‘Is it possible to live an adventurous nomadic lifestyle and work remotely?’
Along the way, they have not only proved to themselves that they can, but they have inspired many others (including myself) to go out in search of a new way to work and a new way to live. Whether that be in a van or simply living out of a rucksack, Emily and Corey have been providing invaluable knowledge of their experiences along the road in the form of their blog. They also set out with fellow Van-lifers Idle Theory Bus to create an online video series about the lives of Modern Nomads living and working remotely from their Vans and RV’s. The series has been viewed over by tens of thousands of you-tubers looking to see what real #Vanlife is like when the glossy Instagram filters are stripped away and the people, passions and disasters are revealed.
I bet every day is different in a van, you might be changing locations all the time, but do you have a morning routine you usually stick to, to kick start your day?
We love having a morning routine. It helps ground us in our lifestyle of movement. The more we stick to it, the better we feel. Typically, I get up and take Penny for a wander, while Corey gets up and makes coffee with coconut oil and breakfast. I come back and practice yoga and journal. Corey may join in on yoga. Then we eat together and move on with our day.
What does a typical day in the van look like?
Honestly, it's all over the place. Sometimes we are in cities, sometimes National Forest, and sometimes driving. Our optimal day consists of minimal or no driving, yoga, mountain biking or surfing, photography, and hanging out around a campfire in the evening with friends under a starry sky.
As a digital nomad, how do you keep yourself motivated to get your work done on the road?
Honestly, this is something I've personally struggled with. I've had a hard time being in front of the computer and managing the stress of a work-play balance as we travel. It helps to have good time management skills, as does remembering to be grateful for the life we get to live!
What are the main benefits of working from your Van?
We can be anywhere! Our office has ever changing views and when we need a break from the inter web we can step outside or hop in the ocean. There is never a dull moment.
What is the biggest pain in the ass about working from your Van?
Aside from the enticing outdoors that tugs my heart away from work often, the most challenging thing about working remotely in the van is consistent Wi-Fi connection. The places we most desire to be, like National Forest, typically do not have service, which limits how long we stay.
You guys have met and interviewed loads of different people living and working on the road during your online Modern Nomad series. What was the most unusual or interesting occupation you have come across during your travels?
In Sedona, AZ, we met a guy in a Vanagon who has a traveling knife sharpening business. He has a shop in his Vanagon and simply stops by restaurants and salons and offers to sharpen kniveson the spot. This is such a creative idea and goes to show that in a digital world, there still are other options when you think outside of the box!
So loads people are quitting their jobs to become a digital nomad, but do you think it is possible to just skip the office part? Do you think you need the grind of a regular 9-5 before to really appreciate work on the road?
We believe that everyone's path is unique to them and that skipping the office part is great if it works for the individual. Work is evolving because we are evolving. For some, yes, having been in a daily 9-5 grind will most certainly provoke feelings of gratitude. However, gratitude is an attitude that is cultivated regardless of background experience.
Any tips for newbies looking to redefine work for themselves? Is there anything you wish you had known before starting out?
Have a work plan! Understand your budget needs. Practice budget flexibility before hitting the road. Depending on your work situation, money may ebb and flow and our ability to adjust our budget according is a necessary skill for longevity on the road. Also, if you have no idea where to begin with redefining work, ask yourself what do you love to do, what does the world need, and how can you creatively merge your work with a nomadic life? For us, it is still evolving. And go for it. Commit. If it's in your heart, find a way to make it happen. :)
A Thank You, If you have ever had the opportunity to meet or talk to someone you really admire, whether that be a Leonardo DiCaprio (still holding out for that one) or your 'Vanlife Crush' (that's definitely a thing) you’ll understand the giddy feeling I felt when Emily agreed to answer a few questions for me. We’ve followed along the journey that Emily and Corey have documented of their time on the road and I do not doubt that without the inspiration, support and words of wisdom from pioneers like these guys, myself and Adam would have never taken the plunge to buy a van and plan for our own adventure. Thank you for what you do, from all that you inspire.
I wonder who has inspired you to try something different?