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Transportation Wireless Networking Technology

Taking Telecommuting To the Next Level - the RV 365

An anonymous reader writes "I have been telecommuting as a software architect for a major corporation since 2007. It has allowed me to live a quality rural lifestyle. Never content, am now considering living on the road for several years. Due to the proliferation of 4G and wireless hotspots, I see no reason I could not do this from a 5th-wheel trailer. Have any slashdotters truly cut the cord in this manner? Any advice or warnings?"
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Taking Telecommuting To the Next Level - the RV

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  • Tiny home instead? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Monday September 03, 2012 @08:16AM (#41212219) Journal

    Maybe consider half way between a house & RV. Better when in cold climates. []

  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Monday September 03, 2012 @08:23AM (#41212263) Homepage Journal

    Wow. TFA says 8.9 million American households that have RVs, about a half-million live full-time on the road.
    And the National Multi Housing Council [] site I found says there are a total of 118M households in all.
    So 7.5% of all households own RVs? And 0.4% live on the road? I had no idea such a huge percentage was doing this.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday September 03, 2012 @08:45AM (#41212367)
    A number of permanent RVers or "fulltimers" are residents of South Dakota. The state doesn't require a physical pressure except once every few years to get the driver's license renewed. They get around the permanent mailbox problem by setting up mail forwarding from a permanent address in that state.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2012 @09:15AM (#41212499)

    I work for a consulting firm so I'm either on-site with a client or sitting at home with my laptop writing reports and managing the rest of my team and I cut the cord last year.

    I spent last winter living off the back of my motorcycle in the southwestern US, usually spent my nights in a tent but I would retreat to the occasional hotel room when the weather threatened. If I can do it on a bike you can do it in an RV. I carried a small inverter to keep my laptop charged and powered everything else directly off the bike. Between 3G tethering through my iPhone and WiFi wherever I could find it (hint: due to Mormon sensibilities there are no Starbucks in southern Utah, look for a Subway) I was able to stay online. The "Coverage?" app for iPhone really helped when I needed to find a signal (I'm sure there's something similar available for Android) and I got online in some crazy places (try Googling "Muley Point" or "Dry Fork Coyote Gulch"). I got a small storage unit in Las Vegas for $30/mo where I would keep a suitcase full of "work clothes" for when I had to fly out to a client meeting (something you wouldn't have to worry about in an RV) and as a convenient/cheap/enclosed spot to park the bike while I was away.

    The bike is currently stashed in the storage unit and I'm now living on a 41' sailboat (the RV of the seas). I've set it up with a 4G hotspot and some big cell/WiFi antennas so I can get service offshore. Currently located in Manhasset Bay at the western end of Long Island Sound, sailing down the East River later today to tie up in NYC for a month or so.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Monday September 03, 2012 @09:46AM (#41212641)

    I was working remotely as a sysadmin for a small US telco. Back then 3G coverage wasn't great, but it was there. I traveled constantly, and worked from my laptop. Sometimes, I just cheated a bit with presence on my phone (IM Client), when bringing my laptop somewhere wasn't an option. I didn't go for driving though, I took planes, trains, buses, boats, and every other form of public transportation available. I stayed in cheap hotels. That went on for ~2 years. I had the time of my life, and my employer at the time never noticed I left my house. Go for it, but take into account if you go for the RV, driving is a full time job in itself, and you can't drive and code (or whatever it is you do). You will travel far less than you might expect. Cheap hotels and public transportation, OTOH, allow you to fall asleep at night on a plane, and magically wake up the next in a completely different place. You get used to sleeping on the go. I'd say go for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2012 @09:46AM (#41212647)

    Greetings! Yes, this sort of lifestyle is totally possible! Several words for it include: Technomad, Digital Nomad, Location Independent Professional, NuRVer, etc. We're currently in our late 30s, are both software developers and have been on the road working remotely full time in an RV since 2006.

    We started out first in a tiny 16' teardrop trailer, then a 17' fiberglass egg trailer and now a 35' vintage bus conversion. All of our homes on wheels have been geeked out with electronics, wireless internet options and solar panels. Our bus currently even has a lithium ion phosphate battery bank to power everything.

    4G is definitely making things easier and easier. When we hit the road, finding a solid 2G signal was a struggle,and 3G was just starting to roll out - and even that was workable. More and more RV parks are also installing reliable WiFi networks, and there is WiFi boosting equipment that makes it easier to pick a signal. For cellular, we like a combination of the Verizon & AT&T footprint for keeping online in most places. We purchase our Verizon through bulk reseller - where we can buy 20GB/mo of 4G service for just $69.99 with no contract. For AT&T, we just tether off our smartphones when needed. We also have a cellular amplification system on our roof that helps us boost up a weak signal. We carry an internet satellite dish for when we're somewhere without other options.

    We blog about life on the road, particularly the tech aspect of it at:

    Of particular interest, you might enjoy:

    Our series going over a lot of the logistics:
    Our mobile internet setup:

    And if you're considering this lifestyle, recommend joining a bunch of us doing it at: (the couple profiled in the article you linked to are members there as well). Many of us rendezvous on the road and co-work & socialize from amazing places.

    Best wishes.. and if there are any questions you have, please feel free to be in touch!
      - Cherie & Chris /

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday September 03, 2012 @09:56AM (#41212711)

    I went to a cabin in northern Minnesota this was on a lake, nice, peaceful and a perfect place for me to cell coverage and certainly no internet access.

    As a Minnesotan whose dream is to own a waterfront cabin (few Minnesotans don't) and work for three months every year from the cabin with the kiddos running around and playing, I have found plenty of areas in rural Minnesota with excellent wireless and wired connections. In fact, we stayed at a cabin in rural Western MN this summer for a week and I had no problems using the neighbors DSL connection (with permission) to VPN in and do my work when needed (yay for reduced PTO usage while the kids napped). In addition I had a VZW mifi with me for a backup and had 4G connectivity there and found it faster than the metro area.

    We were scouting a VERY INEXPENSIVE cabin ($16,000) on Pelican Lake in Orr, MN (way far north) and found that because it was close enough to the main "highway" running North/South, there was adequate 3G service. There was also 4000/2000 DSL available as well. Believe me, I considered dropping the cash right then and there.

    Obviously, YMMV.

  • Re:Showers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday September 03, 2012 @12:25PM (#41213917)

    Most good RV's have showers. heck mine has a full bathroom and a queen sized real bed in a bedroom.

    I wonder, just for the heck of it, how does the carbon footprint of an RV "liver of life on the road" stack up against your average city dweller.

    Probably much higher than an average city dweller that lives in a small condo or apartment, but maybe not much worse than a suburban dweller that lives in a 2000 sq foot house on an acre of land.

    Living my life in short periods at campgrounds punctuated by endless periods driving 60' of steel on tollways does not really appeal to me,
    but I can see how it might appeal to some. I prefer a home, a spot on the map that is me.

    Most full-time RVers I know have the opposite lifestyle - long stretches in a campground with relatively short stints of being on the road - with no particular destination or timeline (except migrating south to avoid harsh winter weather), there's no need to drive endless miles on the highway.

    Oh, and there's not much steel in an RV, I saw the aftermath of a rollover accident and there was a hundred feet of aluminum siding, wood and personal effects, but about the only thing left intact was the steel framed floor. It was a windy day, the driver overcorrected after the RV swayed off the road, and it ended up tipping over and down a hill. Not sure how he escaped having his towing vehicle dragged along with it, something must have snapped.

    A backyard and a front porch from which to watch the universe revolve around me.

    With an RV you can have a nice porch that looks out onto a variety of different scenery (or the RV next door depending on how cramped the campground is)

  • Re:Showers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:35PM (#41214593)

    They are part of the natural environment. Human efforts to eradicate species in places doesn't determine whether they're natural. Neither does the length of time they've been part of an environment.

    Note that I am not loading "natural" with any kind of value judgement.

    You talk a lot about "natural" without saying what you mean -- many people don't count a species that's been transplanted 5000 miles from its normal habitat by humans to be "natural" -- especially when it is killing native species that haven't adapted to its presence, and has few native predators here.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss