Getting Jobs while Traveling: The Perks of Bus Life
Hey everyone! Welcome to our Bus Life Adventure.
Let’s have a little chat about working for yourself, working for someone else, and what kind’s of things you want to keep in mind while you are looking for work.
The way I see it, if you’re getting a job and working for someone else, accept the job that pays decently well AND comes with great benefits and perks. You are trading your lifetime in for a couple bucks an hour, make it worth your time and energy! Don’t spend your life on things you don’t want to do, and don’t just do it for the money.
In high school I worked at my parent’s office, because it was close to home and with familiar people. In college I worked at a movie theater to watch free movies, eat unlimited popcorn and left over hot dogs and candy. Then I worked for several airlines for the free and heavily discounted flight benefits, also for the great healthcare.
The handful of jobs in-between which I was working simply for money never worked out for long. If it’s not your passion, and you simply show up to earn money with no other benefits, it’s difficult to give it your all. If your hearts not in it, you won’t win it.
My life-time is more precious than any dead end, only for money job. I want more out of work and life!
Dinner in the Big Blue Bus
Mary and I were sitting at the dining table, sampling the variety of tacos, cheese dip, salsa and guacamole which she brought home after her shift at the Taquiera, her new second job.
“Dang! This one with the pulled pork and BBQ sauce is nice! I like the crispy onions.” I told Mary with my mouth full.
“I’m not too much a fan of this one, with the pineapple and pickled cabbage.” She replied.
“Dude! How sweet is this?! This is what Bus Life is all about! I love this!” I smiled at her.
With a thoughtful smile she told me “It’s the best home I’ve ever had”
“Remember living with that one lady? That place was disgusting.” I made a gross face towards Mary.
“And the sea cucumber apartment!” Mary replied back.
“Oh! And the place with 5 roommates, only 1 of which I ever saw!” she continued.
Nights like this are the reason why I am so glad that my wife moved onto the bus with me. I know where she is now, and that she is safe. When we were doing our long distance relationship, I always worried about her. I knew she was fine, but it was difficult not knowing where she was living without seeing it for myself, with transient owners in the other rooms. I am so overjoyed that we are together in our little bus home, able to share our meals together.
New Town, New Jobs
We have been in Florida for about a month, parking the Big Blue Bus in my friend’s driveway for the winter and spring. We worked out a deal with our friends to upkeep their second car while borrowing it for the time being. Packing up the bus everyday to drive it around town would be too much of a hassle, so we really lucked out to be able to park here and use their car.
The third day here, Mary went around the entire town, handing out her resume. Mostly Cafe’s, restaurant and managerial positions, since her resume is filled with 13 years of fine dining experience, management/supervisor positions, customer service/retail, as well as 6 years of specialty coffee training.
She walked into the Dunkin’ Donuts around the corner and they basically hired her on the spot, she had her first shift at 5 am the next morning. It was that easy to get a job.
She thought about working there in the morning and a restaurant job in the evening. You really can’t beat taking home cash money tips at both jobs.
My focus was on the perks - free coffee and doughnuts! What more could you want?!
Speaking of Coffee and Doughnuts
Mary absolutely loves coffee. I mean, LOVES coffee. LOVES LOVES LOVES! And I extremely love doughnuts.
It has been so wonderful to learn about and experience different coffee throughout our travels. French presses, pour overs, drip, black, creamy, latter art, cinnamon, vanilla, crema and whipped cream.
As far as life on the road is concerned, this is probably our all time favorite perk of living in a bus and traveling the country, the coffee!
I am satisfied with a large cup of Love’s or Race Track gas station coffee, while I do appreciate specialty coffee. Mary, however, has so much knowledge, passion and love for coffee, she only settles for the best. Otherwise it’s not worth her time or money. “Life is too short to drink a bad cup of coffee.”
During her time in Seattle, Mary was moving from one apartment to another, working as a manager-in-training and barista at a local chain of coffee and doughnut shops. It was there she fell in love with coffee.
While she was living and working in Seattle, I was living in the bus and working in Florida. We were carrying on a long distance relationship for over a year until we realized this was not working out and neither of us were happy. We decided for Mary to take a break from her job, run out her lease, and fly to Florida to move into the bus with me. We wanted to be together, to experience what Bus Life had to offer both of us. We were tired of being together but not together.
A day after she moved in, we began a 2,500 mile road trip from Orlando, Florida to Portland, Oregon in order to attend a Tiny House Living Festival. From there we drove the bus up to Seattle, where Mary resumed her position, with the promise and hope that she would soon run her own cafe.
Now we were both living in the bus together in Seattle, where I could focus on writing full-time, and Mary could focus on her specialty espresso career. She was super excited to play a much bigger role in her own cafe.
However, as more and more time passed, she was told “soon, soon” but soon never came. Delays here, delays there, shortages here, so on and so forth. Unfortunately for the company, Mary had to quit. She was not being treated well at that job, getting overlooked again and again. She deserved much more and was not willing to sacrifice herself for a place that was not sacrificing anything to help her become a better and more valued part of the company.
She put in her intent to move on and since we live on wheels, we packed up the bus and left town.
See ya, wouldn't want to be ya!
“So Mary, what do you want to do next, and where do you want to do it?”
“California, and duh! Coffee!” she replied without hesitation.
“Alright, let’s do it!” I guaranteed her, starting up the bus engine, heading to our new adventure.
We moved to California and worked throughout the summer season at a Resort and Organic Coffee Roaster, which we highly enjoyed. Mary learned a tremendous amount about coffee and worked with several of the baristas to improve their milk foaming skills.
After the season was over, we moved to Vegas for the fall and Christmas time. During that time, I worked with my parents while we renovated the interior of the bus. It was a much needed upgrade to accommodate both of us living in the bus, as before it was a solo road trip vehicle, but now it’s a home for a married couple. Mary has been loving bus life, and is excited to permanently park and work.
As for Mary working at Dunkin’ Doughnuts, that did not work out. After 3 shifts, Mary had to walk away. She simply cannot serve crappy fast food bean water “coffee.” The place was filthy, the health code was NOT being followed, and the employees were hateful and toxic, some of which just walked out on their shift. It was a literal mess that she walked into, and she walked herself right back out.
Luckily enough, the following day she received a call from the only cafe that serves craft espresso within a 50 mile radius, and they want her to work for them! She is extremely excited to work there, hoping to further expand her knowledge of coffee and continuing her coffee experiences while living the bus life.
As for me, I choose to write as much as possible
Mary now has her morning job at the Specialty Coffee shop nearby, and several evening shifts at the Taquiera restaurant across the street from the cafe. I am lucky to be able to do what I do and she is able to do what she loves to do. She misses working at “her” Cafe in Seattle, and really wished it would have worked out up there.
However, she loves her current work places and no matter what, enjoys interacting with people and brightening their day. I am definitely more of a home-body and am so grateful to be able to work on my writing. I have a much easier time setting my own schedule and working for ourselves while she enjoys having a schedule and leaving the bus to interact with folks and working with coffee.
I’ve learned to zone in on one thing at a time and do that one thing well. You can only do so much in a day, so I give writing my best effort. Once you give me two, three, or four things at a time, my attention is too divided and I struggle to accomplish anything. I enjoy and need my attention to be focused on one thing.
Get really good at something, so you get paid for doing it.
Six years ago, I was sitting in my car in my apartment complex parking lot, long before I ever thought about buying a bus. I was talking to my forever friend David about the Alan Watts video “what would you like to do if money were no object.” The premise is to do what you love, and at some point you’ll be so good at it that people will want to pay you for it. And no kidding, David has arrived at that point!
He has become incredibly talented in the art of Bonsai styling and general tree up-keep, and has highly improved his woodworking techniques. After years of continued studying and working on his craft, focusing on that one thing, people now come to him for teaching opportunities and questions about his horticulture knowledge and art. He is able to sell his trees as well as other art work to be able to continue learning, growing, and nurturing his talents.
Congrats and hats off to you my friend, you have done it! You are one of the few.
Whenever I sit and write and write and nothing seems to come of it, I ask myself “When will this pay off? What is this even worth?” I have to remember that I am not in this just for the money. It is allowing me to feel creative, alive, and believe that anything is possible.
I did not drive down this road to become a writer for fame, success, and mega money - which will all come in time- those are simply bonuses, I started on this journey to become the best version of myself, and believe that I am becoming that person through the art of writing and publishing my work. I am in this because it is how I love spending my time, and sharing my words with others.
I also have to remember that my friend and business partner Brock IS paying me. He pays an honest wage to write blog posts and articles for his audience through Bus Life Adventure. He trusts in my writing. Brock is the man!
Whenever I doubt myself, I remember that Brock believes so much in me that he is willing to put his hard earned dollars on the line, and pay me to write articles and to be the Social Media Manager for both BUSLIFEADVENTURE and THEBUSFAIR
Whenever I am writing, I always have my wife, my parents, my friend David and my buddy Brock in the back of my mind. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to spend my time the way I am, and these people heavily influence how and what I write. Thank you!
I am just about at the point where spending all these years writing is starting to come together and create the life that I want for my wife and me. I am doing what it takes to become a great writer. Even though my writing so far has not been able to fully sustain us financially, the reality is that 4 years ago I moved into a bus in order to make and create the time to put words on paper, and have succeeded in doing that. I have accomplished what I set out to do.
AND! I have been getting a paycheck for my writing for over a year now. I set my intention and it came true. I’m doing it for the perks, not the money.
And you know what, all the traveling is great, all the stories we have gathered are fun to tell and write about. But at the end of the day, the greatest perk of bus life, is the simple fact that I am able to be with my wife, and eat some tacos and share a cup of coffee with her. To have these kind of moments with her so close, that is the best part about all of this. Spending time with my best friend.