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Technicians working from the road during Covid may not come back

Thanks to the kindness of Kartik Vasan and Smriti Bhadauria

When Erica Horn received a work email in May 2020, she said her company would be completely remote next year. She soon learned that it was time to realize her long-standing dream of living in a van.

“After reality became a reality, nothing was more meaningful than life in a van,” said Horn, who lived in Auckland before moving to a van. “I had no reason to be tied to that particular location or the amount of rent.”

It’s not just the horn. Many workers working in remote areas during a pandemic left behind sedentary housing conditions and moved to vans full-time. These remote workers drive from home to location, work in the van’s internet hotspots, spend their free time in nature and explore new locations.

Some workers are returning to their offices as the vaccines are deployed and the states begin to open. However, many workers who have adopted Van Life do not want to give it up.

“It has become a lifestyle,” said Smriti Bhadauria, who lives in her van with her husband Kartik Vasan and their dog Everest. Bhadauria and Vasan have traveled on the Dodge B200 Tradesman in 1977 since leaving Toronto. August 2020.

“We are very pleased with this life and the freedom it gives us,” said Badauria. “I can’t see the deadline.”

Like backpacking abroad, Van Life appeals to people who love traveling and the outdoors. They have the privilege of working remotely and the budget to spend thousands of dollars on buying and setting up vans. They can shift money from rent and car payments to an endless travel lifestyle.

“I’m always a travel lover, but I’m definitely a home body,” said Cailey Dillon, who works remotely at customer service at Outdoorsy, a van and RV rental company. “I really like it in a van life where you can travel anytime, but your home is always with you.”

Courtesy of Kenzo Fong Hing

For some, exercising in a van is not a trip, but an alternative to leasing an office.

Kenzo Fong, CEO of tech startup Rock, started working in a van in May 2020 after children started studying at home during a pandemic. Fong still lives in his home in San Francisco, but during the day he gets into a van and chooses a new location in the city. Fong spends the day at the desk in the van, taking a walk, enjoying different places, and summarizing his thoughts.

Fong prefers this to an hour’s one-way commute from San Francisco to Mountain View, California, as he did in his previous job. Google..

“I can’t imagine myself doing it again because it’s so flexible that I can work from anywhere,” said Fong, who develops software for remote workers.

Thanks to the kindness of Kartik Vasan and Smriti Bhadauria

“The internet is the most important thing”

Buying and setting up a van is a quick process. But those who are really crazy about it can spend months or years setting up.

For example, Fong buys an already modified van to raise money and pays hundreds of dollars each month.

“Much less than securing office space in San Francisco,” he said.

In contrast, Horn spent months working on the van with his father and contractor, setting up the van to the specifications she wanted. By the end of the project, she had spent about $ 60,000 (about $ 25,000 for a used van and about $ 35,000 for a build).

A van life vehicle requires some basics: a place to sleep, a desk or table space, kitchen equipment, and some kind of bathroom setup.

But perhaps the most important are computers and internet devices. Some van life requires only a laptop. Others have more complex setups with multiple monitors. However, in most cases, there are at least two hotspots from different network providers, and you can catch the signal from at least one service when you reach a new location.

“The Internet is the most important thing,” he said. AT & T, Verizon, Sprint and T-mobile.. “I basically have all the major careers in case I need them.”

These Internet requirements may require innovative solutions. Horn says he found a great campsite in Sedona, Arizona, but didn’t find a good signal. So every morning she drove to a nearby town for 30 minutes and parked in front of the Staples store. There she finally got a strong connection.

“It’s not always attractive,” Horn said with a laugh.

Doing 9 to 5 jobs can be a hassle for van life workers as well. For full-time people like Horn, a typical work schedule means they may be parked in a luxurious place without being able to enjoy it until the weekend.

Jess Shishler, founder of Sekr, an app that helps vans find campgrounds and Wi-Fi locations, says that’s why many van lifestyles are freelance workers. is.

“9 to 5 is difficult but feasible,” said Shisler, who also lives in the van. “The type of remote carrier that allows you more flexibility in your schedule is easier to do in this lifestyle.”

For example, Bhadauria and Vasan do project-based work.

Vasan works in information technology and Bhadauria works in digital marketing. After spending the early hours of the day outdoors, the two go to work immediately. In the afternoon, take a break from work to explore your area or drive to the next location. No matter what, they prioritize catching the sunset every night. Ironically, much of their actual work is done on Saturdays and Sundays.

“It’s usually crowded and we rarely do activities on weekends, so weekends are our working days,” says Vasan.

Disadvantages include dirt and loneliness

There are also many jobs to live outside the van.

Dillon said he was surprised at how dirty the van was. She spent the first four months of 2021 on the road and now lives in Platte City, Missouri. She is working and preparing to buy an upgraded van so she can return to her trip sometime this summer. She was cleaning clean while living in the van, but as soon as the wind blew, the van became dirty again. Ultimately, Dillon said you only learn to live a little dirty life.

Another big challenge is dealing with the loneliness of living on the road. Dillon said he felt very lonely for the first three weeks. And it wasn’t until I got the dog Koda that I began to overcome that loneliness.

“I like to be lonely, but sometimes it gets a little too lonely,” she said. “Keeping my dog ​​helped me a lot with that loneliness.”

Mr. Horn said he spends part of his day doing van chores, such as cleaning and tidying up his beds, to make room for living and work on a daily basis. She also needs to empty the van’s gray water tank and portable toilet to refill with fresh water and propane.

“Most moments aren’t spectacular, sleeping in the most amazing places and waking up to the most amazing scenery, especially when you’re working, in the vast majority,” Horn said. “But those moments make it worth it.”

Badauria, who travels with her husband and dog Everest, says she won’t be lonely, but she sometimes misses a friend who lives in a place. For example, Badauria said she wanted to have a big party on her husband’s 30th birthday. This happened while I was out.

“We miss that when we need a sense of large gatherings and communities,” Badauria said.

She and Vasan love living on the road and plan to continue it for the foreseeable future, but they understand that their lifestyle is not indefinitely sustainable.

“If all goes well, things can start to feel boring and at some point burn out,” said Badauria. “Once you reach that stage, you’ll be happy to return to somewhere.”

Despite the challenges of living on the road, those who spoke with CNBC said they would continue the nomadic lifestyle until the company no longer allowed them to work from home or burned out. According to Horn, he initially planned to live on the road for at least a year, but now it has changed.

“After six months, I’m still learning this and it feels like I’m just getting the hang of it,” she said. “I could actually see it doing it for nearly two years, and who knows, maybe longer.”

Technicians working from the road during Covid may not come back

Source link Technicians working from the road during Covid may not come back

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