Earn on the Road
Guide

Go Van

Lesson 20

Greetings! We’re Julien and Katie, the team behind Go-Van, an online magazine about van life culture and overall resource for the van community.

We both are nomads ourselves, living the van life full-time and working remotely on the road. We strive to serve the van life community and its needs however possible, providing stories, videos, van tours, playlists, van gathering events, rentals, classifieds, awesome gear and more.

Our mission is to continue building and strengthening comradeship between vanlifers in any way that we possibly can.

The story behind Go-Van

Julien bought his first van in 2013 to pursue surfing on the east coast. He fell in love with the lifestyle and the wonderful community, and immediately knew he wanted to do something to create a resource for vanlifers across the board.

He decided to launch the platform of Go-Van, with the mission of keeping digital nomads on the road and able to live out their passions every day.

One of the best parts of Go-Van is that our team is also out living and experiencing van life in their personal lives, so we’re using our understanding of the culture to build something that we believe is valuable to the community.

Becoming digital nomads

After Go-Van was created in 2013, Julien worked diligently to build and grow his business. After three years of hard work, the platform became stable. He continued to work rigorously and eventually was able to hire another team member.

After six months of living on the road, I began working with Go-Van in early 2018 to continue supporting my travels. Our main source of revenue is through branded content and sponsorship’s with companies and brands we are proud to be in partnership with.

We also have an online shop with clothing, gear, books, and more. Go-Van continues to evolve, expanding its features as the van life world grows. With the recent launch of a totally revamped website, we look forward to seeing how we can continue to support our community.

Daily routines

Like most self-employed individuals, every day is different for us. Some days are filled with email after email, while others are spent in Joshua Tree National Park filming a sponsored video for the website.

Our latest project of launching the new website required a lot of writing, formatting, and brainstorming. Now that the site is live, we’re focused more on creating original content, building relationships with other vanlifers, and promoting the new resources we’ve created for our community.

We usually put in anywhere between 20-60 hours per week, depending on what we’re working on. Some projects require attention from morning until night, like hosting a van gathering or filming an adventure film.

Overall, we’re both flexible and focus more on putting in our best effort towards our projects, rather than counting how many hours we’re working. I guess that’s what happens when you’re passionate about what you do!

Hurdles of remote work

Working remotely, not to mention in a van, differs greatly from working in an office environment with co-workers.

Communication is pertinent to continuous progress within Go-Van. Tracking progress of projects, dividing up tasks, and brainstorming new ideas is all done virtually or over the phone.

This, of course, requires internet and cell phone service, both of which are not always readily available on the road. It definitely requires some planning ahead to avoid getting ourselves into a pickle, especially with approaching deadlines. This can be managed with a slower travel pace, but can be challenging if we’re constantly chasing the next park or monument.

Dedication 

Another huge aspect of working while living the van life is dedication. It can be very challenging to open your laptop and start tackling a blog post or emails when the sun is shining and you’re sitting at a trailhead preparing to hike after your to-do list is handled.

There is always a fun activity or hobby waiting around to be enjoyed. This proves to be even more true if you’re the only one in the van working. Finding motivation is tough when you have a partner enjoying their free time, or even waiting for your daily work to be finished.

On the flip side, there is always something more to be done when you’re working on growing an online business. Content always needs to be produced, new business relationships always need to be pursued, and creative thinking never fully stops.

Your to-do list usually is growing instead of diminishing and you can easily lose yourself in your work.

We’ve found both of the above mentioned scenarios true, which is why balance is so important in the field of remote work. Sometimes we push our weekly phone calls off because the surf is good or it’s the perfect hiking weather. It’s important to remember that these are the perks of remote work and they should be utilized.

Why we love being digital nomads

While there are definitely challenges of working remotely, it’s important to highlight why we are so passionate about being digital nomads and emphasize what a positive experience it is.

For starters, our schedules are extremely flexible. There are always certain deadlines and times you have to be available, but for the most part, we’re able to choose the hours we work and make our schedules convenient to our personal lives!

Feel like dropping what you’re doing and heading outside? That’s okay! You can simply work later in the afternoon. One thing that is particularly awesome about Go-Van is that Julien and I are both nomads, so we don’t constrict ourselves to an 8-5.

We’re also usually in different time zones, which makes flexibility very important. We could be exchanging emails and notes anywhere from 5AM to even midnight. Since we have control over our daily schedules, we’re able to still experience all the wonderfulness that van life provides.

We’re able to wake up in beautiful places, anywhere from Big Sur, California to Portland, Maine. Our days are truly and thoroughly enjoyed because we can choose to play during the day and work at night if we feel like going on an adventure.

We also have a great excuse to attend as many van gatherings as we want! Overall, we cannot imagine any other way of working. We mean it when we say that it is the ideal work experience.

Tips and Recommendations

We are so lucky to live in a time where virtual work is truly attainable. There are also so many different variations of remote work: starting your own business, branding yourself (and your adventures), and freelancing, just to name a few.

Seasonal work is also a viable option, with many programs even covering housing and utilities if you’re willing to be stationary for periods at a time.

There are also various online resources for seeking remote work through other companies, such as

With all that being said, our best advice is to find something you’re passionate about and that you can make money from – bonus if you’re giving back to others in some shape or form!

Working remotely definitely requires a lot of work and even more time, especially in the beginning. However, the benefits of making your own hours, having freedom to travel, and working in the comfort of your home or van are so worth it.

Pen