Vanlife and Sailboats: An Interview with Kristin Hanes of The Wayward Home

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This week I caught up with Kristin Hanes of The Wayward Home blog to discuss her unique lifestyle. Kristin splits her time between living on a sailboat and traveling by campervan!

Kristin is an expert on living small and working remotely, and has recently published a guide for getting started with remote work. Today Kristin shares advice about sailboats, vanlife, and remote work!

What inspired you to begin working remotely?

I'd been working full-time as a radio news reporter for 15 years when I was suddenly laid-off from my job in San Francisco. Unable to keep up with expensive rent, I moved onto my boyfriend's sailboat and tried to figure out what to do next. It took a lot of trial and error before I found blogging and freelance writing as a way to sustain my life.

Now, I'm really happy I was laid-off because it forced me to find remote work, which will be a sustainable form of income when we're traveling around the world by sailboat and by van!

You live part time on a sailboat and part time in a van, how do the two compare? Do you find one to be easier than the other?

They are both super different! The sailboat is a much bigger space than the van, and we'll be able to visit some far-off countries. I think in the long run, the sailboat will be more sustainable in terms of full-time travel.

The van is super fun for shorter camping trips, like going to Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks. I do think sailboats are technically a lot harder than vans, which is why I am happy to have my boyfriend along, who's a sailor :)

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For someone considering a nomadic lifestyle would you recommend overland or oversea travel? 

Probably overland at first to see if you really like it. Buying a sailboat and learning all about sailing is a huge learning curve. But if you love traveling by van or RV, you might then like to explore sailing. Sailboats allow you to cross oceans and get to far off countries where you can always have your home. 

What are some of your top space-saving tips for living in a small space?

Don't own a lot of stuff, haha! Even though I've downsized tremendously and gotten rid of most of my stuff, I am still constantly downsizing. All of my clothes are stored in the back of my van, so if I'm not wearing something regularly, it has to go! I also think nesting-type pots are a great idea, as are tiny utensils. 

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Did you experience any major obstacles to getting your remote work up and running?

Tons! At first, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I struggled with dabbling in different types of work, and applied to full-time jobs. I tried to write a book about my experience living in a Toyota Prius to pay off debt, and when I couldn't sell it, I decided to start a blog.

Little did I know at the time that I would love blogging so much! Now, it's my biggest passion. It took tons of time, effort and learning to bring my blog, The Wayward Home, where it is today, which is making about $2,000 per month. I hope it continues growing and helping people. 

What does someone need to begin working remotely? Where do you get internet access?

I think people need to assess their passions and their skills, then decide what types of jobs they could do. There are so many job boards out there these days, and if you think you don't have any skills, there are so many places that teach skills, such as LinkedIn Learning, Lynda.com, Udemy, etc.

Right now, I have a WiFi hotspot I use, and I also belong to a gym with WiFi and a cafe area where I can work on my online stuff.

Why did you write your book and what can people learn from it?

I wrote Getting Started with Remote Work because I know many people are stumped when it comes to finding a way to make a decent income while traveling. I wanted to give them some resources and simple tips and tricks to getting started. This book is something I wish I had when I was first laid-off from my job.

(Note from Brittany: I can ABSOLUTELY relate to this! I also wish that I had found a guide to help me get started with remote work when Tom and I first began traveling. The learning curve for making money on the road was very steep, and starting out armed with information would have saved me plenty of time and money!)

What are the pros and cons of working remotely and do you see yourself working remotely permanently?

The major pro is freedom! And being your own boss.

The main con is feeling like I am constantly hustling for work. There is never a time when I just zone out and don't think about work. My mind is coming up with new freelance articles to pitch, new blog posts, new courses to take so I can learn even more about blogging, marketing and freelance writing. It's harder to truly have downtime. But I wouldn't change it at all and can't see myself ever going back to a "real" job.

I love the freedom, flexibility, adventure, and being my own boss! 

Are you planning a full time camper lifestyle and wonder how you will make money on the road? Check out Kristin's book: Getting Started with Remote Work: A Simple Guide to Start Living your Dream.

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Remote work tips, vanlife ideas, and sailboat living advice from Kristin Hanes of The Wayward Home blog!