Her Way and the Highway is an email series celebrating the vibrant community of Airstreaming women. Featuring inspirational stories, road-tested recommendations, and expert advice from women who hitch up and hit the road, Her Way and the Highway comes straight to your inbox every week.
Many people ask Airstream Ambassador Cass Beach, “So what do you do? How do you make money?” when they find out that she lives full-time in her Airstream Basecamp 16 Travel Trailer with her dog Jasper and cat Napoleon. Often, they assume she blogs (which, in all fairness, she does) or that she’s an entrepreneur or that she’s simply wealthy. In reality, Cass just works a pretty normal 9 to 5 corporate job, not so different from millions of Americans.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because Cass's story begins at an early age, when she discovered a love of the outdoors and moments on the move.
Cass has always loved traveling. Since she was 12, actually. Ever since she went on a five-week family cross-country vacation, driving all the way from New York to Washington State and back through Canada. When she was in college, Cass took long road trips with friends, camping along the way.
Even when she got a desk job at an insurance company, she still dreamed of her next big adventure. She was living in Charlotte, NC, and, although she loved the city, she longed to be closer to hiking trails and other outdoor pursuits. Her company had a policy that after three years employees had the option to work remotely. When the time arrived, Cass jumped at the chance. With her newfound freedom, she moved to Texas. Her plan was always to take advantage of her ability to work from anywhere. But it wasn’t until she was listening to The RV Entrepreneur Podcast that she realized her true potential. She decided to go full nomad.
“After moving to Austin [Texas] and working 100-percent remote for almost two years, it occurred to me that I didn’t need to stay in one location,” she remembers. “At that time, I needed a hard-wired connection to run my VPN router. Since I couldn’t get this in an RV, I decided to travel the country and stay in AirBnBs.”
After 8 months and over 16 states, she was hooked, but she missed a feeling of home, especially while traveling with a dog and a cat in tow. So, she made a new plan. She looked at the numbers and determined how long she could live on her savings before needing to get a job. She purchased her Basecamp, signed up for Upwork – a freelancing platform – and scheduled a meeting with her employer to put in her notice.
She was honest and upfront with the company she worked for. She wanted to live on the road in her RV, and she couldn’t do that in her current position. Her company listened, and because they valued Cass as an employee, they worked with her to make her travel/work dream come true. They found her a new position as a Process Consultant that allowed her to live the life she loved without having to sacrifice her income.
Her advice to women travelers: “You don’t have to sacrifice your career or your lifestyle. You can have the best of both worlds.”
She says many women already have valuable skills in lucrative and high-demand fields. If your current employer isn’t willing to work with you, consider consulting or using your skills as an entrepreneur. Don’t give up on your dream. Find a way to make your job work for you.
One of the biggest challenges she faces is always remaining professional.
“It can be hard to concentrate when you haven’t washed your hair in days and you’re watching a hawk hunt while also on a conference call with some president or CEO of a company," she says with a laugh. "But, you’re on the clock, and you have to be present and professional.”
And like many travelers who depend on an internet connection to do their jobs, Cass struggles with internet connectivity. She always has to prioritize traveling to areas with good cell coverage. This does limit her, but not much. She currently uses two hotspots (Verizon and AT&T), a signal booster, and a hotspot antenna to ensure she always has the speeds she needs.
One of the many pros to this lifestyle is that she often gets to work while staring at mountains or rivers or beautiful desert landscapes. She can take her dog Jasper for a hike every morning and afternoon because she isn’t limited by a commute or driving to a trailhead after a long day at work.
“I have more leisure time, which means I'm less stressed,” she says. “I have the time and space to decompress.”
Even though Cass always loved traveling, she said taking that leap and deciding to go solo was still scary. She had always traveled with friends or family.
“Traveling alone seemed weird at first," she says. "But once I decided to do it, I discovered it wasn’t strange at all. A lot of people do it.”
"It’s not as intimidating once you’re out there as it seems when you are sitting on your couch," she advises. "Get out there and learn on your own. There are tons of resources available, but you have to get started.”
If you dream about hitting the road but need to make a living, too, it’s possible. There are many, many jobs that suit themselves to a nomadic lifestyle. You just have to know where to look. Don’t be afraid to get creative as you find ways to have your cake and eat it too.