Shortness of the stays
If you apply for work, and you’re honest with the people who are interviewing you as you travel with your spouse (which you always should be), there will likely be some kind of issue with finding work during your travels. The major issue with finding work during your spouse’s assignment is the thirteen-week length. Employers generally won’t want to take the time to train you on-the-job when you’ll only be leaving just a couple of months later. There are seaonal positions available in many northern areas of the US, but even those expect you to stay through the summer or, if it’s winter seasonal, the winter months.
Time with traveler to explore
One major issue is that, if you do find work during your temporary stay somewhere, it’s most likely that your work schedule won’t match up whatsoever with your spouse’s schedule. This then precludes you from exploring a region together, or even going to dinner on a regular basis. These activities are part of the enjoyment of the life of a traveling medical professional. You’ll be missing out on this. You need to determine what’s important for your relationship, and how the two of you want to handle this possibility.
Finding or developing a system for self-employment or freelancing is one of the solutions which both adds to your finances and allows you the freedom to explore, take day trips, or whatever else you and your spouse would like to do. There are some distinct possibilities for this.
Is there something you can make creatively and sell in online marketplaces? There are countless possibilities in this. Nautical-themed items are always popular, such as rugs, runners, or baskets made from float rope, survival bracelets made from smaller cotton ropes and paracord, furniture and decorations made from crab and lobster trap materials, and much more. If you’re electrically or hands-on inclined, pipe lamps and other household designs made from pipe have been gaining a lot of traction recently. If you’re into photography and have an actual camera (not a cell phone), or possibly even a drone with a 4k camera and you know how to use it with excellent results, there are likely gigs available with clients just about anywhere you go. Just think it through: What are you honestly good at?
There are a considerable number of options for this including web design, writing/editing, remote voiceover work, or work such as art, database development, programming, etc. … Basically whatever you’re capable of doing that you can find clients for. There are multiple avenues online for this including Fiverr*, Upwork*, and others.
Ridesharing is a distinct possibility for the travel spouse. You need a fairly recent vehicle that can be kept clean, a good driving record, and the willingness to allow people to be in your vehicle. This is something I’ve done myself for a couple of years, and you can make decent money with it. It’s not for everyone though, nor is it always safe. There is also the possibility of certain services being either unavailable or unpopular in some areas. I’ve settled on Lyft* as my own platform of choice, but Lyft isn’t very popular in Maine so there was little to no business. In Toledo however I’ve done 12 – 18 rides per day, depending on the season and what’s going on. One other issue is that you don’t know how far the fare wants to go until you pick them up. There’s an indicator that may tell you “+45 miles” or something similar. From Toledo, I’ve driven to Dayton, and from Yarmouth, Maine, I’ve driven to Boston. Both of these trips were over two hours each way. At that point, can you pick up your spouse after work on-time? If you can’t, will they mind waiting or can they get a ride? There’s a lot to consider.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to whether or not you’ll find work yourself during your travels. It’s a decision both of you need to make together based on your needs, family dynamics, and other factors. Think it through.
*Note: The listing of a specific brand is merely my own recommendation, and does not indicate an endorsement of this site by the brand’s owner or manufacturer.
page updated 10/2/2018