Working Remotely While Traveling the U.S.

Driving through New Mexico

With a truck and a trailer, the Boyinks travel across the nation, as seen here. This photo was taken in southern New Mexico.

Imagine living life on the road. Imagine having no house to worry about and few possessions—just you and your family. You can work remotely from where ever and on whatever schedule you choose. Imagine being able to choose where you want to go, when you want to go…all the time.

Sounds like a pipedream, right? Not to the Boyink family.

Cathedral of Junk

The Boyinks wanted to learn more about the hidden treasures across the USA, including the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas.

Michael and Crissa Boyink lived in Holland, Mich. with their son and daughter. Michael was self-employed as a website development consultant and Crissa homeschooled the kids. Life was good, things were going smoothly — then the Boyinks started to get a little restless.

“We bounced around the idea of taking an extended road trip for a few years,” said Michael. “But as our kids started to get older, we wanted to introduce them to cultures and scenery that suburbia couldn’t offer.”

The Boyinks decided it was time to make their dreams a reality. Because Michael was already working remotely for clients, he could work from any place that had WiFi. They purchased a truck and a fifth-wheel trailer, setting out on a year-long adventure around the United States in September 2010.

Some thousands of miles and 34 states later, they realized a year wasn’t long enough. So, they decided to head back to Michigan and sell their house.

In the spring of 2012, the Boyinks transitioned to living life completely on the road.

Working on the Road

A major factor in the Boyink family’s ability to realize their dream is that they were already mobile long before embarking on their adventure. Michael left the corporate world in 2002 to create his own company, Boyink Interactive. Michael is contracted by clients to establish, maintain, and train employees on the Content Management System (CMS) ExpressionEngine.

He had already established a workflow as a remote worker for clients based in cities and countries far from Holland, Mich. So it was an easy transition to take Boyink Interactive on the road with rest of the family.

When he needs to show clients how to do something within the CMS, Michael uses Jing to create a quick video tutorial. He’s also created a series of screencasts with Camtasia, which are housed on his website train-ee.com.

“I basically run my business off a laptop,” said Michael. “So when I need to show something to a client, I make a Jing video. It’s quicker for me to produce and easier for the client to follow than a lengthy, text-based email.”

Michael does most of his work on a Macbook Air and uses a Verizon AirCard to gain access to the internet. On days when he needs a little more power, he stops by a library or coffee shop to make use of free WiFi.

“When I need to record something for a client, the trailer can be a little loud,” said Michael. “But I can usually sit in the truck and record a quick screencast.”

On the Road Again

Michael notes that while his family enjoys technology, they make sure to take time away from screens and batteries to appreciate their surroundings. After the first year of traveling around the country, the Boyinks are making every effort to slow down. Though they still have no clear decision process for determining where to go, they try to spend a week or two in the same place.

Be sure to follow the Boyink family adventure on their blog, Boyinks4Adventure.

Feeding alpacas.

While Holland, Mich. offers a variety of experiences to young people, Michael and Crissa wanted to expose their children to as many cultures and opportunities as possible.

  • Ryan Oakley

    Oh – I wish I had the guts to do that…..

    • http://blogs.techsmith.com/ Will Verchereau

      In my conversations with Mike, it didn’t sound as difficult as I thought it would be. They shared their entire transition on their blog, if you have a chance to read it. Lots of information out there on becoming a tech nomad–you can do it!

  • http://www.pricingwire.com/ Chris Hopf

    Thanks for sharing their story. Good times.

    • http://blogs.techsmith.com/ Will Verchereau

      They’re an extremely cool family–I’ve been living vicariously through their blog (linked in the post). I’ve already picked out a few new vacation spots based on their adventures.