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Cover image for An update: Still coding on the road. Now Off-Grid.

An update: Still coding on the road. Now Off-Grid.

mikeschultz profile image Mike Schultz ・3 min read

So it's been a while since I last posted this: https://dev.to/mikeschultz/coding-out-of-a-van-in-new-zealand-kk1. More than a year has gone by, a pandemic, world chaos, and a lot of us are now working remotely...so I figured I'd give an update.

Since being a digital nomad overseas has been on hold at the moment, I've since then moved back to the USA and converted an SUV into a home/work/adventure vehicle. Still working full-time, still maximizing my free time enjoying the outdoors and taking pictures. So here's a little breakdown of how I'm able to live and work out of it!

The Office

The number one question I always get: "How are you able to work on the road full time?"
My office

In the passenger seat, I've rigged up a removable desk using a dash mount made specifically for my vehicle, numerous ball joints and clamps, and a trip to home depot to cut some wood. I use that 12.9" iPad Pro as a second monitor via sidecar on my MacBook Pro. It's fairly solid, and gives a decent amount of rest support!

Power

"Ok but does your car battery drain?" Since I live out of this vehicle I need a lot of power for my computer, fridge, and all my camera gear. Instead of just relying on the car battery, I've installed a full solar system that you would find on one of those "van life" builds. 300 Watts of solar power charges up my 100AH Lithium Battery. The 1000W inverter allows me to plug my household supplies and electronics. As an added bonus, the solar controller also charges my car's alternator battery if it ever dies!

Solar power

Solar on roof

I've mounted the 3x100 Watt solar panels on top of my roof top tent. And yes, having the tent open increases the efficiency of the panels when angled towards the sun!

Internet

For internet, I tether off of my cellular AT&T and Verizon unlimited plans, depending on the strength of the signal. I typically use an app called "Gaia" to not only find places to camp, but to also gauge cell signal strength. I tent to stay close to towns during the work week, and have successful luck with getting 20-30mb/s consistently. And yes, I do have zoom meetings daily and rarely have any connectivity issues.

Gaia

I also have a cellular booster on top of the roof to give me a couple bars more in rural areas.
Cell Booster

And that's all of the necessities I need to do my work on the road.

As for the rest of it...

I know "living on the road" is always a loaded topic: Showers, bathrooms, cooking, fridge, staying safe, etc, but I wanted to just focus on the working on the road aspect of it for this article. If you are interested in more, I have been posting a fair amount of my road life content on my Instagram and TikTok recently with a bunch of answers and pictures. (Say hi if you do land on there!)

Quick Tour on TikTok

Thanks for the read and happy to answer questions on here as well!

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