Digital Nomad

This opinion piece discusses my lifestyle as a digital nomad as I work from my trailer and camp across the US.

Original article on Issuu logo

Digital Nomad by Brittany Peacock

This morning, I had my cup of coffee like usual and took a long look out my living room window. I saw a beautiful sight – dozens of RVs and tents sprawled across a grassy campground overlooking the ocean. But I am not on vacation. I live here full-time. Well, not here exactly. I live in my trailer and (and as we like to say) home is where we park it.

My home on wheels is a 31-foot Jayco White Hawk travel trailer, to be exact. Let me tell you, living in a tiny house has its challenges. I only have 7 minutes of hot water for my shower, I always smell of campfire, and my poor excuse of an oven doesn’t even fit a normal cupcake pan.

But I love it.

And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How do I do it, you ask? I am a freelance writer who works from home. My fiancé, a remote web developer, and I travel the US with our two dogs. When I tell people about what we do they are usually surprised at first, but then they can’t stop talking about how jealous they are. They always say, “I wish I could do that someday. If only I could work from home.” The thing is, getting a remote job is becoming more accessible and skyrocketing in popularity. And if recent data is to be believed, the trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon!

Working while traveling used to be rare, but a revolution in the work industry is changing that narrative. More employees are seeking work from home opportunities, whether it’s a few days a week, full-time, or freelance. Companies are giving in to the pressure, too. A 2017 Employee Workforce Report found that since 2005, there has been a 115% increase in employees who work from home at least half of the time. This trend has given rise to a variety of alternative lifestyles including full-time RVers like me, or individuals who live the #vanlife and travel across the continent in homemade conversion vans. Others choose to expand their office even further, describing themselves as Digital Nomads, traveling the world and working as they please. Many document their travels through social media, blogs, and YouTube, some even making income from sharing their stories. Go online and see for yourself. You can watch Gone With The Wynns as they sail their way around the world, or you can follow along with the Moss family as they document their adventures on their channel, “Less Junk, More Journey.”

Even if you don’t plan on taking the plunge sailing the world or living out of a van, remote work trends are changing the modern workspace as we know it. We are seeing an environment shift from the traditional office cubicle to places like coffee shops, libraries, co-working rooms, and public spaces. Coworking spaces allow you to rent a “desk” in a communal office where you are free to use it at your leisure. There is even a co-working membership that allows you to access spaces in big cities across the US, in places like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Personally, I am excited to see where this revolution takes us. For people like me, who don’t want to suit up and drive far to get to work, the future looks bright. Remote work allows you to work where you want and when you want.

Who knows? Maybe I will see you in your own RV one day, drinking a cup of coffee while you look out at the ocean.

Wish we had more time in Estes Park

This article discusses our hotel stay and visit to Estes Park for their biggest annual event, the highland games.

Original article on Camping with Campbells

Estes Park and The Highland Festival

After an eventful weekend in Idaho, we made the 20-hour drive into Estes Park, Colorado. We attempted to make the trip in two and a half days (thank god for Redbull).
Elk Estes Park
We were staying at Riverview Pines with Curt’s parents for the week. The quaint hotel was gorgeous and homey, with a river running through the property–visible from our hotel window–as well as a multitude of wildlife. It was the middle of rutting season, so the town was overrun with Elk, all fighting and bellowing to prove their strength.
Riverview Room
The hotel had a daily visitor, a black bear whom the management had endearingly named Baby. Baby liked to frequent the trash in the early mornings so we knew we probably wouldn’t see him. But alas! He sauntered onto the grounds one night and we saw his furry little behind as he ran for the hills.
Bear Estes Park
Estes park was a beautiful little town bordering the Three Sisters National Forest, which we had the pleasure of visiting. The town itself was at full capacity for its biggest festival of the year, The Highland Festival. The festival celebrates Scottish heritage and traditions, and brings in an average of 20,000 visitors each year for this one weekend.
Clan Campbell Tent
Strongmen, Jousting, and Shepherd’s Pie
The venue grounds consisted of food booths, whiskey/scotch tasting tents, artisan tents, historical re-enactment areas, the highland games, and even more.

The festival hosts a variety of events from the highland strong man competition (aka the Highland Games), shepherding dog demonstrations, jousting, cannon firing, and an assortment of bands and musicians. We went to see the strong men and women compete in the keg toss, launching a full keg over their heads and over the measuring bar, going as high as 24 feet!

Keg Toss Estes Park

Our last event of the day was the joust. This wasn’t fake jousting either–this was bone breaking, ribcage-bruising, lance-cracking bravery. The audience flinched with each loud hit of the participants and cheered on every rider.

Jousting Scottish Games

Arguably one of my favorite parts of the day was the food. Oh. My. Goodness. We are talking meat pies, haggis, blood pudding, turkey legs, fudge, pies, ice cream, fair food, and an assortment of fried goods.

We indulged in shepherd’s pie, which was so tasty that we grabbed a second helping to eat at home! Not to mention, we got to pair each dish with a beer. It was very hot and the beer was a welcome respite from the heat!
Estes Park Lake

Bellingham Washington Area

A list article featuring 7 of our favorite places within Bellingham, Washington.

Original article on Camping with Campbells

7 Things We Loved in the Bellingham Washington Area

  1. The Beach – Having lived by the beach my whole life, trust me when I say that I know beaches. Birch bay is beautiful. The quaint beach town sits upon a sandy shore with warm shallow water that goes way out into the bay. We visited in the end of August and the water was so inviting. Not only that, but it was dog friendly! We were able to take both the dogs out to experience the water. Cobain grew up by the beach and he was as happy as can be. Pancake, on the other hand, spent most of her time biting at waves and trying to eat seaweed. Haha silly dog…
  2. The Bay at Sunset – As you can imagine, the scenery of the bay reflects the some of the most awe-inspiring sunsets. Find a place to sit –whether it’s a bar patio, your beach towel, or a comfy chair– and enjoy the view!
  3. The C Shop – This delectable dessert shop is hard to miss with its signature yellow store front with a giant letter “C” on the front. While the shop serves pizza and sandwiches, the main attraction is their selection of fudge, ice cream, and homemade candies. They even have a viewing window so you can watch how each dessert is made. Talk about mouth-watering!
  4. Birch Bay Waterslides – Now this place is the perfect summer activity. This water park has over 11 pools and slides. Everything from their main water slides and river ride to the kiddie pool and hot tub.  Entry prices are fairly reasonable at $22 for an adult and $13 for a child. They serve food at the park but you are permitted to bring your own if you are looking to save a little cash!
  5. Bloedel Donovan Park – This park borders a lake and has activities for the whole family. You can swim in the lake, enjoy the playground, play a round of volleyball, or take the boat out for an afternoon of fun. This park comes with restrooms and grills, making your next family outing easy to plan!
  6. CJ’s Beach House – Remember when we talked about those sunsets? Well CJ’s provides the perfect viewing deck outside of their restaurant. Sip on a cold beer and enjoy a relaxing end of your day! This spot serves American fare and seafood but their fish and chips is a crowd favorite.
  7. Whatcom Falls Park – Do not be fooled by the location of this park in the middle of town. Once you walk 5 minutes in, you can’t even tell you were in the city to begin with. The asphalt parking lot gives way to beautiful nature trails complete with a natural waterfall, derby pond, and wild blackberry bushes that line the trails. We may have eaten one (or a few)! We even ran across a deer munching on leaves in the trees nearby. This is a must see attraction if you are visiting the Bellingham area.
  8. Canada! – I can’t leave Canada off of this list, considering the border is only a few miles north. Stop across the border for food, drinks, or any of the attractions in Vancouver (only 1 hour over the border). Indulge in all the poutine your heart desires!

Pacific City Oregon

An overview of our time spent in Pacific City, Oregon.

Original article on Camping with Campbells

Pacific City

Ocean Breeze. Blackberries. Cold Cold Cold

Pacific City is a small beach town located off the coast of Oregon, directly west of Salem. The town is famous for its Dory fleet, a small group of fisherman that uses traditional techniques to fish off of the coast. Each morning, you can watch the men launch their small boats into the water. In an effort to keep tradition alive, the area still hosts a Pacific City Dory Association to protect the delicate history of the small city.
Pacific City
The RV park had a great layout. The park ascended up a hill with each spot a little bit higher up, in an attempt to give everyone a good view of the ocean. Our first spot was on the bottom row and we did not enjoy it. The extreme humidity mixed with our over-shaded campsite led to a constantly wet, damp feeling. We eventually moved up to the top of the hill and had a much better (and drier) time.
Subtle GMC Marketing
On the plus side, the family lodge at this location was one the nicest we have come across. The lodge was large with one side completely comprised of glass windows, which allowed me to work and stare out over the ocean.  The campground itself was covered in greenery, including huckleberry and blackberry plants. There were also an immense number of wild rabbits roaming the property. They may have wild but they were well acquainted with people and did not go hungry haha!
That Bench Lean Though…

All in all, I would visit here again, as long as we brought along a de-humidifier and a small space heater!

Seal Rock at Sunset

Solar Energy in 2018

This piece explores the direction of the solar industry as we are entering 2018 and displays expert predictions about where the industry may go in the future.

Original article on Solar Energy Logo

Solar Energy in 2018

Are you one of the many people who decided to invest in solar as their 2018 New Year’s resolution? Solar Energy market growth is expected to increase dramatically according to the Q4 Global PV Market Outlook report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). In the report, it is estimated that 92 GW to 97 GW of solar was installed in 2017. That is up from 75 GW in 2016! And the news only gets better.

In 2018, an expected 94 GW to 111 GW of solar will be installed, with even higher numbers expected into 2019. These numbers combined with the recent auction of energy out of Mexico, inspire a bright future for the upcoming year.

Mexico Energy Auction

Mexican energy companies have held a decades-long monopoly on resources in the country. But, that has recently changed.

In an effort to revitalize the energy of the country, Mexico recently opened up their first-ever private auction, selling contracts expected to bring in $2.1 billion dollars in investments by 2018. The change comes after the government pledged to receive more than 35% of its energy from renewable resources by 2024. For comparison, the country generated only 4% of its energy from clean renewables in 2012.

Seven clean energy companies won 15-year contracts for the state and projects are set to begin in 2018. The trend isn’t confined to Mexico and countries around the world are making great strides to improve their renewable energy structures.

Energy Across the Globe:

There are thousands of solar and wind power initiatives launching this year in almost every country. Between research and power installation projects, solar is becoming a stable resource for investors and governments alike. Here are a few big changes happening right now:

  • In the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Authority has plans to solar power systems on 44 government buildings as part of the government’s “green” economy trust.
  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany is currently conducting tests to bridge the needs of solar developers and farmers, who often struggle over available land.
  • India plans to generate 84 GW of solar power by 2022. The India Director of Natural Resources Defense Council told reporters that “India is emerging as the world leader in generating clean energy, although it starting generating 17MW of solar power in 2010, when Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission was launched.”

As investments in solar renewables continue to rise, we hope to see a steady increase in government incentives, tax breaks, and user resources. Even now, the United States is in a crucial transition period for clean energy companies. With countries like Mexico and India leading the way in clean energy, other countries are sure to follow suit.

New Solar Panel Tariff

Another news article piece, here we talk about the latest changes made by the President and how they relate to solar energy consumers and the industry as a whole.

Original article on Solar Energy Logo

President Trump Implements New Solar Panel Tariff

President Donald Trump shocked the industry on Monday after his administration decided to impose tariffs on up to 30 percent of imported solar panels. The move came as an attempt to help the American solar panel industry by supporting domestic manufacturers.

Reactions to the announcement vary from complete despair for the solar industry to those who think the news won’t affect solar manufacturers very much, if at all.

Trump Delivers Another Blow to Clean Energy

One thing is for certain, Donald Trump’s administration ran on a political campaign determined to reduce environmental regulations. He began by promising to preserve the coal industry in favor of funding innovations in solar or wind energy and then attempted to eliminate loads of environmental regulation.

Republicans across the nation have also been attacking renewables on a wide scale. From market interventions to supporting a tax bill that subsidizes coal-fired plants, the onslaught on clean energy has investors worried. The resulting decline in clean energy investments will slow production and sales for renewables.

The question remains: With the current administration so keen to boost fossil fuels and limit growth in the solar and wind sectors, do critics have solid reason to be afraid for the future of solar and wind energy?

Will the Tariff Actually Help American Business?

President Trump may be making these types of moves in an attempt to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing, but numerous U.S. solar manufacturers are foreign-owned. So, even if domestic companies here see an increase in profit, most of the wealth is flowing back to other countries.

Reasons that Solar Power could be great for U.S. companies:

  • If solar costs decline, the price of electricity will also fall. Even if electricity consumers don’t switch to solar panels, the gas, oil, and coal companies will be forced to lower prices to meet market pricing.
  • As the price of electricity drops, so does the cost of doing business for many US manufacturers. Solar energy trends show that prices are due to drop steadily, which makes them a great investment for business owners. In turn, they can use their new savings to further grow their companies!
  • The new tariffs could pose a threat to businesses by slowing down the transition to clean energy.

Why would a business move to solar or wind power when gas prices have dropped due to new subsidies?

Tariffs Aren’t a Problem—the Industry is Growing Too Fast

On the flip side of the public reaction, there are those who aren’t worried in the least! They argue that the industry has already shown significant growth and that a change like this cannot possibly halt the steady progress made within the past decade.

The import tax will hurt U.S. companies, because most of the solar panels in the states are imported, but the overall change will be small because the manufacturing cost of solar panels are dropping rapidly.

In fact, a 2017 solar module producing one watt of power only costs around a fifth of the price of what it cost in 2010.

Price of Solar

As information continues to pour in about the projected outcome for this new decision, customers, manufacturers, and sellers alike will be waiting to see how the industry is affected. For now, it is best to remain optimistic, because the data shows that solar energy is strong and continues to grow despite numerous setbacks!

All California Homes Built After 2020 Must Have Solar!

This article covers the latest mandate enacted by California as part of their overall energy strategy, which requires new construction to have solar panels built in.

Original article on Solar Energy Logo

All California Homes Built After 2020 Must Have Solar!

A momentous leap in green energy was made today as the California Energy Commission voted on a bill requiring all new homes to have solar, starting by 2020. This news is startling to say the least and to put things into perspective—California just became the first and only state to mandate rooftop solar panels on new home construction.

The President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Alice Ross Hopper stated, “This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the US. California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state.”

As this vote passes, solar panel sales are predicted to explode over the next decade. California already boasts 86,414 solar industry jobs, as reported by the Solar Foundation research group, and houses 34.5% of the nation’s solar jobs. As expected, solar industry stock prices grew today, some increasing from 2-6% based on today’s news.

solar

The push for the new solar mandate comes as part of the state’s resolution to develop “Zero net-energy buildings” that create the same amount of energy that they consume each year. The state plans for the mandate to also cover any new three story commercial housing as well.

Mandate effects on the Housing Market

Among the optimism from solar enthusiasts and environmentalists across the state, some are not as excited about the new changes. This includes homeowners, afraid their houses won’t sell compared to their eco-friendly neighbors, and future homebuyers, who will be forced to pay higher mortgages with the mandatory add-ons. The energy standards on the table add upwards of $30,000 in constructions costs, including new energy efficient lighting, appliances, and heating.

The silver lining here is that $30,000 investment is predicted to save owners $50,000 in operating fees over the next two decades.

Even so, environmentalists are calling this a win. Pierre Delforge reacted to the news by saying this was “another important step toward the environmentally-friendly, healthy and affordable home of the future.”