Tag Archives: temp work

A List of Posts about Vandwelling, Camping, Boondocking, and Living Nomadically from the Rubber Tramp Artist Archives


It’s a tough time to be a nomad because we’re all grounded right about now.

Where are you hunkered down during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If we’re not hunkered down at our home base, we may be staying with friends or family members. Some of us may be self-isolating in a still-open campground or while boondocking on public land. In any case, we’re not out and about as much, not able to see new things or visit new places.

Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast

If you want to be productive while you practicing social distancing, I’ve compiled this list of Rubber Tramp Artist blog posts of particular interest to nomads, vandwellers, vagabonds, rubber tramps, RVers, drifters, and travelers of all kinds. You can use these posts to learn about everything from safety on the road and how to prepare for disasters to how to deal when the weather is bad and how to train your canine companion for life on the road. Especially if you are just beginning your nomadic journey, these posts can help you prepare for a nomadic life.

So here we go. Browse this list to find posts you missed and posts you want to revisit so you’ll be ready when it’s time to get back on the road. (I’ll also include some photos from my travels for your viewing pleasure.)

Mountain, southern New Mexico

If you don’t understand what all the fuss is about with this coronovirus and COVID-19, check out the post Living Nomadically in the Time of COVID-19 for information about what the pandemic we are currently experiencing means to individuals and to all of us.

Red flowers, location unknown

Before you hit the road, familiarize yourself with the basics of living nomadically. From lingo to budgets and all the preparation in between, these posts will help you get ready to go.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

If you don’t already have a rig, these posts may help you choose the rig that’s right for you.

Lake Isabella, California

Many nomads are going to have to work, at least part time. These posts will offer you tips on getting a variety of jobs, from camp host to house sitter to human guinea pig.

Adobe at sunset, New Mexico

Staying safe is important to everyone, especially when driving a large, powerful rig or living alone. Check out these posts for tips on staying safe while living on the road.

Arizona beetle

Maintaining mental health is extremely important too. These posts will offer advice for staying mentally healthy while you travel.

Gate and Ute Mountain, New Mexico

Unfortunately sometimes disasters happen. Here are some precautions you can take to help you avoid disasters.

Pine tree on Dome Rock, California

It’s important to know what to take with you when you hit the road. Here are some of the things I recommend.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

It’s also important to know what to leave behind before you move into your rig and how to organize the things you decide to keep. These posts can help you purge and organize.

Waterfall, Oregon coast

When you’re living on the road, you’ll find yourself dealing with the impact of the weather. These posts will help you stay comfortable when the weather is less than pleasant.

Tule River, California

Need help staying busy and connected while traveling? These posts will help you find things to see and do while you’re on the road, as well as help you stay connected to other people.

Rocky Mountain high, Colorado

If you’re traveling with a companion animal (or more than one!) or if you’re considering getting one to join your nomadic life, these posts may be helpful

Goose on the water

If you’re traveling in a travel trailer, these posts might be of special interest of you.

Giant sequoia, California

So you want to go camping…Whether you’ll be sleeping in a tent or boondocking in your van, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome these posts will help you have an enjoyable experience.

Mesa Arch, Canyolands National Park, Utah

Now that you know how to camp, I’ll tell you where to camp. These are campsites I’ve actually been to, most of which I have spent at least one night at. Many of these campsites are free.

Joshua Trees, California

If you want to learn from other nomads, check out these interviews, as well as the post all about blogs written by other vagabonds, nomads rubber tramps, and van dwellers.

Monument Valley, Navajo Nation

I hope this post helps you pass the time and sends you on your way to so much good information. If you read all of the posts listed here, by the time you come out of self-isolation you will be totally ready to hit the road.

If you found this post helpful, I’d love your support! Hit the donate button in the toolbar to the right or go to Patreon to become my patron.

I took the photos in this post.

New Old Job


Tomorrow I start a temp job. I’ve done this sort of work before, so even though I’m starting tomorrow, it’s not like I’m starting from scratch.

Here’s what I said about the job last year (http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/04/05/starting-a-new-job/),

Tomorrow I start my new temp job scoring student [responses]. Because I’ve worked this job twice before, I know that although it it is not a physically challenging job, it is mentally exhausting. I’ll spend 99% of my day sitting down, so my body won’t be worn out at the end of the day.

In the past, I’ve scored writing and reading responses. For these tests, students were given prompts, then had to write either an essay or a short answer. This year I will be scoring middle school science responses. At this point, I have no idea what that will even look like.

As I said last year, I do know that after eight hours (with 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon and half an hour for lunch) of reading student responses and

trying to give each one the proper score, my brain will pretty much be mush.

Work starts at 8am.  That  means I need to arrive by 7:45 so I can find a parking space (close parking is quite limited and having to park in the far parking lot means a bit of a hike to the building), put the sunblocks on the windshield, and get myself to my computer on time. Arriving at 7:45 means I should leave the house no later than 7:20, allowing myself plenty of time to get through traffic.Leaving at 7:20 means getting out of bed no later than 6:20, but 6 o’clock is probably a better idea. (I move slow in the mornings, especially if I have to cook myself some breakfast.) Out of bed by 6am and functioning well means I need to be asleep by 10pm.


Sometimes when I’m working all day, I’m in bed with a book by 8pm, asleep by 9 o’clock.

I may not be able to keep up with daily blog posts. The good news (for my sanity, if not my pocketbook) is that this job is scheduled to last only 25 days. (I may or may not have the option to work on the weekends.) Also, I already have four posts scheduled.

If I miss a day, I plan to be back.

Note: This job requires a confidentiality agreement, so you won’t be reading about it here.


I took this photo.

Starting a New Job


Tomorrow I start my new temp job scoring student essays. Because I’ve worked this job twice before, I know that although it it is not a physically challenging job, it is mentally exhausting. I’ll spend 99% of my day sitting down, so my body won’t be worn out at the end of the day. However, after eight hours reading the writing of high school students (all papers on the same topic), and not only reading the essays, but trying to give each one the proper score, my brain will pretty much be mush.

When I worked this job before, all of the workers arrived at the same time, 7:30 or 8am (I can’t remember which, but early) and left at 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. This time each worker can decide when he or she wants to come in. (Each worker has to pick a specific time and commit to arriving at that time every morning.) I’m considering arriving for work at the earliest time available so I can beat traffic and get one of the limited parking spaces.

Arriving early means getting up early, which means going to bed early. Sometimes when I’m working all day, I’m in bed with a book by 8pm, asleep by 9 o’clock.

I don’t know if I am going to have the energy to keep up with daily blog post. I’ll do my best, but no promises. I might just need to focus on getting myself through the next six weeks.

Mock Jury


I found the ad on Craigslist. Some nameless organization was looking for mock jurors. Although the jurors were referred to as volunteers, $50 was being offered for two hours of time. I responded to the ad with an email, thinking I’d never get a response.

While I was selling jewelry and shiny rocks in front of a fancy salon, my phone rang. I had no customers, so I answered it. The woman on the other end of the line was responding to my response to the ad seeking mock jurors. She explained that lawyers were meeting for a conference, and they needed people to pretend to be jurors for a training exercise. She said I should plan to be there from 8am to 10am, but I’d likely be free to go before 10 o’clock. Most importantly, she confirmed that I’d receive $50 for participating. I told her I was in, and I made plans to be in the appointed place on the appointed day at the appointed time.

The night before the mock jury, I had a chance to sell jewelry at an event that ran until about 10pm. But the time I packed up and drove to where I was staying, it was nearly midnight. By the time I ate a snack, brushed my teeth, and relaxed enough to sleep, it was 12:30.

I pulled myself out of bed by 6:15, dressed in the clothes I’d worn the day before, and ate some breakfast. I walked out the door with plenty of time to make it where I was going, but when I settled into the driver’s seat, I realized that I’d written down directions from the wrong starting point. (I thought I’d be sleeping at one friend’s house, but ended up at another’s.) Luckily I have a Google Maps app on my (otherwise app free, not quite smart) phone. I got directions and set out.

The directions were fine, the traffic wasn’t bad, and I’d put gas in the van’s tank the day before, so I pulled into the driveway of the hotel where the event was taking place at 7:48. I had to stop at a security kiosk and explain myself to an attractive young woman guarding the premises. Did I mention that the hotel is actually a resort? Nothing says I Don’t Belong Here like driving a early 90s conversion van with a driver’s side window that won’t roll down to the security kiosk at the entrance of a resort. However, the young woman smiled at me, told me where I could park, and directed me to the main entrance where I was supposed to find a woman holding a sign saying “JURORS.”

I hurried into the main lobby and saw understated elegance such as I hadn’t witnessed since 1987 when I participated in The American Academy of Achievement and was housed at a resort in Scottsdale, Azizona. (“The Academy of Achievement is like no other organization in the world. For more than 50 years, this unique non-profit foundation has sparked the imaginations of young people across America and around the globe by bringing them into direct personal contact with the preeminent leaders of our times.” Read more about The American Academy of Achievement here: http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/pagegen/brochure/p1.html.)

What I didn’t see was a woman holding a sign saying, “JURORS.” Was I in the wrong place? Did I get the date wrong? Was I late after all and had missed my connection?  I was looking around, trying to figure out my next move, when a woman approached me and asked if I were a juror. She was wearing a name tag bearing the name I was looking for, so I told her yes. Other jurors–two women and a man maybe 10 to 15 years younger than I am, a women and a (rather dumpy) man (with a strange look in his eye) probably at least 10 years older than I am, and a guy around my age–soon appeared, and we were briefed a little.

The mock jury (we were told) had been assembled as part of a learning exercise for a group of lawyers. We were told that during and after the “trial” we would be asked for our opinions and that we should be honest, as there were no right or wrong answers.

We then all walked together to another building, where the jurors were lined up in the order in which we would sit. This was the order: the younger guy, the older woman, the guy my age, me, the younger of the two younger women, the older of the two younger women, and the dumpy older man. At about that time, we were given our $50 checks. I was happy that was taken care of so I could get out of there as soon as possible.

We were told the lawyers at this conference were part of an international organization of attorneys set up for networking and support. We were also told the presentation we were to be part of was concerned with tribalism and neurobiology. This combination of tribalism and neurobiology was not explained sufficiently for me to have any real understanding of what the fuck they were talking about.

While waiting, we were not offered any coffee or water or snacks. I’d thought we would be offered food and beverages, but there were none in sight.

We filed into the conference room filled with lawyers. We sat on the stage with the “defendant,” the “plaintiff,” the “lawyers,” and the “witness” (all of whom I presume were actually lawyers).

First the plaintiff’s lawyer explained the circumstances of the “trial.” It was a civil trial. The plaintiff, an older man sitting in a wheelchair, was a retired 25-year veteran of the police force. At the time of the incident in question, he had been a security guard at an upscale jewelry store. When the defendant, a Latino man who was dressed very casually that day, entered the store, the boss told the plaintiff/security guard to keep an eye on him. Later, the boss told the plaintiff/security guard he thought the defendant had put a piece of jewelry in his pocket. The Plaintiff/security guard approached the defendant and asked him what he had in his pocket. The defendant told him it was none of his business and tried to leave the store. The plaintiff/security guard then blocked the door and took out his gun. Some sort of (never fully explained) scuffle ensued, and the plaintiff/security guard was shot and was now paralyzed and suing the plaintiff for some unspecified amount of money.

The plaintiff’s lawyer began questioning the members of the jury as if we were going through jury selection. When she asked if anyone had problems with cops, I kept my mouth shut and pretended to be a normal person. A couple of the jurors answered questions aloud (the guy sitting next to me said he did not believe security guards should be allowed to carry guns under any circumstances), but most of us just nodded or raised our hands where appropriate and didn’t speak.

Next, the defendant’s lawyer spoke before questioning the jurors. He said that the defendant was an independently wealthy man who was in the jewelry shop to pick out a ring for his fiancee. He was found not guilty in a criminal case and was not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and should not have to give him any money.The lawyer maintained that his client was singled out due to his ethnicity because the plaintiff was racist. The defense lawyer asked the jury if any of us had ever been accused of something we hadn’t done or if we had ever felt discriminated against.

At that point, the jury voted on whether we were more sympathetic to the plaintiff, the defendant, or neither. We voted with a small handheld device that looked much like a calculator. We just had to push a numbered button to vote. After the jury voted, the audience got to vote, also by pressing numbers on a handheld device. Once everyone had voted, the results were shown via bar graphs on a big screen. I was sympathetic to the defendant, but most of the jury and the audience indicated they were no more sympathetic to one than the other.

After the voting, the lawyers questioned the plaintiff and one witness, the owner of the jewelry store. It was never explained why the defendant was not interviewed. The plaintiff’s lawyer asked him a lot of questions which played up his career as a cop and his beating not long before his retirement by Latino gang members. I know what they’re doing here, I thought.

The defense attorney then questioned the plaintiff and the owner of the jewelry store. He tried to show that both of them were racist and singled out the defendant because of his ethnicity. He tried to convince the jury that the shooting was the plaintiff’s fault because he accused the defendant of something he had not done. The plaintiff basically said he was just following orders. (In my opinion, the plaintiff should have sued his former boss, the owner of the jewelry store.)

At that point, we voted again, first the jury, then the audience. I was still on the side of the defendant, but I don’t remember who got the most sympathy at that point.

Finally, each attorney gave brief closing arguments. The plaintiff’s lawyer again played up his career as a good cop, and she listed all the things he could no longer do (including make love to his wife). The defendant’s lawyer then reiterated the idea that the defendant, because of his ethnicity, was accused of something he had not done and should have been allowed to walk out of the store because he was innocent.

Everyone voted again. I was still on the side of the defendant. While the majority of lawyers in the audience were sympathetic to the defendant, the majority of the jury was sympathetic to the plaintiff. An audible grumbling arose from the audience when it was announced that the majority of the jury would have decided for the plaintiff.

The guy who’d organized this session spoke briefly after the results of the voting were announced. He mentioned that most of the lawyers present were defense attorneys. Oh, I thought, I like that I’m helping defense attorneys to do a better job. Then in almost the next breath, he mentioned that their clients were mostly corporations! What?! I was not happy to help slimy corporate defense lawyers. I had no idea I’d been sitting in the midst of the enemy, letting them pick my brain to learn how to manipulate jurors. (To be fair, unless they were psychic, they didn’t get much from my particular brain since I kept my mouth mostly shut.)

At that point, the presentation was over, and I got the hell out of there. The guy in charge of the presentation was shaking the hands of other jurors, but I didn’t want to touch his slimy corporate defense hands or talk to him, so I walked out and headed to the ladies room.

As I left the restroom, I saw where the lawyers were converging to drink coffee and eat pastries. I walked right over and helped myself to a to-go cup of coffee and a cheese Danish. I’d have thought a resort hotel would serve better coffee; this stuff was weak and not very tasty. I didn’t care though; I needed to wake up, and I wanted to get every tiny bit I could out of these corporate scumbag lawyer motherfuckers.