Camping Sans Frontières


If you ever got a chance in your life to go camping, I am sure that experience is etched in your memory forever. It might have been a family vacation when you were a kid, visiting a camping site close to the seaside where you played relentlessly with other kids day and night, safe and sound. It also could have been a trip with friends in your youth, having a crazy time in the outdoors where lines between what should and shouldn’t be done are naturally blurred. Finally, if you went camping as an adult, it was probably motivated by the need for peace and quiet and to step away from the urban hustle and bustle.

In time, we have seen serious improvement in the overall camping conditions. From regular canvas tents stretched over an inflatable mattress to V-shaped mobile houses that can be assembled on sight, while camp trailers that looked more like roomy cars turned to camper vehicles that offer luxury hotel experience and en-suite facilities. Going even a step further, the need to imbue luxury and glamour into the concept has taken a course of a new trend – turning camping to glamping.

Still, it would be wrong to conclude that sitting in your van that is also your home is all glitz and glamour. Here we are talking about the people who are not camping during their holidays as means of relaxation, but are, in a way, forced to live that lifestyle due to economic reasons. This has become an occurrence in the States in the last couple of years and term has been duly coined to match the situation – Workamping.

Workampers are a group of people who set out their camping routes based on where a temporary job that could provide for means to cover basic living expenses is to be found. Thanks to the good old internet, finding relevant information on temporary jobs has become a simple task. We are talking mostly about low-paying, simple jobs that are only a drive-away – which for workampers is a competitive advantage being so mobile in the first place. The best part is that workampers might even accept to do the job for less money than offered as they already have a roof over their head wherever they go.

This workamping trend was recognized by some big companies as well. For example, Amazon introduced its “Amazon CamperForce” program aimed at these individuals. Namely, Amazon has sent out the call to workampers inviting them to work at their warehouses, while the program covers not only the payment for work but camping costs directly to nearby campsites. All it took was properly matching the warehouses where such labor force is required with camping sites who were willing to join the program and offer “free camping” for workampers.

If setting trends is the word, and we observe what Amazon is doing, it is only a matter of time before other global players reach for the same pool of workforce. After all, the Amazon CamperForce program is just another model of the WFA – Work from Anywhere. Much in the same way that programmers and coders are just an addition to artificial intelligence hidden in a Cloud, a laborer is becoming a less significant accessory to a robot running the show and organizing packages in the Amazon warehouse. The former uses a computer from home to travel on Cloud, while the latter uses a camper to travel to warehouses needing labor. The core principle of mobility is the same… 

The consequence of applying that principle is that the overall cost of labor is becoming lower and lower due to competition becoming more fierce and infinitely global for the largest number of jobs available. This is the reason why economic disparity is growing, the inherent gap becoming wider. The number of those who own more is shrinking, while the number of people who have less is increasing rapidly. 

And we come to a point where global political and economic systems are not fit to cope with this problem, let alone solve it. This is probably the reason why severe exploiting of the workforce is promoted as “winning” new frontiers of freedom:

Freelancer – freedom to choose when and how much you work.

Digital nomad – freedom to work and live from wherever you choose.

Workamper – freedom to choose where to work from, as your house is on wheels.

And the list is becoming longer every day…

The price of that freedom is another story and nobody is willing to talk much about it.

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