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General Discussion

Rhett Wilhoit
Rhett Wilhoit
3,041 Points

Looking for some advice on which track is best for me

Newbie here, looking for some direction. I've done my research but I would like some additional input. I like to write and I'm going to provide a decent amount of details about myself, so if you don't care to read all of that, I will sum it all up at the end of this post.

I love to travel. I've spent the last three years traveling around the United States on my motorcycle. Every 6 months or so I would stop to re-up my travel funds. I worked as a lumberjack on the US/CAN border, caretaker at a vineyard estate in California, and mechanic at a motorcycle rental place in Dallas. I also gain great satisfaction from helping others out and have done quite a bit of volunteer type work along the way. In my ideal world, I would do nothing but travel where ever the wind blows me and help whoever I bump into along the way. Unfortunately, the world runs on money and seeing as I am not independently wealthy, I have to work just like everybody else.

I recently came back to my home in Florida and have realized that I am not going to be able to settle down and get some type of career type job and be happy. What I need is the ability to earn money regardless of location and do it on a very flexible schedule.

Creativity and engineering are in my blood. They are what make me the happiest. I love to build and fix things and enjoy the challenge of problem solving.

My problem is that the tools of my trades (construction and mechanical) take up a lot of space. I might be able to fit all the tools I have in storage into a box truck, but traveling the world in box truck doesn't have the same appeal to me as doing it on two wheels. I'm also about simplifying life, and being able to fit everything I need on the back of a motorcycle has brought me more happiness than I would have ever imagined.

I love to learn. I am always trying to pickup new skills. One winter while trying to not freeze to death in North Dakota, I decided to learn how to touch type and program. I carry a laptop with me and figured it might be the only tool I need to keep the travel funds at a healthy level. I completed an intro into Java programming taught by a man named John Purcell (look him up on Udemy or YouTube if you're interested), but didn't really get any further than that before I was back on the road again. I am currently refreshing myself on all that stuff, but don't quite feel it is exactly what I am looking for.

Through researching the last couple weeks, I narrowed down some sort of web development as something that might fit my bill. I am still unsure as to which route would be the best for me. I'm gravitating towards the front-end stuff currently because it seems like the best place to start and the potential to freelance and work remotely seems to be fairly decent.

I joined Treehouse because I need structure and direction to do this in a time-efficient manner. I have a massive folder full of links to free education stuff, but I am notorious for loosing focus with the massive amounts of things that interest me. I can learn very fast when I'm motivated and have others to challenge me and I am hoping to find some of that here.

TLDR Version: Current motorcycle nomad looking to become a digital motorcycle nomad. Wondering which web development route would the most conducive to traveling and working either freelance or telecommuting on a very flexible (and probably very light) schedule.

Thanks for any input you guys may have :)


Hi Rhett,

Thanks so much for sharing that.

Adding to miguelcastro2's answer, the front-end stack (HTML / CSS / JavaScript) will be more flexible and remote friendly than the back-end stack (PHP / MySQL these are just examples).

I think both Web Design and Front End Web Development will help you gain skills in the right area.

Welcome to Treehouse!

2 Answers

If you have a passion for technology then you will find what area pulls at you. I don't think doing it for a paycheck will ever be enough to get into the industry and be successful. You love motorcycles and I imagine it doesn't take much effort or motivation to convince yourself to jump on one and follow the road. My suggestion is to work with motorcycles because that is clearly something you are passionate about. Regarding your question on good technology roles that you can do a lot of freelance and telecommuting; I think web application development, mobile application, or general software development provide the best opportunities.

There is a lot of competition in web application development and now a days you cannot focus on just front end, most developers now can do both front and backend development. Moreover, these developers can setup systems and manage them and we call them full-stack developers. Mobile developers are in hot demand and command excellent pay, but can be a little more complex then working with web applications. Lastly, I don't think that being a general software developer provides a ton of freelance work since most companies want talent that can hang around.

Ultimately, if you don't feel a powerful tug and passion for software then I would not try to force yourself to remain focus to learn it in order to provide yourself a good living. The field is becoming more competitive everyday and the people who you are competing with are passionate and continue to develop their skills. You gotta ask yourself if you want to dedicate yourself to this profession and the constant reinventing of yourself that needs to occur for you to remain relevant in the industry.

As Miguel said, do what you love. Work for yourself, not for the paycheck. However, I'd take a few courses on Treehouse to get started. You may very well find out that you love web development and want to keep on doing it. It's one heck of an adventure, I can tell you that much. It's a lot of fun and it's very rewarding.

These days, we do have a lot freelance web developers. They're not tied to any one company, but instead work on a contract basis with businesses. To be honest, this sounds right up your alley to me. Also, more and more companies are open to having their employees scattered throughout the world. For instance, Automattic (maintainer of the famous WordPress CMS that powers almost a quarter of the internet) doesn't really give a crap where you live or when you work, as long as you get your work done and come to their employee meetup that happens annually. You'll need a few years' experience to get to work for them, but in the meantime, freelancing sounds like a pretty good way to go.

Treehouse does have a course on how to get started on freelancing and how to run a web design business (albeit a more traditional one), along with the famous web design track. I'd suggest taking all of those courses whenever you can to see how you feel about moving in this direction. You might decide that you really like web development so far and that you want to make a living from it. Or you might decide to keep it light, just something you dabble in occasionally.

I hope that helped!