Are Workampers Inspirational or Old and Broke? You Decide.

Workampers have been all over the media lately and RVers are buzzing about the Harper’s Magazine article called “The End of Retirement: When You Can’t Afford to Stop Working.”

This week a few hot debates occurred in the We Love Workamping Facebook Group, mostly in agreement with my view that this article is pure sensationalism and misrepresents the full-time RVing lifestyle. One group member wrote to the author to share his own story, and she responded to his email with the following:

“Greg,

Thank you kindly for taking the time to email me and share your story. I think it’s wonderful that you’re “living the dream” and finding the kind of freedom some people might be too timid or traditional to try.

I do hope you get a chance to read my full story in Harper’s Magazine, which is not about all workampers, but about a particular segment of retirees/pre-retirees, many who speak in the article about how they found hope and inspiration in workamping after facing unforeseen challenges in their lived. I do fear that some people who have heard secondary reports about the story on television or radio — rather than reading what I wrote in Harper’s — are assuming otherwise, as I’ve seen in the past day or so online some really nasty things written about me (and also rude/unempathetic things written about the workampers who shared their stories with me). That’s a shame, I think, and my first experience with nastiness in what I’ve otherwise found to be the kindest and most compassionate community it’s been my good fortune to report on.

Warmest wishes,”

She basically said the same thing to me via Twitter, told me to read the article. What I find funny is that as a journalism professor, the author should know that most people are not going to wait to make an opinion until they’ve read the article, they’re going to devour the sound bites. Additionally, are live interviews with the author “secondary reports,” like the NPR Here and Now Show segment, and this piece where she doesn’t come close to saying anything like what she told Greg?

If the article really is an inspirational piece about workamping, then why didn’t she just say that during her interviews? Did I miss something? Please, let me know. Maybe this old, decrepit workamper needs a hearing aid.

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