JOURNAL

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon

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NATE

I left Indiana in the spring of 2006 at 20 years old. I am from South Bend, which can be a rough place if you lived in the sort of neighborhood that I grew up in. Poorly educated, underserviced, below the poverty line, seemingly forgotten by the wider world. Being from a place like that immediately places you into a category, and no matter what your level of intellect, no matter what your hopes and dreams consist of, no matter the calling you may feel in your life, it just isn’t easy to get away. There are not a lot of opportunities for growth when everyone around you has given up on ever attaining even a different life, much less a better one.

In a situation like that, simple survival begins to slowly take up the space reserved in every person’s soul for dreams; dreams of far away places and adventures, of friends that you would happily give everything for, of simply people and experiences that are happy. I know that it did for me. I was stuck, and on a road that was simply leading me to a life that was boring, and unfulfilled.

I found CoolWorks thanks to an old friend who casually mentioned it to me. She had heard of it, and thought it might be interesting to check out. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a new life for me, one that even now, 10 years later, I find myself sometimes not believing.

I was immediately hooked. That place in my soul, long withered and shelled out, began to soften, and become fertile again. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea, the audacious and wonderful thought that there were people out there doing what I always wanted to, and that they were being paid for it! Traveling the world, meeting people, getting to know what they were really capable of. I applied for a job that day, and was in Wyoming of all places, about 2 weeks later. Since then, my life has been completely different. I have met the men and women that complete me. I have been lucky enough to have visited a dozen different countries, and I have seen things and been introduced to concepts that I wasn’t aware even existed. I have been humbled by life, by the beauty and scope and breadth of it.

You out there in computer land reading this, if we never meet, the thing that I hope you take away from my story is simply this: that I haven’t accomplished and seen these things because of my ability, or brains, or tenacity. It wasn’t family money, or an expensive education, or a doctorate that allowed me to become who I am today. I am nothing and nobody. The only thing I ever did right in my life was to go. I simply went. You have nothing to lose, and an entire world to gain. Do not be afraid, there isn’t enough time for that. Just go. You won’t be disappointed.

I spent a fair amount of time deciding how to quantify and adequately describe just how exactly seasonal work has changed my life, and in the end, the only words that come to mind are: Totally. Completely. Utterly. Thankfully.