Since that first season I have learned to ride horses working at a dude ranch in the Sonoran desert, learned to ski at a couple of resorts, sharpened my golf game in Vermont, salmon fished the Kenai River and Resurrection Bay, explored historic Mackinac Island, lived a couple hundred feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon, and enjoyed expansive Denali.
It was March 18th, 2014. I was sitting at my desk, pretending to be working on a spreadsheet, counting down the hours until 5:00. I was longingly staring at pictures of the mountains on my computer and applying for jobs on CoolWorks.com when I received a phone call from an unknown number. Relieved to have a chance to walk outside for a moment, I answered.
I moved around a lot when I was a young single woman, which is where my love for road trips and new places was born. When my last chickie left the nest I remembered my dream of living the gypsy life, but with no savings I had no idea how I’d manage. I typed “National Park Jobs” on an internet search and found CoolWorks.com – Jackpot!
I was the first person to get a job from CoolWorks, and It definitely changed my life. A seasonal job blew my doors, my eyes, and my horizons wide open in the summer of ’72. That summer I found my home in Yellowstone as well as my belief in the life changing power of a seasonal job. I got the first inkling for what would become CoolWorks in January of 1995.
There is nothing quite like it, to think that someone is willing to pay you to live in some of the most ridiculously beautiful places in the world. You can walk out of your front door and only a few steps away be lost in the woods, or climb mountains, paddle your kayak on a misty morning lake.
To work seasonally is to have the world as your oyster.
I am resolute that not much can beat the self-confidence, wonder, and fresh perspectives on life as a whole that only travel can bring about. Never will I be the one to say, “I wish I could have done that when I was younger”, because I’m doing it.
I fall more and more in love with my life every day and as I get older, I realize more and more what a true gift that is.
But you quickly learn to adapt to your new surroundings. You learn to stop what you’re doing and look up at the mountains at least once every half hour. You learn to breathe, and it doesn’t stop there. When you work forty miles from the nearest town, every day is a learning experience.
Looking back, I never thought seasonal jobs would play such a huge role in my life. When I set off for Colorado after college graduation, I imagined I would spend a year working as a ski bum before returning to the “real world.” What happened couldn’t be more different. One season quickly turned into three, and seasonal jobs became the lifeblood of my 20s.
My friends and I jokingly call our home here Neverland, an imaginary time warp that confuses the days and all inklings of time passing. It’s strange to me that this lifestyle which in so many ways contradicts most people’s perceptions of “real life” is the life that fills me up and overloads me with a burning desire to live and love and, most importantly, to never stop yearning.