Mackinac Island. Wow. Where do I start? Mackinac was a random decision that was based almost completely on an impulse. I bought a bus ticket, a bike, packed a suitcase, and the rest is history.
A mosquito bite almost ended my life at sixteen years old. It transferred a virus that infected the fluid surrounding my brain, causing it to swell and squeeze it, leaving me in a coma for four days and with the complications of a brain-damaging stroke. It mainly affected my speech, which took about two years to fully recover from. And when I felt that I’d made it back to “the old me,” one major difference persisted: I no longer believed that I was guaranteed a full life. I understood that life could end at any time.
I had never spent much time in mountainous states. I came from Iowa, and I felt I had been dropped from the sky into an unbelievable scene. I still can’t believe my first sight of Glacier National Park; I couldn’t stop smiling!
The beauty of my surroundings and the opportunities awaiting me outdoors were the real paycheck. My room looked out on the Sawtooth Mountains and I woke up to a National Geographic view every morning for three months.
By taking on this entirely new role as the HR Manager, I soon found my place in life. I enjoyed making meaningful connections with my employees, and treasured the fact that the job allowed me to make a lasting impact on their lives.
While I was a university student, I discovered the work and travel program with the USA.
I applied for an International Student VISA to go to the USA for a working holiday. The goal is to help us improve our English, have a cultural experience, and allow us to see the United States through traveling the country after our seasonal commitment ends.
Since my journey began, I’ve watched the sun rise and set in some of the world’s most beautiful places. Every morning, I look out my window and see some of the most amazing mountains on the planet. I sometimes think about what my life might be like had I never found CoolWorks.com, and I’m thankful that’s something that I only wonder about.
Denali stole my heart: wide open vistas, alpine tundra slopes, Dall Sheep grazing on rugged mountain peaks. Wilderness. Wolves. Grizzly bears. The challenge of it all. The freedom. The evolution of the short summer season, from an eager and intense spring to the snowflakes and stillness of fall. The hard work & the camaraderie. One season and I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough, and everything had changed.
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.