It was the day before Easter Sunday in 2009 when my phone rang from an out of state number. Who would be calling me like this on the Saturday right before Easter and from an out of state number? I answered the phone to a very pleasant person on the other end. It was a human resources manager at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
When strangers ask me how I came to work in Death Valley, I lie.
I’m not ashamed of the truth; I just know that it’s not what a family of bright-eyed tourists wants to hear over breakfast. Like a lot of parkies, my pilgrimage to the middle of nowhere wasn’t inspired by memories of a particularly pleasant family camping trip or a dog-eared copy of an Edward Abbey book. Here’s what really happened…
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.
The second I got home, I went online and played my own version of CoolWorks adventure roulette. Did I want a job in the national parks? Or maybe specifically a gig on the water? Did I want something in hospitality and service industry? Or did I want to return to my non-profit roots? If I hit the international job filter, things got REALLY exciting.
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.
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.