I had already had my reckoning with the “real world.” I had invested tons of time and energy into graduating near the top of my class in one of the hardest majors at a top tier school. I was so burnt out, I couldn’t fathom jumping straight into the biotech field. I spent the next 2.5 years in a sort of limbo, working a dead end job, not quite sure what to do with myself.
Four years ago, CoolWorks changed my life with my very first seasonal job, so much that here I am still in love with working seasonal jobs in the National Parks, and I never want to go back to the life that I had before. These experiences have given me the opportunity to find a life filled with wonder, curiosity, different people, and experiences that I have yet to know.
I am a firm believer that we as humans were not meant to live in the same place for our whole lives. I believe it is in our very makeup to be nomads. Think of the most enlightened people you know. I guarantee that they have done some traveling in the past or are traveling now. So I always wanted to travel, but I was always working and didn’t think I could ever balance the two.
Today, I live a just north of the Tetons in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, working each day to protect the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park from industrial gold mining. My summers in Grand Teton instilled in me a great reverence for all it takes to create and maintain these public lands we cherish.
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.
We have fallen in love with wild nature. Taking a chance on a seasonal job introduced us to sides of ourselves that were tucked away. Taking a chance on a seasonal job introduced us to sides of ourselves that were tucked away. I have never felt so connected to nature and so comfortable among the wildest of creatures.
I am a tour guide and driver in a National Park. PINCH ME!
This astounding place that the rest of the world dreams of visiting for just a blink? It can be your backyard. You get to not only visit, but wake up and be home there – everyday.
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.
My love affair with the American West began in 2009 with a cross country road trip after college. That summer, I traveled through 27 states and covered over 10,000 miles in six weeks with a friend in a car far too small for my 6’3″ frame. We visited seven national parks that summer and I was blown away.