The life of a seasonal worker sometimes feels like I’m a scout collecting merit badges. “Where are you now? What are you doing this season?” are questions I get quite frequently from friends and relatives. My resume is the scout sash and my memories are the badges.
Growing up, my brothers were both active in Boy Scouts of America. And, I desperately wanted to be a part of every adventure. When they went canoeing down the Grand Canyon, or they went snowboarding and skiing in Colorado, or they went camping under the vast Texas skyline, I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to experience the adventures that led both my brothers into being Eagle Scouts. When I was a young girl, I was told I could join Girl Scouts instead, but our troop didn’t have the same excitement.
The adventure I desperately sought after as a child was found as an adult. The adventure was seasonal work. I didn’t knowingly dive into the seasonal work lifestyle. I didn’t willingly go into it either. I was pulled kicking and screaming by my loving parents who sold everything they owned, moved into an RV, and demanded I went with them. I was 24 years old. The previous year had been spent working in a factory after graduating university with a degree I didn’t believe I would ever use – journalism. But as luck would have it, most of my seasonal jobs have utilized the skills I learned in university in unique ways.
As a tour guide, I researched my subject material (Alaskan History and the Yukon Gold Rush,) presented my findings (while dressed up in 1800’s period clothing,) and educated the public (tourists on an Alaskan Cruise.) That job was the first of many that taught me that my university education was not wasted on a seasonal workers life.
As a journalist, you learn a variety of subjects in a short period. You consume as much information as you can before you regurgitate it in a print and broadcast medium. Every job I’ve had since I started my journey has offered me the ability to learn quickly and work effectively. I’ve been a brewer and bottler, a customer service representative, an au pair, a journalist, a disaster relief volunteer, a bum living on the beaches of Hawaii, a teacher, a painter, a construction worker, a manager, and etc. I have lived on every coast the United States has to offer. I have been honored to taste what life has to offer in over 20 states – sometimes for a few weeks and sometimes for a season.
I often stumble when people ask me where I’ve lived because I’ve lived too many places to count on my fingers – and I’ve forgotten a few while reciting my adventures. Many times, I need my merit badges to remind me just where I’ve been. But I can say, I’ve never been bored.