Crater Lake National Park



I always felt there was something big waiting for me just around the corner, and three seasons ago, that something big finally materialized. I quit my job as a dental office manager, sold my house and took my show on the road. The idea for my grand adventure began at least 7 years ago.  A patient of mine mentioned he was going to work in Alaska seasonally.  I was intrigued, and he shared the CoolWorks website with me. I faithfully stalked CoolWorks for probably 6 years or so dreaming about my someday adventure. I felt so trapped sitting behind a desk all day, stressed to the max, and I knew something had to change.

Well, my someday finally arrived.  I applied for a position managing a bed and breakfast in Montana. Not only would I be able to utilize my management skills, but I would get to cook and bake – my passion. I sent my resume, did a Skype interview, and I was sent a contract.  I was terrified, but oh so very excited!  It was finally HAPPENING! I had hoped for a best case scenario that my future employers and I would fall in love and they would invite me back. Well, I loaded a winter pack, a summer pack, and my dog into the car and hit the road.

The job, the location – all of it turned out better than I could have ever expected.  I have been invited back and told I could have this position for as long as I want it. I live on site and am provided with most meals.  I have no debt and that allows me to feel completely liberated! I stay in Montana from April 1 through end of October, and then I drive back east and winter in the Hudson Valley in New York with my family, where I also work seasonally. Then I take a couple of weeks and visit Florida for some R&R before I return to Montana.

CoolWorks opened a door for me that I may not have had the courage to open on my own.  I credit CoolWorks with leading me on this grand adventure. I am finally living the life I always dreamed of. I get to travel, I get to explore, and I have learned just what I am capable of by stepping way outside the box. I am having the time of my life and haven’t looked back once.

To any of you considering making the move…BE OLDER & BOLDER!!! Do it now. Earn a living while exploring this big, beautiful world. HAPPY TRAVELS!


Love your story. I started working the seasonal job circuit when I was 40. My first park was Grand Canyon North Rim, then Yellowstone working at the Canyon Village Resort, and then at Bryce Canyon. From there I worked at a private restaurant in Torrey Utah (near Capitol Reef NP) in 2012. I had a blast at each one of these places and made some extra money doing haircuts for the employees, waxing, foot massages and made some extra cash and people didn’t have to go far to get these services cause I was there and didn’t charge much, I was very affordable haha. Yeah, what is a “real job” if they call these low paying seasonal jobs not real jobs? Every job you work at is good only if you truly enjoy it with all your heart.


Alice July 10, 2017

Go Donna!!! That’s fantastic.


Glenn July 11, 2017

You go girl! 👍😊


Irene Russo July 21, 2017

Thank you so much Donna for writing your story! I retired 3 years ago at the age of 52 and have been trying to figure out what to do next. While I work part-time jobs at my church, I feel a strong desire to go on an adventure. My husband and I just went on a 2 week trip from Florida to Maine to get out of heat/humidity. In Bar Harbor, a couple mentioned that there are a lot of temporary job in the summer and then we started seeing signs posted. I came home thinking I really want to go on an adventure of living in places where there are seasons and having fun doing jobs there, but had great concern that my husband and I couldn’t get jobs because of being in mid 50’s. Then I saw your post and it gives me hope!


Karen Hufman August 08, 2017

Hi Donna,

Thank you for your inspirational story.

I was just texting my husband telling him I don’t want to go back to my job anymore. I told him about wanting to go to Wyoming and Montana and then I found website.

I retire officially in 2018 and would love to do what you are doing.

Thank you again.

Wendi, Placer County, CA


Wendi September 11, 2017

Comment* Looks like something inspiring&meaningfull. Encouraged by the posts /writings. I hope i can too. Early fifties now,still healhty,likes travelling and learning new things. How do I get started? Email coolworks as a 1st step? Much appreciate further advice. Many thanks & Blessings. Dan.


Dan October 24, 2017

It so happens that I have been dying to see Montana for years! I am a teacher, with summers off looking for a summer adventure. Is your B&B hiring more help?? I can cook and bake and clean, am hard-working…Summer 2018 sounds great!


Corinne Galles October 30, 2017

I would love to do this, but, what about health insurance?


Lori November 01, 2017

Would love to work at the North Rim but Lodge positions are seasonal. Seasonal employees generally aren’t offered any health insurance benefits. What do seasonal workers do about health insurance?


Cathy Moore November 22, 2017

Hey Donna, still doing what you say you are doing? Tell me something, Just how scared were you to take that first step into something new? I want to , yet afraid of failing I guess. But very happy for you. Keep going strong…..


SL. Henley November 02, 2017

You go, girl! I also came to seasonal gigs later in life and started working aboard domestic cruise ships when I was in my late 40’s. These are not glamorous jobs– it is a lot of hard work and little time off, but I have room and board covered and can save every cent I make. Even if you are making minimum wage at these jobs, you are working so many hours and sometimes getting overtime so you can save money much faster than you can in a ‘real’ job. Another reason I turned to seasonal work is that I hit the wall with age discrimination in my other ‘real’ profession. I found seasonal employers were much more welcoming to a diversity of age ranges and backgrounds. Put your stuff in storage, give up your apt. and give it a try… you only live once and this is a great way to see a new place and get paid for it!


GL January 08, 2018

Thank you for that! At 45, I hear I am foolish to consider anything besides the everyday mundane things in life. I only fear being fearful now and stories like yourself remind me there is a day, every day I live, to choose my path and write my own narrative. Once again, thanks, Chris


Chris Guichet January 22, 2018

Hey, got work at GTLC at Jackson Lodge this April of 2018. Scared to go. Afraid of failure, but excited at the same time. Anyone out there ever felt the same? Anyways, keep it up Donna.


SL. Henley March 12, 2018

I don’t know if this will help for the older crowd. I started working in parks at 22 years old and have been doing it on and off for 15 years.

One thing I’ve taken to heart here is the conversations I’ve had with older folks, especially retirees. So many retired folks tell me they lived life, saved, retired comfortably and still wished they’d spent their youth doing something like what I was doing. Also, I met a thriving community of retirees and older folks all over the national park scene. So many that I’ve been inspired to pursue the parks again as my personal retirement plan.


Dan March 20, 2018

In 2016, I went to work in West Yellowstone for 7 months, I had Never been to the park, didn’t know anyone but I knew I needed a Large Change. Well, I absolutely loved it and next yr I am purchasing a small RV and am going to travel thru coolworks. I didn’t think anyone would hire and older woman 64 but they did, I will never look back!


Chris July 25, 2018


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