JOURNAL

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon

JACOB

Just about a year ago, I set out on a journey that would change my life. I had discovered Coolworks, and seasonal work, a year before, and had given it a shot during the summer of 2016, at a small fishing resort in northern Minnesota. There I made many great memories, but it was a small operation with only a few employees other than myself, and I left unsure of my next steps in my life, and ultimately settled on getting back to ‘real’ life. I moved back to Iowa, got a good paying union job, and bought my first brand new car. Wanderlust and the desire to travel still smoldered deep within me, but I suppressed it, telling myself in a few years I would ‘figure something out’, and maybe even try another seasonal job. My fall back down to reality happened quicker than I expected, however, and I found myself only 6 months into my job, deeply unhappy and generally depressed with my job and my life. I knew this is not the life I wanted.

Home had grown to represent a prison for me. Everything that I had worked to escape, slowly closed back in around me. I was homeschooled, and raised in a sheltered, religious, ultra-conservative family. I had never developed much of a social life here at home, or really felt like a normal person. I spent more time during this period at home with ghosts of the past than I did with any human companionship. I had all the money I needed, a new car, boat, numerous other possessions, but none of it brought me any real happiness. I longed for wilderness, for mountains, for wide open spaces – just to feel the solace and the oneness with nature. I needed to get away from the obstacles that held me back at home. I needed to get back out on my own, and meet new people, people different than me, and yet alike in spirit.

Fears and anxiety held me back however. What if I was unable to make my car payment? How was I going to survive going to a place where I don’t know anyone, and leaving my family? Eventually, I reached a place of a deep lasting depression. I have always struggled with depression, but rarely to the level that I was experiencing. I knew a change had to be made. No matter the risks, no matter what I was leaving behind. I had to start moving towards the light, towards my dreams. I accepted a job in Death Valley National Park, and so begun a year that I wouldn’t have traded for anything.

Last year, as I prepared to drive across the country and into the desert, I again told myself that I wouldn’t work more than a couple of seasons, while working on a long-term plan of figuring out what I ‘really’ wanted to do. But, after a year, I have become more and more convinced that this is what I really want to do. I have met amazing people from all over this country and the world, and from every walk of life, who have forever shaped my life. I get to work and explore in places where people plan to take their vacations. There’s always a vibrant social life, and you get to live and work with like-minded people who want to explore and experience nature. I don’t make a lot of money, but enough to get by, and I am happy. And in the end, that’s all what we’re after, right? Peace and love to all, and happy travels!

COMMENTS

Nice story. We are in this together nice to meet you I’m Death Valley National Park. Just like our Jeep’s push start button said On to new adventures. Nice photo BTW lol, wonder who took it.

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Brian November 26, 2018

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