As my semester abroad in London came to a close, I knew I couldn’t just return home for the summer. At 20 years old the next adventure was around the corner. The only problem was, I wasn’t entirely sure how to make it a reality.
Shortly before departing for Europe, I visited both Glacier National Park and Jackson Hole and left both with the knowledge that I had to find my way back to those outrageous mountains as soon as possible. Sitting in London during a rare moment of downtime, I stumbled upon CoolWorks.com. I’m not even sure how, but the phrase “Jobs in Great Places” hooked me. Off I went searching faraway places, dreaming up the next chapter.
A potential opportunity surfaced in the form of a retail position at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. I managed to navigate the 8-hour time difference between England and Wyoming for a phone interview, but with a relatively thin resume and living across an ocean, I wasn’t sure I’d be successful.
They said to be there on May 15. I said no problem.
Admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed when the reality of a 3-day turnaround from a full semester abroad turned into a frenzied pack-up for the unknown. On Sunday, I rode the underground in London one final time and walked around town avoiding double-decker buses. On Wednesday, I drove past huge snow mounds in Yellowstone avoiding bison en route to Grand Teton. This was a culture shock I had not expected.
But my grand adventure was underway, and “The Grand” was there boldly each day I headed to the lodge for work. I’m no mountaineer, but a month after arriving, there I was on top of the 12,513 foot South Teton soaking up the most incredible views with friends I’d barely known a month earlier.
The Tetons captured my heart, and I returned for a second season working in conventions at the lodge in 2009. Despite growing up near the Cascades, the Tetons had become my go-to mountains.
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. Without CoolWorks.com, I have no idea if I would have found an opportunity from “across the pond” in London to spend the summer working in one of our country’s most beautiful national parks. Safe to say, CoolWorks led me to the next adventure and changed my life!
Interested in what Liz is up to in her work to protect the unique and wonderful Greater Yellowstone region?
Check out the organization she’s a part of at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.