The CoolWorks Journal is back with a tale of a seasonal job in Alaska kicking off what will hopefully be the first of many grand adventures! Lydia shares with us her experiences of how a vacation to the 49th State lit a fire to set her life on a different course, a path that led her to spending a summer at the foot of North America’s highest peak, new friends, and new experiences. Enjoy!
When is the last time you did something for the first time?
Such a simple, yet significant question to me. Over the last four months I have experienced more new things than probably the last two years collectively. For the first time in a while I feel like I’m truly living my life to its fullest, and that’s thanks to my first seasonal job I found on CoolWorks.
Last fall, I took a solo vacation to Alaska and visited Denali National Park. I was so intrigued that everyone I met who worked in the area had a different accent or was from somewhere else around the world. I remember feeling so inspired by the mountains and the scenery, I thought to myself “I could be doing this. This could be me,” which very quickly turned into “I’m going to do this. This will be me.”
I wasn’t happy at my job at the time and was so afraid of sticking with something that didn’t bring me joy simply because it was comfortable or the easier route. As soon as I returned home, before the awe-inspiring feeling could fade, I started looking at jobs. After a couple months of applying and phone interviews, I was hired to work the front desk at McKinley Creekside Cabins & Café, a super cute lodging and restaurant option outside of Denali National Park. Deciding to pick up and move across the country where I knew no one was a terrifying prospect, but also exhilarating. Fast forward to the end of my summer and it turned out to be the best decision of my life.
My job was to ensure our guests had the most memorable vacation possible which is extremely fulfilling work. Not only was my seasonal job in Alaska fulfilling, but my time off was spent adventuring. I took a 6-passenger plane around the peak of Mount Denali, the largest mountain in North America. I hiked mountains in the Alaska backcountry only accessible by a helicopter. I photographed and viewed wildlife like moose, bear, caribou, and beavers in their natural habitats. I went fly fishing in a mountain stream and caught Alaskan grayling. I stargazed and viewed the Northern Lights. I drove a four-wheeler through the mountains. I hiked solely for the purpose of picking wild Alaskan blueberries. I was pulled by Iditarod race dogs and met Iditarod puppies. I lived a life this summer that most people only experience on vacation. There were multiple times I felt my life was almost too good to be true. I felt like a child running around a playground.
For the first time in my life since graduating high school, I don’t know what my next move is. This is also the first time in my life that I feel ok with not knowing what the future holds for me. I was so accustomed to having a plan that I feel I jumped into multiple big decisions simply to avoid the unknown. I have met so many incredible people this summer who have made a lifestyle out of seasonal work which brings my mind so much ease.
I have new expectations on how I will spend this life of mine, and I am so excited for this new chapter. If you’re on the fence about making a big life decision or change I’ll leave you with this – if it excites you and scares you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.