JOURNAL

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon

The six of us that make up team CoolWorks have all had our lives changed by taking a chance on the road less traveled. Since 1995, legions of adventurers have used our site to find their new path. And as a part of that journey, they often discover new courage, new passion, new love, new family, a new home – a fork in the road to a future that they never expected as the result of a seasonal job.

We’ve created these journals with the belief that storytelling cheers, emboldens and encourages us to tell and create our own stories. We built this venue in the hopes that learning about other people’s experiences might help some dreamers work up the courage to take the plunge themselves. Has a seasonal job changed your life? We would love to hear about it!

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KRISTA

When strangers ask me how I came to work in Death Valley, I lie.
I’m not ashamed of the truth; I just know that it’s not what a family of bright-eyed tourists wants to hear over breakfast. Like a lot of parkies, my pilgrimage to the middle of nowhere…

KATIE

Since my journey began, I’ve watched the sun rise and set in some of the world’s most beautiful places. Every morning, I look out my window and see some of the most amazing mountains on the planet. I sometimes think about what my life might be like had I…

ANNE

Denali stole my heart: wide open vistas, alpine tundra slopes, Dall Sheep grazing on rugged mountain peaks. Wilderness. Wolves. Grizzly bears. The challenge of it all. The freedom. The evolution of the short summer season, from an eager and intense spring to the snowflakes and stillness of fall. The…

BETTE

For many years, those dreams brewed restlessly within me. Eventually, I listened to my nagging inner voice and took the plunge to what would become one of the most significant experiences of my adult life. My journey led me from a small, quintessential New England town to Big Sky…

ERICA

Mother Nature smacked me in the face as I drove over the Galena summit and into the Sawtooth Valley. Snow-capped mountains replaced skyscrapers. Wide open spaces replaced sprawling suburbia. Meadows bursting with wildflowers replaced parking lots. Wildlife replaced people. That summer at the ranch changed me and the crew…

TYLER

My love affair with the American West began in 2009 with a cross country road trip after college. That summer, I traveled through 27 states and covered over 10,000 miles in six weeks with a friend in a car far too small for my 6’3″ frame. We visited seven…

BILLY

Working at these two camps revealed my weaknesses to me more pointedly than I’d have cared for, but in the open I am able to eradicate them. They have made me a little slower to speak, a little quicker to listen, a little more appreciative. I leave this year…

AMY

Before jumping straight into a career, invest in yourself first so you can enter the workforce as a person who knows themselves deeper, who can understand and love people better, and as someone who has stepped out of comfort to embrace the wonderful unknown. This could be the summer…

BROOKE

The second I got home, I went online and played my own version of CoolWorks adventure roulette. Did I want a job in the national parks? Or maybe specifically a gig on the water? Did I want something in hospitality and service industry? Or did I want to return…