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Hi folks!
I have several questions on how to start my new journey.
I'm fortunate to still be employed while many are not.
Unfortunatly I'm a graphic designer in newspaper industry. You might say it's a dead end job.
I'm almost at the point of selling my home purchasing a used Airstream and becoming a seasonal worker and never looking back.

Have any of you made this kind of leap? If so, how did you get started.
Do you have regrets? Can one survive as a seasonal employee? I'm looking for any advice.

Thanks!
Mark

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Hi Mark, I am exactly where you are at. I want to live my dream, but there a couple of obstacles in my way. I have a spouse that is younger and works in the printing field. His too is a dead end job. I am looking to do the same thing. Hopefully there will be some good feedback. Good luck Mark.
Thanks Teresa and good luck to you!
I'll be in the Telluride Ouray Colorado area July 7th. If I get a chance I may talk with some of the locals about job opportunities. Who knows I may stumble upon something.

Mark
Hey Mark~

I have come to a crossroads in life again (I've had several) where I just recently quit my job, a really good job with Whole Foods Market... to hit the road again. It took me 6 years to build my career to the point that it is... after working seasonally and traveling for a few years straight 2002-2004... so I know on both ends the delight and the struggle sometimes to working seasonally vs. working a traditional stationary job. I'm back to the point where I want to travel again, so here I am back in Alaska. I do have to say that it was really hard to make the decision to quit my job and move on... because in this economy I'm lucky that I had a job... but once the decision was made, what a relief. I've been going back and forth for a few years wanting to hit the road, but liking the security of what my job provided. I definitely made more money at Whole Foods than I can working a seasonal job... but the trade-off is priceless when it comes to inner peace and happiness. That's what I get anyway from the freedom of working a job that has a deadline. You don't feel like it's never going to end at least... you know when you will have time off, and usually working seasonally offers you that time... which a lot of jobs don't. You get so stuck in the rat race of a career that you don't take the time to enjoy living life. Working seasonally provides that luxury.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I don't have any regrets. I say go for it... you only have one life to live, and time is ticking. Follow your dreams and never look back... as long as you are flexible, and open to new experiences a path will present itself that you never thought was there.

This is the website that I found my first seasonal job back in 2002... working as a cook on the train in Alaska... so use this website to help guide you along your journey. It's the best resource that I have found... even to just look at the options, see what others have experienced, etc. So you've come to the right place at least. I'm sure others will chime in... I'm curious what Keith has to say on the subject since he's been doing this longer than I have....

... if you have any specific questions, or want to talk further, feel free to email me. Hope you decide to take that leap!
Smiles from Alaska,
Christen
Hi Christen and thanks for your insightful reply.
Alaska is the place I would like to be. I'm so sick of the "RAT RACE".
I've decided to stick it out at my job until spring. I have a house to sell and clutter to unload.
I'm thinking about purchasing an Airstream RV. I just enjoy my privacy. I also have two small
dogs.

Question, how do you manage with what seasonal jobs pay? I wouldn't be looking at seasonal jobs if my intent was to get rich but one needs enough money to survive.

Hope you enjoy your seasonal adventure.

Mark
Mark~

So cool that you want to move about in an Airstream RV.... one of my dreams too at some point. Someday when I have the money... not only to buy it, but to be able to afford the expense maintaining it while traveling.

So how do you manage what seasonal jobs pay, you ask? Well, there are several different answers to this one, with maybe some more insight thrown in there....

~First and foremost, know how to live cheaply. Know how to live below your means so that you can save money for travel time. Each time I've taken time off to travel or work seasonally, I've first worked my tail off for a couple of years to save a chunk of money as a reserve. Always have to start with something to move, get settled in new place, etc.

~Make sure you have a job lined up as soon as you get there to keep the cash flow coming. A lot of seasonal jobs provide an end of season bonus, as well as transportation expenses, so you can always use that to get to your next seasonal job. Requirement is usually to stay the whole season. You can also get free housing, but like you, I like my privacy. So I usually have to pay rent somewhere, which always eats at your income. If you have the RV, then you still may have to pay to camp and park all summer.

~The type of work you are willing to do will determine how much money can be made. Many seasonal jobs up here in Alaska will provide a years income for some in just a season... especially in the fishing industry. Also if you work say for tips as opposed to an hourly wage, you have the potential to make more as well... but then you have the unpredictability sometimes of how much people are traveling or spending this season... in a bad economy, tipping can sometimes be obsolete. So it just depends on your skill set and what you are willing to do for work. There's money to be made.

~I try to live debt free... no credit cards, and just recently I paid off my school loans. So if you are really wanting to make a go living seasonally, it can be done... but try to start with a clean slate. Have some money saved as a reserve, to get you through between jobs... and if you decide to spend every last dime traveling the world instead (like I have a few times), then you can always go back to the 9-5 job you had before and start all over again. Save again, and do it again a few years later... which is where I currently am...

~Lastly, really do some soul searching to see what it is you can and can't live without. That will help determine if you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make a living working seasonally. You can survive, most definitely... but you may not be rich monetarily (at least comparitively to the Jones'?) I think being rich and successful is a state of mind, and only comes through truly experiencing life. I know I'm not rich, but my life feels full with all I've done so far, you know? What is it worth to you to truly follow your dreams is maybe a better question to ask yourself.

Hope these answers have helped. I'm sure I will think of more to add later... but this should give you some things to think about for now.

Christen
Just a couple of points...

First, which types of jobs would you be looking at applying for work? Not all, but most, are in the resort/food and beverage/retail areas. And the wages vary quite a bit. If you can be a waiter or bartender, your income might surprise you. If you're grabbing an entry-level retail, f&b, or front of house job it's going to be a lot lower.

Second, I try to ask this of anyone looking at the RV route. Only a small percentage of employers offer RV spaces, and those that do many have just a handful of spots available. The other choice is to find some RV Park, hopefully somewhat close and commuting. It's an expense that you would have to consider. Of the employers that offer spaces, there is an even smaller percentage that have winter opportunities.

Third, Alaska is a wonderful place. Hauling an RV up here will take a big chunk of change, however. I'm also not sure how many winter RV parks are open. I'm thinking a few in the Kenai peninsula. It would also require some major winterization. Or else it's the haul back to the lower 48 after the typical 4-month summer season.
Hi Keith and thanks for your information.
The main reason I'm considering the RV option is, I have two small Boston Terriers.
I understand most seasonal jobs do not welcome dogs and I wont give up my pets.
Looks like I have a lot of planning and thinking to do.

Thanks again!!

Mark
I just put it that way because I can survive easily in this seasonal world. I have cut a lot of expenses out of the equation. I also worked more than 20 years in the regular resort/restaurant world before taking the seasonal route and I usually have more income than those taking entry level opportunities.
I am in the same boat as you. I just bought an RV myself and am going to try to find winter employment down south. I have worked in seasonal employment before and loved it except for having to share a room. With my RV I will have my own place and eat my own food. Good Luck.
Please let me but in here... if you have you own trailer then you may take your pets with you and keep them with you while living in employee RV sites. The only problem with this, is you need to make up your mind as to where you will work early and apply early letting HR know that you are coming with a trailer. There are size limitation on the trailers to. I've worked at Glacier, Big Bend and Grand Tetons. I can honsetly say that the RV sites for the employees have been very nice in Glacier and Grand Tetons. Big Bend's sites are in an open area and the heat can be fierce. However, you can see Mexico from your door.

Don't let people tell you, you cannot succeed in a seasonal lifestyle. It is true that you should not have any debts before starting and you do have some kind of cash reserve. Have you considered changing type of career? How about becoming a bus driver? or a bell person? Or even working full time for one of the concessionaires? What ever you choose, choose to enjoy the experience and live life to your fullest and have some fun along with the work... make new friends and hold the old ones dear. That is my opinion and of course, you can do what I did and just find a job with US Government and live that way too...
Hi gang and thanks for everyones ideas and suggestions.
I guess I'm at a crossroad in my life and career. Taking a risk and not looking back is a scary decision especially when that decision could determine my income. It would be difficult to live off a minimum wage income when I'm use to making more. I guess if I was retired it wouldn't be so bad. I'm looking at at least 15 years before I reach retirement age. For me I think it would be wiser to stay in my career field but leave the newspaper industry. For now I do have a job and I'm not forced to make a hasty decision.

Hope everyone has a wonderful summer!!

Mark
Good luck Mark.

I just exited the newspaper industry after almost 26 years in the biz. I was a copy editor, a page designer and a web editor before I was finally squeezed out. Fortunately, I came out pretty well financially and can afford to do something with lower income potential.

There are a lot of people out of work from our industry and rather than try to compete with them for a dwindling piece of the pie, I am looking to transition myself into a career in the outdoor hospitality industry, specifically I would like to land in the Wyoming/Montana area.

This all happened rather suddenly, so I missed the window of opportunity for this summer's season. I'm hoping to get picked by either Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons or one of several smaller lodges I've applied to as a mid-season hire.

Ron

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