Living & Working in Great Places
I wonder just how hard it would be in this day and time to throw a suitcase and camping gear into your vehicle and work your way up through California, Oregon, Washington? I mean, literally work (because everyone has bills, right)?
The sad truth is, no, you can't really do that any more.
It was different even as recently as a decade ago. Nowadays, they check your blood type, religion, cholesterol level, bank balance, credit report, criminal history back to and including the library book you didn't return in third grade, fifteen personal references, rental history, high school grades, and brand of mouthwash you use---even for a crap minimum wage job in the middle of nowhere where you have to pay half your wages for the privileges of living in a shack with a dozen other people and getting fed mystery meat.
What does this mean? It means that you can't just waltz up to someplace and expect to get hired--even if they want you for the job. The process of getting hired takes forever. And during the gap between when you apply someplace and they even bother to contact you, you'll have to maintain a cell phone, internet access, etc.--and be prepared to drive 200 miles back to a location you already moved on from just to have an interview and a chance at a position. And in the meantime, you're having to pay for food, gas, and campsite fees. California campsites cost $35-40 (yes, just tent sites with no facilities other than pit toilets). Oregon sites are nicer but still cost $23/day (at least, many of the campgrounds have showers, but forget about getting a site on weekends). Washington is about on a par with Oregon.
So you're likely to wind up frustrated and broke. You MIGHT find the occasional odd job cleaning rooms or toilets, but that's all you'll find; because of the current depression, all the decent jobs have been sucked up and people are clinging to them with both hands.
I would recommend taking the trip, but with enough funds to support yourself even if you found no work at all, because that's the most likely result. Anyway, the Pacific Northwest is heaven on earth in the summer--why waste your time there cleaning toilets? Life's too short.
A lot of great input here guys! Thanks! I was working dude ranches for years. Thought I needed to "settle down" again and am at home in Texas this summer. Gosh, even tho I have had more time w/my kids/grandkids I can't help but wonder "What was I thinking"? I would love to see the west coast. I am so used to sacrifices and being out in our great country is enough entertainment for me!! So the material things are not such a big deal. Jon, tell me about Stehekin! I have been curious for awhile as they always seem to need help! It would be great to visit w/you more, but I am not sure I can find you on the wenatchee! :) but if I do make it up that way, it would be great to have someone to "call on" for advice, etc...About the only thing i get anxious about it internet ( my daughter is in Uganda)...I like staying in touch w/my kids...they are pretty neat people! Again, thanks guys! I am looking seriously into it all and your input is most helpful!!
Great reply, Jon, everytime I tell an interviewer or realestate agent what I've been doing the last four years, they want to do it. Only problem is, they are so tied down they cant'
I can, and will again. I love the idea of rent free living in the mountains, camping. Hey, I've been there, base camping and backpacking are dreams of a life time.
You got to be a minimalist, though, all those bills and gagets add up. Down sizing is key, Annette.
Hi Carol ...thanks! I just saw your reply. That is what folks would say when I told them I traveled and worked at ranches. If it fits into the back seat of my truck, then I need it. If not, well, I don't!
So, I will work on it and see what happens.
Are you traveling now? Where have you worked?
I've worked in Yellowstone, Zion, and the Grand Tetons. Right now, waiting for a doctor's appointment and clearance so I can get back to Yellowstone.
I have a geo metro, thinking about a small rv....
Working your way through the west coast? Not too difficult. But just throwing your stuff in a vehicle and going up and down is probably not the best choice. Having a good idea on how long you are going to stay somewhere and finding the next place before you head there is a better idea. Are we talking actual coast, or is inland OK?
Hi Keith....I was using that term very loosely! Actually, because of my ranching background I know I have to map out a plan! I have just never ventured to that part of the country and was hoping others would throw in some suggestions from their work experiences. I would love to be close to the coast, but I am pretty flexible. Thanks for your input :)
Good. I thought you were. But actually I have seen many people do the 'I'm just going to drive across the country and apply at places when I get there.' I have seen a few places along the coast, but not many...but there are a couple of ranches in Cal. But I was thinking like Catalina, Death Valley, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Mammoth, Yosemite, Tahoe, that Buddhist place that I don't want to misspell right now, Crater Lake, Olympic (3 places), Rainier, Cascades and that's just what I'm pulling out of my head without doing a search.
There are a few options for just traveling and working. I bounced the small casinos in small towns of Nevada for a year. I had fun, made just enuf to cover bills/etc. Some have housing, some ya gotta provide your own rv.
HAHA, I actualy live in an old brothel at a casino in Searchlight Nv. for a couple months. If the walls could talk, the stories we'd hear.
Well, that sounds interestin!! Never thought of that!
If you wind up on the Oregon coast, be prepared for the campsites to be very full, especially on weekends. However, if you take any of the roads that go east (inland) from 101, there are lots and lots of very nice Forest Service campgrounds that usually are semi-deserted.
Of all the places mentioned so far, the Oregon coast would probably be the best place to look for a "just passing through" job, because the towns there are of decent size and there would be more than just "resort work" available. You might, for instance, find a job with the fishing fleet in Newport.
kevins right the oregon coast is a great place and crowded on weekends, lots of work for the summers and it doesn't have to be all hospitality.
and if you don't have to live in the beach towns, rent can be pretty cheap if your willing to live inland a little and the forest off the coast are amazing