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so it has been YEARS since my last seasonal job, and yet i still find myself checking this page, looking at new jobs, rethinking scenarios over and over in my head about certain situations... it is like a disease. but now, after "settling down" and "domesticating" myself for the whole notion of the american dream, i have come to see that it is not me, not what i ever wanted for myself or my girl, and in the future, not for my family.

we have had moderate success in our lives as sedentary human beings, but the whole economic meltdown has left me wondering what is real in american culture and what really matters. the more i think about how much happier i was backpacking around the world with one change of clothes, and then driving around the country with a camera and a sleeping bag on my down times from seasonal work, the more i want to immerse myself in the nomadic and quiet life of a traveler again.

things have changed though. i am older, my body hurts more (from sleeping in odd places and falling off of mountains), and my mind isn't as quick, and i do enjoy certain creature comforts which i would have criticized when i was younger. but my girl and i are giving it all up again. we are selling our business, selling our investments, buying a farm, and making sure to go on vacation for 2 months out of every year. to me, it is worth it. make less money, be happier, enrich your mind and spirit, meet quality people on their own paths through life... that's always what it has always been about anyway to me. the american way of life, as we all are becoming aware, is an illusion. i will go out on a limb and say it is a distraction from the real world that is always out there. i have never bonded with people at work like i have in a seasonal setting. most of my friends around the world, i met working seasonally.

maybe it is cabin fever speaking, or too much television, but i feel like i have played this charade long enough. every seasonal job has its "lifers" and we all wondered about them, and how they did it for a decade or two, and now i understand. a life spent working to keep up with the joneses just is not a fulfilling one. the LESS i have, the happier i am. the LESS i work, the more time i have to spend with people i care about. and i have also come to realize that money itself is not even real. can it buy you dinner? sure, but who will you get that dinner from when our money is worth as much as toilet paper, as it is in many countries across the world? every one of our lives is unsustainable. we have become so compartmentalized and specialized, we can no longer function independently.

traveling and seasonal work, for me, have always gone hand in hand. it has been a humbling experience to work and live in so many places. and even though summer in montana is always like vacation, we have an almost uncontrollable urge to pack it up and live in the jungles of the world for a while. is this irrational? is it irrational to want less, and see more? i thought settling down and owning something would be satisfying. definitely not. i would trade my business and everything i own to go back and relive my life from the ages between 18-25. in one second, except this time i would bring my girl who i met in my last year in yellowstone. so no matter how badly your employers treat you, no matter how much the dorms suck, or how much diarrhea the food in the cafeteria gives you, count your blessings that every day can be an adventure. this is what we are missing nowadays. a genuine experience from day to day. new faces with new stories from other places, which you might work at next summer or winter.

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Comment by Anneliese on April 8, 2010 at 3:34pm
I agree, Great Post! Enjoyable reading.
Comment by Dominic A. Smith on January 28, 2009 at 8:31pm
Great post really enjoyed it, I worked a summer in yellowstone and went back to the area the next summer. That was 3 years ago now I have moved back to my hometown living a traditional lifestyle thinking of going to college for something I am not passionate about. A few day ago I decided to come on coolworks and check out Alaska jobs. I am super excited to go work at another resort. I am starting to realize I could be VERY HAPPY living as a seasonal worker. I may not have a big bank account , but who needs a big house when you can Yellowstone or Denali as your back yard. Im getting hooked !!
Comment by Dallas on January 27, 2009 at 12:17pm
Hey great post. I have been a seasonal worker for almost 4 years now and I already can feel that Im a "lifer" and I love it! I know what you mean about being hard to support ANYBODY other than yourself on a seasonal workers pay. But there is also plenty of ways around that. Every great job in any cool place needs a manager and that is a little more of a medium. You are still in a beautiful spot, meeting new travelers every season, and you get paid better. Usually they will just make you sign a 1 year contract. Have fun and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Comment by mike on January 15, 2009 at 1:46pm
there has to be a middle ground somewhere... i couldn't raise a family on a seasonal worker's wage, but we don't want to settle either. i have met people who travel with their children, but they must be independently wealthy or something. i too also love getting to a new place, aks, and then figuring it all out when i get there. all the little nooks and crannies of the place, then the mountains around them. it keeps me going, and after 7 years out in montana, i think i have the greater yellowstone ecosystem pretty well covered. all 20 million or so acres of it. but i always wanted to buy a place in alaska, and fly around from lake to lake. i know i can't "rough it" anymore. i've gotten old and soft since my adventures up there (broke a leg in wrangell st elias and had to crawl out). i think we might just throw the proverbial dart at the map again... thanks for the nice comments guys, i'm glad someone can relate because all of my friends and family think i'm nuts.
Comment by akscootr on January 15, 2009 at 8:24am
Amen....paragraph 4 says what I have been trying to say to family and friends (the sedentary ones) for years. Every time I settle, things are not fulfilling. Every time I get up and go someplace new, I am as excited as a child in a toy store. I have been a Coolworker since 1999 so I gueass this year I am officially a lifer :0)~ good blog, thanks

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