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What I went through to start the seasonal world.....

I've been traveling for almost four years now and it seems that on every journey I take, I meet someone that's brand new to this type of life. I usually try to give that person as many tips as possible and try to make their first time an experience they won't forget. And every time I meet someone like this I think about my first time leaving home and why I really got into doing this.

As I've said before my family owned a campground when I was growing up so I was lucky enough to have a childhood that anyone would covet. We had a lake, river, forest, dogs, cats, goats (yes I said goats) and the best part of all was.....I never had to wear shoes! On top of that my family would also go hiking, and take "country cruises" to other cool places in the area. So you can most likely say that I got my love for the outdoors at an early age.

But then my Mom and Dad got separated and we sold the campground when I was 13. We moved into a tiny one-story house in a small town called Waterman, IL. I don't know if it was just being young or if I was just having trouble with living in town and having everything be so different with my life, but I turned into a jack-ass. I was just so bored that I was doing things that were totally unlike me. So needless to say, just a year and a half later we were on the move again.

This time we moved to a bigger town called DeKalb, IL. I spent another year or so going down the wrong road when one day I realized how stupid I was being. I changed everything. I changed friends, I moved out on my own, and started to work very hard. It was during this time (about 6 years ago) that I found Cool Works.com. I applied at every job I found on there but I didn't know anything about the seasonal world and it was off season. (Plus like everyone else, I had other things going and I didn't think I would actually do something like that.)


During my big change I was working as Head Maintenance Man at a big apartment complex. I wanted to start "my new life" helping others so I bought 25 bikes from the bike auction that me and my mom were volunteering at, and I fixed them up. Then I let every kid who didn't own a bike at the complex come and pick out their bike of choice. That day I got to see 3 kids ride a bike for their first time. After I saw the looks on those kid's (and mother's) faces I realized that I love to help.

Then the day came around when I lost my Head Maintenance position. I was devastated! That night, I was looking for other jobs online when I happened to look at Cool Works again. I wasn't getting any replies back from anyone, but I had the "travel bug" and there was no getting away from it. I took a long look at the USA map and I remembered that we had a family friend in Tennessee. That night I packed everything I thought I would need and shoved it into the cab of my 1982 GMC S-15.....I had made up my mind.

The next morning my family was extremely shocked when I called them, and they did not like my idea. But they also knew that if I say I want to do something, the chances are that I'm gonna do it. So we made a compromise. Instead of leaving the next day I would wait a week, and me, my Dad, and my sister would all go to the Roger Water's concert. The days coming up to that concert I was so freaked out because I was starting to have doubts and I really wanted one of my friends to come with me. The only problem was that none of them wanted to leave!

That night at the concert I was blown away. Not only by how good the music sounded but because one line really hit me....."kicking around on a piece of ground, in your hometown, waiting for someone or something to show you the way" (Pink Floyd, "Time") I heard that and decided instantly "that's not me, Im not waiting for anything!" I was really gonna do this! The next morning my family had a nice breakfast and we all had a sentimental send off.

Leaving that house was one of the hardest parts of all my travels. But as soon as I set out on that 11 hour road trip, I started to have the best time of my life..... I was doing it! I was getting the chance to see places I had only seen in a book or on TV! Not only that but I was going to be living in The Smokey Mountains! I was so stoked!

I had someone down there that helped me along the way and I had tons of fun. I also got a calls back from tons of jobs once the season started back up too. I had almost forgot I put in all those applications at Cool Works! I ended up moving to California, learning about the seasonal world from other seasoned workers, and never looked back.

I'm still chasing my dream and I hope to still be doing this for years to come. If you ever thought about doing this then try! Most seasonal jobs only last a few months so even if it's not your thing, you still get the chance to spend some time living somewhere that most people only dream about.

Everyone has a different reason for getting into this lfe. And most people have to overcome a huge array of difficulties to live like we do. But I'm sure that most of us will tell you that hitting the road has been the highlight of our lives. So if you some how don't feel right in the comfort of "normal life" then maybe you would prefer the slower, fast-paced, beautiful world of seasonal life.

How about you? How did you start this beautiful lifestyle?

If you like this blog, check out my website http://www.outdoortravellife.com

Thanks

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Comment by jessica on July 29, 2014 at 2:40pm

just got a job at key largo, ocean reef club. i have tattoos and im getting worried. ive heard people got fired once they saw them? true?

Comment by Dallas on February 6, 2009 at 2:50pm
Hahaha I wish! I actually went back towards Chicago to be with my family for a while. Before I came back this month, it had been over 3 years since the last time I was home! So I needed it! My best friends lived in Orlando right off of the John Young by Universal, so I bet you know that area lol...small world!
Comment by Ashley on February 5, 2009 at 11:58am
I live in Orlando and also lived in Tallahassee for 7 years during and after college.. it was a blast. Where did you move from key Largo? montego maybe? hahahaha
Comment by Dallas on February 5, 2009 at 11:31am
Well good luck. Where are you at around Florida? I just moved from Key Largo! Oh and both of those places are great for the summer. You will have a great time!
Comment by Ashley on February 5, 2009 at 11:07am
haha that is so funny. i applied there! I applied to four hotels there! I have already interviewed over the phone with one of them! I am excited and cant wait to find out.. its a big step for me since i pretty much stay around florida :) Thanks!!
Comment by Dallas on February 5, 2009 at 10:59am
Thank you very much Ashley. Im also adding a lot of stuff right now, like pictures and cheap travel tips. Michigan is beautiful and its a really fun place to spend some time. Have you ever though of working on Mackinac Island in Michagan? You should check out The Island House or Iroquios Hotel cause a few of my friends worked there last year and had tons of fun.
Comment by Ashley on February 5, 2009 at 10:25am
dallas, i love your site! the stories are awesome! the tips are so helpful, im thinking of moving to michigan for the season!
Comment by Carol on February 4, 2009 at 1:28pm
I moved to N.E Georgia (Rabun Country, Deliverance was filmed here) after my divorce. Since then I've done alot of long distance backpacking, had a gear business, sold art, then this last year, due to the worsening global economy, went back to cooking at a hospital. I've been there a year now, tons of perks, but you know.....a rabbit and a lion? So, i'm looking to resume the freer lifestyle. Kinda hard waiting to hear back from potential employers. So, what you said about heading out to Tennessee, then getting all those calls later in the season, because of all the applications you'd put in online, really was encouraging.

I like what Thoreau said: I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary.

I love this site!
Comment by Dallas on February 3, 2009 at 5:30pm
thanks for the comment and im sorry you had to live around there for so long! ;) I always say that the Chicago area is a great spot to VISIT lol. So how did you get started doing this?
Comment by Carol on February 3, 2009 at 3:25pm
Dekalb,IL of all places! I lived and worked in and near that town for 25 years. I always called it Chicagoland- a place where everything is either paved or plowed. Its cause for any young man to get restless!
I love your story about the bikes, and the concert-revelation, the compromise, and the Smokies being your first destination.
Thanks for posting.

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