Thursday, September 16, 2010

Working For A Living

Current Location: Chester, CA

As has happened so many times in the past year, we have had another amazing opportunity drop in our laps. But before I go there, I want to talk a little about that nasty four-letter word: w-o-r-k!

Most of us have been there, and many of us still are. When we decided to set out on this magical journey, we knew we would have to continue working. As we were ending our 9-5 jobs, we frequently heard the comment "I sure wish I could retire so early". We were always quick to make the correction - we aren't retired, we're simply adjusting our lifestyle. We expect to be active in the workforce for many years to come; it's just not the same workforce that we used to be a part of.

Because of the need to support ourselves, we know that our full-timing experience will look a lot different from that of many other full-timers. Our destinations, to a large part, will be determined by job prospects. Of course, we'll also seek opportunities in locations that we want to visit. And these jobs will most likely require us to be sedentary for longer periods of time, which equates to less traveling.

But that's ok - we recognize that those are the "sacrafices" we have to make. And it's hard to even call it a sacrafice, as I sit here in one of the most beautiful locations I could imagine. After all, what is the alternative? Returning back to a 9-5 job, with a measly 4 weeks of vacation a year, if we're lucky? No thanks! I'll make the sacrafices.

So back to our most recent opportunity. We've been asked to return to North Shore Campground next assistant managers! Before the offer was even made, we had pondered the idea of returning for a second year. But like most RVers, we have a long list of places we want to go and we weren't sure if we wanted to spend another summer in the same location, no matter how beautiful it is.

So when the offer was presented to us, we had to make our usual pros and cons list. And when the pros outweighed the cons, we expressed our interest and began more serious discussions on what the position would entail.

Like most of our decisions, this was not one that was made lightly. Admittedly, there were several times this summer when I thought to myself (or even expressed out loud) how glad I was that we were just the worker-bees and could walk away from it all at the end of our shift. Although we helped as we could, the bigger issues were escalated to someone other than us and I was more than happy to hand them off. Well, that will certainly change next year. Now we'll be the ones to whom the issues are escalated. And our days won't be done until we reach our official days off because we'll be on call 24 hours a day during our workdays. Are we sure we really want to take on those headaches? After all, weren't we striving for a low stress life??

And coming back here means putting some of our travel plans on hold. Although we plan to full-time for many years to come, we also made the leap into it now because we know there are no guarantees in life. What if something should happen in the next few years which causes us to end our travels? Will we regret "wasting" multiple years in the same location?

So by now, you're probably wondering why we accepted. As with most situations, there are trade-offs. We ultimately came to the determination that we would be gaining far more than we would be giving up.

First, there are the financial gains. We will be making significantly more next year than we did this year, which will put us in a much better financial position. And knowing that we have a job lined up for next year relieves a lot of the pressure for this winter. Although I would never make a decision solely based on money, it is a necessary evil and it, unfortunately, it is a major factor in our decisions.

Second, we still have a lot to learn and this is a great opportunity for more education. For years, we had talked about owning a B&B, a set of cabins, or a campground. I'm not sure that we'll ever want to be that tied down again, but you never know what the future holds. Taking on managerial duties will give us a little more taste of what it would be like, if we ever do go down that road. And even if we don't, having the experience on our resume can only help us in future jobs.

Third, we believe we can make a difference. Not only will we help the owners and current staff by providing stability, but we have many ideas for improvements of the operations too. If only one or two of those ideas is successful, then we'll have made a difference.

Fourth, although this is not the perfect place (is anyplace?), we're already aware of a lot of the challenges that we'll be faced with. That's not to say that we won't be surprised or that some things may not work out like we expected, but we have a pretty good idea of what we're signing on for.

Lastly, and possibly most important, we like it here. As we're preparing for our departure in a couple of weeks, we find ourselves sad about the prospect of leaving. As I mentioned in a previous post, we really like the people - from the campground owners, to our co-workers, to many of the regular campers whom we've come to know. They have embraced us and they are all happy that we are returning. And of course, there's our site which I've gushed about numerous times. I'm sure we could probably buy one just as nice for $50 or more a night, but I couldn't imagine a nicer one as a workamper. And on top of all of that, we didn't accomplish nearly everything we wanted to this summer. We still have many mountains to climb and endless places to explore. We also have friends and family who didn't have a chance to visit this year, so we're hoping they'll have a chance next year.

I could probably go on with the pros and cons, but suffice it to say, life is full of difficult decisions. But when we really sat down and weighed all of our options, this one wasn't really all that difficult to make. It just made sense on so many levels. And ever since we accepted the offer, we've been really excited about the prospects for next year. And that's why we know we made the right decision.


  1. Sounds like a pretty good gig to me!

  2. That sounds great! One less thing to worry about.

    Stay Safe

  3. Awesome gals! :)

    Securing a job next summer is a gift in itself. It'll help you better plan your travel plans around it and there are no surprizes this way.

    It's all good. I'm sure you would like to travel to Alaska during that time of year but work is work. And these days, you're lucky to get it to be quite honest. The competition for work campers is growing by the day.

    I'm glad you have made the decision and can now move forward with the rest of your plans. :)

    Be well,

  4. That's really good news! Congrats on the promotion and pay raise for next year.

  5. That is great news and a good evaluation - when you have a little bit of a future plan, it does relieve some stress. THe fact that you are sad leaving is a BIG plus - how many of us are thinking we can't wait to leave/retire from our jobs and would be relieved never to revisit our workplace again. Congrats on being offered and accepting the promotion.

  6. you go girl(s)... live the dream!

  7. I can imagine your excitement at being offered asst. mgr. jobs! That's something to be really proud of. Your work history is really working for you on the road. Good for you! :)

  8. Excellent news! Congratulations!

    Follow your hearts . . . they will never mislead you! =)


  9. Hey, that gives Bobby and I another opportunity to fly out to see you guys and the area. What part of Cali is it?

    Take care and let me know what the winter holds.

    Phillip and Bobby

  10. Congratulations on the promotion! I love pro and con lists and use them to help sort out everything that is whirling around in my head. It really helps when trying to make a decision.

  11. I think that's great. If you enjoy it, if it gives a stress relief and if it enables you to see more and broaden your horizon, then that's good. That's the beauty of the f/t lifestyle... going and doing things you like. I am happy for you, and fitting the f/t lifestyle to you is what it;s about... it;s your style.
    Take care.
    Mike & Gerri

  12. How very neat! Congratulations!

    Believe it or not, we were supposed to be workamping there at NS this summer! We tried to do so several summers ago, but I became terribly ill early on before season truly started, and we had to leave to go back to Texas where I had emergency surgery. We'd asked Dez for another opportunity for this summer, but then found ourself faced with an unexpected and unhappy delay that made us have to reneg. We were very upset as we'd so looked forward to going back to North Shore, working for Dez and Katrina, and seeing Randy again. But life changes on a dime and one has to go with the flow.

    In reading your journal and writings, I found myself shaking my head in agreement. We know the feelings you must have had when making this decision. We feel the same tug to travel, enjoy life and feed our souls.

    I found your journal by fluke, but will keep reading. Will love to hear about the goings-on at beautiful Lake Almanor. And once again, congratulations! Tell Dez hello from us! And Randy too.

    Jeannie and Rick Miller