Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Mark Twain would have approved of #workamping.
For those of you not familiar with the term, “workamping” combines camping with working, usually under a 6-month contract. RVers are particularly drawn to it because it allows them to travel affordably. There are websites, such as https://workamper.com/ , where you can apply for jobs across the U.S. In exchange for a campsite and pay, you agree to work a certain number of hours, ranging anywhere from 20 to 40 a week.
Why #workamp? It’s not just about the money, although the extra cash does allow us to take guided fishing trips, sample more of the local restaurants, and save money for more adventures down the road.
But it’s also about the challenge of learning new skills, keeping our brains active, and keeping our people skills sharp.
Workamping also provides the opportunity for socialization. Being on the road, especially full time, can be lonely, despite what others may tell you. It’s hard to make friends and have group activities when you move each week. Working a job for six months can lead to life-long friends, and many people return year after year to the same location to meet up once again with their workamping buddies.
John sees it as an opportunity to spend six months at Yellowstone, a stay we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. We’ve seen waterfalls, geysers, up close views of a variety of animals, and we can go fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and rafting on our days off. In fact, because we are front desk clerks here in the town of West Yellowstone, many of these attractions are free because the tour companies want us to promote them.
Workamping also exposes you to all types of people you might otherwise never encounter. Some people workamp to survive—it’s their primary income. Then there’s the young, unskilled, and disenfranchised. They’ve rejected the struggle to achieve the American Dream.
Their dream is different. It’s a simple life. No ties. The ability to be different. It’s a rejection of many of our commonly held beliefs about success. To them, success is not measured monetarily—no, it’s the ability to be able to fish every day. Ride a bike instead of drive a car. Move on when you get bored. They can be as opinionated as they please. Even stubborn.
But they are living their life—their way.
Traveling across this country in an RV has taught me to not judge as much as I did in the past. Different is not necessarily wrong.
If you want to broaden your world view, as Twain suggest, give Workamping a try.
Up next: life as a desk clerk.