For those readers who also follow us on social media you already know that this blog is behind in news. As in unprecedentedly behind. In nearly ten years of blogging and two years living a nomadic lifestyle and spending time traveling extensively I was always only a week or two behind on the blog. Well, let’s just say 2017 threw us into a tailspin in which the universe spoke to us in a fully unexpected way. And when the universe speaks- you listen!
This post was meant to be a blog about our ferry crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz. My plan had been to continue posting about our adventures in order of event, even though these moments now exist far in the past. However, as I sat down to write it out, here in my office at Camp Coeur D’Alene, it seemed disingenuous.
Our life has taken a 360. Well, perhaps not a 360 but certainly an extensively curved road heading the opposite direction of where we thought we were heading. Yes, we did spend the winter in Baja, enjoying surprising friends and family in La Ventana and hitting up our favorite spot at Verdugo’s in Los Barriles. But, as had been mentioned, the road north called to us. Not really because we wanted to go north, but seeing Jim’s parents was essential and the idea of spending the summer making some money a good idea.
We got a camp host position at Stub Stewart State Park and headed into a blustery Oregon spring confident of our plan. I would keep writing, we’d get a free spot at camp for a few hours of camp hosting per day, and Jim would find a job in western Portland. Except that didn’t work out. All of the jobs he was interviewing for were on the far east side of town. Knowing there was no way such a commute would work for us, we relinquished our camp host spot.
And that is when it all went pear-shaped. Oh, things weren’t bad. We surprised Jim’s parents and shortly thereafter parked ourselves unceremoniously in Dave and Anne’s side yard. I spent days writing and Jim spent days looking for work, but all was well with the company of such great friends, although I must admit happy hour became a nightly event.
We enjoyed seeing friends although being back in Portland just didn’t feel right. It was as though we were square pegs trying to fit into round holes and it was discomforting. Jim started working a part time job while continuing to interview and… it was fine. But a dog walk to the park one day found me in a meltdown, asking the question that turned it all around. What was the point? If we were just getting by, but not really getting ahead, what was the point of being here? Perhaps we needed to think outside the box.
What happened next can only be described as serendipitous. As Jim went off to work the next day I started looking for and applying for, jobs at workamper.com. This website is for people like us. People who are done with the 9-5, mortgage payment type of lifestyle but who aren’t really retired and are looking for a paycheck, not just a free camp spot.
Three jobs caught my eye. One was working at a small, family-owned camp store at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. One was at a wonderfully scenic small campground south of Glacier National Park. And one was at Camp Coeur D’Alene, a mere seven miles from that small town. We immediately heard back from the family near the Grand Canyon and have to admit we were tempted. However, there was no great spot for Aspen to spend our days with us and the nearest real grocery store was 90 minutes away.
Then we also heard back from the camp south of Glacier but, again, it was fairly remote and offered bad WiFi.
And then there was Ron at Camp Coeur D’Alene. His email was one sentence: When can you be here?
We were dancing! The opportunity to work together as camp hosts, something we’d often talked about, all while being close to town was exactly what we dreamed of. But then he never responded back to my email. Or my next email. Or to the phone message Jim left. Finally, with the Grand Canyon family wanting a response, I sent one final email including our resumes and our family picture from Lake Atitlan.
That approach earned us an email back, followed by a long phone call and a job offer. Suddenly, life took on a much brighter outlook and we prepared to depart for Coeur D’Alene, a city we’d never before been to, in a mere 10 days~ excited about the summer ahead.
We came here believing we would host and do some social media for the summer while looking for a similar winter gig. But then, it wouldn’t be the next big adventure if life was that simple. In the last 3 1/2 months, our life morphed into me becoming front desk/reservation manager along with a commitment to come back next summer and do camp work while making off-season reservations and marketing from Verdugo’s over the winter. That turn of story alone would have been enough of a tale in a life lived on the edge.
The universe threw us into a different type of tailspin when the existing manager was let go and Jim and I became full on managers of this amazing place. The full scoop of our length of commitment and life here remains to be discussed and worked out. What is for sure is that we love this place. We love Ron and his girlfriend Jennifer. We love the work and the lifestyle it affords us. Aspen is the official camp ambassador and relishes her role in making guests smile, forcing them to deal with her by lying in the office doorway, her days continuing to be spent with her pack.
This job is not without its challenges and this sort of fully immersive personal-work life is its own breed of animal. Believe me, stories of camp are coming soon! But the passion and enthusiasm we feel regarding our life here is a big part of why the stories of the winter had become difficult to write. So there it is. Just another bend in the road and our Next Big Adventure. We can’t wait to share our passion with you all.