Over the past year, Larry AKA @thebeardeddream and I have connected with tons of people in the Instagram community. Often we are asked how we’re able to travel so much. In short, the answer is seasonal work: short-term positions that fulfill a season-specific trade. We have been zip line guides in Ketchikan, worked at a bush plane outfitter in Denali, and we are currently finishing up a winter season at Big Sky Ski Resort.
Most people, especially millenials, don’t perceive this lifestyle as a practical option. We’re so often reminded of the routine to graduate high school, choose a good college, graduate from college, choose a career path, follow it until we’re settled down. There’s an undeniable stigma in veering off that path and experimenting with different lifestyles.
For those who don’t fall in with this societal timeline, seasonal work can be a great option. I realized this when I graduated college. My own intentions were dissimilar to many of my peers who immediately proceeded to chase idyllic careers. I knew that chasing a career in a traditional way was not meant for me, that I would become bored quickly with the routine and end up resenting my lifestyle choice. Luckily, Larry shares these sentiments. So, together, we made the decision to move to Denali, Alaska for the summer months to work and to play.
It came all too naturally to second-guess (and third and fourth-guess, etc.) our decision to run off to Alaska to work for a bush-plane outfitter. But while the summer went by, I realized that it was a good decision. All the great things about the seasonal lifestyle became more and more apparent.
Top 5 benefits of working a seasonal job:
1. You get to experience a place.
Leisurely traveling somewhere offers such a different lens than does actually living there. When you have months to get used to a routine in a new place, you gain the perspective of a local. You learn your favorite spots, the best places to eat and drink, the individuals that make the place special. You experience the good and the bad, not just whatever a short window of time allows you to see.
2. Seasonal work makes for shoulder-seasons off.
In the northern hemisphere, summer jobs are June-September and winter are December- April. The months unoccupied by seasonal gigs are the perfect time to travel, catch up with family and friends, etc. Travel-wise, the spring and autumn months you have free are the least popular time frames to travel for the rest of the world. Airfare is lower, hotels and outfitters offer discounted prices, and
tourist destinations are the least crowded during these times.
3. You get to take advantage of exploratory benefits.
Most seasonal employers offer rad deals with sister companies or local outfitters. For example, as a zip line guide in Ketchikan, AK, employees are offered complimentary ATV tours, kayaking tours, and float plane tours as long as there is space available. Similarly, as an employee of a ski resort, employees get access to a handful of other resorts for no charge. These are amazing opportunities to take advantage of. It’s like going on an extended vacation where you actually get to save money instead of spend it all.
4. Meet awesome individuals.
People from all walks of life come together at these kinds of jobs and are able to connect based on a shared sense of adventure. Most people you’ll find in these seasonal places share an awareness of the importance of living life to the fullest. At the very least, you’ll always find yourself working alongside a diverse crowd.
You’ll learn the ins and outs of a new place.
You’ll learn to communicate with all kinds of people.
You’ll learn job specific skills that may come in handy in the future.
Above all, you’ll learn about yourself. If you’re just not sure what you want your future to look like yet, or if you’re simply in need of some soul searching, exploring an unknown path can lead to some major personal development. You’ll get the chance to figure out your true interests and values, and to realize your ultimate goals.
Seasonal work is definitely something to consider. It doesn’t have to be forever, but it’s a great way to support yourself while exploring a new place and having fun. You’re destined to create life changing experiences and expand your personal horizons in a multitude of ways. As one of my favorite cheesy quotes goes, “it’s all about the journey, not the destination”, so live it up and enjoy the ride.