As the season winds to a close here in Southeast Alaska, I am more and more often getting that question that is perpetually posed to the seasonal worker.
“What are you doing next?”
I’m about three weeks away from the end of my work at the sea kayaking company. At this point in seasons prior, I’ve always known what my next step is. This time, I don’t.
As things progress with this blog, and with another freelance writing job, some doors are being closed, while others are being opened.
I looked into volunteering at a jungle school in Guatemala. It looked fabulous, but had no internet access. Cross that off the list.
I also can’t go back to Breckenridge, CO, where I lived for 2.5 glorious, “first chair, last call” years. Because there, I can’t earn enough money working 40 hours/week to support myself. I’d have to go back to 60+ hour weeks, and I can’t do that and still maintain my online work.
But that’s okay. Because what I can do is more important.
I can drive around visiting friends, while earning enough online to cover my gas money. I can stay at home with my parents for a few weeks in our podunk town, because even though we don’t have a Taco Bell or a high-school football team, we do have high-speed internet.
So, what are my fall plans? I’m not sure yet.
I know I’ll be visiting my grandpa in San Diego on my way back east from Alaska. I also know I’ll be spending some time in New York with my family. And going to a Michigan football game to see my future ex-husband Denard Robinson play. I’ll also be visiting lots of friends and, for the love of sunshine, going to a concert. (Shockingly, Ketchikan is not a popular stop on the electronic music circuit.)
There’s not a whole lot I love more than fall in the northeast and midwest, and I’m really looking forward to taking some time to enjoy it. Leaves, football, cider, pumpkins, and donuts — sign me up!
After that, the plan becomes a little more vague. Since I won’t be working at a traditional job anymore, I know I want to (read: have to or I won’t eat) devote some solid time into expanding this blog and starting a few other online projects.
I also know I will be hankering for some sun, and the northeast just ain’t gonna cut it. You know what sounds good?
Winter in South or Central America!
It has long been a goal of mine to speak better Spanish. It is such a fun language (c’mon, what other language can you say “sauerkraut” in and feel sexy? it’s chucruta, btw) and one that is very useful to know, especially as an American.
I also miss working with kids, so I’d love to find a volunteer program down there. Spanish, sun, kids, and beans and rice — sounds like a pretty good winter plan to me.
And the best part about it?
I will be earning enough money to support myself down there, via this blog and other freelance work. Just a few months ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. I would’ve had to use up all my savings for a few-month jaunt without work. If I’m volunteering, I won’t be saving any money, but I will be sustaining myself from online work.
I’m going to say that again: I will be sustaining myself from online work.
How exciting is that?! Five years ago, I wouldn’t have ever thought that was possible; even a year ago, the idea would’ve seem incredibly far fetched. It has taken a lot of hard work and wayyy too much time staring at my computer, but it’s SO worth it.
I’m not gonna lie; it is somewhat terrifying that I don’t have a traditional job planned in the foreseeable future. This is the first time since turning 14 that I have left a job without having another one lined up.
I’m confident, however, that the more I put into this blog and into freelance work, that the more return I will get. I’m taking a gamble, but I’m betting that it’s going to pay off.
The feeling that I can go anywhere (well, anywhere a beer costs 50 cents and rent is $100/month) and support myself is absolute magic, and I’m still trying to come to terms with it.
And for that, I want to thank you.
Thanks for reading, and sharing. Thanks for liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and telling your friends about this blog. Thanks for your comments, emails, and radio shout-outs (okay, nobody’s given me a radio shout-out, but a girl can dream – right?).
Without your support, all of my hard work would be for nothing. I feel really lucky to be where I am and know I couldn’t have done it without you. MUCHAS GRACIAS. (And realize that if I can do this — you can, too! Questions? I’m just an email away.)
So, the next time somebody asks me what I’m doing next, it’s going to be with a thrill and a smile that I say, “I’m not sure. Got any ideas?”
Have you ever taken a gamble like this? Did it pay off? Let me know!