Welcome to the Seasonal Worker of the Month, in which I interview people who’ve worked seasonal adventure jobs across the world. Hopefully, their stories will inspire you to work seasonal jobs and travel the world.
Read more about the seasonal jobs lifestyle in last month’s interview with Angela Jacobus. (And if you haven’t applied for a seasonal summer job yet, now is the time!)
Our Mr. February is Nick, who is the king of seasonal adventure jobs.
During our first conversation, on a bus in Korea, I remember thinking, “Who IS this guy?!” I thought he was trying to show off by talking about all the cool things he had done and seen. Then, as I got to know him better, I realized that Nick has just had that many amazing experiences. He can’t help but bring them up in conversation. It’d be like somebody else not mentioning his car or favorite movie; he wouldn’t have anything to talk about.
Nick has an incomparable sense of adventure, a wicked sense of humor, and a nasty volleyball spike.
The coolest thing about Nick, however, is that has worked and traveled ALL OVER the world. And when I say all over, I really mean it. From Belize to Korea to Alaska to Antarctica, this guy has done it. And he has some solid advice for aspiring seasonal workers. Needless to say, I’m stoked to introduce him to you.
Hometown: Laguna Hills, CA
Current location: Medellin, Colombia
Current job: Unemployed
Life philosophy in one sentence: Trust your instincts, blaze your own trail, create your own happiness.
Spirit animal: Wolverine (occasionally moon bear) (Editor’s note: This is my teddy bear. You’re just hilarious, Nick!)
Favorite quote: “Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.” – Albert Camus
Favorite condiment: Fig Sauce
Fun fact: Over 60% of Americans have never left the US
Nick’s Seasonal Life
What’s the first seasonal job you worked?
Gift Shop Sales Associate at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park
What led you to getting that job?
I was given an application by a former employee. It was just prior to the internet being the sole avenue for job applications. I was looking for an adventure during my summer break from university.
What other seasonal jobs have you worked?
I returned to Yellowstone to work as a Assistant Director of Employee Recreation for numerous seasons.
Grand Canyon National Park – Employee Recreation
Denali National Park – Bell Staff
Beaver Creek, CO – Shuttle Driver
Glacier Bay National Park – Driver / Bellman
McMurdo Station, Antarctica – Recycling Technician / Spill Team
Glacier National Park – Red Bus Driver / Tour Guide
Belize – Peace Corps Volunteer
South Korea – English Teacher
Among those, what’s been your favorite and why?
Probably Glacier National Park — I was blown away by the scenery, wildlife, and trails. I drove a convertible red bus from the 30’s over Logan Pass on Going to the Sun Road every day. I think it was the culmination of all of my seasonal job experiences that allowed for me to truly appreciate an amazing season. It might also have had something to do with a girl from Slovakia.
How did you get that job? Any tips or advice for others interested in the same thing?
I was referred by a friend that I had worked with in Alaska a couple seasons. Most of the seasonal jobs I obtained were through someone I met along the way in the world of seasonal workers.
Have you tried a traditional “grown-up” job? If yes, why did you stick with it or why did you quit? Do you see yourself working one in the future?
The closest I came to a “grown-up” job was the Assistant Director of Employee Recreation position in Yellowstone. I spent a lot of time in front of a computer, I had benefits and 401K, and it was basically year-round. But, I am teetering on the brink of a “grown-up” job at the moment. I am trying to hold off as long as possible.
What rocks about seasonal jobs?
Making new friends and exploring new places.
What sucks about seasonal jobs?
Usually the food, roommates can suck, and living quarters leave something to be desired. Saying goodbye to friends. Long term relationships can be tough to maintain.
Have you used seasonal jobs to travel? If yes, how and to where?
Yes, my job in Antarctica payed for a flight with free stopovers in New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii. I also took advantage of the frequent flyer miles I accrued to go to SE Asia.
Have you gained any special skills or qualifications through seasonal jobs?
I was forced into numerous management classes while in Yellowstone. I obtained a commercial drivers license in Colorado. I was certified in spill management for my position in Antarctica.
What’s the one coolest thing you’ve done through seasonal jobs?
I took a helicopter trip into the Dry Valleys of Antarctica where I saw Blood Falls and hiked around some glaciers. A storm kept us from returning to base, so we went to Marble Point to refuel and watch penguins. Just another day on the job.
Do you have any general tips for seasonal job seekers — to find jobs, keep them, and have fun?
For Americans intrigued by Antarctica, check out the United States Antarctic Program. CoolWorks is an excellent website for seasonal jobs.
Do your research. Don’t skimp on health insurance. Look up unemployment benefits in your state for the off-season or shoulder seasons. Spend your time there taking advantage of the attractions — whether it be skiing, hiking, kayaking, etc. and avoid getting caught up in the drinking culture if it makes you miss out on the place. (That is advice for not only having fun, but also keeping your job.)
What would you say to someone who is interested in a seasonal job, but is scared of quitting their grown-up job?
Man up. The “grown-up” job will still be there.
A HUGE gracias to Nick for sharing his super cool story with us. Know somebody who’s not satisfied in their job and is aching for a change? Share this with them — show them that life can be so much more than that!