AWESOME PERSON #16 – KIM!
I met Kim while living in Denali. Jake Hill, a friend of mine, and I had put on a 3-part series of short story telling sessions called My Seasona Life. Kim took part in our 2nd session and had a wonderful story to tell…and in a very clever way too! Her story intrigued me and I felt that I just had to share it with you all! Read on and enjoy 🙂
Tell me about your story. What made you want to drop the life you had and embark on a new adventure? / What made you want to try the seasonal lifestyle?
I didn’t really want to “drop my lifestyle.” I was pretty happy with my life; I had good people around me and was living in beautiful Southern California. I was finishing university an didn’t have a firm grasp on what to do next. I wasn’t unhappy with my life, I just felt like I wasn’t growing enough as a person and needed a challenge. The person I had just started dating was going to Denali National Park, Alaska for the summer season and I decided to invite myself along.
What happened after you first seasonal gig?
Honestly, I was surprised that I made it through my first season. I was homesick a lot. It was my first time living outside of California and the furthest I’d ever moved from home. After my first season, I came back to San Diego for a bit and then somehow found myself back in Denali for a second season. I am so thankful for the series of happenstance that led me there for it was in my second season that I fell in love with Denali. I had learned to open myself up a bit and take a few more chances. I fell in love with Denali, it’s people and the outdoors: a love that only continues to deepen.
What do your non-seasonal family & friends think of your lifestyle?
Now that I’m going on 3 years, I think they’ve finally gotten used to it. I know they worry and think that I’m in every storm on the news, but they like to hear about the things that I’m trying and discovering. I think that in a way, they also feel better because of the different countries and situations I’ve been in, I can now see myself through which shows that I’ve picked up on some of the lessons they have taught me.
Seasonal life and dating – how do you make it work? 🙂
Luckily, I have been with my significant other for over 3 years now. We have logged months worth of time in a car together, travelled 13 countries, and lived in 3 states as a couple. We always strive to improve communication, but I doubt there is a better team out there at our age. We remember to leave notes in each other’s lunches, surprise each other with presents “just because,” and most importantly (to us) we make sure that we still go on “proper dates.” Our favorite kinds of dates are going to a speak easy, or trying out nice restaurants with surprise menus.
What are the common criticisms you hear?
Most often, I hear criticisms for “not doing anything” with my degree. I feel that criticism is a little unfair since anywhere from 10-74% of Americans do not work in their disciplines (depending on the field). I feel that the tools I have acquired in school help me solve problems and think critically on a daily basis.
What do your “off seasons” look like and how do you plan for them?
My “off seasons” vary. My girlfriend and I take that time to find a place that we may both want to settle down. We have a list of cities that we need to check off. This time though, we decided to travel the world. We are on our working holiday in New Zealand while we are still young enough to qualify for it. We have just completed some orchard work and are enjoying a little down time until our next seasonal gig.
Does this lifestyle come with hardships? If so, what?
I think with proper planning and discipline, budgeting can be less difficult. The hardest thing for me is being a member of the LGBT community. Since I don’t know exactly how each place feels about gay people, it’s often hard to feel at home (or sometimes safe) right away. I often miss the places back home where I know I can go and the safety of my friends in case a situation did arise. I’ve been lucky enough to find good places and people on my travels but I never take that luck for granted.
Do you have any regrets or things you would have changed while living seasonally?
I think we’ll all have regrets like consuming one too many mouthfuls of blueberries or not going on that one boat trip. I guess, I take regrets as having tried, knowing I’ve lived and knowing there’s more ahead.
What would be the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I’ve learned a lot about my own strength. I’ve learned to willingly place myself in situations where I might fail: I once fell while trying to cross a river quarter of a mile from the glacier the water came from. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought and the world is not as scary as it once was.
Here’s your chance to hand out a piece of advice… what would you say to someone looking to embark on a seasonal adventure? Or better yet, for anyone stuck in a rut looking to make a change?
I think it goes back to what we are often told, “if you don’t like something, change it.” If you want to learn how to salsa, go ahead. If you wish you could go camping, go next weekend. There are so many “meet-ups” and groups online that post their events. People love to share their passions and have probably made the mistakes you will. It’ll be ok. There are no failures as long as you genuinely try. Even if it doesn’t work, now you have a new story to tell.