How I found a dream job in Aspen, CO while traveling cross country in winter, living out of my tiny car, hiking National Parks, and snowboarding my bum off. Despite all odds…when everyone had given up on me…I knew my late Grandma still believed in me, even from up above 😇👵
A dear, wise friend once said and I couldn’t have phrased it any better: “You have temporarily parked your career and you are currently on the path to new adventures.” That’s exactly how I was feeling late last fall. I was reinventing myself and I knew one day I would be working again but for right now there were roads to be traveled, trails to be explored, and slopes to be ridden!
When I left for my cross country road trip I didn’t know what I was doing – Surf, Snowboard, Travel. All I knew was that I was following my heart and I was making a dream of mine come true – The Endless Winter – Snowboarding the American West. I had a direction – West – but no final destination. I was chasing snow (in a tiny FWD car 🚗) I had always wanted to drive cross country and take a few weeks to explore National Parks on the way. I had heard so much about the fluffy snow out West yet had only experienced it very briefly. So following the thought “If not now then when” and “We only regret the chances we didn’t take” I packed clothes and gear in my compact car, counted my savings and headed out West to ski bum for a few months. #YOLO
When I set on my journey out West, I said: “When the right job/living situation/man comes around, I will know it.” To be honest, it hasn’t worked out exactly that way. What I actually ended up doing was waiting. Waiting and making sure that was the right opportunity. Weighting in all the pros and cons, asking all the questions, presenting my true self and not a “happy, shiny image” of me. Making sure they wanted me more than I wanted them. As Grandma used to say: “Make sure he loves you more than you love him.” 😍👫💘 #itisalwaysbetterthatway
I knew what I didn’t like about the East Coast lifestyle, work culture, and people but I didn’t know what I wanted. Sometimes knowing what you don’t like leads you to exploring paths less traveled – A Mermaid’s Tale. I couldn’t look for jobs the regular way any more – job boards…and listings…and endless applications. I was too burned out from Corporate America to “appear cheerful and passionate but not overly excited” on every interview. A few advanced degrees and over 10 years of work experience later, all I could fathom doing was ski bumming…
I was traveling across the American West and dodging snowstorms – Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in Winter – Drive It if You Can. I was couch surfing and meeting new people – American West – A Tribute to the People. Some interviews I would take in friends’ bathrooms (it’s quiet 🛁) but often my new favorite place to interview became a truck stop on the highway. Unusual place you may say – after 10,000 miles and 3 months on the road I tend to disagree. It is safe, well lit, has free WiFi and I can enjoy all the “privacy and space” of my dashboard to spread my papers and notes.
“It is in the most difficult moments when true character and skills shine. When nothing is perfect. When life gets tough. When one is cornered.”
Then one day in Vail, CO while I was crashing on a friend’s sofa in his plush studio overlooking the mountains, I found a list of Outside Magazine’s “Best Places to Work”. On a snowy afternoon I walked a mile to the local library (which has a fireplace and leather seats🛋🔥…) because my car couldn’t make it up the frozen driveway. I researched the websites of companies on that list in CO, CA, OR, WY (there weren’t that many) and sent them my resume and an email of interest. Four reached out and asked to speak with me. One ended up being the real deal. #youonlyneedone
So while I was trying to make a good first impression during my interviews, not even knowing if they had relevant job openings, I was sitting outside a truck stop in Nevada, papers spread over the dashboard of my car, wearing yoga pants (#lululemonbutstillsweats), hair in a pony tail… And then it just happened they had my dream position opened… (I should have put lipstick on at least 😛👄)
Just like that, the homeless, unemployed ski bum got invited to Aspen to spend a couple of days with employer, meet the people, check out the area (yoga and soaking in hot springs included) and go snowboarding!!! #youbetterbelieveit I didn’t even know where Aspen was on the map. I had no previous plans to go there, it was too remote and expensive, I didn’t know a single soul in the area.
I’m not saying I wasn’t scared, I was terrified. In my mind I even cancelled my interview a couple times and thought about NOT accepting the job. But as the saying goes: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough!”
So there I was, shit scared deep down, acting confident AF on the surface, and wondering why these nice people wanted me – the crazy surfer / snowboarder girl with an insatiable passion for adventure?! Me unfiltered, the full package. #igotthejob #ifIcandoityoucantoo
And what about the man? I’m still waiting. Waiting on him to find me. And want me. Exactly me. Even when I come undone!