We have been workamping for several years now and with each job we have made a an entertaining list of the "Top 10 Things We Learned At ...." It includes some important lessons learned but it also includes some silly memories for my husband and I. Some examples include - Everything is better with Gin! Doug doesn't like office work! Snow is beautiful...on the mountains! Be nice = big bonus!
It is always amusing as we reflect back on our past jobs, but this Top 10 List is much more serious. It is our Top 10 Tips to help you get the most out of your workamping experience!
|Our shoes peeking over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!|
Research the area you in which you would like to work and also the campground or business where you would like to work. Check out online reviews, forums, Facebook and other social networks, maps, attractions, etc. As I was researching on Facebook for one of our workamping jobs, I came across someone who had previously worked at the place we were looking into. I took a chance and sent her a personal message and she did reply back to me with info on their experience. Also find out as much as you can about what is expected of the job, hours, campsite, etc. during the interview process. (Coming soon! More info on interviewing and a worksheet to print out of questions to ask during the interview.) Be honest about your needs and expectations to find the best fit. Also check out the surrounding area to find out the closest grocery store, gas station, propane, medical facilities, and cost of living.
2. Arrive at your job a few days before you start work if possible.
Some employers will give you a free site for a few days before you actually start working. You will want to get the lay of the land, meet the managers, and other workampers. When you get to your site for the first time, check to see that it has everything you need - you will be there a while so might as well get comfy right away! It is easier to get things straightened out early on before you start working. Ask about your schedule and the timetable for your training.
3. Enjoy the honeymoon period!
Usually at the beginning of of your work assignment you have a training period and are not as busy as you will be at the height of the "season." Also everyone is very friendly and helpful! Take this time to get to know people and know your way around the area. Find the grocery stores, gas stations, etc. and explore the area so you know exactly what you want to do when you have your days off. Usually when you get busy you will be working longer hours and on your days off you will really be ready to get 'out of the bubble.' At the end of the season again it will slow down and you may be working shorter hours - take advantage of this time also!
|Sunset at Key West|
4. Your attitude will make all the difference!
Only you can choose your attitude each day and you apparently chose this lifestyle for a reason. Hopefully the reasons were something like living a simpler lifestyle, exploring new places, and meeting new people. This one thing can make such a big difference. Hang out with other people that have a good attitude and don't complain about every little thing. We are always learning something new - either a new computer program or a new piece of equipment. All of this adds up to a better all around experience for you now and in the future. Of course there will be days when things don't go so great but try to be ready to start over the next day. Make the most of each situation even it it isn't ideal. It isn't forever!
5. This is not your business, you are just a temporary worker.
Each employer has their own way of running their business and more than likely they have done it for a long time, so you need to listen up and do things as instructed. I have heard people say "if I ran this business, I would..." But that is the key, you don't run this business. There are usually very good reasons for work policies and it is our job to respect them and our employer. Actually there have been several times we were asked our opinion about new ways to do things or how the training was going. Many employers recognize the significant experience of workampers and do ask about their previous employment, campgrounds, opinions, etc. It really made us feel like valued members of the team!
6. Work hard and be nice!
You were hired to do a job and no matter what it is - management, greeting guests, mowing lawn, or cleaning the bathroom - you should do the best possible job you can! In the jobs we have had most people we come in contact with are on vacation, so trying to make their time there special is important. You also want your employer's business to succeed. It will make your time there special as well, as you will have the opportunity to connect with all these people! Also some of the positions provide a bonus upon completion. We always want to genuinely maximize this as much as we can!
Avoid the rumors and gossip at all cost and don't get caught in the middle of it. We have been in several situations where some of the workers were related to each other, or at the very least they have worked together a long time, so that makes this even more important. There are always workers that may have a different work ethic than you do and it can make for a very uncomfortable situation. We always try to do our best no matter what anyone else is doing because at the end of the day, you are responsible only for yourself and your work. Another good policy - the Golden Rule!
|Bryce Canyon Hike - Unbelievable!|
8. Connect with other Workampers!
This has been one of the best perks of workamping. We have met so many amazing friends working, living, and playing side by side. Every place we have worked there has been one or two couples that we have really connected with and we still keep in touch. It seems like you make friends very quickly because you have such a short amount of time to build a relationship and you spend a lot of time together. Also other workampers are easy to connect with because they understand your lifestyle choices, since they have made similar choices. Unlike your friends and relatives that maybe felt you were a little crazy when you decided to give it all up and travel! I always love hearing other workampers stories about why they chose this lifestyle and to hear of their experiences.
Talk to your coworkers and the locals to find the places they like to go. They probably have a favorite hiking or fishing spot that not everyone knows about. Or favorite restaurant or local hangout. Make your list and go visit all those special places - beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes, hikes, etc. No matter if we are at a location for 3 months or 6 months, the time always goes by so fast and there are things we didn't get to see.
Don't discuss your issues with everyone else, go right to the manager or owner and see if there can be a resolution to the problem. We had an issue at one of our jobs and did talk to our manager. We tried to make it work as long as we felt comfortable but we did end up leaving a few weeks before the end of the season. However, we felt we had done the best job we could and had communicated to the appropriate people.
|Beautiful Aspen trees in Colorado|
Workamping and traveling full-time are definitely learn-as-you go experiences! No two experiences are ever going to be the same. But I guess that is part of the reason we are on the road, right! I always hope that all these changes and new learning experiences keep our brains active as we get older! As you can see in the photos there are so many amazing places to see and people to experience - we try to get the most out of every day!
Do you have any further suggestions to add for your fellow workampers on how to make the most of your workamping jobs? I would love to hear from you!