Be kind and DO NOT STOP

I have had a wild summer thus far and it is only going to get more wild, I’m sure.

These are the events that have lead me to where I am currently, and I would not change them.

 

For reference, after about 3 weeks of working in Yellowstone National Park, my friend Grant and I decided to move down to Jackson, Wyoming.

 

When I first got down to Jackson, I had no idea what was in store for me. I could not have imagined the kindness and opportunity that I have encountered here.

 

When grant and I left Yellowstone National Park on the impromptu part 2 of our journey of a lifetime, I was a bit uneasy. I knew that we would figure it out and that we were going to be fine in the end, but I was nervous about what would happen between those two points in time.

 

We got into the city and had a great time the first night, experienced the town, and slept in the car. The next week just got us both more and more stressed out. We couldn’t find jobs, we couldn’t find a place to stay, and we were beginning to lose hope of this whole thing working out.

 

We had been here about 8 days and grant’s girlfriend had flown out and we were all trying to figure out what to do.

 

That afternoon I dressed up and made a whirlwind round of applying to businesses. I had already applied to quite a few, so I stopped in at all of them to just say, “hey, I still want to work here” and I applied to about 10 more that day, and, as I was walking out of an interview that I got immediately after walking into an outdoor retail store and meeting the manager and telling him that I wanted to work there, I got a call from the owner of Lotus Organic Restaurant. I had applied there and talked to the owner, Amy, a couple times already, and she called me as I was walking out of the interview at the retail store. She said, “are you available to train right now?” and I was like, “well, yeah, let’s do it”

 

That phone call turned out to be the best part of my summer, without a doubt.

 

I was so relieved that I finally had a job. I hadn’t worked in about 9 days, and it was eating at me. So, being in a restaurant again was just so comforting.

 

So, 2 days after I got hired at lotus, grant took his girlfriend back to the airport in Colorado, I couldn’t go because I had work. So I took a few things out of our house AKA his car, and they went on their way. He was going to come back the next night.

 

That night I tried to text a friend that I had met to stay at her place, but she never answered, so I ended up trying to sleep outside for a couple hours, which turned out to really suck because it was about 20 degrees and I didn’t have a sleeping bag lol. So I slept in a hotel hallway and woke up before anyone found me. I was totally fine with that because I knew Grant was coming home the next night and I would have a soft warm car to sleep in.

 

Grant called me that day and told me that he was wasn’t coming back. Long story short, he ended up going back home and it was for the best. But, I was scared because I was now permanently homeless until I figured something out.

 

This is not a “feel sorry for me” story by the way, I am just going over everything that happened to illustrate my point better.

 

So, here’s the whole reason I’m writing this post. I did my absolute best to work hard, pursue my goals and be the kindest person that I could be, and it seemed to have not gotten me far, and even when I saw a glimmer of hope in getting hired, I was shut down by a turn of events over which I had no control.

 

The next day at work I was talking to some of my coworkers, of whom I knew none well at all, and it somehow got brought up that it was really cold the last night and I said, “yeah especially outside”. My, now very close, friend Kayte asked me what I meant and I, sort of ashamedly, admitted that I had slept outside the night before. She immediately asked if I needed somewhere to stay. I said yes.

 

She then offered me to live in her printing studio, free of charge, for the rest of my time in Jackson.

 

I humbly accepted her gift.

 

The deal is that you cannot control some parts about the world. You may come into circumstances that suck. It is probably going to happen more than you are prepared for. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I would inevitably figure it out by being kind, giving, and open about myself and my situation. I was kind to a hundred people in Jackson before even one of them was kind to me. I was open and giving to everyone that I met before anyone showed me who they truly were, or gave me anything.

 

But I finally found the person to help me through one of the hardest parts of my journey here.

 

Just be kind. And DO NOT STOP. You never know what victories lie right around the corner.

And as Tomas Alva Edison once said, “The only way to guarantee success is to always try JUST ONE MORE TIME!”

How to travel for free (or even get paid to do it)

To clarify, this is not a guide on how to be lazy and do whatever you want without any work. Nothing is ever accomplished without work, however, not all work is awful, difficult, or undesirable.

 

I have recently begun a journey that is going to take me all around the world. I am not rich, I did not have any savings prior to this, and no one I know is paying for anything that I do.

 

 

Many people dream of leaving their lives behind, traveling the world, living in exotic places, and not having to have a normal job for the rest of their lives. The problem is that very few of those dreams ever become realities. Most people just think grand thoughts and live their lives in an aggressively mediocre fashion. They don’t ever pursue their passions or follow their dreams.

 

They just let life happen to them instead of going out and happening to life!

 

This is a, far from comprehensive, guide on how to break away from the ordinary and make your life extraordinary.

 

3  ways to travel full time:

#1 Become a seasonal worker.

Seasonal work is, by far, one of the easiest ways to travel and live in amazing places and make money while doing it.

Here’s the deal: very many companies have loads of seasonal positions open in the “summer” (around april to october) and the “winter” (around november to april). Seasonal work can be any kind of job for any company that is hiring. Concessionaires and hospitality companies, specifically, have a lot of these positions open year round.

I am currently employed in a seasonal job in Yellowstone National Park. I serve food in a sit down restaurant in the old faithful location of the park. I get to live IN the park and have 3 meals a day in the employee cafeteria, and it all comes off the top of my paycheck, and I still make good money. People tip well when they’re on vacation usually 🙂

There are so many different companies and positions in this category that I couldn’t list them all if I tried, but google searching “seasonal work” “work in national parks” or “work in hotels abroad” would yield some amazing results.

You could end up finding things in a lot of places in the US or around the world!

 

#2 teach english abroad

This is something that a lot of people hear about but never think that they could ever do.

Teaching english in non-english-speaking countries is a highly lucrative option for those people who want to delve into a culture for a semester or a year and get paid, handsomely, to do it.

There are as many different programs and jobs/internships as there are countries. The main similarity is that every program requires that you be TEFL/TESOL (teaching english as a foreign/second or other language) certified. There are a few very large organizations that provide wonderful courses to learn how to teach and receive your certification for only a couple hundred dollars and a month or two of your time.

The programs place you in a school where you will teach or assist a teacher in teaching ages from 3-60 (depending on what you apply for) how to speak english. The experience, as I have heard and read, is like nothing you’ve ever done. Rewarding is not a strong enough word.

Some programs require just a High School diploma. Some are totally free. Some cost up front money, but pay you back in excess at the end. Some give you free housing and a monthly “allowance”. Some require a Bachelor’s degree.

They are all over the world, and ready for you to jump on.

#3 be an au pair for a family abroad

This one is only for those people that love kids.

Families all over the world need help taking care of their children on a daily basis, and are willing to house, feed, and give you some money every week for you helping them do that. All families needs and “benefits” are different so you should really get to know what a family needs before you agree to living with them.

This option is especially interesting because you don’t just live in an amazing place out of country, but you instantly become a local, because you become and older brother or sister to a family whose lives are built around whatever city you are in. The family (including you) will all go out together to eat, shop, go to the park, go to religious events, political events, and even travel around their home country or those around it! You get to do all of this will growing to love your new younger siblings in an amazing and exotic location.

I am actually moving to Milan, Italy to live with a family for 3 months starting in September 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited! I love kids so much, and I am so ready to become their big brother!

The website that I used to find my family is au pair world

 

Again, this is a far from comprehensive list of ways to travel full time, but I hope that it has piqued your interest, and you decide to research the possibility of leaving your comfort zone and making the world your home 🙂

Thank you guys for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day <3

 

p.s. if you think someone you know would love to try and travel, but they don’t really know where to begin share this post with them so they can get some ideas on where to start 🙂

Cheers

Back in action

Last year, I threw most of my things into a couple bags and set out on a journey to the other side of the country to work in Yellowstone National Park. And, 3 days ago, I made my way back for round 2.

I am so happy to be here! As I write this, I am sitting in my dorm room looking out of my window at a geyser that is about to go off.

 

Living in Yellowstone National Park is very much like the summer camps that you went to as a child in 3 main ways:

-You are constantly around the same people all day. Every day. You work, play, and live with the same people, and it is very conducive for building strong relationships.

-You have no real responsibilities. Yes, you have to go to your job. You are WORKING in the park, however, everyone is very laid back, and the work environment is not like anything else that you’ve ever experienced.

-And you do fun, stupid, wild, and amazing stuff all the time. The park is so full of adventure and excitement that you could come for 10 years and not do everything that is out there.

Just with a bit more money, and a bit more freedom.

 

You have one of the most beautiful places in the world at your feet, and you get to explore it with 100 other crazy people just like you.

 

Here is how to most properly utilize your time in the park

#1 Make friends

This might seem obvious, but it is very important. Everyone you meet working here is going to be a lot like you in some ways, and a lot different in others. But everyone seems to be very good at becoming close friends fast. As soon as you get to your location, just start introducing yourself to everyone immediately, and getting personal fast. Make plans to eat or hike together in the very first conversation that you ever have with people. It might seem weird, but, trust me, you are going to be very happy that you did it.

#2 Leave your room

Again, an obvious suggestion, but an important one, nonetheless. The park is too big to fully see in a lifetime, and you’re only going to be there for a few months, so you need to make the most of your time. Even just walking to the employee dining room, the employee pub, or the local trail makes your time there so much more valuable. This is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, so you need to make sure you remember more than just a crappy dorm.

#3 Keep an open mind

Coming out to Yellowstone is a wonderful thing, but for some people it can be very hard. If you are afraid of a lot of things, uncomfortable with yourself, or have preconceived notions about others, then you need to leave all of that in your hometown before you arrive here. People are going to surprise you. You are going to learn a lot about yourself. And you are going to do things that you never thought you would do. Let it happen. Don’t stop yourself from experiencing everything because you were a little afraid, nervous, uncomfortable, or judgmental.

#4 Have fun and don’t die

There are a million and one things to do while in the park. You aren’t going to be able to do every possible thing. Decide what you want to do, what you like, what excites you, and find people to do that with. Everyone will be pulling you in different directions, but just do what is going to make you happy. But don’t forget to push the envelope and do things that you normally wouldn’t sometimes, because that is what it is all about. Also, make sure to stay safe while in the park. There are a lot of things that, if not planned for/handled/approached properly, can get you killed. Listen to the rangers always. Carry bear spray always. Hike in groups always. And use common sense always.

It takes a little time to get used to. And I admit it is easier for me because I already love adventure, and I didn’t have a great deal of responsibilities at home.

But doing this last year changed my life, and this summer is going to be amazing as well. I highly recommend giving it a try to anyone and everyone looking for something more.

I hope that you use these tips if you ever find yourself in the park, and, if you do, contact me, I would love to meet up with you if I’m still here 🙂

 

Drew – the kind nomad

ps If you know someone that is currently off on an adventure or is soon departing, and you think this info would benefit them, then share it on his/her timeline 😉

What To NEVER Do Regarding Wildlife In Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most complete and untouched ecosystems left in the Contiguous United States of America. There are so many species of fauna that roam within its borders.

 

And humans love to see this natural almost unaltered beauty. Consequently, a lot of people in the park come within close proximity of many of these animals. And I just wanted to tell you some things to ABSOLUTELY NEVER DO if you happen to be in the park and near to animals.

 

The park has rules on how to interact with the animals, but I want to go into a bit more detail. The park rules can be found here:

 

There are a few animals that are very common to come across during your travels through the park.

 

Elk: Elk are one of the most numerous and more docile of all animals in the park. Particularly the northwestern section of the park has a huge population. The elk here are literally in the middle of the road. The male who carries the harem in the area also sometimes charges cars, so be careful.

Mammoth Hot Springs has them sunning on the grass courtyard of the hotel and walking past the restaurant front entrance hourly. The resident employees are quite used to it, but visitors are baffled by it.

Bison: Bison are very prevalent in the areas around old faithful. They are very calm and tend to keep to themselves. They move in large numbers, and are very capable of hurting you and your car.

They are found in a lot of different areas of the park in smaller numbers, and tend to stay away from humans. These are not the “most dangerous” thing that you will encounter. (I used quotes because nothing is really dangerous if you don’t do anything entirely idiotic.)

Bears: There are bears in the park. They can kill you. You probably won’t even see one if you go. They are not responsible for most accidents that occur in the park. Don’t worry about them.

Wolves: Wolves hunt in packs, obviously. There are only about 500 in the park, so you also probably won’t see them. If you encounter a wolf pack in close range and away from the inhabited areas of the park, then you might die.

The most important rule to remember in the park is to just stay away. The herbivores (elk, moose, bison, and deer) require 25 yards, but farther is safer. The carnivores (wolves and bears) require 100 yards, but farther is still safer.

If you are staying away from the animals, then 99% of the time you will be fine.

However, sometimes there arises a situation that which is out of your control. If you are ever caught within an unsafe distance, trapped with no escape route, or any other crazy situation, just remember to stay calm.

Most of the time the herbivores are not going to bother you if you aren’t making them feel threatened in any way. So, staying calm and problem solving in the situation is key. If you do that then you are going to find a way to get away safely.

The carnivores require a bit more caution.

Yes, staying calm is important, but also remembering the proper way to deal with an attack if, God forbid, that happens.

The visitor centers and rangers will answer any questions that you may have, so always make sure you know everything you can.

But if you neglect to use any of those resources, and, for some outrageous reason, think that reading this post will prepare you for everything that you might need to know, then here is how to deal with a bear attack.

ALWAYS CARRY BEAR SPRAY! It’s like mace only way stronger and it shoots like 40 feet. While hiking make loud noise and hike in groups of 3 or more ALWAYS. The noise lets any wildlife know that you’re there and most bears will just stay away from you anyway. If you happen to see a bear that might be within 100 yards of you, walk the other way. That will eliminate 90% of the likelihood that you will get attacked. If you can’t walk the other way, try to continue on your path making sure the bear knows you are there and attempt to get by it.

If it starts to charge at you, STAND YOUR GROUND! It is probably a show. Most of the time they will stop, back down, and walk away.

If it charges at you and you’re certain that it is not stopping, then grab your bear spray from its holster and unload on that bad boy. Spray it pointing at a slightly upward angle and right in that bear’s face. If the bear is just too hardcore for you pansy bear spray, then hit the ground face first, take off your backpack and spread your feet far apart like a starfish, and tuck your head down and cover it with your hands. This makes it hard to flip you over, and difficult to hurt your head.

If it is upon you when you’re like this, it will probably leave after a minute. Make sure you wait until it’s gone for a few minutes to get up. Then walk calmly away after you grab your backpack, and attempt to contact an emergency number.

Wolf attacks: The park doesn’t really give information on how to deal with a wolf attack for 2 reasons. They are highly unlikely. And you are probably going to die if a pack of wolves attacks you. So just be cautious when in areas that are likely to have wolves. If you are able to, try and spray the wolves with your bear spray, it is likely to stop them.

Moral of the story: Be careful while out and about, don’t make dumb decisions and you probably won’t die.

3 Underrated Yet Amazing Places In Yellowstone National Park

I lived in Yellowstone for 4 months in the summer/fall of 2016, and it was the best summer of my life…

I loved everything about it, and I realized that there was so much to do there, but most people always did the same stuff. I wrote this post to highlight some popular places that I think are a bit overrated, and some amazing places in the park that are not traveled as often as others (at least based on my time there).

There are 3 really “popular” things to see if you’re a tourist in YNP.

#1 Old Faithful

Old Faithful is definitely the most visited area of the park, hands down, no competition. Don’t get me wrong. Geysers are really cool. I studied geology in school, so seeing geysers in real life is awesome, however, it isn’t even close to the top of the list of really crazy and/or beautiful things to see in the park.

#2 Lake Yellowstone

Lake is most likely second to Old Faithful in full day tourism. The lake is legitimately very beautiful, but most people don’t ever see it from the best spots. The view from the top of any of the mountains around it is not very often seen. Most people just see it from the ground, which pales in comparison to the top of Avalanche peak. Lake is pretty crowded near on the shore, so I don’t recommend spending an entire day there, there are better uses of your time.

#3 The Grand Prismatic Spring

The Prismatic is one of the most captivating blasts of color that your eyes will ever experience. Most people want to see this if they are in the park. It is cool, but the boardwalk that goes around it doesn’t do it justice, and I was only able to stay for a few minutes before I got a little bored and annoyed by all of the people.

 

Honestly, tourist spots are just that, for tourists. If you really like popular landmarks, well known locations, and a lot of people, that is fine, everyone is different. I am just not in love with every single “must see” that is in a guidebook. I love raw nature, pure beauty, and untouched serenity. That is why I chose these next 3 places to focus on in this post.

#1 Lamar valley

Lamar valley is a really cool place. It is about an hour or so east of Mammoth hot springs, which is the location that you come into when you enter through the north entrance of the park.

It is not one specific spot, but the entire area that just screams nature.

The first time that I went there we had to pull the car over so a herd of bison could walk down the road. There were probably about 100 of them, and they took their sweet time getting by us. There were a few that walked right up to the side of the car and just looked at us, with every ability to smash the window/door in and gore us all to death, but they just stared for a minute and moved on.

That is how it is in the park. Instead of the wild being a commodity on the outskirts, here, the “civilized” world is a visitor at the mercy of mother nature.

#2 Boiling river at night

This spot is kind of both overrated and underrated at the same time. The boiling river is located about half way between Mammoth Hot springs and the north entrance to the park in Gardiner, Montana (about 3 miles from both). It is a portion of the Yellowstone river that has a flowing hot spring running into it from the side, and the entire portion of the river near the spring is as hot as a hot tub, but it’s also a river.

The bad part is that it is open sun up to sun down and it is always crowded. Very touristy and not my taste, however, when the sun goes down, it is a different story. While it is technically illegal to go down into at night, that is the only time that I would recommend going.

At night, no people are there, the hot water feels even better in contrast with the cool air, and it is dark.

Being a few miles away from the nearest settlements makes it very dark (especially because those areas don’t put off a lot of light in the first place), and the reason that it being very dark is great is because of the view.

I have never seen more stars anywhere than when I laid in that river at night. With such little light pollution, it is absolutely breath taking. This spot (at night time) is one of the most beautiful places in the park.

#3 Electric peak

Electric peak is honestly my personal favorite place in the park. This hike is one of the more difficult ones that you can do in the park. This mountain is, I believe, the 6th tallest peak in altitude in the park. It is the tallest of the surrounding peaks in the north west area of the park. To get to the trail you have to drive south from Mammoth (or north from Norris, it’s about half way in between) and there is a small parking pullout.

The trail just to get to the base of the mountain is about 9 miles, and then you have to actually climb the mountain.

I spent about 11 hours one day doing the entire thing by myself (because none of my friends had that day off). The change in scenery and climate is breathtaking. You go from valley full of elk to steep mountainside in a blizzard rather quick.

And every second is both riotous and serene at the same time.

When you get to the top, you just have to sit down and stare all around you. There is nothing more humbling, horrifying, and beautiful than what you feel on top. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to experience true unadulterated power and helplessness at the same time.

The park entire park is breathtaking, and even the “over-crowded” spots are still pretty awesome. I just want to encourage you to see the things not often seen. I think every person should see the park in his/her life.

I hope you have enjoyed this list!

-Drew, the kind nomad

P.S. if you think someone you know would enjoy this post, throw it on their timeline 🙂

Welcome to my world :)

Hey 🙂

My name is Drew.

I love a lot of things. People, this beautiful planet, travel, food, friends, adventures, writing, taking mediocre photos that I think are really good, and being an idiot.

I have done a lot of fun things in my life, but when I worked in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2016, I realized that I wanted to travel a lot more.

So I decided to do just that.

I made this blog, and I am going back to Yellowstone this summer. I am going to write about (and post pictures of) my experiences so that maybe someone will see them and get inspired to take the most exciting step of his/her life, leaving home and seeing the world.

I love people and this wonderful planet so very much. I hope to inspire others as I have been inspired. Thank you for reading my first ever post!! Come back for more posts every few days!

If you think that I am sort of cool, or you would love to see more photos of my adventures from last summer (or those to come this year), then subscribe to my email list so that you can get updates on posts and other cool stuff 🙂