Friday, May 4, 2018

Workamping Journal - Settling In

Hello everyone,

In our last newsletter (read it here), we mentioned that we were looking forward to working a bit as of this summer, since we have big plans for 2019. But what are 2 digital nomads constantly on the move supposed to do for work?

We thought we'd give you a different outlook to RV travelling and RV living. It is called RV working, or more specifically, workamping!

Over the last couple of years as RVers, we have learned many different things about what can be considered "outside the box" employment. Here are different examples:
  • The very popular Amazon will hire campers in the fall, leading up to Christmas. They pay for your hours worked as well as your campground.  
  • Organic farms hire campers during harvest season in exchange for a box of harvest, or a bed or a meal, depending on the farm's needs. 
  • Campgrounds or a national parks can hire a couple to greet campers, clean the grounds, the washrooms, bring firewood, etc.. They will pay for your site and can pay for hours worked. 
  • There are many others too!
In our case, we have been hired to do lawn and garden maintenance on a farm/RV park, located southwest of Banff National Park, near the small town of Golden in beautiful British Columbia.

For us, it works well as it lowers significantly our cost of living for the next 6 months. At the same time, it gives us a base to explore the Rockies and its surroundings. We have to work a certain amount of hours per week in exchange for our site that includes water, electric, sewer and wifi.

Lunch break anyone?
Our surroundings are simple: mountains, wildlife, a river, gardens and our home on wheels. Living in a mountain valley - the Columbia River Valley - offers a glimpse into a whole other world, one which is able to hide itself from the rest of fast paced, electronic, connected society. The Trans Canada Highway, easily the most beautiful road in Canada and one of the most scenic drives in North America, winds through lower part of BC as it reaches eastward to Calgary. To get there you must first cross the famous Rogers Pass, a stretch of road upheld by a gauntlet of mountains, some always covered in snow and ice. In early spring, avalanches are common, and some are even controlled to assist the passing of melting snow. It is an unbelievable spectacle.

Once beyond the Rogers Pass, many small, quaint and unique communities await you. Golden is one of them, located in the epicenter of half a dozen popular tourist destinations, including Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Radium Hot Springs, to name just a few. But the town itself is true to its name: cozy small shops, a quiet main street, and the friendliest of local folks who welcome anyone from anywhere. Their smiles and relaxed bond with nature say it all: here the outside world cannot press down on you. There is no fast internet. There is no Starbucks. There is no Costco or Walmart. And that's just fine with everyone here; it's two hours to the nearest airport or mall because none of those things fit in Golden. Only fresh air and a sense of endless space belong here.

The Rockies Catching The Last Sunshine Before Night
In Golden, you can park outside their little hospital, right at the front door, for free. You can pull up to their little movie theater, which doubles as an ice cream parlor and a video store right next to their one screen. Video rentals are still popular here, because high speed internet is not really known here. Stores open late and close early; some are closed Mondays, others Tuesdays; and, almost all are closed on Sundays. There are two grocery stores here, and both are small and cramped and everyone knows each other in both of them. The post office has general delivery and, once they know you, you don't need to show photo ID to get your mail. There is even an old bookstore with creaky old wooden steps that lead up to a second floor cafe, and you can read there all day.

The roads are always quiet, even outside of town. Every few minutes, dirt roads branch off and head into the mountains, inviting you along. One of them leads to Kicking Horse Lodge, a well known ski resort that also is home to its resident Grizzly Bear, Boo, who likes to perform and get laughs from the kids. Wildlife is everywhere, you just have to look: salmon, eagles, osprey, blue birds, elk, mule deer, rams, and, of course, grizzlies. Campfires have an extra aura of both mystery and soothing peace to them, and even the train that passes by occasionally does so without sounding its horn.

We are starting our 3rd week here and we couldn't be happier about the choice we made to work on a farm. We are learning, we are working outside and we are helping out. Our bodies are a bit sore at times, but we are also grateful for the work, for the lifestyle and for being able to have these many opportunities!

Thank you for reading,

Chantal & Rob
Apprentice Farmers 😃