Many places on the full-timing highway earn a special place in your heart, and some you’ll never want to go near again. A handful will escape from memory as soon as you leave but a few you’ll want to return to over and over. For us, that place has been a Colorado dude ranch that we found because we were foolish enough to answer a vague Workamper News job listing that went something like this:
Wanted: Work in paradise at Vickers Ranch in Lake City, Colorado. Great scenery, good people, hard work. Needed May – September.
Without knowing much about Lake City, the business or the actual work we might be doing, we took a leap of faith and drove straight into a job and a hard-working frontier family who would touch our lives in so many unforgettable ways. Since 2008 we’ve returned to Vickers Ranch as summer workampers where we’ve done everything from craft fireplace mantles from hand-milled wood, to answering phones to splitting logs and cleaning cabins. We’ve picked up tons of skills along the way and while the work can be exhausting and our feet always hurt at the end of the day, each year we’ve returned because of the one-of-a-kind, generous people who have kept this business thriving since 1929.
This summer was just as exciting as the others, but sadly, tomorrow marks a bittersweet occasion in our workamping jobs at Vickers: early in the morning we’ll hitch up and pull away for the very last time. As difficult as it was to make this decision, the moment is finally here and now we must commit 100 percent of our efforts to nurturing our own growing business endeavors that need our attention all year long, not just during winter.
The first day of September will mark the beginning of a brand new chapter in our lives, one without a summer job income that we’ve gotten used to earning through the years. And while it’s a little scary to walk away from that sure thing, it’s no more nerve-wracking than that day in June, 2007 when we pulled away from the curb in Eureka, California and rolled into a new full-timing adventure that would become our permanent lifestyle.
This way of life presents dozens of new opportunities that can shape your future in so many positive ways. We never would have guessed that two low paying dude ranch jobs would bring us so many rich rewards through the years, but that’s what’s so fun about living a life rich with spontaneous opportunities at every turn. Instead of staying in one place, sleepwalking through the same routines, working at the same job and being surrounded by the same people, each new day is an opportunity for creating an entirely different life just as you envision it.
If you’ve been dreaming about hitting the road but have been too afraid to do it, don’t let your fears or naysayers stop you from listening to your heart. Be smart about it of course: do your research, talk to others and follow that dream before it’s too late. You’ll be glad you did!
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.