The only right way to spend summer is to be outside under the sun. Maybe you are a student, sick of dorm rooms and deadlines. Maybe you are a teacher or office worker, ready to sever the chain that bonds you to your desk. Or maybe you are a stay-at-home parent looking for some short term adventures while the kids are away at camp. No matter the reason, outdoor summer gigs can be a blast to explore, and relatively easy to find. The catch is... you need to start applying now!
Like all jobs, there are positives and negatives to the seasonal line of work. On the down side, there are busy times and slow times, and you will not often make much money. Take it from those of us that regularly bounce between seasonal jobs, (I like to call us 'Outdoor Recreation Professionals',) we don't do it for the money. But until you find a job that you click with, I don't think that I can explain to you why we do it. The obvious advantages include total immersion in nature, travel, making beautiful friendships in beautiful places, making good connections, getting fit and staying healthy... the list goes on. You can choose to work a little, earn just enough money, and enjoy the advantages of having time to play. Or you can work your butt off and make a small living, because after all... outdoor adventure work IS play. All seasonal jobs will have different requirements, different season dates, and different levels of flexibility. Therefore, the first three questions to ask yourself are: What kind of work can I see myself doing? How much time do I want to work? How much money do I need to make?
To help you to begin exploring your options, I have found a few websites that offer job listings for outdoor summer work. Again, I would like to point out that if you are interested in summer work, NOW is the time to be searching and applying. There are many options when it comes to seasonal work. Some jobs are region specific, some deal closely with the elements, and some require labor. Coastal jobs can include jobs on cruise ships and whale-watching boats, sailing for small boat and fishing tours, guiding sea kayak tours, and watersports instruction (including surfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.) For inland jobs on the water, consider whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing tours and instruction, and fishing tour guiding. If you are seeking the mountains as a refuge, you can consider guiding hiking and backpacking expeditions, leading caving and canyoneering tours, teaching climbing clinics, or leading adventures on horseback. Lately zip-lining seems to be the newest craze to have swept the globe, with courses popping up in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Links to job listings for all of these types of work appear on the following sites:
Backdoorjobs.com - Awesome website that offers listings of short term jobs. Includes great categories like "Adventure Jobs," "Camp and Ranch Jobs," "Sustainable Living and Farmwork," and "Mind, Body, and Soul Quests."
CoolWorks.com - This site is helpful because it lists who is hiring right now. Search by categories like jobs on water, jobs on horseback, internships, etc.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF.org) - This is a unique and very interesting program. It is a work exchange program that offers volunteers a chance to learn about organic farming and living. In return for volunteer work, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation, and opportunities to travel and learn. What's most incredible is that WWOOF is a worldwide network.
Figure out what you love, do your research, read reviews, and chat with people who have done it before. Adventure work in the great outdoors can be eternally rewarding-- providing a new respect for nature, making lasting personal bonds, and exploring different perspectives of life. Life returns exactly what you put into it, so start making positive changes today. As always, my friends, never stop moving!