Kneeling in the dirt and moss that blanket the ground in the midst of old ruins, I relish the moment of freedom. I breathe in the scents of the earth, the sharp snap of pine resin, the damp musk of weathered stone, and the scent of wildflowers mixed with a cool breeze. The shadows play softly across Montana’s face. The adventurous girl who had agreed to be my model for the evening looks at me expectantly, waiting for a command. Instead, I wait for the right moment, as she idly plays with a stick, waiting for me to finish setting up my camera. Perfect. Unexpected moments flow much better than my set up shots.
As a white water rafting guide, my days are spent on the river, and my nights in my tent or the tree fort, a beer in my hand, lit by the soft light the cactus and pepper shaped lights. Not every day is a river trip, and that gives me time to breathe, to go out and explore. I can travel and shoot photos, summit a mountain, explore a new gorge. There’s nothing wrong working a seasonal job, not having a nine to five. Some people aren’t made for tedious days behind a desk, or standing in the same spot doing the same thing. Some people need to add a flair of excitement to their day.
For some people, the low income, hard living, and scramble to find time and work can grow stale after a while. The experience of working in these adventure jobs lingers. It never fully leaves your system. Working in these positions isn’t about numbers, or selling things, it is giving an experience, hand crafted to suit each person. Every day is new, as is every trip, even if the jokes aren’t.
The freedom of this living, the euphoria of the experience, is enough for me to feel content with where I am right now. It gives me a moment of clarity, a feeling that I am working for my desires, not against them.
Having a regular, adult job, is never a bad thing. Especially if it’s something you enjoy doing. The same can be said for not having one. It is okay to figure things out, to explore and adventure and work in fields whose expiration date is only a few months away. For those people okay with that, with eating lots of canned soup, and having a ‘liquid dinner’, don’t let other people convince you otherwise.
Each time I set out in my raft, begin a hike, or start a photo shoot, I am relived for just a moment longer, knowing that I’m doing something I love. Knowing that the experience will always be there with me, even when I am thrown into the chaos of school and a winter job. Because experience is worth more to us than money or possessions, and none of us should forget that.