Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Land of Enchantment

On March 28, J & I will add our 14th state to our growing list of places we've lived: New Mexico!!
Though our permanent residency remains in Colorado (made really official by changing our driver's license and plates this week), we are heading to New Mexico for a 6-week contract job.

This time around, we will not be running a bed & breakfast, or providing security for a private island. We will be teaching environmental education programs to children aged 5-9 years at Fenton Ranch in a canyon in the Jemez Mountains!!

This opportunity is perfect for so many reasons.
1) Six weeks is the ideal timeframe for a job before Justin climbs Denali (we finish up May 5, he flies out May 9!).
2) Outdoor education has always been J's bread and butter and though I don't have the strong background J has, my passion for being a steward of the outdoors is almost as deep as my passion for writing.
3) Living and exploring a new place is always a top consideration for us when taking contract jobs. We will have weekends off and you better believe we will be out and about every chance we can.

Now, Fenton Ranch is on the grid, so we do have electricity, running water and Satellite Internet (which probably means no Netflix), but there is no cell service. As my sister says, "how do you find these remote places???"

"How do we find these places" is a very good question. I wrote a blog post in November about how we find the majority of our contract jobs in Caretaker Gazette. However, so much of our crooked road has been about the chances we take and the people we meet. I always like to make the claim that even though it looks like we are meandering aimlessly, we are always taking purposeful steps.

Being all over the country--not only living in 14 different states, but driving across the country at least twice a year--means we meet A LOT of people. Oddly enough, the conversation sometimes goes like this, "I know you from somewhere ..." One time at a Denver CO presentation of ours, we met a guest we hosted at Bears Den. One time on the Pacific Crest Trail in northern Washington, we met a volunteer from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy we worked with. I attended a tiny college in northeastern Pennsylvania (Go King's College!) and I can't tell you how many times I've met crossed paths with fellow alumni in the most random spots.

As I said, the people we've met and the connections we've made have all been a part of our life less ordinary. This job in New Mexico is yet another piece of that puzzle.

We met and bonded with a woman named Jamie at our Leave No Trace Master Educator course in 2014. She runs the environmental education program for the school using Fenton Ranch. She told us at some point she would love to work with us in her program and we just promised to keep in touch. In November, she reached out to us to gauge our interest in the spring environmental educator position. J & I live on a week-to-week schedule, so spring seemed very far away, but we continued conversations with her. Well, as time went on, the stars aligned and we told her we'd love to come to New Mexico!!

So state #14 ... here we come!!!

4 comments:

Mary said...

Fun!I fought a fire in the Jemez once. Beautiful area!

Jennifer Kelley said...

I love seeing others talk about how highly social this lifestyle truly is! It is always so much fun for us to run into people we know in strange places. When we were thru hiking the Long Trail this year, we ran into a guy named Moose, who we know from several different places, in Ladder Ravine. The nomadic community seems highly connected on a whole different level! :)

Shadow and Country Mouse said...

"I always like to make the claim that even though it looks like we are meandering aimlessly, we are always taking purposeful steps."
Well said. Check out Jemez Springs. We love that place.

Kristin said...

I'm still catching up. I see you did pick one! That's such a fun age group to get involved in the outdoors. Good luck!