How long have you been part of the Camp Crew?
First hired in 2010, I spent my first summer with Backroads working almost exclusively as camp assistant. I loved the physical challenge of the work but the next two years of my life had different plans including a trans-USA bike ride and work on a master's degree. Needing a break from school and nostalgic about the Backroads co-workers that I hadn't seen in two years, I was rehired in 2013 and have worked the last four years elevating my outdoor, culinary prowess as part of the Camp Crew.
Give us a Day in the Life of a Camp Crew:
What does it take to be someone's vacation hero? Wake up; sleeping bag covered in dew because I made the decision not to set up any more tents because I like to sleep under the stars. Juggle; packing up my personal gear by the light of headlamp, setting up the kitchen, and warming my hands next to the boiling pot of water for coffee. Cook; pancakes, pancakes, pancakes! Serve; pancakes, bacon, and fresh cut fruit with a smile while knowing that in the next hour and a half every cot will be folded, tent will be dropped, and every sleeping bag and sleeping pad loaded as part of a great escape to the next campsite. Drive; to the next campsite blasting music and discussing the finer points of the philosophical good life with my camp assistant in an effort to maintain energy while adrenaline levels plead for a nap. Stop; at a grocery store to buy more provisions. Scout; the campsite and debate the most ideal tent layout. Labor; an hour of unrolling tents, setting them up, staking them down. Then, delivering cots, sleeping bags, pads, and luggage to the tents. Break: enjoy a dip in the lake or a run on the trails. Cook: Appetizer and cold drinks await the returning guests. Juggle; Spanish rice cooking, saute peppers cutting, cheese quesadilla warming, and cilantro-lime steak and chicken grilling while enlisting the help of a passing leader to grab the silverware and add it to the serving table. Showtime; meal presentation that wins over the hearts of all hungry children and impressed adults. Don't linger to long while the guests gobbled their meal, its time to brew the decaffeinated coffee, straighten out the tea basket and check the dutch oven to see if the molten-lava, chocolate decadence cake is ready to be paired with a chilled, raspberry topping.
After dessert serving is finished and the sugar-induced sillies of children begin to subside, finally, I have earned the right to help my camp assistant with the remaining hour or two of dishes. Hanging out in the lantern light, as the other leaders come to revel in aura of pulling off successful day feels exhilarating. The billowing of the propane lantern marks the final sound, the last remnants of a day of work at the best office in the world, being someone else's vacation hero. Crawl; exhausted into my sleeping bag under the stars. Cooking breakfast lies just on the other side of the night sky's stars.
Any advice for future Camp Crew?
Plan to work hard. Everyone wants a co-worker who works hard and has a genuine desire to improve. The Backroads lifestyle has been one of the biggest boosts in unlocking a world of possibilities in my life. The ebb and flow of being wholly dedicated to work during peak season then being rewarded with the off season has helped facilitate a majority of my personal travel to 40 countries and all 7 continents as well as a substantial portion of finishing my master's degree.