I have been researching various temporary/seasonal volunteer opportunities around the nation (continent) since last fall. My current job is one that I have grown to truly despise more than any other I've had in the past, and my need to get out of there is huge! I thought that I'd kill two birds with one stone... by indulging in work and travel away from Illinois, and by also possibly picking up some new skills that I could use in finding more desirable employment one I return.
I'd been researching and applying to positions posted through AmeriCorps, paid positions through the US Forest Service/Dept. of Interior, and almost ended up going down to Panama to volunteer for a few months - an opportunity that was sent to me through ExPo. None of those had panned out for one reason or another. Aaron found a website for me that lists mostly organic farm operations that look for volunteers in trade for room & board. I started looking into those, and found some operations that weren't farm related at all... they were other businesses looking for help. I found a couple that I liked, talked to the folks that run the show, and now...
I'll be spending 4-6 months in Alaska this spring/summer/fall!
The confirmed location where I will be is one working with a couple in their 50's that run a ecotourism outfit - mostly kayaking, photo safaris, and hiking trips for tourists. They are located just south of Homer, AK across the Kachemak Bay - very remote and only accessible by air or water. I will be there from early/mid June until mid/late September.
I'm waiting for confirmation on a second location. This one is in Cantwell, AK, about 1/2 way between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and in the middle of the the Alaskan mountain range. That operation is one that kennels and trains sled dogs for racing (including the Iditarod). If/when I go there, it would be between early-April until I go to Homer in mid-June. There is also potential for a position in Palmer, AK if I choose to take it.
The Jeep will stay home, unfortunately. It needs some love before a trip like this, and my final destination while in Homer is one that isn't vehicle accessible... and I'll be there for 4 months. Would rather not have it sit that long without much use. Aaron plans to drive it periodically while it's at home. Aaron fully intends to visit me over the summer... and will be driving Grumpy to Alaska - somehow I don't know if I'll ever see him again! .
Anyway, just wanted to share! I'm super jazzed about this! It's going to be one heck of a trip report!