Being able to travel around the world has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, but it doesn’t always come easily. I have to find work all over the world in order to support myself when money gets tight. For the most part, that means I do a lot of odd jobs and gigs to get by.
Sometimes I’ll work DoorDash for a few hours if I’m in Boston, or deliver legal documents to a personal injury lawyer in Orange County. Sometimes I’ll even make jewelry and sell it at flea markets and other events. But, by far, the best side job I have taken was as a personal assistant to a park ranger at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
If you’ve never been to the Carlsbad Caverns, I’ll do my best to explain what it’s like to you. The park itself is a thing of beauty, with tons of wildlife and interesting plants, but what sets it apart from other national parks is the caverns. Picture an underwater cave in the tropics, and that’s what the caverns are like, except for the water.
My job was to make sure that all the little spotlights they have all over the place were in working order, replace them when they weren’t, and to answer questions during tours. The best part, though, was when I was off work and able to hike on my own.
The Carlsbad Caverns are not for the novice hiker. The caverns themselves are mesmerizing, and it is quite easy to get lost inside them if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, I never got lost, but while I was working for the park ranger, we did get called out one afternoon for a woman who was reportedly missing.
Her cell phone was found abandoned next to her car. We didn’t want to raise alarm since it was only early-evening, but knowing how easily you can get lost in the caverns, we wanted to take extra precautions. The ranger and I took the Bobcat out and began to search for her on our own while we waited for the park to close. If she wasn’t found by dusk, we planned to call the police.
Thankfully, we never had to call the law enforcement because we found her as she was hiking back to her car. We gave her a ride back, and it turned out that she had gotten lost earlier in the day. She was an avid Carlsbad Caverns hiker, and had been able to find her way back after being lost for just a couple of hours.
I highly recommend taking odd jobs and other opportunities that come your way when you are traveling the world and need to make a quick buck like I have had to do.