It stirred up a longing. Every spring the urge swells to revisit seasonal field employment. A little voice makes it sound so simple... Randomly pick a state on the map, look at the seasonal job ads on TAMU, plop everything into storage and go! It was easier to do back then, fresh out of college. Hopping on a plane or passenger train every few months to a new state, a new job, a new adventure, where I didn't know a soul. You’re put up in hotels, homes, fifth wheels, trailers, tents, etc. It’s intense…And then it’s over, and you’re off on another adventure of your choosing. That kind of freedom has a powerful pull. As a kid from
The jobs were like something from a National Geographic assignment. Lots of open land, daily immersion in the natural comings and goings of wildlife; plenty of sitting, waiting, watching, recording, or hiking, paddling, wading -- during sunrises, sunsets, and all hours in between. It was endlessly amazing for an animal and bug-lover such as my crew mates and me.
I was readying for a return to grad school in wildlife, unsure of that major, when someone offered me a job in entomology. I’d fallen in love with it as an undergrad. It's a great job (my current job). I write grants, educate the public, do a lot of publishing, dabble in research, and coordinate much more than most in my position are allowed. Occasionally, I even get to play with the arthropods. I like my line of work. Love it, even. It scratches that itch that tromping through marshes and forests and prairies all day didn’t. Still, I'd be lying not to admit that the seasonal gig calls to my inner hobo.
A little over a hundred years ago, the American hobo emerged as our nation underwent the change from an agrarian society to an industrial one (Beesley, The American Hobo). Perhaps as we transition from an industrial society to the indoor isolation of the Information Age, we'll be seeing a re-emergence of the hobo. How better to connect with our own nature, or witness our vanishing landscapes than as a working wanderer...?