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  • Writer's pictureHannah Jester

Work Camping

I thought I'd share a little bit about why we are staying here in the Badlands. We have 5 weeks left here and we are still loving it. I am actually really happy that we decided to stay put for a while because I don't think 2 weeks would have been enough time to visit everything and not have to rush. It's gorgeous here and Matt's going to have to drag me away when it's time to go.

We are tucked away on a campground with 170 sites. It is right smack dab in the middle of the beautiful badlands of South Dakota. Its out in the country of a town with a population of 97 people. The town has a gas station, two bar & grills, a school, a park and a post office.

The campground has RV sites, tent sites, yurts and cabins. There is a pool, playground, putt-putt golf, a small camp store, and the Kook Shack (KOA restaurant). It feels like we live in a small little town. The people who live here and work camp are so nice and we have made really great connections with a few of them. Even to the point where we are trying to go to the same locations in the future.

While staying here, Matt gets paid a wage and they provide us our full hook up site for free. This is allowing us to really be able to buy the things we need for the RV so that we can boondock comfortably in the future, without having to pay roughly $50 in fuel to run the generator each day.

We didn't originally plan on work camping because we have our Thousand Trails membership to bounce around parks with but since we want to boondock for part of the time, we need things like solar and a honey wagon and we WANT things like an RO system and a portable dog fence. Those things are SUPER expensive and when we were staying home in Iowa, we were paying lot rent and other utilities and not getting ahead as quickly as we wanted to.

So that brought us here.

I made a post on a work campers Facebook page asking for any known work camping jobs available and one woman reached out about the Badlands. We had and interview the next day and yes, she asked me to come to the interview as well. She hired Matt right away and was so excited for us to come. It just felt right. Just like everything in this process. It has not all gone the way we had planned at all, but each step that comes before us has worked out perfectly and it felt as if we were doing the right thing. I have always said that if it didn't feel right, we would just stop what we are doing a re-route. None of this has to be permanent if we don't want it to be.

When we pulled into the campground, the woman who hired Matt met us at the entrance and was so welcoming. We felt at home right away.

I found out later that the woman who referred me to the campground on my Facebook post, actually work camps here and now has become one of my good friends. Her and her husband are so kind and their son is Corahs age and he's such a sweet kiddo. We have been so blessed with this campground having young kids for the girls to make friends with.

Matt works about 30 plus hours a week and the girls and I are able to go to work with him whenever we want to. We basically just ride on the golf cart with him and keep him company. He does things like cleaning up campsites and delivering firewood, maintaining the pool, handyman work, escorting guest to their sites and whatever the boss lady needs him for. Of course I know Matt is an amazing teammate but they quickly found out how valuable Matt is to their team and they have offered him the full-time lead maintenance man position next spring/summer if we want to come back.

It is something that we are not taking lightly and we are discussing all of our options and trying to remember why we started this adventure anyways. Although it never was about money, it is hard to think about turning down a job with more pay and not to mention how good it would look on his resume for other locations. We don't want to lose sight of the reason we started this, and that was to travel more but we do absolutely love it here. It feels like home.

We do not have a winter location booked yet, we have a few places that have Matts resume and we are hoping to go somewhere warm and near the ocean. We are trying to follow our new friends to their next job location but with the hurricane going through, it has slowed responses up just a bit. Fingers crossed that we get the location we want so we can follow our friends and be in a warm location.

Life is simple and slow and we are very much enjoying the slower pace of living. We drive one and a half hours to the nearest Wal-Mart, once a week. Anything else we need, we just have mailed to us. We have met people from all over the country and even some who have traveled here internationally.

We have no idea what's in store for us next. We do know that we want to work camp again for a little while to keep purchasing the things we need/want and then fill up that savings and maybe pay our RV off faster. It's our only debt now that we have sold our old truck on contract to a friend and now our truck payment is being made. Thank goodness.

I want to be as transparent as I can about this lifestyle.

Please don't be afraid to ask me any questions you might have. I am an open book and love talking about our travel life.

Life is good for us right now. We are comfortable, healthy and happy.

And that's all that matters.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the past 2 weeks.



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