Ever wondered what it’s like to be a bellman at the iconic and historic Glacier Park Lodge? Steven Donovan, a member of our 2016 bellman staff, gives us a first-hand look.
STEVEN'S JOURNEY TO GLACIER PARK
I was born in Virginia as the youngest of nine children in a military family. When I was very young, my family went on road trips. I’d like to think that this inspired my future travels. I’ve always been adventurous, growing up playing in the woods and going on camping trips.
After high school, I really had no idea what direction I wanted to take in life but I knew I loved creating videos. I was able to support myself for a couple of years making videos, but the content I was producing wasn’t pushing me creatively. I knew I had to make a major change if I wanted to pursue a job creating outdoor/travel content.
One of my best friends worked in Yellowstone. In the summer of 2014, he convinced me to join him. I didn’t even realize these type of jobs existed, but was so excited for the experience. We hit the road and traveled all over the west in a minivan for a month and a half before starting work in Yellowstone. That summer changed my life forever and gave me the confidence to try new experiences and step out of my comfort zone.
I was fully set on returning to Yellowstone for a second season when a buddy of mine told me about an open position up in Glacier. He said he’d put in a good word for me. Because it is so far north, Glacier somehow had never fit into my roadtrips. I can’t even recall seeing a photo of it! So, when I first arrived I was blown away. My absolute favorite part of working in Glacier is the views – looking out my window and seeing majestic peaks and u-shaped valleys.
A NEW-FOUND FAMILY
One of the most amazing things about seasonal work is the people. I was nervous my first season about what I would do if I couldn’t get the same days off as my friends. That wasn’t a problem because within a couple weeks, I’d be out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a new-found family I had just met. I made friends from all over the country that wouldn’t hesitate to let me crash on their couch in the future if I happen to be passing through their state. Besides friends from the US, I met people from all over the world in the park. The bond you create with your friends after a few months living and working together in the park is one that lasts a lifetime. I know I have a place to stay if I ever visit Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Thailand, Japan, China and many other countries in the world.
Other than working seasonally, my ultimate goal is to build up my video portfolio. So far, working in national parks and living on the road in-between seasons has made that possible. I would like to get to the point where I can combine my passion for travel and videography into a full-time career.
In the meantime, I want to spread the message of seasonal work opportunities to others my age who want to live this lifestyle but aren’t sure how. I owe it all to my friend for letting me in on this secret.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Follow Steven on Instagram: @es_dons