Short Story: Born and raised Wisconsinite (hence Badger) that can be best described as a responsible free spirit with the most varied work history you’ll ever see.
Long story: I grew up in a small village* just north of Sheboygan and south of Manitowoc. Its the home of Johnsonville Brats, Kohler toilets, Bemis toilet seat, Sargento cheese, Manitowoc Ice machines and cranes in case you did not know. Pretty much, my family has made something in your house. It was a great childhood where I had all the cheese, brats and hard rolls a kid ever wanted. However, jobs were slowly leaving town and I saw family members get laid off or had fear of loosing their job. It was evident that I would have to leave town to get a job. Through working at the gas station and late night studying I left the village to go to college. My major was education with History and Spanish. Teaching could allow me the freedom to travel in the summer and I could share my love of Spanish and Social Studies to everyone.
The warning signs of the plan not working were there. After arriving back from two months in Bolivia, my fellow staff were telling me that it was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. I dismissed the reality of that statement until I graduated college. With $35,000 in loans and only hopes of making $30,000 a year, my 20s were destined to paying off loans and no big trips.
My hatred of debt and skimping by landed me on a glorious YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8Qyyx6MTcc There were homeless people living in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Williston, North Dakota and making good money. I thought, “I can be homeless in a Wal-Mart parking lot!” After watching the video, I tried to convince my friends to come along on a crazy adventure. However, no one wanted to live in car with me. This was something I would have to do by myself. So in July 2012, I left my three jobs to try my luck in North Dakota.
Thus began 3.5 years of living the life of a boomtown. It was for sure a love-hate relationship the entire time. If I worked less, it could have been more manageable but that is not why I was there. The wages were good all around, even at Taco Johns! For the majority of my time in North Dakota, I worked at a rail yard where I learned a lot about oil, geology and trains. My loans were paid off in a year and I stayed for the pay and schedule. Working two weeks on and one week off allowed me to go home often and travel around the USA. It was an opportunity, I did not see happening at home and that kind of money would not be forever.
As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. The price of oil was in free fall in 2015. Things were not looking good as everyone was being laid and leaving town. Therefore I had plans A, B, C, and D which were:
A – Stay working at the rail yard, they seem to like me and my underground cheese business.
B- Try some new job in the Bakken, a new schedule was what I needed and could add more to my resume.
C- Work back in Wisconsin, it is filled with lots of beer, cheese and brats and all my old employers would like me back.
D- Use all my ‘useless’ Geography knowledge and go on an epic journey across the world.
D is an obvious choice but it made no money. I like to make money however, I don’t like spending it. I am a responsible free spirit who was diligent and smarter than most 20-somethings with money. After talking with the close friends, I could take some time off of work. Heck, I was 27 and was always working since I was 16. A chance was taken in going to North Dakota, I’m going to take another.
With my job behind me, I am now the wandering Badger. I hope you enjoy my blog!
*In Wisconsin, we call them villages. Its not a town because that is something different. It’s not a township because we don’t have those in WI.