Young Inspiration

By Beacon Staff

In southwestern Montana, Pioneer Peak is located almost in the center of the world’s only private ski and golf resort called The Yellowstone Club. Over the years the club has attracted a large number of very ambitious and talented employees. Last winter I spent some time with a ski instructor who also worked the night shift in the dining room and after my conversation with him I know that he will be very successful with his life’s goals.

His name is Blake and he is 24. He is several years out of college where he got his degree in sustainable farming. Soon after graduation he headed to South America and spent his first summer out of school very far away from civilization by traveling a long way up the Amazon River, the largest river in the world. He finally went ashore and settled in a small village that was located about 20 miles from the closest radio. He spent the summer learning the local language and teaching the people in the village how to prosper using his college degree on sustainable farming techniques. In October he said goodbye to his newfound family of friends and paddled down the Amazon until he got to a larger village where he could pay for a ride in a boat with an outboard motor to get him close enough to a village or a city large enough for an airport to get back to Montana.

His second year out of college he traveled to Southeast Asia to once again teach sustainable farming. That summer he was able to snag a job teaching English in the city of his choice.

His job included a round-trip from San Francisco to the Far East where he was able to teach sustainable farming during his time off. Long days in Southeast Asia were the same long days that he worked in Montana. In October he once again made his way back to Montana to teach skiing and work nights in the dining room after they shut down the ski lift for the day.

Blake’s third year out of college, he once again went back to Southeast Asia and taught English in Bangkok. He learned quickly that in that country you never deviate from a foot path because there might be a landmine alongside of it. “The country is reported to have more land mines buried than in the rest of the world combined,” according to Blake.

Another winter of working two jobs and in the spring, when the Yellowstone Club closed in April, he was headed for San Francisco again to teach English. After a good summer of making people in Bangkok speak with a New England accent, he was once again in Montana for the winter.

When I talked with Blake last spring he was very excited about the summer of 2012. Blake apparently is saving all of his money to buy some property and build a house as soon as possible. After a winter of working two jobs, he set aside all of his money and did not want to spend the money to climb aboard a plane to get to the west coast.

Good at solving problems, he had a sleeping bag, a rucksack and a skateboard. He did have enough extra money to buy a small tent so he could sleep out of the rain during his trip. He put the tent in his rucksack and set out on his skateboard for San Francisco. Yes, he was going to skateboard the whole way. He said, “It’s no big deal because I had a long board. Besides that, San Francisco is 7,000 feet lower than the Yellowstone Club so there has to be a lot of downhill rides to get there.” His journey started near Bozeman, and went south as far as Bryce Canyon National Park. From there it was on to Las Vegas and eventually to Los Angeles. He did admit that he hitchhiked along the way.

Blake had an adventure-filled trip on that skateboard. I think more people should have the same kind of initiative to achieve their current and long-range goals, whatever it may be. What were you doing after four years of college besides owning a large student loan?
When Blake got to Los Angeles, to head for China, he called his grandmother who had not seen him for two years. She wanted him to come visit her and she offered him a lot of free airline miles to get there. So instead of skateboarding from Los Angeles to San Francisco to leave for China, he flew to Florida and then to San Francisco. He should have called his grandmother while he was still in Montana! But he would have missed an adventure of a lifetime if he had.