Mountain Mama: How to Find Outdoor Jobs for Couples

Dear Mountain Mama,

My husband and I spend every moment outside of our mundane 8 to 5 office jobs in the mountains, backpacking, and on the river. We’re both miserable stuck inside and want to leave the city life for the mountains. We would like to work together, outside, doing something to benefit Mother Nature. The perfect job would allow us to spread awareness of how to enjoy the mountains and preserve the land. My husband has experience working in the outdoors.

How can we find a husband and wife job outdoors, or outdoor jobs for couples?


Outdoor Lover


Dear Outdoor Lover,

Oh, how claustrophobic and stifling the office gig can get! Especially this time of year when summer vacations have come and gone, when there is one work week stacked upon another for months on end until the next respite from the computer, phone, and copier.

Before you take the leap from office career to pursue an outdoor job, let me remind you that the grass isn’t always greener. The pay is often lower, benefits are difficult to come by, and the work can be seasonal. You and your husband might end up working holidays and weekends.

But if you’re undaunted by the drawbacks, you could enjoy waking up in paradise every morning. You will be able to breathe in fresh mountain air and get out in the mountains and on the rivers you so dearly love.

Your letter says that your husband has some experience working in the outdoors. Since you don’t mention whether you have outdoor experience, I’ll assume that you don’t. That’s okay, because what you do have is office skills, which are needed in every industry. Take a look at the website and check out options for couples to take care of ranches, farms, campgrounds, and outdoor centers. Most of these jobs tend to be year-round positions and employers prefer couples since they will keep one another company during the off-season.

Or pick a particular outdoor sport and start racking up your certifications. From accountants turned hang glider instructors to lawyers who became raft guides, there are plenty of examples of folks who have waved good-bye to the career track in search of a more fulfilling lifestyle. If you want to go the guide or instructor route, I’d suggest spending all your free time building up your credentials. For example, if you want to work on the river, take a Swiftwater Rescue Class, ACA and BCU instructor courses, and sign up for raft guiding training next year. For more information on how to become a raft guide, check out the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s guide training.

Outdoor Lover, dream about what you want your life in the mountains to be like. Do you want to work seasonal jobs with breaks in between seasons? Or do you prefer the security of year-long work? How much money do you need to feel comfortable? How important are benefits? Let the answers guide your life direction.

Happy job hunting!

Mountain Mama



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