The LA Times story by John Glionna

Those of you who have been with me for a while will remember that last summer when we were working in Door County, a reporter named John Glionna and a photographer named Francine Orr came out from the LA Times to tag along with us, interview us, and photograph us.  One thing and another came along and the story was put off.  John just wrote to me to ask if I’d seen the story online.

John had read a couple years ago about Workampers in a Harpers article by a reporter who made Workampers sound like vulnerable senior citizens who had been taken advantage of and had to work past retirement, kind of a Grapes of Wrath story.  A lot of reporters got on the bandwagon after that article and wanted to write similar sob stories about Workampers.  As one of the largest Workamping organizations in the country, was being inundated with requests from reporters for hard-up Workampers reporters could interview.  Of course, the folks at wanted more positive coverage.  They sent out calls for Workampers who would be willing to tell their stories.  I was one of those volunteers.

John wanted to do a story on folks who’d lost their homes in the 2008 crash and ended up on the road working.  His specific criteria were that the folks he interviewed had to have lost their homes and became Workampers as a result, so I was skeptical when he contacted me.  I told him his article was skewed even before he wrote it, but he said he’d pass everything by me before he put it in print.  I made it clear that I didn’t want a sob story being written about Mark and me and he promised to find another term for us rather than Workampers so that other Workampers wouldn’t be sullied by the stigma the Harpers article placed on all of us.  After all, there are some very well off Workampers who can even afford to donate their time to charitable causes and don’t need pay.  John settled on the term “nomads”.

There were two other stories that the LA Times told John to go with besides us.  One was a couple where the wife is handicapped and only the husband is able to work.  The other was a single elderly woman.  The other two stories were truly hard-luck stories.  The article starts out with the single woman and ends with the other couple.  Mark’s and my story has been sandwiched in between as a ray of sunshine.  There are a few small errors.  I don’t have a bumper sticker that says, “Make love, not war” but I do have one from the Friends that says, “War is not the answer”.  Things like that I can chalk up to artistic license.  For the most part, John respected our wishes to show that in spite of how we got here, it’s not a bad life.

I am sorry for the other two Workampers who haven’t been as fortunate as us, but do read this story with the realization that stories like this make up only the smallest fraction of Workampers out there.  Most consider themselves to be “living the dream”.  Who wouldn’t want to get paid to travel around the country, see new sights, meet new people and do new things?

So without further ado, here is the story you’ve all been waiting for:

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