Last September, I was invited on a press trip to Navarre Beach, Florida. It was my very first trip like this – where like this means someone paid for me to come visit their destination so that I could write about it. The trip was a very, very big deal to me in a dozen little ways.
It was on that trip that I learned about people who make sand castles for a living.
OK, they didn’t technically make castles. They made elephants and alligators and babies and dozens and dozens of things that aren’t in the shape of a plastic bucket, all from the white powder of the Florida beach.
And that is their job.
I have always been intrigued by people who find creative ways to earn a living, so I was drawn to these professional sand sculptors. I watched them work, took their pictures, and pestered them with questions about their lives.
Who pays you to do this?
Can you really support a family like this?
How did you get into this?
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Turns out that most of them travel all over the world creating sand sculptures for various festivals, corporate promotions and competitions. The living is decent if not a little volatile (oh, the life of the self-employed) and the way you get started is…
I never actually got a straight answer on that.
All of the sculptors came to the job through a different path. Some had parents who had done it before them, others had seen competitions and thought they’d give it a shot. It seems there are a dozen ways to get to the same destination.
There are people who get paid to make sand sculptures.
Whenever I think I’m being ridiculous or immature trying to carve out my own version of a happy life for myself and my family, I remember that. When I hear people say that they can’t do what they want because they have bills to pay, I think about the people who pay their bills making sand castles.
There must be a dozen ways to get to the same destination.
And I think, maybe, you really can be anything you want when you grow up.