My name is Josh Pasholk. I grew up in a small Southern California town about 20 minutes from the beach, surrounded by beautiful mountains. When I was still a kid, I had the chance to explore the world around me without the distraction of the tech world.
I live in Southern Oregon. After a divorce I spent some time living on a remote Montana homestead for a few months, after that I checked out Alaska for a while. When I got back to the lower forty eight I settled in Northern California, just above the Bay Area for a little while where I worked on a small organic farm.
From there Oregon was looking nice, now I am home.
Table of contents
- Hello, internet!
- About Me
Not quite a millennial
Growing up in a small Southern California town in the 90’s, our parents let us stay out late on weekdays. We would catch lizards and scorpions, build forts in abandoned fields, and jump our bikes out of barrancas and ditches. We would come home dirty almost every day, from playing after school; this instilled a love for the outdoors in me from a very young age.
Being born shortly after the official ‘millennial’ date of 1983, I grew up with a foot in both worlds. I was able to watch as computers made their way into our daily lives.
The term digital native doesn’t quite apply, although it’s close.
From the organic produce world
My first real job after working for a friend’s dad in construction, was at a small grocery store called Rainbow Bridge, in the deli in 2001 during my Junior year at Nordhoff High school. It was a catalyzing experience for me. I didn’t know what the term organic meant, or what made organic foods different than conventional foods.
After working there for some months, I became enthralled with the health enthusiasts all around me in the customers and the employees of the company. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were helping me reshape my view of the world.
Flash forward a few years, and I was working full time directly supporting the produce manager in many ways. I was learning about all the different aspects of the natural, health and gourmet food industries in piecemeal.
Working in produce taught me a lot in the way of time management, being organized, and efficient with your energy.
To watching a small corporation grow
I left Rainbow Bridge in the fall of 2007 for better prospects; I landed a job in the shipping department at lynda.com through a friend. With a foot in the door, I hoped to branch out and get a job in another office. When that opportunity came, it wasn’t in the form that I had expected, but it was something.
The hospitality department needed a position filled asap, and I fit the role. In this new job, I was able to see a lot of the inner workings of a growing corporation, live as it was happening. The things I learned during my time aren’t easily enumerated.
I left the corporate world feeling I learned all I could there at the time. I landed a gig back at Rainbow Bridge when by chance someone was moving on. After a few short months, I was again in the produce in a supporting role to the manager.
Working there would pay the bills until I found something better.
When life gives you lemons
Working in produce is when I met Lori, of Lori’s Original Lemonade
When I first saw her come in and sample the Lavender Lemonade, I was thunderstruck. Great ingredients, it tasted terrific, she was energetic and exciting to talk and listen to, but most of all it was the unseen qualities on display that attracted me to the brand. Even though the first bottles are nothing like the ones currently sold, I saw the name had an incredible potential.
It was something to behold to watch her with the customers and how they reacted, how I responded to the quality and intensity of the product. I could be more like that I told myself, so I set out to test the waters about helping her out.
I guessed that I wasn’t the only one interested so I decided to try and set myself apart in a positive way. It grew from a few conversations about social media tactics and business logistics to a potential job offer and blossomed into a weekly half-day delivery gig.
I worked for Lori’s Lemonade part-time while working for a staging company called Ojai Home. Eventually, both jobs started to become more than part-time, and I had to make a choice. Since the staging job required less driving than delivering lemonade; it ended up winning out.
Through Ojai Home, I was able to learn things like installing hardwood floors, light finish carpentry, and a bit of refinishing furniture.
You pull yourself up by your bootstraps
After going through a divorce, I started a journey of discovery that led me to a permaculture homestead in Montana. I lived there for a few months and finally decided it wasn’t for me. As impressive as it was, and I’ll never forget the experience or the people I met while I was there. It just wasn’t the right timing for me. I wasn’t ready for homesteading yet.
On the plus side, I made good contacts in the permaculture and homesteading world online; I now help moderate the homestead subreddit and on permies.com.
I am currently on a journey of collecting skills that will help me with homesteading on a piece of land one day.
And head north, to Alaska
I came back home to California, where a friend called me from Alaska.
“If you can get up here, you’ve got the job dude.”
That was Tim, a good friend of mine who I’ve known since middle-school. He had gone up to Alaska around the time that I went to Montana. The place he worked at needed a groundskeeper. Since I was in between jobs, had just got back in town, and looking for another adventure, I said why not? I jumped on a plane a few weeks later.
After a layover in Seattle, I hopped on another plane and flew into the Sunset. When I arrived, I was tired, hungry, and delirious from the nearly twenty-four hour travel time it took to get there. It was all I could do to just have a beer with my buddy at this odd little bar in the facility.
After a few days, the remote location and the dullness of the job set in, and started to get to me. I became restless again. Come to find out; my mother has a friend in Anchorage. I ended up moving down there for a few months to see if Alaska was for me.
Since Costco was right down the street from her house, I decided I’d apply there. Lucky enough, I got the job.
Find yourself and realize that Alaska is far away
Working at Costco was like going to the gym and getting paid. I was shedding pounds of weight that I had accumulated from the divorce and just not giving a damn about myself for a while. There were only two drawbacks, my shift started at three in the morning, and it was in Alaska.
Which I was slowly starting to realize wasn’t for me.
It was nice; I had a great living situation, good job, nothing to worry about, I had everything I needed, yet I didn’t feel settled. I chose to move back home to Southern California while I figured out my next step.
Home not so sweet home
When working odd jobs and spending too much time camping started to get old, I started looking north again. Maybe Oregon or Northern California. It just so happens that a friend told me about an opportunity in NorCal to work and live on a farm for a while.
Since I’ve worked on farms a bit in the past and wanted to get out of town, this seemed like a great idea. After about a month and a half, it began to look like the work would never materialize to match any of my expectations.
The offer from a friend who lived in Oregon started to come to mind. It wasn’t long before I packed up all of my stuff and drove to Oregon.