This is the first of a series of posts documenting two ordinary folks attempting to get out there and do good. Over the next few months, we’ll follow them through the setbacks and triumphs of their endeavor to take the inspiration of Mountainfilm and turn it into something tangible.

Volunteering should be easy, right? One would think that any organization would jump at the chance to have free labor on board; unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Trying to find a non-profit with which to volunteer your time, especially abroad, can be a difficult task, as Jenny and I found out this summer.

First, a little context. Jenny and I started dating in October of last year, and our stars were aligned from the beginning: we both love to read, crave adventure through traveling and exploring our surroundings, and share a shameful and deep-seated love for the X-Files. This past winter, amidst discussions of Scully and Mulder’s latest adventure, we had several conversations about the directions of our professional lives. We were both happy, but neither of us was fulfilled.

Jenny works two jobs she loves, but they only keep her busy for about six months out of the year. The remaining six months she finds other work, including a brief, but nearly cataclysmic, stint working for me. I’m the Hotel Operations Manager for a luxury hotel. This looks good on a resume and keeps me really busy, but is a bit soul-squashing. The Sisyphean task of meeting the demands of a brand new set of high-end clientele on a daily basis often leaves me battered, bruised, and frustrated.

My job is such that I have significant amount of down time between ski season and the summer tourist season, which happens to be the month preceding Mountainfilm. My lovely girlfriend happens to work for Mountainfilm, and mentioned that there was an opening for this past festival. I polished up my resume, dashed off a heartfelt (read: slightly desperate) cover letter, and landed a job COMPLETELY on my own merits.

And of course, as it has for so many other people, Mountainfilm changed my life. The issues to which I was exposed, the people I met, and the incredible energy that surrounds that weekend can change even the hardest, most recalcitrant soul.

– David and Jenny

What to do with this newfound enthusiasm and inspiration? Check back next Thursday for the continued story.