Mahnessah is a life-long career caretaker. He crisscrosses the U.S. and Canada in his RV, accompanied by his dog, Miah, Mahnessah has been a caretaker for properties throughout the U.S., ranging from private homes to camps to crystal mines to a Rocky Mountain retreat center.
Mahnessah recognizes that "caretaking is what I do best." He notes, "I've found just about all my jobs by applying to the ads that interested me in The Caretaker Gazette."
Two positions took this career caretaker back east, to Indiana and Ohio. However, Mahnessah says, "It doesn't take long for me when I go back east to ‘population,’ to get the call of the wild, get my money to The Caretaker Gazette to renew my subscription, and take a caretaking position that allows me to move back to the open spaces of the American West. The western mountains are like a magnet to me."
Part of Mahnessah's connection to the earth and his traveling character might have something to do with his surname, Waukeeshawaukee, which comes from the Crow Indians and means "walk with your spirit."
Mahnessah began his caretaking lifestyle by housesitting for various people. He later found out about career caretaking, when he read an article about it in a magazine. It brought him into a whole new way of living and learning. Mahnessah learned that he could choose where he wanted to live and work. He explains, "It's a totally great way of seeing this country from Mexico to Alaska and the Yukon. I like the challenge it brings to me."
Since 1983, Mahnessah has been finding caretaking positions through the Gazette. By choice, almost all of the positions he has taken have been located in remote areas. He explains, "In the cities, you're pretty much insulated from nature. I honestly don't think I could survive without the wilderness and mountains to roam and explore in."
In summing up the caretaking profession, Mahnessah says, "It is important to be up front and honest when dealing with a landowner; for you are in charge and trusted with all of their worldly belongings when they are away. It’s a lot about trust, honesty, hopefully gaining a new friend, and a whole lot of new experiences."
“I wouldn't trade my lifestyle for anything. Oh, but did I mention all the great open space, the quiet, the walks, and all the great animals I've seen? It would take a very thick book to complete all the wild things I've done and seen since caretaking became my way of living." How else, other than being a career caretaker, could he live the lifestyle he so enjoys?
Mahnessah is a career caretaker. He recommends the caretaking profession to anyone who is looking for an alternative style of working and living, "There's always a new challenge waiting out there for the adventurous spirit. From caretaking crystal mines to gold mines, to blistering heat in the desert, to howling winds and bitter cold in Alaska and the Yukon. I never seem to have a camera and enough film to take all the pictures I wanted but the memories are forever stamped in my mind of all of the pretty country I've seen and all of the places I've walked."
Mahnessah's advice to those contemplating accepting a caretaking position in a remote area, "You can caretake the remote with no amenities, in a very beautiful log cabin, next to a pretty river and awesome mountain views. You can live the way you've dreamed of living - it's there."
This profile of a career caretaker is courtesy of The Caretaker Gazette, Gary C. Dunn, publisher.