In September I had the opportunity to go to Portland for the first time. It was a magical adventure. I decided to use Uber to visit a friend, rather than walk, to escape the infamous rain. The woman driver was so kind. So kind, in fact, that I was taken aback. The trip to visit my friend was lovely, but even the car ride to the visit was memorable and comfortable. Like getting a ride from my mom. She had waters in a cooler and yarn in the trunk, we chatted about her life’s story, and we bonded over coloring books for adults (you know I loved it!). She talked about how Uber allowed her the freedom to quit her office job, where she had a very unpleasant boss, and set her own schedule. I was intrigued. It made me think of a lot of women who want to find ways to spend their time and could use the extra money.
Fast forward a few months and Uber asked me if I’d like to partner with them. The prompt was to interview a woman driver and find out her experience driving with Uber. Based on my previous experience, it was a no brainer.
For those of you unfamiliar with Uber, it’s a ride-sharing program with an app that allows the rider to request a ride. You input where you want to go and it pulls up the fare so you can see from the get go how much it will be. Hallelujah! You can see all the information you need about the driver, the car, and at the end you don’t have to tip! It’s not expected or required! From the driver’s point of view, you turn on the app, accept who rides with you, and you can work as much or as little as you want. You can go full-time with it, or use it as supplemental income.
I was assigned to interview Loren, an Uber driver based in Seattle, Washington. Before our phone call interview I knew basic information about her. She’s a 61 year old school bus driver and artist who can “paint just about anything” but by the end of the conversation I felt like I needed to fly up to Seattle and get a tour of her city with her in the driver’s seat. You see, Loren has lived a well-lived life. She’s moved over 100 times (“I’m on my last,” she claims) and has done remarkable things. She’s made the most out of this journey we call life. After our phone call, she inspired me to put everything down and go do something I’ve been wanting to do for years: Make the trek out to Salvation Mountain.
Read the rest of the story and see the rest of the photos below!
Loren’s grandfather, Jacob Mabel, was a founding father of Seattle and built the first structure where people gathered for school (prior to the official schoolhouse). A few generations later, her strong-willed grandmother moved her family up to Alaska and braved the challenging terrain. After learning about her family history, I came to notice similar qualities in her. These family members have certainly informed her character and have driven her to brave the 100+ moves abroad and within the US, join the army, drive a semi-truck across the US, and transport hundreds of kids to school every day.
Loren decided to partner with Uber when she was a tour guide in Seattle. She came to know the city thoroughly and because of her ancestry, she took the job more seriously. She felt connected to it. A friend noticed how well she could navigate around town and mentioned Uber to her. After doing some research, she found that it would work perfectly for her as she was already driving kids to school about 25 hours per week and could do it in the rest of her time so decided to sign up.
You couldn’t meet a better proponent of Uber than Loren. For that matter, you couldn’t meet a more positive person in general! Through all the life adventures Loren’s been all, she’s chosen to focus on the positive. In fact, when she retires in a few years, she’s determined to write a book called “At Least The Grass Gets Watered” attesting to the fact that though she’s moved so many times, she’s always maintained a beautiful green lawn. And she claims that watering that grass has come in part to her partnership with Uber. Uber has allowed her to work flexible hours whenever she wants to “and if you need to take a nap or get groceries you just turn off the blue button and come back to it whenever you want. Sold! “And you make good money doing it.” Sold again! Next you’ll see more driving along in my floral-painted Lars Mobile giving rides out. Maybe we’ll do some crafting on the ride 🙂 In her own words:
“If you like people and you like to drive and you want to make a lot of money and you want to keep your own time and have fun, this is the job for you.”
I found myself eager to capture Loren’s adventurous spirit at Salvation Mountain. We made the 3 and a half hour drive out through Palm Springs, bypassing the Salton Sea, and into the Imperial desert of Niland, California to visit this wild monument of a half a million tons of paint and adobe. Created by Leonard Knight, Salvation Mountain is his tribute to the world to promote love through fantastical shapes and colors. While there, you are encouraged to take the yellow brick road from the base of the mountain up to the top passing through the several stages of life up to the top that is love. Personally, I can’t envision a more wondrous journey.
Thank you, Loren, for inspiring my own colorful adventure!
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