“This is where I tell you a bunch of clichés like ‘follow your dream’ and ‘be yourself’. But I’m not going to do that because I don’t know your dream. Your dream may be stupid.” –Steven Levitan
Steven Levitan, the creator of Modern Family and the 2017 UW-Madison Commencement Speaker, said this to my graduating class a couple of weeks ago, and it got me thinking, I’m sure some of my relatives and friends think my dream is stupid. I mean, it’s not exactly normal to spend a year driving a 26-foot-long peanut on wheels around the country. I’ve gotten tons of reactions like, “Do you even like nuts?”, “Do you have experience being a mascot?” (which I do, by the way, S/O to Pinsey), and my personal favorite, “So…you’re a truck driver?”
But despite the weird responses and concerned family members, I am lucky to have so many people in my life who are just as excited about my dreams as I am. My friend Jackie started calling me Magadamia Nut from the time I got a first-round interview, and then excitedly jumped and danced with me for a solid five minutes when I found out I got the job. My mom wanted me to be a Peanutter even though training conflicted with our (already paid for) trip to Europe, which was something we had been planning for years. My uncle has started texting me pictures of Planters peanuts regularly, and several of my friends are already planning to visit me on the road.
So, yes, being a mascot isn’t the most glamorous thing ever, and between you and me, nuts are not my snack food of choice. But, when I think of taking a year-long road trip to see America in a nutshell instead of going straight from the classroom to a cubicle, I canNUT contain my excitement.
But despite all the reasons to shell-ebrate, my new job has a salty side too. Up until now, I have been fortunate to have most of the people I care about relatively close to me. Now my friends are jetting off to Texas, Arizona and even Morocco, and I am living on the road for a year where I will no longer have the comfort of knowing that home is a short two hours away. I have already had to say some of my hardest goodbyes to date, and I know more are just around the corner, but I am thankful for the incredible friends I’ve made and for the family that has always been by my side. I’ll miss Wisconsin and my life here, but like they always say, it’s not goodbye, it’s cashew later.
For those of you who are still thinking I am going to be a truck driver, here are the nuts and bolts of what I’ll be up to for the next year:
My official job title is a Brand Specialist for Planters, but the job is more commonly known as a ‘Peanutter.’ I will be driving the Planters Nutmobile around the country from June 2017 – June 2018 and attending events, pitching media, doing interviews as a Planters spokesperson and occasionally putting on the legendary Mr. Peanut costume. I will be traveling with two other Peanutters, and for the first half of the year I will primarily be working in the West. Contrary to popular belief, I will not be living in the Nutmobile, my teammates and I will be staying in hotels and typically spending about a week in each city we visit.
I am truly grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportuNUTy, and I am excited to share my experience with you! If you are interested in following my nutty travels, enter your email in the ‘subscribe’ boxes on the side and the bottom of this page.
Salt-utations for now!