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How I survived 8 years in an Industrial Camp

If you’ve ever worked at a remote site, you know how long and grueling a work day can be. After a hard days’ work, the idea of heading back to camp can seem equally as tough.

But it doesn’t have to be!

I’m here to tell you how you can survive your time in an industrial work camp. These might seem obvious, but they’re obvious for a reason - They work.

Eat Well

The food at camp is an all-you-can-eat buffet style for breakfast and dinner and a bagged lunch for you to take to the job site. The options aren’t endless but there is certainly a division between what’s healthy and what isn’t.

As a holistic nutritionist, I urge you to add colour to your plate and brown bags!

In my experience, there was a “fast” lane for food and another which had the evening “special”. The fast lane was mainly beige in colour – I’m talking fried potatoes, hot dogs, hamburgers, hashbrowns, eggs, and beans. Nothing wrong with some of these items, but day after day that will catch up to you. Opt for as much fruit and veggies as you can when eating in the dining room and especially when preparing your lunch.

Chuck a whole bunch of fresh veggies with some lettuce into a plastic bag and add in some dressing when it’s lunch time.

Not only will these simple choices help your overall health but you’ll still have the energy to get through the afternoon without downing your 5th Tim’s of the day. Come supper time, avoiding the deep fried lane will remove the poor options altogether. Opt for the “meal of the day” when heading into the dining room for dinner. It is sure to contain some protein, veggies and carbs – all part of a healthy balanced diet.



Get a Hobby

Read, write, draw, play pool or ping pong, pick up a guitar or find a poker table. Whatever it is you’re in to, finding a hobby will help you get through the long shifts spent in camp and you may even meet some new people along the way. Which leads me to…


I had the unique opportunity of starting a yoga program at the camp I stayed in. For the first few months it was a small class of 2-3 people and then word got out that I was teaching free yoga and the program blossomed. Once a week, a great community of over 20 people would gather and we would breathe, stretch, laugh and converse.

It was a perfect break in the middle of the work week to get centered, move our bodies and connect with our inner selves.

A common conversation in the group was how much people disliked being away from their families. I would always remind them that working remotely was a choice that we made and taking responsibility for that choice (and making the most of it) was the best way to bring acceptance around the sacrifices that were being made.

Quite often easier said than done, but acceptance is exactly what a regular yoga practice helped achieve!

Sleep Well

Most camps offer wifi so you can endlessly scroll Instagram, Facebook or watch “Fail” videos on YouTube all night long. Add a TV staring at you while you lie in bed and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The days are already long; sleep should be a priority when you finally get back to your camp room.

A trick I used to use was unplugging the boob-tube when I went on shift.

That meant that if I actually wanted to check out what was on TV it took that little bit of extra effort to make it work. Shutting off notifications for social media is an easy way to ignore your phone as well. Most days I would just pick up a good book instead, read for 20 minutes and realize I was already ready for sleep!

It’s not easy to implement a lot of changes all at once, so just start somewhere and always remember to be kind to yourself. Every little bit helps.

In addition to spending all that time in camp those 8 years...

I also got the irreplaceable opportunity to experience a number of different positions in the aviation industry, something that helps me be the manager that I am today. From working as a check-in agent, luggage handler, de-icer, fueler, equipment operator for runway maintenance, ramp lead, airport supervisor, and eventually air transportation manager, I have really seen and experienced all facets of the industry. I use this knowledge every day in my position as Air Transportation Manager at Gemstone Logistics, and take pride in my ability to help make our programs the best the industry has to offer.

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Jillian is the Air Transportation Manager with Gemstone dealing with all things Charter and Site logistics. Whether its streamlining day-of flight operations or planning a successful flight program for a new project, her experience and love of the air transportation industry allows her to tackle any challenges the Client may face.