By the time Heather Malberg was 25, she had worked 32 jobs. She had never gotten fired, but along the way learned a lot about herself, and especially what she didn't want to do.
Now she has her own candle company, Authentic Sol, and sells her handmade candles at art shows, farmers' markets, and shops in Colorado and throughout the Southwest. She uses soy, 100 percent grown by American farmers, rather than paraffin, a by-product of petroleum.
"I had learned from some friends how to make candles and I loved it," Malberg said. "They were making candles for Christmas presents and I started making them and I loved the colors. Then I realized I could do it on the road. I could travel around, make candles and sell them.
"I have so much fun making them," she said. "And I'm bringing light into people's lives, literally."
Malberg lives in a school bus, a 1972 Chevrolet that she bought last November. The national forest is her front and back yard. She has freedom. There are few bills. There's no schedule other than the one she imposes on herself, making candles, meeting people at shows and selling them her wares. She doesn't have to get up every morning and go to a job that she doesn't like or care about just to earn a paycheck.
"A lot of people work a job to pay for the things that they have, and collecting material things is just not what I want to do. And watching TV -- that's just a big waste of time to me."
-- Story and photo by Kenneth Wajda
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