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How do you have time?
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Cory Mull
(eldon519) - F
How do you have time? on 12/01/2009 19:17:28 MST Print View

Over the past year, I've been getting more into backpacking, but one of the barriers keeping me from really getting more serious about the sport is my time limits. I only get 10 days of vacation a year, and a lot of that gets eaten up for holidays keeping me limited mainly to weekends and federal holiday days off.

Anyway, I'm considering a career change, and I was wondering if some of you could share what line of work or industries you work in which provide the time to do all of your backpacking for the year? I read about people doing 200-mile hikes or logging 1000 miles a year, and I'm green with envy. Is everyone on outdoor sites outfitters or teachers or what? I'd love to have that work-life balance.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: How do you have time? on 12/01/2009 19:25:46 MST Print View

Well, in this part of the world, 4-5 weeks annual holidays is standard in all salaried jobs, regardless of career. So maybe better to change countries than careers! Also, I personally have taken a 20% pay cut in exchange for a 4 day work week. I find that strikes a nice work-life balance when used in conjunction with statutory holidays and 5 weeks leave per year. This year I also got a 4-week long service leave, but it took me 15 years to earn it :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: How do you have time? on 12/01/2009 19:43:19 MST Print View

Teaching! (I'm a high school ceramics teacher/chair of the fine art dept.)

3 months off/year, plus every gov't. 11 paid "sick" days/year that roll over if not used.

Outside of being self-employed (and successful at it), it's probably one of the last humane salary jobs in America...

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
I'm lucky on 12/01/2009 20:02:16 MST Print View

I live in atlanta but work for a company based out of the SF bay area. I have folks in CA that work for me and travel to to SF about once a month. Usually I add a weekend trip into the Sierras onto the business trip. I do this so often that I rarely ever hike the north GA mountains, I live about 50 miles from the start of the AT yet get most of my fix taken care of in the Sierras.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
The ultimate job on 12/01/2009 20:13:33 MST Print View

Get laid off.
There's an old climbers' adage that goes: "At either end of the economic spectrum there is a leisure class".

You could get quite a mountain fix in 26 weeks.

* *
(Trooper) - F
I Make It. on 12/01/2009 20:30:33 MST Print View

I don't have the time--so I make it.

I struggle to find time to hike and camp. Trying to justify time away from my wife and daughter is difficult. I can be called into work at any time which complicates things.

So, I plan my trips around the three day weekends and take some vacation on each end to give me 5-6 total days to travel to a location, hike, camp, and relax. I also try to plan my trips where my cell phone doesn't have a signal--it prevents my employer from calling me in.

I have a house on the Tennessee River surrounded by hundreds of acres of deciduous forest. My wife and daughter, a great bed, and a warm fireplace are in that house. With finite time, why would I drive a day to sleep in a hammock that is too hot with mosquitos or too wet and rainy?

I remind myself how much I love photography and how I must be at a location for the "golden hours". I remind myself about how forget the stress of work, and how that effect lasts for some time. When I think about it the benefits I get from camping and the photos I bring home, I realize I can't afford to not make time.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: How do you have time? on 12/01/2009 21:12:04 MST Print View

I bounce from crappy job to crappy job. Generally, I'm not terribly important so I'm granted extra unpaid days off if I want them. Then I quit, take a long trip and find a new job.

david fausnight
(rckjnky) - F
Firefighter or healthcare on 12/01/2009 22:11:21 MST Print View

I have known a number of people with jobs in health care and a firefighter who are able to maneuver their schedules to allow for a ton of off time.

My friend Brandon is a surgical assistant and manages to climb outside about 100 days a year. Another friend Dan is a firefighter; he trades shifts around like a mad man and manages to take at least one week long trip per month.

Of course these are both young single guys without family commitments but still... They are able maintain solid careers and active outdoor lifestyles.


Edited by rckjnky on 12/01/2009 22:12:22 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sabbatical on 12/01/2009 22:47:31 MST Print View

I was lucky enough to receive a sabbatical this past year. But it really came down to company performance...I work in a business hit hard by the downturn in new home construction. I built my case for a sabbatical (leave of absence) around financial considerations, a strong track record as an employee, and the fact that I would be undertaking on of those crazy "life dreams" in hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It worked out and I did get my shot.

If you are considering a career change, why not use some of that transition time to go on a "dream trip"? Certainly a huge component of this is financial; you need to have the means to support yourself while you are not working. But I met a number of people on the trail in between jobs or making transitions to new careers.

As for careers that will allow you a lot of hiking time; well, you could always become a ranger and with luck (and hard work) swing some back country time. That career pays in beautiful sunsets.

Seasonal work like fishing and crabbing can provide time off. As do jobs in the health sector; they pay high enough and are in demand (such as nursing) that you could find work rather easily.


Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
be a teacher! on 12/01/2009 23:12:39 MST Print View

I am currently pursuing a masters degree in Business Management, but i will be managing NO BUSINESSES! I will be teaching community college business classes to small classes of students in my medium sized town (40-50,000). I view this career as ideal for several reasons:

1. More time with family (summers off, federal holidays, etc)
2. Since I will not be teaching children, I do not have to deal with parents, you dont come to my class, you fail. =)
3. Be your own Boss, as a teacher, you are the boss of your world.
4. Work fewer hours, make decent money.
5. More time hiking w/ family, my son was born this year, having summers off to take him on all those trips i never got to go to, will hopefully be rewarding for the whole family.
6. Im sure if i wish to pursue a PHD, it would be cheaper for a professor to do so.
7. You have the ability to make a difference, instead of just producing goods.

As the above poster said, Being a teacher is a great idea, you just have to be able to handle being on stage and being prepared for teaching.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Re: Re: Re: How do you have time? on 12/01/2009 23:14:19 MST Print View

Being self-employed is often more work than working for someone else.