Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Having the time to backpack


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Jarrett Lambright
(jlamb) - F

Locale: Western PA
Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 05:36:45 MST Print View

I am just curious as to what kind of careers or at what stage in their careers are people at -ie retired? I read posts and trip reports on here and get very jealous! I am at the point in my life that I work 6 days a week and find it very hard to get out for more than 1 or 2 nights at a time. My wife is a teacher and could have the time to take on big trips in the summer, but as for me, I am a working fool that just cant take the time off. I am thinking about a career change, so that is why I am asking as to what people do to make a living and get out at the same time. I dont think teaching would be in my future though. I dont want to wait until 65 yrs old to start doing longer trips.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
time to backpack on 03/07/2010 06:38:39 MST Print View

Jarrett,
My 1st boss never took a vacation until he was 62. When he got back from his trip he said he would never miss another one. Unfortunately he had a massive heart attack and passed away 6 months later. YOU HAVE GOT TO MAKE THE TIME FOR YOURSELF.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 09:04:27 MST Print View

You just have to make time. Live a little simpler. Remember you are not irreplaceable, only in your own mind. Somebody can certainly fill in for you. What happens when you are sick? Go....

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 09:31:04 MST Print View

Jarrett:

Reading your post, it seems like you know exactly the reason why you don't have the time to go backpacking. And that reason actually has little to do with your work per se.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 09:38:12 MST Print View

"..but as for me, I am a working fool that just cant take the time off."

This statement needs clarifying ;-)

Are you choosing to work 80 hour weeks all year long to "move up", or does someone think you're indispensable?

AND, "My wife is a teacher and could have the time to take on big trips in the summer"

If you've got a wife who's ready for adventures - don't blow it!

There are trade-offs between "career" and "lifestyle", but I've been out there with plenty of "professionals", who have figured out how to get it done.

Edited by greg23 on 03/07/2010 09:40:02 MST.

Justin Carter
(orangebananas) - F

Locale: San Francisco East Bay
10 Ps on 03/07/2010 09:53:59 MST Print View

I'm a student and I work full time. It's all about planning way in advance.

Prior planning promotes proper performance, presentation, passion, play, pray and pay

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 10:02:05 MST Print View

Do you have kids ... or want them ?
If so its a bit of a different situation.

If not, then you clearly must place career above outdoors adventure, so don't feel guilty and just go with the career.

We all basically do what we want to do, either by default or purposive action.

Jarrett Lambright
(jlamb) - F

Locale: Western PA
Responses on 03/07/2010 10:19:58 MST Print View

ok, so to clarify some things that have been asked:

The 6 day work week is by choice, I work for my inlaws, and I wanted to impress them I guess in a weird way, so that is my own fault. I also did it for monetary reasons, my wife was substitue teaching at the time so we needed the money. Now, really wish for those 2 day weekends back. I am also looking for other employment because everyone told me not to go into family business, but I didnt listen. Now, it is hitting me full force why family business is very tough. I guess that I know how to change my circumstances, but it is going to take time. We do not have kids, not sure if we will or not. Anyway, I do appreciate the information given thus far.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Responses on 03/07/2010 10:37:03 MST Print View

Without kids, then it pretty much all hinges on you and your wife's priorities and habits. You two can choose to make the change as hard -- or as easy -- as you like.

10 years from now, if you look back at your life and career with satisfaction -- then great. But 10 years from now, if you're still wishing for your weekends back -- then that would be sad. Sad because you were in control and you let it slip right by.

Edited by ben2world on 03/07/2010 10:39:21 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I quit on 03/07/2010 18:50:50 MST Print View

I'm in the high tech field.

Before I quit my job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail I found time to go backpacking on holidays. I'd add a few days to Thanksgiving and go backpacking then. I could take a few days off in Spring and go backpacking then. A few 4 day weekends here and there for even more backpacking. Otherwise, I was dayhiking every weekend, sometimes on Saturday AND Sunday.

I should get another good full-time job again so I can go back to saving up my vacation and augmenting my holidays.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Time on 03/07/2010 19:15:36 MST Print View

"The 6 day work week is by choice, I work for my inlaws..."

The bane of every owner-operator business. If you are mired in the day-to-day you never have time to plan, strategise, develop, dream.

If you are to be of real value to the business, someone else should be doing day-to-day, and you will have the time you need.

If not, you need to find a day-to-day job that at least honors a 40 hour week, with some time off, and some flexibility.

I recognize that it's easy for many of us, in a comfortable place, to pontificate on how to run your life. My apologies if all this sounds that way.

You at least, are asking the question and trying to figure things out. You are way ahead of the masses. Keep asking, keep thinking, talk with your wife, don't burn any bridges, then decide, plan, and execute. If you don't take control, believe me, someone else will.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 20:34:01 MST Print View

Jarrett,

I'm 56 years old and I didn't start hiking until I was 54. 65 years old, retirement, grandchildren and taking long trips is what I'm looking forward to. ;-)

As for the present, I work a 4/10 schedule which gives me three day weekends every week. I also have been at my present job long enough to qualify for 4 weeks vacation. I plan a long hiking trip once a year using two weeks of vacation and my wife gets to plan the other two weeks to see sights, visit family or just get away from it all.

I'll do short day hikes and I plan to do some overnighters with my long weekends.

Party On ! 2010

Newton

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 21:42:55 MST Print View

Jarrett,
Your question made me stop & pause to consider the process I went through to free up time for diversional activities such as backpacking. I am a primary care physician, age 51 & used to work over 100 hours per week earlier in my career. In 1995 I sold my private practice to a not-for-profit healthcare system which allowed me to step away from the day to day administrative hassles & just practice medicine.
Several years ago, I decided to stop hospital practice & change my office hours from 9 to 5 to earlier hours 7 to 3. This adjustment allowed me to coach my daughter's high school tennis team, as an example, & spend more time with my kids before they went off to college.
The other decision my wife & I made was to live more simply & eliminate all debt except the mortgage. When your expenses drop, you don't have to work like a slave all the time & more time becomes available for backpacking & other interests.
For me this was a process that took a while but was so very worth it. I am now section hiking the AT & do at least 2 trips yearly usually around Memorial Day & Labor Day for 5 days each. I try to do overnight or weekend trips every month or so. Check out the recent articles on DIAD (done in a day) techniques so that you can enjoy nature & "recharge" without compromising family time or work time significantly.
Time management & prioritizing your life is a very personal thing & the above synopsis is what worked for me. YMMV. Best wishes as you discover your path to reach your goals. Remember to "hike your own hike". You'll get there.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Having the time to backpack on 03/07/2010 21:56:44 MST Print View

All the older folks I talk to seem to have the same regret of not taking the time to do whatever when they were younger. You get older everyday. One day you'll look in the mirror and see that your now too old to do any of it. That would be truly sad. Talk to your wife, ditch the family job. Once away from the family business the guilt/pressure will be way less.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/08/2010 00:05:09 MST Print View

If you want to backpack 'bad' enough, you will find the time.

For me it has been a 40+ year avocation. In my earlier years, I had time for many epic 6 month journeys. During the child rearing and financial building years, the trips got much shorter, but I made lots of them. Now that the kids have left the nest, I have more time to do progressively longer trips with even greater frequency. When I feel like retiring, sometime in the near future, I will again do some long term journeys. Remember, enough of the shorter trips, measured end to end, can be epic ones.

Most important, you have to balance life and enjoy it at the same time.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Work smarter, not harder on 03/08/2010 07:59:23 MST Print View

I've found that often times people who are unbalanced in their current job will be unbalanced in their next one. I used to be one of those people. You have to set priorities, limits, and barriers. For example, say to yourself, "I will work 8 to 5, monday through friday, and that's it". Now, how are you going to get all that same work done? Some of the work, you'll need to do in a different, more efficient way. Some of it, you'll need to delegate to others (using S.M.A.R.T. - delegate tasks to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). And some things you'll have to say "This isn't actually important" - yes, those do exist, whether you admit it now or not.

A good start for someone running a small biz or working a key position in a small biz is a book called "The e-myth revisited" - it talks about removing yourself from the business to make it self-running.

You may very well need to get out of this company, but your problems are likely to come with you to a greater or lesser extent.

ALSO: don't be afraid to push back on the in-laws. If they fire you, they're hurting their daughter. If they keep you working 6 days a week, they're hurting their daughter (by keeping you away). They love their daughter, right? Pull that lever.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/08/2010 08:46:45 MST Print View

I work full-time and I work a second job at an outdoor retailer and I take on as many freelance design and illustration jobs as I possibly can. I'm responsible for the upkeep of a house on my own and I volunteer. I use my 2 weeks of vacation time to hike, or volunteer, or take an art course. I use personal days to go to interviews/meetings for freelance jobs, or to hike. I can't call out sick so vacation time is all I have.

I would kill to do more long distance hiking but have had to accept the fact that day hikes and weekend warrior time is all I can fit in with my schedule.

I'm only 27 and I'm already looking for a career change where I'm not stuck in an office 5 days a week. I'm quitting my job in a few weeks to attempt a long distance hike. I don't care how broke I'll be - I've stopped caring about money and have realized a lot of what I spent money on was pointless. I stopped buying new clothes, I get books from the library, I have no tv or computer at home...

It's harder for you I'm sure, because you have a responsibility to your marriage and the fact that the company you work for is family. There's a much higher level of obligation/responsibility there.

But I'm done feeling obligated to a company that ultimately does not care about me. I'm at the point where I keep asking myself why I sit here every day when I could be outside doing things I love instead. It's just not fulfilling to squeeze the things I care about into my spare time.

Edited by AngelaZ on 03/08/2010 08:47:27 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Having the time to backpack on 03/08/2010 09:15:41 MST Print View

Angela,
Good luck with your career change! It takes a lot of courage to admit your malcontent with a job in order to pursue your dreams, money be damned. I don't make a ton of money, but I do make time for the things that are important to me, which is worth more than money.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
finding time to backpack on 03/08/2010 09:25:10 MST Print View

.

Edited by Kat_P on 03/16/2010 07:18:32 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Agree- you just have to make time on 03/08/2010 09:33:04 MST Print View

Hmm. Wives and families do complicate things. Especially since, if you are working long hours they definitely want to consume the little free time that you have. And frankly, you probably want them to, too. But still, it's nice to get out now and again.

Ideally, if your wife is into 'adventures', at least you can both hike and spend time with her simultaneously. That's approximately ideal, Brother! My wife won't do more than a dayhike, and whines through almost all of it. :o)

I'm a physician, too. I'm quite familiar with 100-hour weeks. But I'm unusual, too, in that I'm an Army surgeon, so I get 30 days of leave a year. My wife and I have reached a certain detente, wherein I get to use one solid week of that to do a decent hike once a year. Then we tend to do a nice 2-week vaction, and we tend to break up the remaining week to visit family sometime, or whatnot. Also, working for the government I occasionally catch some long holiday weekends (if I'm not on call or have any patients admitted, that is). That tends to even out the otherwise long hours- and in a way that I find particularly beneficial to me.

It is EASY to find yourself working all the time. I certainly can't criticize a 6-day work week without being a monumental hippocrite. A few years ago, though, I decided that I wasn't happy and resolved to be a little more selfish. Primarily, I started guarding my scant free time very zealously. Other people will consume all of your time IF YOU LET THEM. They will abuse you, use you, and take you for granted. Believe me. Especially if you are salaried rather than working an hourly wage.

That may be an answer, actually. Figure out about how much you make an hour working these long hours, and ask your in-laws to pro-rate it to a 40-hour wage instead of a salary. You'll make a little less, but if they keep you late you can be brutal about clocking overtime beyond 40 hours, and potentially make MORE than you do now.

For instance, if you are currently salaried at, say $50,000 a year, that's about $962 a week. If you currently work 6 days for about 10 hours a day, that's 60 hours. 962/60= $16/hour. Ask to be paid hourly at that rate, instead of salaried. Granted, if you do only work 40 hours a week that drops your income to $640/week or $33,280/year. (But you'll have the free time that you crave.) And if they do keep you past 40 hours you make overtime. Then, if you find that you are still working 60 hours a week, at least you got a raise out of it. With time-and-a-half for overtime that 60-hour week gets you $1120/week or $58,240/year.

But as a first step I guess I'd recommend just going to your inlaws/bosses and tell them that you want to help them, but you aren't happy. See what they say. Of course, be politic about it- mention that you'd like to spend more time with their daughter, for instance.

The worst thing they'll say is "no." In which case they aren't very nice inlaws and you can say "I quit" with a more clear conscience.

Edited by acrosome on 03/08/2010 09:48:42 MST.