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Field Notes of a Family Man: How to Nurture Your Family and Your Backpacking Obsession
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Field Notes of a Family Man: How to Nurture Your Family and Your Backpacking Obsession on 05/17/2011 18:01:28 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Field Notes of a Family Man: How to Nurture Your Family and Your Backpacking Obsession

colin newman
(bob123) - F

family time on 05/17/2011 18:19:30 MDT Print View

fantastic article and a subject never far from my mind, i often backpack and feel i sometimes push my luck with the family, although i think its just guilt on my part as the family never complains. The more i hike the more i want to do and for the past year, doing the end to end- lands end to john o'groats 60 days on the trail as well as the appalachian trail has been to the forefront of my thoughts, but i just cant see how a family man with a job can manage the time off as well as the financial side of things. Some good valid points from what seems a decent caring family man in the article, looking forward to see how other people juggle their lives and their passions.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: family time on 05/17/2011 19:20:37 MDT Print View

Great story Jeremy! Thank you for sharing

Ismail Faruqi
(ismailfaruqi) - F
great article on 05/18/2011 02:57:47 MDT Print View

thanks for the article! I don't have any kids yet but I will always keep what you said in my mind!

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
family life on 05/18/2011 04:35:51 MDT Print View

Nice article, I seem to share many of your thoughts. Such an approach also works well with MTB, flyfishing and surfing !

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
family life on 05/18/2011 07:49:32 MDT Print View

Well said! We've come to many of the same conclusions ourselves. This article could be written about any hobby actually. Having what you want in life is all about balance. And you've done an excellent job of exploring what a balanced family life looks like!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
balance on 05/18/2011 09:47:45 MDT Print View

Well written sir!

From my view as a mental health professional, it is always good to see overall family health held up as not necessarily equal to financial abundance. More time outside and less electronic babysitters correlate strongly with happier, healthier kiddos.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Kids outside on 05/18/2011 10:38:10 MDT Print View

I must say, I cannot get enough of the photo of your son in Yellowstone. It's so striking and evocative for me. Thanks for the article, Jeremy!

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Field Notes of a Family Man: How to Nurture Your Family and Your Backpacking Obsession on 05/18/2011 11:18:37 MDT Print View

Really good article. Prioritizing and balancing are often difficult for family men. We choose what is more important to us as well as the wife and kids. We must live with those decisions. Mine our both adults now and I've never regretted any of the time I spent with them when they were growing up. The same can not be said of the time spent away from them.

I'm going to read Unnamed - that sounds like a good read.

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
thank you on 05/18/2011 11:35:18 MDT Print View

What a great article! Taking my 4.5 month old son on our first camping trip, never thought that i could be so excited about car camping! it's an adventure on its own. can't wait to share more with him.

Lucas Osborne
(LukeO) - F

Locale: Big Sky Country
Adventure Equity on 05/18/2011 11:47:17 MDT Print View

Jeremy thanks for sharing your experiences and practical wisdom. I especially liked your comments on earning family support and adventure equity. You’re right on! Seems like I’m always learning the hard way too. My wife and I use the term Domestic Tranquility Index (DTI) as a measure of adventure equity, although it’s pretty hard to quantify and I’m always hovering right around zero. I’m really looking forward to getting my daughters out this summer. Thanks for the article, I’m newly inspired. Happy trails!

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
"My current career pays less, but gives time more generously." on 05/18/2011 12:14:13 MDT Print View

I especially like the discussion of "big picture life changes". My wife and I are considering what changes we could make to get ourselves and our kids more time in nature. I'm interested in what examples of "more time" careers people have done or even considered. It seems to me that the culture's ever increasing busyness has reduced the time benefit of most jobs. Has the lower-paying-but-less-time job become something of a myth? But I'm sure my point of view is very urban/suburban and IT-industry centric.

What career did you change into, Jeremy? Others?

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Family Man Obsessed with Backpacking on 05/18/2011 14:26:42 MDT Print View

Great stuff Jeremy! When are we going hiking? I took my son to Henry Coe last week but I need a Sierra fix badly.

alice fogel
field notes of a family woman on 05/18/2011 15:24:22 MDT Print View

It's great to see others sharing these issues/obsessions/efforts at balancing family, work, and hiking. Even with my kids old enough to be on their own, I'd venture to say it's even harder for the mom/wife to get away, especially for long hikes of more than just a few days, than it is for the dad/husband. I find myself sometimes gazing up at those mountains with true longing. It's almost like having an affair--at least in the eyes of the spouse left at home. Sigh.

John Westhoff
(johnwesthoff) - F - MLife

Locale: Japan
It's worth it! on 05/18/2011 16:04:29 MDT Print View

Amen. I've been working on this balancing act since I got married almost 18 years ago. Five children later, I can tell you it's paying off. My marriage is as strong as ever and my career (I’m a physician) is solid. My oldest sons and I have two major trips planned this year, an ascent of Mt. Rainier and an eight day trip around the mountain (the Wonderland Trail). I’ve dreamed of doing both for years, and doing them with my sons will be a special treat. I’ve also waged a “re-education” campaign of sorts with my wife, one adventure at a time. It's worked! ;-) Once the kids are gone, we’re planning on taking six months to do a long trail. Being involved in scouting with my sons (I’m their scoutmaster) has also forced me to schedule the time for trips and gets us on the trail together at least once a month.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Thanks for the comments on 05/18/2011 20:22:22 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the kind words.

I agree with those who said this approach works for any hobby or passion, not just backpacking.

Addie: Thanks about the picture. It was taken just a few days before I called you in Bozeman last summer. Sorry that didn't work out for my family to meet Ryan, you, and Sam. I tried though!

Kerry: I am an attorney and for almost a decade worked at a law firm in Los Angeles, but after becoming a partner in the firm in my early 30's, I left to work for the federal government, where I have been for the past 6 years here in the SF Bay Area. It was a big change both in terms of the work I do and how my career impacts my family life.

Jay: I might be able to go backpacking the first weekend in July. Not positive yet. I'll email you once I know. I'd like to get in a Sierra hike, but we'll have to find a feasible route in light of the late snow. Let me know if that might work for you.


Robert Gough
(foxmagick) - MLife

Locale: New York
Really great on 05/18/2011 22:40:54 MDT Print View

Thank you, so much for your really great article. You've touched on a subject that is never far from my mind. I think it's important for a person to take care of their needs in order for them to function well in a relationship whether that be with another person or in a family unit. At the same time it's important for an individual to keep in mind the needs of the people they are in a relationship with. It is truly the Ying and the Yang.

All Good Wishes

Kristin Tennessen
(ktenness) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevadas
Great discussion on 05/19/2011 11:56:29 MDT Print View

It's nice to hear tips from others who value work/life balance- makes me feel less alone as most of my social circles are career-oriented.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Thumbs Up! on 05/19/2011 16:12:03 MDT Print View

Great article, Jeremy. I echo you sentiments, especially on living ultralite. I have been consolidating hobbies and letting go of more and more lately. I think you are right on here. Living more simply parallels that of keeping a light and simple pack, you spend more time enjoying the scenery and less rummaging through "things".

I can't wait until the kids are ready for their first "real" trip. We take every chance to hike. Even if it's just a "hike" around the block we practice doing things like talking about the different plants and animals we saw on our hike, grumbling a little when we have to go uphill, and making sure to yell "weee" down the other side :)

This summer we are hoping to do some light mileage as a family (kids will be 3 and 5). Fingers crossed...

- Jacob

p.s. my current avatar is my little boy on his first overnight tent camping last year. He had just turned 2 at the time. The trekking pole he's holding is bigger than he is.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Thumbs Up! on 05/19/2011 22:23:02 MDT Print View

Thanks Jacob. Glad you enjoyed the article. Love your new avatar! Cute kid.

Maybe we'll see him next year at GGG4 (though that might be a bit much for him and you). People were so well behaved this year I might take my kids next year (I think the cold kept behavior in check).