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Careers and backpacking
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Casey Balza
(equals) - F
Careers and backpacking on 05/26/2011 11:39:48 MDT Print View

Hey everybody,

I was wondering what type of careers do you have that allow you to have all the free time in the world to do thru-hikes and extended backpacking trips? I'm currently in college finishing my biology degree in about a year, so it is getting time to figure things out. And I want to be able to have time to do thru-hikes.

Thanks :)

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Job Suggestion on 05/26/2011 12:20:31 MDT Print View

Since you are finishing up a biology degree in the PNW you might want to look into a job like this. It actually incorporates hiking/backpacking with field work.

I think that in order to thru-hike a lot of people take a leave of absence or quit to be able to do that.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Let me know when you do... :D on 05/26/2011 12:25:12 MDT Print View

I've done the 'work my butt off and then quit' method for the better part of a decade.

Though I have a pretty good paying job, it is not what it could have been if I had done the full-time job and career mode thing rather then hike all over the US.

I'm not complaining by any means, just that every part of life involves a compromise.

The memories created more than make up for the money I have not earned over the years!

A good friend of mine is computer trip designer. He works his butt off 5-7 months a year, quits, then climb, ski and hike for several months and then picks up another contract 4-6 months later.

He works massive hours though in a very specialized field to have this flexibility.

That's another option, though.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Careers and backpacking on 05/26/2011 14:02:23 MDT Print View

Spend less than you earn, max out on 401K plan, save up a bunch, after 30 years you can save up enough not to have to work any more.

After graduating, take the summer off.

If you have a biology degree, maybe you can get a job that envolves field work where you get paid to be on a backpack trip.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
careers on 05/26/2011 14:08:48 MDT Print View

You could continue school to get licensed as a teacher or better yet go for the PHD to teach college for more time off. That is assuming of course that there are jobs out there. Not quite enough time for a traditional thru hike but lots of consistent time for long section hikes.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Careers and backpacking on 05/26/2011 14:13:48 MDT Print View

Spend less than you earn, max out on 401K plan, save up a bunch, after 30 years you can save up enough not to have to work any more.

I would second that. I would add keep a good life insurance policy, endowment, only.
Get a good healt insurance policy, you WILL need one eventually.

I retired a bit early, I can get buy till social security, then that will cover inflation, and the new health insurance.

Work max hours when you work. 9-5 doesn't cut it. Take your time when you can. 4-5 weeks per year is nice. A teaching job is great, if not well paid to start.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
teaching on 05/26/2011 14:22:19 MDT Print View

My dad was a teacher, and it gave us 60 days camping in Europe, things like that. I think a lot of people want in now, but science teachers may be in most demand. Just watch out for districts with year-round classes ;-)

Casey Balza
(equals) - F
masters on 05/26/2011 18:48:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the input, I will definitely think about all the options you guys have listed. Perhaps I will continue on to get my masters degree and go from there... I do like that one job listing however where it is 80%-90% field work, requires a masters degree though; ah well piece of cake. :)

Charles Henry

Locale: Arizona and British Columbia
1 on 05/28/2011 02:26:02 MDT Print View

Doing an academic PhD in bioloby is definitely NOT suitable for a good lifestyle pf hiking in any lab I've seen. I don't know any supervisor who is willing you fund you while you take long weekends and definitely not multiple month long trips.

Unless you are a star in your field (from years of hard work, 70+ hour weeks), you will be working in an endless series of postdocs (35k after a PhD education). If you find teaching work, those will be for adjunct positions which pay on the order of $20-40 and no job security.

Teaching could work, and if that is boring, becoming a medical doctor is also a viable path. In some subdisciplines you could have long stretches of time you control (emergency room doctor).

Edited by Chuckie_Cheese on 05/28/2011 02:27:55 MDT.