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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 10:58:58 MST Print View

This thread leans more towards the philosophy and not so much the technique. ;-)

I thoroughly enjoy hiking, camping and MYOG. I spend a small portion of each day on these forums. I treat it like my interactive newspaper and read and post with my morning coffee on the desk nearby.

When I see staff by a members name I realize that it is a part time job. These staff members have other real day jobs. I also admit to being mildly interested in the "we're hiring notice" on the home page.

My question is this. Would you do it for a living?

Before you answer think about this, would your hobby that you enjoy in your free time be as enjoyable to you if it were your daily source of income and benefits for you and your family?

Also if it was your everyday job that you were required to be at every workday how long would it take before it ceased being fun?

What would your vacation activities be if hiking was your job?

As much as I love it I often wonder if I could do it for a living.

Party On,

Newton

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 11:14:58 MST Print View

I love my real job. Hiking is what I do in my leisure time -- it is not something I do to "get away" from the real world. I like the "real world."

No, I would not want to hike as my real job.

Lets look at Skurka. His real job is writing, public speaking, and guiding. It looks like the guiding does not take up the majority of his time. His hiking trips (the big ones), are just that. The majority of his job income seems to come from what he shares afterward from his book and his speaking engagements. His guiding also is a result from what he has learned from his big hiking trips.

Being a full time guide would suck, IMO. I wouldn't want to be responsible for a bunch of other people.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 11:38:51 MST Print View

"I love my real job. Hiking is what I do in my leisure time -- it is not something I do to "get away" from the real world. I like the "real world."

Interesting!

I admit to seeing my hiking and camping as a "getaway". No, I would not want to do it as a living.

My job on the other hand is what I do to make a living and provide for my family. It involves a good bit of trouble shooting and problem solving. I enjoy being able to search out and find the answers but I do not miss it when I am not on the job.

FWIW I do not think that I would enjoy being self employed either. The boss would always be following you around! L O L ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 17:58:32 MST Print View

"Being a full time guide would suck, IMO. I wouldn't want to be responsible for a bunch of other people."

A big +1 A cardinal tenet of my life philosophy is to never spoil something I love by doing it for money.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 18:36:42 MST Print View

While it's a fun daydream, I can't imagine how guiding or backpacking for a living would allow me to simultaneously have a wife and children, be an artist, run, surf...

The other me without all these things simply doesn't exist.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 19:05:02 MST Print View

Family are always telling me to write a book about my hiking experiences.
God bless them but I honestly don't think i have anything new to say that has already not been said by others at this point.
The idea of cashing in on the experiences just turns me off.

Besides, i like to build things and solve problems.
Plumbing has all that in spades.
Hiking.. not so much.

After 4 months of walking i am ready to get back to work.
After 4 months of work i am ready to be hiking again but the bills gotta be paid so i keep working.
The trail ain't going anywhere.. i will hike again.
There will always be plumbing to do.. i will always have work again.
Just gotta find the right balance and that is what i am struggling to do right now.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/09/2012 19:37:39 MST Print View

a b,

"Family are always telling me to write a book about my hiking experiences. God bless them but I honestly don't think I have anything new to say that has already not been said by others at this point."

OK so there won't be any earth shattering revelations as per gear, philosophy or technique. But your family is telling you to share your hiking experiences not how to or technical gear reports but trip reports.

We all do it from time to time whether or not we type them or just tell then verbally at the campfire. Just share the adventure of it all.

There are a ton of people out there who want to hear how someone else got lost, found help, couldn't get a campfire going, had an encounter of the animal kind, missed their resupply or just met some really good people on the trail. The list of things to share goes on and on.

It might not make you able to retire but you never know what may come down the pipe. ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
re Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/12/2012 12:13:32 MST Print View

My ideal jobs would involve hiking. Unfortunately I can't pay the bills with them. But if I were in a position to do it, I'd love to work for a State or National park or a search and rescue organization. In Alaska the parks hire people to go out to the remote cabins and restock the firewood, tp, do repairs, etc. Methods of getting to the cabins can be anything from hiking to boating. I always thought that would be one of the coolest jobs in the world. Sadly it doesn't pay squat. But what a life. :)

I still have a goal of joining the local Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, a volunteer search and rescue organization that handles technical rescues. I'd love to have a supporting role in that organization. However they need people that can drop everything and go when a rescue is called for, and right now that's not an option for me with my job. But someday.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: for life on 11/13/2012 11:09:18 MST Print View

"Before you answer think about this, would your hobby that you enjoy in your free time be as enjoyable to you if it were your daily source of income and benefits for you and your family?"


It would. I've guided professionally in several different disciplines and found it enjoyable, but not satisfying. To be blunt, for me working full-time in the outdoor industry would not be a sufficiently substantive contribution to society at large. I do enjoy the variety and break from my real job that this work provides.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Would You Do It for a Living on 11/13/2012 11:25:16 MST Print View

As much as I enjoy the outdoors, I have a particular talent for physics, and it is clear I can make a bigger impact there then in any other field. That is, in the outdoor industry I'd be a poor-to-mediocre contributor, whereas in physics research I am more valuable.

In other words, you should strive to do both what you enjoy AND what you are good at and where you can have the best impact. Just doing what you enjoy independent of impact could be considered somewhat self-serving (will I get in trouble for saying this!?).

Of course, just going after money and nothing else is the ultimate in self-serving decisions. Not that level of compensation doesn't enter when you weigh your options, it has to, but it shouldn't be the overriding concern.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
doing on 11/14/2012 20:05:07 MST Print View

You need to do what makes you happy, as much as possible.
Surround yourself with supportive people that care about you and encourage you.


If you dont, you are wasting your precious, very short, life.

Its not a contest. You dont win if you had the most notable career,or die with the most money, or largest house, or even (gasp) the most cuben fiber backpacking gear.

Too many people are conditioned to think otherwise in our society.

Edited by livingontheroad on 11/14/2012 20:11:14 MST.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
What do I do for a living? on 11/15/2012 09:07:59 MST Print View

My wife is a German national.

Whenever she hears of this discussion, her comment is that this is a very American way of thinking.

Where our jobs define us as to what we do.

In that spirit, and something I've done for a while even before I met Adrianna. is that I say "Do you mean what I do to pay the bills?" :)


For a living I am avid outdoors person, enjoy cooking, love to read and enjoy a dark, rich cup of coffee. Black. No sugar.


To pay the bills I work as an IT Monkey in the same way Dad did sheet metal: Something I found myself doing over the years, I am pretty good at it, pays well and lets me afford the thing I really enjoy doing. Frankly, exchanging time for money. Unlike Dad with his job, my profession has allowed more flexibility for time off in the recent past. Currently making plans so it allows the same flexibility in the -relatively-near future.

Edited by PaulMags on 11/15/2012 09:23:52 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 11/25/2012 17:17:37 MST Print View

Doing what you love...

If you happen to love your job, more power to you. I am retired now, but when I was working, I liked being a CPA, and I was fortunate in that respect.

But to me, loving your job can be a very different thing from turning a passionate hobby into a job. I like hiking. But more than even hiking, I love world traveling. I cannot imagine turning this into any kind of job -- with the baggage of setting business goals, meeting deadlines, changing to suit market needs, etc., etc. When traveling, I am happy when I find a good hostel at a great price. And depending on my mood du jour, I might then explore the town, or just take it easy and relax. I'd hate to "have to" spend the next couple of hours trudging the streets to find yet more hostels -- good and bad -- because I "need to" write up on them, against a tight deadline. Ditto for eateries, attractions, and just about everything else.

But of course, something like this, it all ultimately boils down to YMMV.

Edited by ben2world on 11/25/2012 17:40:29 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
My Experience on 11/25/2012 23:31:01 MST Print View

I went on my first camping trip in February of this year. I did some research, and went with my college to Mount Moosilauke, NH. We hiked 3 miles up straight ice in snowshoes, and that trail was a double black diamond. I was a cyclist, and my thighs rewarded me with an easy and exhilarating climb and descent. I slept outside the first night.

I became quotable, too; when asked why I wasn't sleeping in the cabins on the second night, I proclaimed "I've been sleeping in cabins my whole life!"


I won't bore you, but what follows after that are 6 different mountains summited and a 1500 mile bike tour that was 95% camping, along with about 1,000 dollars earned and spent on camping gear by selling off old hobbies and working my butt off. I now have a fantastic 15lb extended hiking trip baseweight, full camera gear, and a thousand stories from 8 of the best months of my life.


This semester, I'm running my campus's outdoors club (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and I've executed a few very successful trips, with Moosilauke and Acadia, ME on the itinerary for the spring. So, essentially, hiking and camping is my job.


I relish it. I spend weeks planning routes, food, backup dates, handing out gear, teaching people skills, and when the trips actually happen, I try to keep people inspired and having fun and I get everyone up the mountain. Involving others is enormously rewarding, and if I were to do this for a career (something I don't plan on doing) I would be lucky and fulfilled.

My 2ยข, thanks for reading!

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
First you do it for love ... on 11/29/2012 22:41:21 MST Print View

This topic has occupied many campfire hours on whitewater raft trips. Sooner or later, someone brings up an old saying:

First you do it for love,
Then you do it for friends,
Then you do it for money.

I've known many people who were happy guiding whitewater raft trips for a living, so I'll echo an earlier comment: YMMV.

If you can develop a passion for whatever you do, whether paid or not, you will be happier, and serve the world better.

The secret to life is not "Follow your bliss". It's "Develop your bliss - often it's right in front of you".

I've known and supervised lots of people who just want to pay the bills, and their bliss is outside of work, with family, sports, or hobbies, and they are happy, too.

And sometimes your bliss changes.

I stumbled into IT to pay the bills over 30 years ago, and really enjoyed most of those years. But the last couple of years was burnout.

Last year, I made a significant career change. If you doubled my salary, I wouldn't go back to IT now, and I love my new, very challenging job.

So:

YMMV
Develop your bliss - often it's right in front of you
Don't be surprised if your bliss changes

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Would You Do It for a Living? on 12/04/2012 13:43:46 MST Print View

I would not do it for a living. I will talk about it for a pot luck dinner, though.

When I was long distance hiking I felt I was paid in wildflowers. I've earned more wildflowers than Oprah ever will. I'm the richest woman in the world that way.

If I was a man, I'd do it for Rex's beard.