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What career allows for time to hike? Help!
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
What career allows for time to hike? Help! on 08/16/2007 10:56:49 MDT Print View

I'm 23, just got married, attending the University of Utah, and have no idea of what I want to do. My main requirement is that it allows me the time to do 2-3 day hikes quite often, as well as multi-week hikes maybe once a year. I also need to support a family. What does everybody here do for a living that gives them the time to hike? I'm thinking Pharmacy (maybe work 7 days on, 7 days off).

Any advice from someone with a little more life experience than I have would be greatly appreciated!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What career allows for time to hike? Help! on 08/16/2007 11:12:19 MDT Print View

Yeah, I envy those 7 on 7 off pharmacists. Some medical technology jobs are that way too. Teachers get the whole summer off. I've heard of some jobs where the person has a deadline only for a task, and what they do with their time is up to them.

Edited by jshann on 08/16/2007 11:12:59 MDT.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: What career allows for time to hike? Help! on 08/16/2007 12:27:20 MDT Print View

Lot's of day's off...

Fire Department / Police Department (many do something other than 5x8s / week)

Any office that utilizing flex-scheduling OR telecommuting

development consultants

things other than pharmacy but still in health sciences might (lab techs, etc)

school teacher (3 months paid leave in the summer)


Joseph DePaola
(jdepaola23) - F
What Not To Do on 08/16/2007 13:31:49 MDT Print View

I can heartily recommend that you DO NOT practice law :)

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
What career allows for time to hike? on 08/16/2007 13:35:57 MDT Print View

Fred Beckey, a legendary climber in the Pacific Northwest, is credited with saying climbing, and in this case we could expand his comment to backpacking, is for the leisure class - which exists at both ends of the economic spectrum.

I know a lot of computer programming consultants who get to haunt the hills more frequently than I do.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: What Not To Do on 08/16/2007 13:54:32 MDT Print View

Actually, I've heard Patent Law isn't half bad, they start out not working more than 40-50(MAX) hour weeks.... and later on they all take friday off. It's not crazy like normal law

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Freelancing! on 08/16/2007 14:15:47 MDT Print View

Many jobs lend themselves to freelancing; don't confuse this with FREE-WHEELING, as I assure you there are still many pressures, deadlines, and very late nights/weeks/months. That said, the additional freedom it gives you over your schedule, if you are willing to exert that freedom (i.e., don't work, you're not earning any dough!), is pretty fantastic. I'm a freelance designer/illustrator, and making the switch from full-time to freelance was largely influenced by no longer sitting in a car commuting in order to get/stay healthy, and so far I've been able to reap that benefit.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
What career allows for time to hike? on 08/16/2007 16:39:24 MDT Print View

Teaching rarely gives three months off in the summer. It's usually about 9 weeks. However, you DO get about three months off over the course of the year, when you add in Christmas and Spring Breaks. This year, my school district turned some Monday holidays into in-service and created a full week off during the week of Thanksgiving so we get a "Fall Break" as well. This had allowed me to thru-hike some 200-500-mile trails, and section hike others easily in the course of a single year.

HOWEVER, there's one huge caveat, which should go without saying but can't. DON'T TEACH UNLESS YOU LIKE KIDS!!!!! I can't tell you how many people I know who got their degree and cerification to teach, only to realize after a year (or sometimes less) that they didn't like dealing with kids and today's attitudes, etc. When I ask them why they chose to teach, it was because they wanted summer off.....

That's a lot of education for few job prospects outside the school system.

Edited by Bearpaw on 08/16/2007 16:44:55 MDT.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Find work you enjoy on 08/16/2007 17:15:46 MDT Print View


My recommendation would be to find an occupation you enjoy rather than looking at the occupation as getting in the way of having fun and simply required for support of you and your family. If you have fun at your job, you'll be more successful - and perhaps you can retire early.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Find work you enjoy on 08/16/2007 19:33:40 MDT Print View

You could work for BPL? :)

Oh yeah - you gotta support a family...

OK, seriously.

Live simple and your options open up.

Skip those activities and material goods that do nothing but suck money out of your bank accounts and credit cards and focus on what you actually need.

Less stuff = less money required to maintain it = less time required to deal with it = more time at your disposal doing the things you should be doing, which include but are not necessarily limited to: family, relationships, etc.

Hindsight is so 20/20...

But Craig's comments are on the money. I'm a big believer that your job needs to be part of the core of who you are as a person if you are going to put your all into it, which you should.

And, FWIW, don't make the "need" for wilderness an end in and of itself. Live the simple lifestyle, and your opportunities for wilderness travel will open up and you'll appreciate them fully when they come.

It's those of us (you?) that live lives that are more complicated than they should be that get frustrated by the lack of wilderness connections we get (or think we should get) on a regular basis because our lives are too complicated already and we feel like we deserve that contrast that wilderness provides. Some truth rings here, but this type of life (massive chaos of "normal" life with some ultralight backpacking vacations) can never balance out. You want total satisfaction? Life the lightweight life consistently across the board.

Edited by ryan on 08/16/2007 19:39:53 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I pretty much agree with Ryan on 08/16/2007 20:11:18 MDT Print View

Ok, I know I have it good first off. My husband supports me both financially and emotionally-he encouraged me to go after what I wanted.

I know I couldn't be doing what I am doing if I didn't have his support. While we do good with our business, we cannot live off of it. He works in Seattle and commutes 3 hours a day on the bus for his job. Our business is what he has encouraged me to do, and to also let me stay at home.

But then, when we bought our house 3 years ago, he based the mortgage on his income, not two incomes. We also bought less than we could have qualified for. We live within our means. We don't buy tons of junk on credit cards. Yes, we own 3 vehicles right now, 2 are paid off, the third is almost done. Will we buy new cars? No. Our main driving car is a 93' diesel Mercedes we run on Biodiesel.

We have an idea where we want to go. Don't get me wrong, I lust after gorgeous designer houses...and my cat has wrecked our furniture. There is times I'd love to go squander $200-300 on clothes or get a $75 haircut...but on the other hand, I'd have to have a full time job out of the house.

But I also realized I have what I need: a family, a house with equity, good food, a running car and the ability to go hiking often. For us we picked an affordable area with good schools, which happened to be centrally located to sweet hiking.

As long as I keep our "goals" in focus I stay on track.

Look at what you want in 10 years from now. Do you want a family? A house? Financial security? What will your wife want? Big questions to ask and think about.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Find work you enjoy on 08/16/2007 20:46:30 MDT Print View

>>>Live the lightweight life consistently across the board.

Amen to that, Ryan.

A very old truth but one especially relevant to the 21st century.

For more inspiration in this direction check out "Less is More" a collection of quotations and short essays from others who have figured this out from Pantajali to Henry Thoreau to E.F. Schumacher. It's edited by Goldian VandenBroeck.

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
beware of the cooking frog problem on 08/16/2007 21:25:08 MDT Print View

The first time I moved it took me an hour or so to pack my 1970 Chevrolet. About 20 years later it took multiple trips with an eighteen wheeler and several men. I'm so "heavy" now, I'm not sure I could move.

It is like the frog in water that is slowly heated to a boil; complexity happens so slowly you don't know your cooking.

In my defense, being responsible for others, family and employees, requires complexity. I envy my single nephew who got his first job after College, bought himself a 90,000 mile Civic and a pair of $300.00 skis this week. But, I can't go back to that, there are too many who have trust in me to keep all those platters spinning.

So, I've bought a plane ticket and will stretch out a Labor Day weekend in Colorado for a fix. I'll be bringing my PDA to get emails I'm sure... Is it getting hot in here?

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Retire early on 08/16/2007 21:51:47 MDT Print View

This is not the great opportunity now that it was when I joined...but I retired from the Navy at 37. Of course the whole time I was in I worked pretty much 7 days a week and took one backpacking trip. It certainly has provided me with a lot of freedom and choices now though since I get retirement pay. And, while I was in I loved it :)

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Less stuff = less money required, etc... on 08/17/2007 07:56:24 MDT Print View

I've been thinking about this whole "lightweight" lifestyle lately. I never really thought about extending UL into my daily life until this past week. I don't own a car (we share my wife's car), and I decided that with school starting again, I could ride my bike to school. I'll get 15 miles of bike riding along the foothils of the Wasatch Range in every day! I telecommute (work at home), so I don't need a car there. I decided - why buy a car at all?

As far as the career, everybody "older" and "wiser" always says to do what you love. I guess they've realized through experience something I haven't. I guess it's time I take the advice.

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Another option on 08/20/2007 18:48:52 MDT Print View

My uncle has a good approach here: be so good at what you do (architecture/contracting) that your boss has no choice but to either pay you what you're worth or let you work 3-4 days a week and have virtually as much time off as you want. He takes full advantage of the latter and spends more days hiking and tooling around in the woods than most people I know.