I’ve been battling commitment to a location for some time now. Since graduating college in 2010 I have worked in 4 different states and lived in 8 different houses. The number of jobs I had during that time is even larger. My initial move to Maryland after graduating was to be closer to a girlfriend. After that was over, I had no real plans so I moved out to Ohio for a bit with the intentions of joining the Peace Corps. I passed the interview and was assigned a region but ended the process mid way through my medical assessment because I enjoyed my job working for the National Audubon Society. Eventually I found the water treatment industry (which I now have about 3.5 years experience in) and left Ohio to be closer to family and friends (also chasing a girl).
Eventually I found myself with a decent job that paid well and was close to my family and friends. It was the beginning of a career in an industry I liked that had a lot of potential for job growth. But for some reason I wasn’t happy. The reasons I gave for not enjoying it were run of the mill…I didn’t like my boss and there were dumb rules that made work more difficult that it should have been. But those are two reasons that, whether I like it or not, will probably come into play with any job I ever get. But I was young enough to rebound from quitting and had just enough saved up to make a financially irresponsible choice, so I put in my 2 weeks notice and left for Springer Mountain. I should also note that I have a supportive family that I knew would let me stay at their house until I got back on my feet.
It was my hope that in addition to having a crazy 5 months, I would get some more direction in my life. As the miles piled up and my trail family formed, I thought less about my future and was more in the moment. By New Jersey I almost completely stopped thinking of my post trail plans. The closest I came to some sort of idea was moving to New Hampshire because I loved the Whites. After I summited Katahdin I definitely had a mini crisis on the shuttle out of Millinocket.
Once I got back home, the only thing I had on my mind was getting back on trail. I asked around about the PCT and was reading up on blogs about the Pacific Northwest Trail. But my bank account was drained, and even if I saved up enough to get back on trail I would be in the same situation (broke, living in my parents house) in a year. I had to figure something out where I could live something close to the trail life but also make a living. After a visit out west, I decided Colorado is where I can do both.
I moved to Lafayette, Colorado about two months ago. I’m staying in a friend’s basement for cheap until I can get on my feet out here. Less than a day after moving here I started bussing tables at a local restaurant/brewery. It’s been a decent income that lets me hike during the day. They started training me as a barback and I also help deliver kegs and clean the keg lines. Where I’m at is about 20 minutes from the foothills. My goal now is to find a full time position, preferably with a small water treatment company.
The way I see it right now is if I’m only 20 minutes from the foothills and 1.5 hours away from the Mountains, I can go backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, etc. whenever I’m not working. The fact that I don’t have to spend half the day driving to these crazy beautiful locations might be the compromise between my trail life and my career life that I need.
My life is by no means worked out. I have a lot of things I still need to figure out as far as relationships, social behavior, and career future. But at least I’m in a location where I think I can set out some roots and hopefully start tackling the rest of my life.