I think all long-distance hikers and wannabe hikers struggle with this little mantra. There is such a fine line between getting that balance between work life and leisure life that it is easy to lose sight on the the important things.
During the long winter here in Central New York I was working two jobs, six days a week, for more than 55 hours a week. It was fine because let’s face it: when it’s -25 outside you aren’t going to spend your waking hours outdoors. When the sun goes down at 4:45, you aren’t staying up until midnight. When spring and summer came calling and the sun started staying in the sky at 8 p.m., the two jobs caused me a problem. I left one of the jobs, the more physical of the two, for a part time gig working three days a week at a desk. I regret the decision for not only the activity, but the money. The whole point of us working hard during our time in Central New York was to save up money so we could do more long-distance hikes and keep our pets cared for, bills, paid, and expenses on the trail low.
The other day I was reminded that the whole reason I left that job that had me going to bed before the sun went down was only helping me make a living. I didn’t have any chances to make a life. I hadn’t made any friends in the town I live in since moving here due to my hectic schedule. Now I have time for not only hiking, but OVERNIGHT TRIPS! I joined a book club and I’m looking into yoga classes. Making a living was hindering my life.
When it comes down to it, I have saved up enough money to make a comfortable living and fund my next grand adventure and that’s all I need. Yeah, the little voice put into my head by others tells me I need a full time job with full benefits and job security, but what about sanity? If I don’t get outside a few days a week my body and mind begin to suffer. After getting a taste of “less is more” I can honestly say that if less truly is more, than I have the most of anyone I know.