What Do You Do For A Living?
One of the most common questions I am asked when I am on one of my long distance hikes is "What do you do for a living that you can take this much time off, and afford to hike for many months at a time?"
My answer always receives a bit of a pause from the individual standing in front of me, accompanied by a look of confusion. "I live my Life first and foremost, and then if I need to earn money I find the means to do so". I almost always have to follow this statement with a more thorough explanation of how I live my life.
I believe the real question people are trying to ask is "How did you give yourself permission to follow your heart and do the things that you Love?"
So how do I monetarily afford to put an emphasis on living life? I live simply. Well what the heck does that mean? Bernie and I live in a way that costs little money, and yet is filled with great abundance.
First of all I have very few expenses. My bills are minimal if not almost obsolete. My only two ongoing bills I have are car insurance and cell phone (pay as you go, not a monthly plan). I have other costs at times of course, but my goal is to always stay aware of where my money is going. For me money is a tool to use towards the things that help us grow or feed our passions in life.
One of our greatest savings is not having a mortgage and rarely choosing to pay rent. We often do work trade for our housing when we settle down in the winter months. Work trade takes on many different forms, but typically it is working a set number of hours each week in trade for housing, utilities and sometimes meals. Often we get paid for any hours that we work beyond the required amount. There are an amazing number of work trade opportunities out there, it just takes some research.
Peel Off Those Labels
We tend to like to plaster everything with labels, especially ourselves and others. I believe it makes us feel as if we have a more solid understanding of our relation to each other and the world around us. When I give my answer sometimes people will ask a second time as if I missed the point of the question,"Yeah, but what is your job/profession/career?"
I do not identify myself with any specific career, role in life, or activity I undertake. In this way I chose not to limit myself by any one experience. Where others in my position might call themselves a professional hiker, I simply see it as something that I enjoy investing some of my time in.
One can invest an impressive amount of time and effort in trying to make sure they are staying within a set of perimeters (either self imposed or societal expectations) to fulfill the requirements of a specific label. So start ripping them off like band aids and see what parts of yourself have been hiding in the shadow of your career or perceived roles.
Simple Life, Simply Profound Pleasures
One of the greatest gifts that long distance hiking has given me is the wisdom to know that I can live very simply and be extremely happy. Unfortunately society goes to great lengths to convince us otherwise.
Money and possessions can be tools to help us explore our passions and grow in new ways, but it is important to remember that it is not those items that bring us joy; joy comes from the inner self and the exploration of life's beauty. More often than not when we focus all of our energy on attaining the material aspects of life we experience stress, anger, frustration and depression.
What brings you true joy? More and more of my daily life brings me joy, most especially spending my time in Nature. Everything from sitting on top of a mountain with a 360 degree view of the world around me, plunging myself into a cold stream on a hot day, getting to see plants blooming in the desert after the rain, or crossing paths with all kinds of wildlife. There are so many beautiful things that I am blessed to experience on a daily basis, I am endlessly thankful to have the courage to follow my heart in life.
Follow along as I share highlights of the adventures that bring me such joy in life, and the wisdom they have imbued into my being.
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