Jan 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm #1284521
Q: What is just as effective as making money? A: Not spending money.
I live on little. When I first became a full-time adventurer, my finances dictated that I do. Now, I’m stuck firmly in my frugal ways. I only buy what I need, usually only when it’s on sale. I rent month-to-month so I can avoid paying rent when I’m gone for extended periods. All of my possessions can be transported in my Pontiac Vibe (with roof rack and box). And I have intentionally avoided costly “grown up” responsibilities like mortgages, a spouse, kids, and pets.
Because I don’t need much to be comfortable and happy, I don’t need to earn much either.Jan 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm #1828192
@annapurnaJan 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm #1828231
I think Eric was talking more about the consumerism aspect than that thread about the Trailspace bashers. And I have to disagree on semantics. Not spending isn't as good as making, b/c beyond a certain point, not spending money isn't going to cut it. But from a more philosophical POV, a person with the capacity to make more and spend more but who instead downshifts is probably going to find life a lot simpler after the adjustment period.Jan 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1828241
my link was to someone posting the link over a week agoJan 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm #1828274
Yes, on a thread about Skurka's book, and without comment. My thought was that Eric re-posted it separately to highlight the bolded bits for discussion. Sorry if I was unclear.Jan 23, 2012 at 3:50 am #1828374
"And I have intentionally avoided costly “grown up” responsibilities like mortgages, a spouse, kids, and pets."
Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit sad?Jan 23, 2012 at 5:20 am #1828383
It may only be seen as sad from those who have most/all of those "responsibilities". It is a freedom some may not understand. He is only about 30 years old and can take on any of them when he grows up..lol.Jan 23, 2012 at 5:23 am #1828384
He does the things he does for only himself. Whatever floats his boat. Not for charity or to raise awareness about a subject. Just for himself. We'll see how the next chapter in his life goes.Jan 23, 2012 at 5:25 am #1828385
My guess is that we'll see a different period in Skurka's life later in which he becomes more John Muir-like and adopts a cause or two linked to his outdoor activity (something he has said in his speaking opportunities). I'm excited to see what he does with his life and love how he lives.Jan 23, 2012 at 5:57 am #1828389
"It may only be seen as sad from those who have most/all of those "responsibilities". It is a freedom some may not understand. He is only about 30 years old and can take on any of them when he grows up..lol."
You can also turn that around to say only those who do not have those responsibilities would see them as something to avoid.
All of us have been without those responsibilities at some point in our lives. It certainly comes with a lot of freedom and is a lot of fun. Now that I have all of those responsibilities there are certainly times I wish I had that freedom back. To be able to drop everything and hike for months on end sounds terrific!
But, something tells me when I am 80 yrs old & looking back on my life, I will have wished that I spent more time with my burdensome wife & kids and not wish to have seen a few more mountains. Each person is different – this is only me.
RyanJan 23, 2012 at 5:57 am #1828390
Why is that sad? Is a wife, 2.4 children, hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to the bank, and a dog the only route to happiness?Jan 23, 2012 at 7:16 am #1828401
"Is a wife, 2.4 children, hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to the bank, and a dog the only route to happiness?"
I should hope not. They way it was worded however, made it seem like it was something to be avoided, like something bad. I think that taking on responsibilities is something that defines us and makes us grow. It sounds like escapism, like Peter Pan, never wanting to grow up?Jan 23, 2012 at 7:20 am #1828404
"But, something tells me when I am 80 yrs old & looking back on my life, I will have wished that I spent more time with my burdensome wife & kids and not wish to have seen a few more mountains. Each person is different – this is only me."
I think this is maybe what made it feel sad to me.Jan 23, 2012 at 7:40 am #1828410
I should hope not. They way it was worded however, made it seem like it was something to be avoided, like something bad. I think that taking on responsibilities is something that defines us and makes us grow. It sounds like escapism, like Peter Pan, never wanting to grow up?
There is no one way to be a "grown-up." Problem is, most people still believe a marriage, kids, and a mortgage somehow means they've "arrived" in adulthood, when actually we can all think of people who have these things but who are irresponsible and emotionally immature. What's worse, many people seem end up in this conventional life arrangement with little self-awareness of where their life is going. The Artic 1000 took a type of mental maturity most of us here will never achieve. If Skurka consciously chooses that route of self-development instead of the more common and socially expected one, that's not Peter Pan syndrome. It's just a different path.Jan 23, 2012 at 7:40 am #1828411
@maynard76Locale: New England
Really, the key to being an adventurer is is being a writer or possibly a really good photographer. You can go around and do all the adventures you like but if you don't have anything to show for it, like ability to share your experience it will remain private.
all the adventurers we all know and love we know through their writings. In cases like adventure racers we know them through other peoples writings. Its not enough to just do them you need a skill to promote and share them.
Im sure there are people around the world that have seen and done unbelievable things but have no inclination to write about it and so they will remain unknown and forgotten by history. Moral of the story: get a degree in journalism or english lit if you want to be an adventurer.Jan 23, 2012 at 7:50 am #1828414
I'm sure you're not the only one who thinks it a bit sad. I don't, though. I avoided having children, and am not sorry for having done so. I won't be regretting it when I'm older. It was the right decision for me. And while I have a mortgage, I wish I had avoided that as well. Home ownership just isn't all it's cracked up to be – it can be a big drain on your time unless you're going to pay someone else to do all the things that come with home ownership. If I buy another home, it's going to be a tiny one, I can tell you that.
While I'd like to have a partner again (marriage means nothing to me, I don't find it necessary, though I'd do it if she wanted me to), I have interpersonal relationships. I do think some interpersonal relationships are important. Pets. Ah. I loves me my puppy. But when she's gone I'll go pet-less for a bit while I'm roaming around deciding what to do next with my life. While I don't think it's sad Andy has avoided them, I don't think I want to live the rest of my life without any. Of the four listed things above, I'm drawn to pets (a dog, specifically) the most. I'm sure some would find that sad as well.Jan 23, 2012 at 7:58 am #1828415
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
His is a simple way if you enjoy long-distance backpacking (or minimalistic travel) as your sole adventure. There are other sports like bicycling, snowsports, etc… requiring equipment (and a place to store it) that can provide adults and kids a sense of adventure as well, especially if velocity is involved.
People are also allowed to change their minds (hopefully after their responsibilities have been discharged).Jan 23, 2012 at 8:46 am #1828430
This "debate" really boils down to responsibilities vs freedom. Having been immersed in the former for over 20 years and tasted a temporary bite of the latter on my thru hike I can completely understand the appeal that the freedom allows especially for younger folks. But it seems that Andrew is taking a different approach than many "semi-professional" thru hikers. He is trying to turn his freedom into a way of life. Imagine if he is able to make a "modest" living, allowing him to have a wife, kids, mortgage etc. and still embark upon his adventures. He would be the envy of most of us.
Finally, I want to touch on a couple of posts that commented that Andrew should be doing his adventures for a greater good, for a charity. I have been torn on these "let's hike for charity" adventures. What is wrong with doing it for you? I suspect that if you poke a little deeper into individual motives behind these charity hikes you would find some less than noble motives like: "It will help me finish" or "I wouldn't feel so selfish". And Andrew is touching others in a more profound way than it appears. I know that in my case he showed me "how" I could achieve a dream. And I'm sure that many others have been impacted as well.Jan 23, 2012 at 9:36 am #1828446
Many very smart people say you should never marry in your 20's. Maybe Andrew is right on course ; ).
Many of the "charity" hikes are just using the charity line to pay for their trips. Sorry to say that, but bet it is true.Jan 23, 2012 at 10:10 am #1828457
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
Though my modest adventures aren't nearly on the scale of Andrew's, I feel I had a good run in my 20s to early-mid 30s.
Around 35 (I'll be 38 this coming year), something clicked where having a significant other in my life, working a little more of a career vs. a job, etc seemed like a good fit for me.
So, now I am in the mode where I hope to get to the point (fairly soon; as within three to five years) where I can take off for 6-8 weeks at a time as opposed to 4-6 MONTHS at a time.
Before, I'd be in the mode of "Work hard for two years, live frugally, save money, quit. Go hiking".
Now, I'm the mode of "save money, live modestly, build up my skill set, quit working full time and go hiking".
I have no regrets of how I lived my life in previous years. It was the best fit for me through the formative years of my adult life.
Now that I am engaged, working a so-called 'professional' job  and so on, I don't feel any more grown up, just doing something that feels right for this point in my life. I do not necessarily want to live a fully nomadic and light lifestyle.
Not to say I don't do things I love. Good luck getting hold of me on a weekend. And my horded vacation time is usually spent in the backcountry. (But, as mentioned, that should change in the future.
Truly living an adult life is living the life YOU want to live and being responsible, self-sufficient and content while living it.
I see too many people living an adult life of mortgages, kids and a job who are miserable. Is that adult? OTOH, living in Boulder, I see many people who mock the life I just described but will happily cash the trust fund checks from their parents.
Neither is an adult life.
The person who loves their children, enjoys their home and cherishes their week long backpacking trip is living an adult life.
And the 50 yr old river guide who never married, lives a modest lifestyle that affords a life she loves? Well, she is living an adult life too.
So, let's put away the labels.
Let's all hope we live the life we want to lead.
That, my friends, is truly the adult life.
 I really do loathe that term, but people know what you mean when you say that. My Dad, a recently retired sheet metal worker, was a heck of a lot more professional than some of the whiny 'professional' bozos I know who show up late, slack off their work and have a huge sense of entitlement. But I digress. :D
Something related I wrote a few years back. Really need to update it for my current life!
Post Trail AdjustmentJan 23, 2012 at 10:24 am #1828468
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
at MY interpretation…
the ESSENCE of what skurka spoke of is– choices.
specifically, those choices made
(either at his own liberty or through necessity of his chosen profession)
to live the life for which he is/was designed.
this is what I extracted:
there exists a choice to live happily with less.
this same choice CAN be the governing source of
how one navigates other areas of one's life.
still, as readers, we're presented with a choice:
to bypass the details, and instead value the marrow of meaning. applaud (his) sincerity and admire such strength in (his) convictions; or exercise myopicy, dissect those parts eligible for personal judgement, therein dismissing the integrity of what (he) said.
i encourage choosing the former.
the less you read into it, the more you'll get out of it.Jan 23, 2012 at 10:25 am #1828470
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Whatever happened to "hike your own hike." Whatever his (or others) reasons are, good for him. As long as he (or they) pay their own way through life, and are personally happy then it is good. And why on earth do some feel he has some sort of responsibility to the common good or charity? His articles provide plenty of of good, should someone care to read them.Jan 23, 2012 at 10:36 am #1828478
"Let's all hope we live the life we want to lead. That, my friends, is truly the adult life."
Perfect. We only get one go around on this ride so you better make the most of it. It's up to each of us to decide how we live our life & make sure it's happy and fulfilling.
Reminds me of Jack Nicholson in The Departed.
"How's your mother?"
"We all are. Act accordingly."
RyanJan 23, 2012 at 10:59 am #1828488
I often encounter marrieds who are rousted with anger at individuals who make solid choices and live a life free of much, not all, responsibility. Always remember, your house, your children, your spouse, your choices. You chose this route and If you are angry at someone who choses another route with their life, this speaks to unhappiness with your own choices.
I had a vasectomy at age 29. If I desire children (I work with children and have 5 adorable nieces and nephews) I will adopt a child who needs love. Why does this idea cause so much kickback from traditionalists? They don't want parentless children to feel the love and nurture they deserve?
I fully support skurka and every other person pursuing their dreams in a self sufficient manner. Not every person was meant for marriage (the bible speaks to this directly).
What to me is sad, is the millions of neglected children because their parents were trying to follow the american dream. Those kids filled with coldness and rebellion, that's the creation of someone having children to fit in, instead of the true love for family.
I know that what I have written above will be hurtful to some of you and I apologize for that. The truth is, by not having children/home/marriage. You are able to give other gifts to society and your family (unmarried people have families too).
Am I open to marriage, children, a domicile? Absolutely. Does it need to be on someone else's terms than my own? Never.Jan 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm #1828551
"I often encounter marrieds who are rousted with anger"
You'd be angry too if you realized, too late, that you were scammed. The entire legal framework in which we live/operate was designed to maximize control & resource extraction: wages, taxes, family law, etc. You're brought up in this life exposed to a tremendous number of influences, including schools, popular culture, etc, to toe the line in order to enjoy the benefits of the 'good life'
Too bad it's one giant lie – a grand hoax designed to ensnare the unwary. My background is in accounting/finance. As I was coming up through the ranks, I heard advice from those who had gone before in such diverse fields as accounting, law, health care, etc. Once you've been in the belly of the beast, you know first-hand what's it all about.
At present, we're living in a 'soft' fascism where the manifestations of control quietly lurk below the surface. Rather than rely on traditional strong-arm tactics, the pervasive media model is relied up to deliver willing dupes to place the chains of submission around their very own necks.
The OP from the Netherlends almost sounds like an operative from one of the many information programs. Classic terms like 'peter pan', adult, responsibility, etc are juxtaposed & equated with hidden traps like debt, jobs & taxes.
Here's some free advice kids:
1. Never go into debt, unless it's to finance future production (this includes school unless you're sure you can pay back the loan with whatever skills you might acquire). If you incur debt to cover current expenditures, you might as well just sell your soul now while you're at it.
2. Never work for someone else – if someone else is witholding taxes, you're already lost. See #1 above – just quit now, because you're one & done. The concept of 'getting ahead' is mathematically impossible given the progressive nature of our tax system.
3. Maybe, just maybe, don't ever get married. (If you do, consider a same-sex state where the stds might be treated such as a partnership arrangement.)
Note that I don't suggest not working – on the contrary, if you pursue what you're good at, and also enjoy, then the idea of working an 8 hr day makes -0- sense. Once you're in the groove of doing something that others will pay/barter in exchange to acquire, you can 'work' 16 hrs days with nary a thought that someone else is profiting from your labor.
You won't hear this from many places, because there's no money in it (the money is made singing the Siren tunes of enslavement), but Andrew S is doing **exactly** what you need to do to achieve escape velocity.
That's what angers so many people – those who are only a few thoughts away from taking themselves out (and many do each day) in a final fit of despair. When the dawn of realization hits the cattle as they walk up the chute, do they look back and reflect on how badly they were fooled?
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