Friday, June 17, 2011

Working in the Outdoors

Somewhere between working seventy-hour weeks and hiking all weekend, I have been having trouble getting out blog articles lately. Really it’s not my fault, per-se, but more the fault of having so much beautiful land around me. Living just west of Hendersonville, NC I find my free time to be limited due to the siren song of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the great gear stores that surround Western North Carolina. That being said, I have learned a lot, tested new gear, bought plenty more, and am still rolling through this wonderful dream of living and working in the outdoors.

It’s a dream that many have and few ever realize. To work without walls to hold one in, to live each day in harmony with the world around one, and to continually further one’s practical knowledge of outdoor skills. You might be asking, or have asked yourself at some point, “is it feasible for me to make a living by working outside doing things like canoeing, skiing, hiking, or teaching”. I’m here to tell you: yes it is possible and not hard to do. There are great rewards for those of us who labor through love to make our livings in the outdoors. There is something free out here in the mountains, teaching kids every day, living and working in the forest.

It’s not an extravagant life, no. Living and working in the great outdoors is not generally a well paying industry to find yourself in. Before you commit to pursuing a career or even a summer job in an outdoor setting, one must be fully prepared to face hardships and receive minimal tangible rewards for one’s efforts. The real rewards come in feeding the soul. There are those of us that simply cannot live life in a cubicle, and putting your feet on an outdoor educator or leadership career path will show your soul the path to freedom. It’s a busy crazy world we all live in today and it’s important to find time to seek our roots and calm the soul.

If this sounds like the goals you pursue in life then maybe you should pursue a career in outdoor education. There are many institutions that offer degrees in outdoor education or related fields and it is an intensely rewarding field of work. Imagine waking up every morning to lead a group of people on a hike up a cloud-covered mountain, or lead a multi-pitch route up your favorite rock. It’s easy to sleep well in this profession if not because of sheer physical exhaustion, the because of peace of mind. Each day is a privilege, not a right and to live life to its fullest is our duty. Get out there, find your passion, and live your dream.

Happy Trails!

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