When I graduated from college I felt extremely compelled to begin working right away. I hadn't asked for a dime from my parents and I really didn't want to start. Also, as a guy born and raised in Colorado who had just spent the past 4 years in undergrad in Los Angeles I was obviously highly motivated to get out of that concrete jungle, start my career, and begin maximizing my time away from my desk doing what I love - climbing, trail running, skiing...you get the picture.
However, I watched friends of mine graduate and leave to backpack across Europe (classic), move to Vietnam with no job on a whim (slightly less classic), or move into a van and climb all over the U.S. and Canada (bastards). I honestly didn't know how I would fare starting a real job with real responsibilities if I had to see photos of their amazing journeys on my newsfeed and ignore the part of my heart that was not so quietly asking, "Why aren't you doing something like that?"
The past 4 years have flown by and I'd be lying if there weren't times where I wanted to quit my job, move to Squamish to boulder every day, and dumpster dive for food because that truly felt like the right thing to do. Still, I've used the following steps to embrace life as someone with a career and a fierce passion for the outdoors.
1. Maximize Your Work Life
I know what you're thinking. "Gianni, of course you started this step-by-step with a task that people spend their whole life trying to figure out." Actually, yeah I did - because this is a process! I've never met anyone who found their ideal job immediately after school. Hell, my first job was as an inside sales guy...selling technology I didn't understand...over the phone...to jerks.
I hate talking to people on the phone. However, the idea behind this is actually kinda simple. Most people will spend a solid chunk of their life working. Try to ensure that while you're at work you are intellectually challenged, working with cool people, making a difference, etc. My philosophy has always been "work to live, don’t live to work.”
2. Follow Your Passions
Personally, I could have the worst work week of my life (ex: Karen quit and now you have to do her job too and also we are demoting you, and you need to work till midnight on Friday) but knowing that the weekend will mean climbing makes it all ok.
Climbing is my stress eraser. Climbing is my way to remind myself why I live. So, whatever makes you tick, focus on that and make it true North on your compass rose. When you're doing what you love, take time to reflect. You deal with everything during the week to get to these precious moments. Savor them.
3. Find Your #RIMBY
When the going gets tough, or when you want to celebrate something great that happened at work, it's always nice to be able to get somewhere outdoors that's nearby, fun, and preferably in close proximity to a brewery.
4. Be A Weekend Warrior & Plan Trips
Nothing breaks a routine or will motivate you through a week quite like knowing you will be getting out of dodge come Friday 5pm. Plan trips - near or far - they're guaranteed to give you something to look forward to.
5. Find Your Crew
It doesn't matter if your buddy doesn't work a 9-to-5 job. Maybe she's a self employed bad ass who you enjoy hiking with - people come from all backgrounds to enjoy the outdoors together. It's the common language we speak and the deeply personal way we see and experience the world together. Having people you enjoy spending time with outside is maybe the most important step of them all.