3 Professional and 3 Personal Things I Plan to Do After Finishing the Trail

If we’re not on a leave of absence or another special circumstance, every thru-hiker is faced with the question of what they’re going to do after the trail. Here are some ideas I’ve had for what I’ll do on both a professional and personal level, both of which I consider of equal importance. One needs to keep the mind busy after finishing a thru-hike.


  • Publish a Book — This is something I’ve been meaning to do since high school. I never really had a following back then and didn’t want to put out something that I had no avenue to drum up support. While the idea of art for the sake of art is attractive, putting food on the table isn’t cheap and beer ain’t free. I feel as if I am more capable of marketing such things now. Besides that, I have years of ideas built up in a notebook I keep and I also have collections of things I’ve written over the years. The issue I’ve run into in the past is that I’m far too much of a perfectionist with such things to feel comfortable releasing anything right away. Everything is in a constant state of revision. I’m going to do something about that.
  • Look for Jobs in the Outdoor Industry — Frankly, I am much too fond of being out here to ever work in an office. I think that might drive me mad (been there, done that). Eventually, I want to work for myself and I’ve been playing with the idea of teaching wilderness survival. I would have to sharpen my skills a bit more and am prepared to do that but I feel I possess a pretty strong foundation of knowledge to achieve this.
  • Get Back into Music — Though I don’t think I’ll ever make much money off of writing music, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it makes me happy. I’m going to brush up on my banjo skills and put out an album over the next 3 years.


  • Learn to Flip a Balisong Knife — I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a huge knife head my entire life. I’ve always wanted to learn to flip a balisong (butterfly) knife. There’s no time like the present and it’s something I’m going to work on after I summit Katahdin. It looks cool, it’s entertaining, and it gives me an excuse to buy another knife. If those aren’t decent, logical reasons, I don’t know what are.
  • Bartend — For a time, I’d like to sling the sauce. You get to meet some interesting folks, you probably gain some fantastic writing material, and you get to hear and see some intriguing stories. On a related note, I’m also going to brew my own beer when I get back. Working a bar will give me experience in what people gravitate towards in terms of strength of the beverage and flavor profile. The best way to get experience is to go out and do things!
  • Blacksmith — There is a facility where I live that teaches blacksmithing. I’ve always wanted to make my own knives (and tools) and this would be a good start to that. On another related note, I’d also like to learn welding. Metal work is fascinating and I’ve put off learning it for too lengthy a time.

Conclusion —

This is where I’m at right now with my plans. It’s not an exhaustive list—I’d like to hike more and do many other things as well—but it’s something to work with and somewhere to start.

For my fellow thru-hikers, what are some of your post-trail plans?


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