An Honest Conversation About Money, Part 3: Every Day I’m Hustlin’
You’ve planned, you’ve budgeted, you cut your phone bill and wasteful spending and anything else you can think of. The last step is earning your hiking dollars.
There’s no secret here. You’re gonna have to work your ass off. I don’t have any earth-shattering revelations here about how I earn money – I have three jobs and run a small business out of my home. I work about 60 hours a week, and my last day totally off was that big snowstorm at the end of January. It gets kind of old being told how “lucky” I am that I can hike- I’m busting my butt here. The good news is, I don’t have special skills or a secret side-hustle. Anyone could do what I do if they wanted to.
Job 1: Glassworks Studio. I’m here about 30 hours a week and I love it. Hopefully this job will be waiting for me when I get back.
Job 2: SmartWorld Coffee. I only started here in December (though I had worked for them right after college, 8 years ago). I go in 3-4 days a week to do the baking and make the coffee and open up shop. I’ll only have worked there for about 5 months by the time I leave, and the 5am wake up is rough, but I’m estimating I’ll make around $3,000 from just this job (pay and tips), which, if I’m thrifty, could be the cost of my whole hike. So it’s totally worth it.
Job 3: Managing the yoga studio at Be Well Morristown. I used to teach yoga here but when it turned out I liked practicing better than teaching, I transitioned into the manager role. I get paid to run the studio (12-15 hours per week), and I also get all the free yoga I want, which is an awesome (and money-saving) perk. If you’ve ever wanted to be a yoga teacher, we’re running a teacher training starting April 1, and there are a few spots left with our amazing trainer! Also, our class prices are really reasonable, and yoga in an amazing hike-prep workout for strength and balance and injury-prevention.
My at-home gig is a dog sitting business, run through DogVacay.com. We joke that we are like doggy grandparents – we get to love and spoil them and then give them back. If you love dogs but can’t commit to/afford your own, I’d highly recommend it. If you’re looking for a sitter for your dog (anywhere, not just us) and sign up for the website with our referral link (above), we get a little kickback and you get $10 off your first night.
Here’s a little snapshot of what a busy typical day might be for me.
5am: wake up, walk to coffee shop, start work at 5:30am.
10am: leave coffee shop, walk to yoga studio to check students in for 10:30 class.
11:00am: walk to glass studio, work on studio chores and teach glass art to customers for 7 hours.
6:00pm: glass studio closes to the public, eat some food, private event group starts at 7pm.
10 or 11:00pm: private group event leaves glass studio, clean up, walk home (or beg ride from coworker…).
So that’s an 18-hour day. It’s an extreme example…but not uncommon. I frequently do 10-15 hours a day. When the alarm goes off at 5, I just remind myself that soon I won’t need any alarm clocks when the sun peeks into my tent, that it’ll be worth it when I don’t have to quit in New England because I’m out of money.
Sorry there’s no secret formula to save extra cash for the trail, just lots of sweat and effort. I try to think of it as pre-training, building up grit and determination and focus (and I’m on my feet all day so that helps too, right?). When I’m crushing miles in Virginia in June, hiker-me will be so grateful to pre-trail-me that I worked so hard and set myself up as best I could. On the flipside, when I’m cold and tired and sore and hungry and want to quit, I’ll remember how hard I worked just to get to the trail, and hopefully I’ll remember the passion and intensity that got me there.
Thank for reading this series about money. There are enough things to worry about for your thru-hike other than finances! I hope it helped you realize that cash should NOT be a viable reason for not thru-hiking. If it’s something you want to do, you’ll either find a way or you’ll find an excuse.
I’m happy to answer any questions you have about money or yoga or any other prep I’ve done- I don’t mind if it seems too “personal”. I don’t leave til April 22 so I’m around to chat!
Email: [email protected]
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