Finding My Place Through the Art of Workcation
I worked in the art and antique industry my whole life. If there is one thing I’ve learned about art, it is that it is subjective. What is gorgeous and speaks to me, may just look like a piece of shit to you.
This is my first blog; am I allowed to say shit here?
Since I took a leave of absence from my career in 2015 to thru-hike the AT I feel like my life has grown to be a beautiful piece of conceptual art. For all of those like myself, who use Google to look up things they don’t quite get, I will save you opening up a new tab and tell you that Google defines conceptual art as “art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if there is one.” That honestly summarizes what my life has become throughout the many miles, beers, and mountains I have enjoyed.
“How does one do this sustainably?” I asked myself that question countless times. The closer I got to the end of a trail the more I feared going back to that dismal existence of working, saving, and waiting for my next chance to be free from the shackles of what my non-hiker friends call “real life.” On the PCT in 2017 I had this idea: “What if I just stayed in the Pacific Northwest?”
“Nahh, I can’t do that. I don’t know anyone here really. Where would I live? Who will hire me? I’m basically out of money. I won’t survive. I need to go back to New Hampshire where it’s safe and save for the CDT.” I was my own worst naysayer. Then a revolutionary change took place. I simply just started encouraging myself.
I played World of Warcraft once upon a time. I had a human character. I birthed into that realm with a stick and some tattered clothes and became the most powerful mage on my server. “What if I did that in real life? Go somewhere with nothing but my old PCT gear after trail and find a job, a place to live, and slowly level up.” I ended up doing just that. I found a job with the help of a trail friend who wrote a resume for me. I used a social media app to find someone to host me in their home in the town that I found a job in till I could get on my feet. I renovated a shack in their backyard and they rented it to me so cheaply that I was able to save for the CDT while also exploring so much of the Pacific Northwest. I had only scratched the surface of it while on the PCT, and it gave me a thirst for more. Thus was born my greatest, most beautiful, work of art. The Workcation. Working somewhere new, breathtaking, and completely rad.
No longer did the sting of town life ache so hard as it did returning to the “same ol’ same ol'” rerun of my hometown. Every day was a new experience, a chance for true adventure, and adrenaline rush. If I failed I was on my own, but I thrived. I visited amazing places and met wonderful new people. I finally found out how to sustainably adventure.
I’ll be soon departing for the Continental Divide trail. Gosh, I can hardly wait. This time I don’t fear the end of it, because of Workcation. Maybe I’ll Workcation for nine months and take a three-month vacation. 💁♂️ I’m not going to run through the endless hypothetical possibilities. I don’t need to because the future finally looks so beautiful as it is.
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