2021 – From Workaholic to Playaholic, a podcast interview and more

I had an awesome career; however, I wasn’t very successful at the work/play balance. I was all about achieving goals, much like focusing on destinations such as mountain summits or some cool waterfall, rather than enjoying all the other wonders along the trail. In late summer 2014, I said goodbye to the office and hello to opportunities. A few years earlier I’d discovered this new passion called hiking and backpacking. Little did I know it would open doors to travel and living more nights in my car than my tent or house.

My home on wheels . . . Crazy cool (or just plain crazy) to realize I’ve spent around 400 nights sleeping in my car over the past 6 years, with 123 nights in 2019 being the record. Over the past 5 years I’ve averaged 150 nights annually away from home. Want to know all the details? I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to exactly this, Me & My CRV (link).

Meanwhile I’ve spent an average of 56 days per year over the past 6 years backpacking with 2015 being my banner year at 74 days. Those days closely mirror time spent in my tent. I’ve written several blog posts about my decade of lessons learned (link).

After listening to Zoe Langley-Wathen on a Trail Dames podcast (link) talking about saying YES more, I realized listeners might be interested in how I transformed my life by saying YES more as well. I reached out to Anna, Mud Butt, and as a result this podcast interview came to be (link).

As I prepared for the interview I thought about those little life events that became ah ha moments, eventually pushing me away from my career and into this new playground.

  • Perimenopause was not kind to me. I started the insomnia cycle which led to poor performance, lack luster enthusiasm, and spiraling health status.
  • Driving a forested road woke up so many senses and stirred a desire for something more.
  • Getting shot while riding my bike in a drive-by shooting was a serious wake-up call about regrets.
  • Watching family and friends face ailments that removed quality of life and their retirement dreams.
  • Finding adventure groups who knew how to fill their calendars with adult play.

Did I feel financially prepared to retire without income? Did I know what retirement would look like? Absolutely NOT! However I felt compelled to take this career break before my health declined further. I lived frugally and didn’t have debt. I decided to take a leap of faith. It didn’t happen immediately. For a few years I reduced my work hours while training my replacement and taking care of some neglected projects. When I couldn’t focus any longer, I knew the day had come. 

My last day of work was 8/7/14. I took a couple weeks to settle things at home before leaving for 3 weeks in Washington.

Those trips were affirmation of my decision to say YES to play more work less

This inReach map with over 2,600 check-in messages provides a good visual of my playground.

Travel Summaries:


Previous Podcasts:

6 thoughts on “2021 – From Workaholic to Playaholic, a podcast interview and more

  1. Hi Jan – I loved listening to your podcast! I’ll have to go back and listen to the first one, too. The “stewer versus doer” really resonated with me and made me think. I injured my knee 5 years ago due to overuse from backpacking (and stupidity…) and I stewed and dreamed and felt frustrated because I couldn’t get out there doing what I loved instead of DOING – doing the PT exercises consistently that would help me heal. Instead I looked for the quick fix, the shot or surgery, that would make this go away. And I stewed because the natural areas around me aren’t “wild” enough. Too many paved trails and people – I was a stewing hiking snob! It only took me almost 5 years of stewing and wasting time lamenting my situation to realize that as long as I can avoid the crowds, the trees, flowers, and wildlife in my local parks are still enough to make my heart sing. Since working from home in 2020 I have committed to doing my exercises regularly because I saw the light at the end of the tunnel – I saw progress when I really put in the work instead of wishing for a quick fix. This year I am committing to doing and getting back out there. I was an occasional solo backpacker before my knee injury. My backpacking/adventure partner is quitting her job and spending 5-6 months on the road. I plan to join her on some of her adventures, but with m primary adventure partner gone for the majority of prime backpacking season, I have to reacquaint myself with being solo. I can feel the fear creeping in (I’m a rather paranoid person…). But I don’t want that to stop me. This is the year of no excuses, not I’m too injured or too busy or my husband/friends don’t want to go. No. I’m just going to do it! I will be looking back at your CRV blogs in preparation 🙂 (apologies if this is a repeat comment – it made me log in and the comment disappeared)

    • Hi Ashlee, first thanks for your persistence. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments, and writing them twice is never fun.

      I can relate to self sabotage. I have an issue with consistent training during the off season and body weight management, especially during this rehab. I’ve learned I have to do my PT exercises first thing in the morning before I have the chance to make excuses. Procrastination never ends well.

      I think many can relate to the wanting to be some place other than nearby, especially during this COVID year when our local areas became too crowded or just aren’t attractive. I’ve certainly fought that and am learning to lower my expectations.

      Partnerships are tough. They offer companionship but there tends to be compromises and the dependence. I hope you find your happy spot with solo adventures. It’s so empowering and offers ultimate freedom, but forgive yourself if you find you aren’t going because the barriers are too hard to overcome. Instead consider joining a group. I’ve had great luck with meetup groups.

      Here’s a link to my podcast with Jester Section Hiker. I added it to this blog post as well to make it easier. https://jestersectionhiker.libsyn.com/episode-23-jaunting-jan-beekeeper?

      I’m sending you a big DO IT cheer. Get healthy and enjoy every outing. Find your happy place and smile!

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  2. We have talked about this before! If I were totally out of debt I’d cut the cord but nope, mortgage. My goal is to pay it off in 3 years and to have 500,000 in my retirement account. On track at the moment. Can’t wait to have more time.

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