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.
- Enchanting Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA (8/25/14-8/28/14)
- Wondrous Wonderland, Mt Rainier National Park (09/03/14-09/12/14)
Those trips were affirmation of my decision to say YES to play more work less!
- 2020 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- 2020 – A Summer of Surprises
- 2019 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- 2019 – Spring Jaunt
- 2018 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- 2017 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- 2017 – Summer/Fall Jaunt
- 2017 – Spring Jaunt
- 2016 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- 2016 – Spring Jaunt
- 2015 – Where Did Jan Jaunt?
- What are YOU waiting for? (are you a stewer or doer?)
- What’s stopping YOU from living YOUR BEST Life? (are you a worrywart?)
- Jester Section Hiker Podcast (related blog post 2020 – A Decade of Section Hiking Long Distance Trails . . . my podcast debut and resume)