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Tesla33
01-08-2016, 19:22
Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!

Water Rat
01-08-2016, 19:29
Unfortunately, my advice is to take the job. The job is only for a year and will allow you to pay down your debts. Use this time to get your debts taken care of, but also make it a goal to hike the AT as soon as you are debt-free. The trail will still be there, but jobs come your way for a reason. There is no crystal ball to look into to see the future, but I have found that when a job presents itself that is usually a good time to say "yes." It might lead to even better prospects for your future.

Worse thing that happens is that you put the AT off for a year, while paying down your debts.

Lone Wolf
01-08-2016, 19:37
job. you're young. the trail will be there. 1 year is no biggie

Malto
01-08-2016, 19:45
Responsibility then vacation. A year or two is trivial in the grand scheme of life.

Coffee
01-08-2016, 19:49
If there is only a one year commitment take it and be upfront about hiking next year. Debt is terrible. If you can get rid of it, do it. You'll have a better hike next year. Good luck.

sliverstorm
01-08-2016, 20:02
1 Year gives you more time to plan, train, & practice :)

MuddyWaters
01-08-2016, 20:20
Is this the only job offer you ever expect to get? If so definitely take it.

You have to have the money to cover the SL payments anyway, so you should probably have at least a years worth. You should be saving all your money while working for the cruise ship.

Follow your heart. 6 months doesnt make a bit of difference one way or the other. A 1 yr break in your professional career work history, is a bigger red flag to a prospective employer than a small gap before it begins. You can always say you were looking for a job during that time. You dont have to tell them you decided to hike instead of working.

That said, its also not the best economy and its going to get worse. BLS data aside because its falsified.

johnnybgood
01-08-2016, 20:25
Begin section hiking the trail at 200 miles a year while doing the responsible thing of paying down debt. You may find yourself liking that better anyways.

peakbagger
01-08-2016, 20:46
Take the job and set a goal to clear out your debt or at least take a big chunk out of it. Once you are debt free and get a bit of work experience under your belt, then think about it again.

George
01-08-2016, 22:05
if your career goes like most, through your working life you will have periods without available work, keep your finances in line and you will have your chance

cliffordbarnabus
01-08-2016, 22:09
you could die before you reach the period of this sentence. jobs are always around. youth vanishes. walk. think. dream. (un)focus. and ~~live~~. carpe momentum.

Sarcasm the elf
01-08-2016, 22:11
Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!

Is the job in your field? Will it give you relevant experience for you resume? If so take the job, but don't get comfortable. Work while living like you're broke, put as much of the money away as possible. Don't take days off, hoard your vacation and try to take all at once the hike for the entire vacation. Work like that for a couple of years save as much as you can, put a huge dent in your loans build your resume. Then hike in your mid twenties with money in the bank and less debt hanging over your head.

Sarcasm the elf
01-08-2016, 22:13
That said, if this job is nothing but a paycheck, if it won't help you build your resume or point you in the direction that your career will go, then meh...go ahead and take a hike.

Puddlefish
01-08-2016, 22:30
When I was young, a horrid old lady gave me the advice to get a job in a factory, work forty years and then retire. A was appalled, because that seemed like such a tragic waste of a lifetime.

26K is tiny in the big scheme of things, and student loan interest rates are minimal. I used to borrow money at twice that rate, uphill, in the snow, both ways. If you can afford it, and you have no dependents, you can afford to make a mistake or two with your career. If the job is your dream job, take the job, if it's not, then don't. You'll soon toil for your thirty years and climb over the corpses of your coworkers to get ahead, but there's no point rushing towards that doom.

lemon b
01-08-2016, 22:40
Take the job.

Jake2c
01-08-2016, 22:47
Hopefully, you have many dreams, not just a thru hike. This is a tough question for anyone to answer for you and good advice can go both ways. I sort of like the approach of trying to have both, not just either/or. That of course means that one of them will have to be put on hold for a bit. I am less of a free spirit than many, my dreams included wife and family as well as success in my chosen field. Those dreams take a lot more time and long term committment. So, putting my job first in the goal list allowed me to realize so many others, including retiring early and now attempting a thru hike this year. Yes, I am older and would really like to be doing this with my 25 year old body instead of my 60 year old body but, I am also doing it with more maturity. Of course, my knees may fail and cause me to drop out. If so, I will try and get them fixed as I pursue my other goals, now full time. Not sure my view helps at all, I just hope you can see a path to both.

4eyedbuzzard
01-08-2016, 22:56
Lots of question that only you can answer:
Do you have enough cash on hand to stay current with your loans and other payments while also laying out the money for hiking? Plus a few months minimum after you are done and looking for work?
A "good" salary is a very subjective thing. It varies a lot based upon personal perception, the field you are in, geographical norms, etc. What is "good" in your field?
Would the job allow you to save enough to both hike and prepay the loan payment for a full year. Because you may not find work right away after returning.
How much demand is there in the job market for people with your degree at your level?
How good are your transcripts? Where do you stand in relation to the competition for jobs?
Have you done much long distance or even section hiking? 100% of people who start a thru-hike think they'll finish. Only 20% actually finish. Most are off the trail before Harper's Ferry. What is plan B if you drop off the trail?
But most importantly, what kind of life do you see yourself building? Balancing life and work is never easy.

rocketsocks
01-08-2016, 22:59
Kind of a no brainer to my way of thinking, pay off your loan then start livin' the good life you were meant to.

Cotton Terry
01-08-2016, 23:08
If you didn't have the student loan debt, I'd say go hike, but I don't think student loan debt can, or should, be deferred. Like others have said, in the meantime, you can plan and Section hike. Then, you'll be able to hike with a clear conscience.

MuddyWaters
01-08-2016, 23:11
From what I recall talking to Carnival ship employees while I was on cruises, they worked 3 months at a time, then had 1 month off, paid I think. While on the ship their expenses were paid. Most worked two different jobs, and 6 days per week. It is a good way to save A LOT of money, and thats why many foreign people do and send all their money home to their families. Granted my last cruise was 17 yrs ago, so things could be different these days. I want to say the cruise line even paid for their airfare to wherever they wanted to go during their month off (home, etc)

Dont know if this is similar to the OP, but my impression is that you can save a lot of money working on a cruise ship, and the OP should be able to pay thier loan for a duration of a hike. People take 30 yrs to pay off student loans. Being able to cover it for duration of a hike isnt fiscally irresponsible at all. I dont see the loan as being a factor, as long as can cover payments for 6mo to a yr.

paule
01-08-2016, 23:31
By saying a year commitment,are you saying they are telling you that they are giving you one years employment?What do you mean by requiring one year commitment?If they are saying they are giving you a job for one year,I would find another job after the hike.Are you in a field of work that is in demand?Parts of the country are booming and parts are not,if you can be flexible in where you live you will always have a job.

Cannon
01-09-2016, 00:16
Don't worry about money, They print more everyday!!!

Traveler
01-09-2016, 07:15
For what its worth, I would recommend taking the job. Though career ambitions are always good to calculate, you will run across a lot of people through life who found themselves in a different field than their education targeted and were able to apply that education to the new opportunity (with some exceptions of course, cosmology education would not translate well to paralegal work for example). Student loan debt can be a problem on your credit history, which has other impacts like difficulty getting credit when you need it, or being hired.

If you have the funds to make loan payments for 5 months, support a thru hike cost of approximately $1,000 a month (not including gear and transportation), and the job is well outside your intended career, then you are in good shape. Otherwise, there will be other periods of time in life you will be between jobs/careers and will have the time, and likely the ready cash, to do a thru.

Coffee
01-09-2016, 07:18
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. No way of knowing what the economy will look like in the fall and things are getting worse, not better, regardless of what the unemployment rate says (it is distorted by millions of people who have given up and are therefore not considered in the labor force and not unemployed). Without the debt I'd always say a young person should just go for it and do the thru hike. Debt changes things. Student loans are the one kind of debt that cannot even be discharged in personal bankruptcy. Getting rid of it is a great idea, then go hiking.

peakbagger
01-09-2016, 08:16
Long term trends are that during an election cycle the party in power keeps the economy pumped up to get their party reelected. Therefore the economy should be cranking along this year and then all the stuff that was pushed under the rug will reappear after the election and the economy will slow down. Work this year, pay off debt and then throuhghike next year when the economy tanks.

shawnlakenorman
01-09-2016, 09:02
Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!
Wow. I am 50. Wishing to hike. Been a realtor for 21 years. An RN for more. Trying to get back into nursing. If say. Live while you can.

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bugeyemonster
01-09-2016, 14:17
I see you have gotten lots of bad advice. I am 45 years old and will be hiking the trail this year. I planned to hike after high school, but ended up in the army. I planned to hike after college but had a wife and young kid. I planned to hike in the summer after my divorce when my kids would stay with their mother, but she never took them for the summer. I planned to hike but something always got in the way. Now my kids are grown and I retired last year. So if you are okay with putting it off for a year it could turn into two and then twenty. There will always be bills to pay and jobs to take but you will only be 22 just this once. Embrace your freedom as long as you can, fate will take it from you when you least expect it. That being said working on a cruise ship sounds pretty cool.


Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!

Tesla33
01-09-2016, 15:33
Thank you so much for all of the advice. It helps to hear from all walks of life and points of view. Further clarification for those interested. I majored in Theatre production with an emphasis in lighting. I'm a light technician on board a Royal Caribbean ship. I've saved 5000 for loans and 5000 for the trail since the start of my contract in June. The job I got offered is with an aquatic staffing company in Columbus Ohio. Regional Manager of a branch. I'd be in charge of 100 plus employees and quite a lot of money. Although this isn't in my field, I enjoy the work and I'm not sure what I want my field to be.

For those interested, Cruise ship work isn't bad for someone in entertainment like me. Some days I can get away with working 4 hours, while others I work 14. It just depends. It's an interesting field to fall into and you can travel where ever you want for free. I'm on a 6 month, 3 week contract but I extended to 8 months due to the huge need for light techs and any other Theatrical workers. That being said, if anyone needs a job on a cruise ship, or has any questions about them, feel free to message me or reply to this thread and I'd be happy to help you out!

Wolf - 23000
01-09-2016, 16:03
I would suggest taking the job and pay down your studentloans. When you do get a chance to hike the trail you won't have the fact of a26K student debit holding you back. Taking from some who knows first hand, itsucks getting off the trail because you don’t have the money to continue.

Wolf

PennyPincher
01-09-2016, 16:21
LOL 1 year. We are in our mid 40s and never did hike the AT. Now we are planning on doing a thru after my husband retires. While he would be supportive of me if I wanted to do it now on my own or with a buddy, that's not something I want to do.

You have debts you took on and are obligated to pay. Do that. Then play.


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Falcon
01-09-2016, 17:27
Imagine the peace of mind if your loans were paid off. I personally think hiking a thru hike with no debt hanging over your head would be well worth hiking without the debt worry. I'm 62, retired 3 years ago and totally debt free. As a section hiker, I thoroughly enjoy my section hiking for 2-3 weeks at time without the worry of having to go back to work to pay bills. My suggestion, get out of debt then hike.

Options
01-09-2016, 18:29
Tough decision, no doubt. Like the old commercial states, "life comes at you fast". Who knows the future? Best we can do is plan for it and keep some dreams alive (no I'm not an insurance rep). My hope for a thru attempt collapsed in 2014. I kept the dream though and luckily it looks like 2016 will be my year. Good news is during that two years I was able to pay off my debts. Now I'm debt free and can just walk without that additional burden on my shoulders and mind. Luck be with you regardless.

CoconutTree
01-09-2016, 19:10
It sounds like you know how to save money and it sounds like you have employable skills. If you think finding work after your hike won't be so bad, go hike. Jobs have a way of sucking you in, the longer you wait the harder it will be to do this.

Dinendir
01-09-2016, 19:12
I have been in your situation just a few weeks ago. I plan to start the trail in March as I graduated from university last August, and than a job offer came up. Very well paid, lots of paid vacation, in my field of expertise, and a contract without an end date. So I would be starting my professional life exceptionally good. The only downside to this job, was the impossibility to hike the trail in the next 5 years, due to different obligations connected to the job. And as I'm a European section hiking isn't a viable option to me.
I thought really hard about it, and figured that if I don't hike now, I probably never will. And developing myself as a human being is more important to me than having professional success. So after some though days of doubting I choose the thing I would never want to miss in my life. So I'll be starting the AT on the 20th of March, as you should in my opinion.

Pastor Bryon
01-09-2016, 19:18
Job.

15+ years out from college, still paying on my loan, which has been frustrating and limiting.

Heliotrope
01-09-2016, 19:33
At 51 I still have student loans (85k) and I did not thru hike when younger. I think I didn't have the mental strength to thru hike. However, once you end up married with children and a mortgage you will be hard pressed to get that much time off. I'd say if you take the job commit to knocking down the debt. If you hike enjoy it fully because it may the time of your life you will look back on with find memories.


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bigcranky
01-09-2016, 19:44
Not to rain on your hike, but most people attempting a thru hike quit, often quite early in the hike. What happens when you break an ankle a month into the hike?

$26K in student loans isn't terrible; live as cheaply as possible and pay them off quickly.

MuddyWaters
01-09-2016, 23:02
Been working in field of major
Has money saved for thru
Has 2-3 yrs of student loan payments depending on terms
Job offer not in field

Just go hike if its what you want

4eyedbuzzard
01-09-2016, 23:13
Thank you so much for all of the advice. It helps to hear from all walks of life and points of view. Further clarification for those interested. I majored in Theatre production with an emphasis in lighting. I'm a light technician on board a Royal Caribbean ship. I've saved 5000 for loans and 5000 for the trail since the start of my contract in June. The job I got offered is with an aquatic staffing company in Columbus Ohio. Regional Manager of a branch. I'd be in charge of 100 plus employees and quite a lot of money. Although this isn't in my field, I enjoy the work and I'm not sure what I want my field to be.

...huge need for light techs and any other Theatrical workers. ...


It sounds like you know how to save money and it sounds like you have employable skills. If you think finding work after your hike won't be so bad, go hike. Jobs have a way of sucking you in, the longer you wait the harder it will be to do this.


Been working in field of major
Has money saved for thru
Has 2-3 yrs of student loan payments depending on terms
Job offer not in field

Just go hike if its what you want

I'm pretty conservative usually about work vs. hike question. There's the old saying, "the trail will always be there." But if you don't attempt your thru-hike, the desire to thru-hike will also always be there - and it will gnaw at you, sometimes for many, many years if you miss your window of opportunity. My brother in law is a lighting and sound guy, and he always can find work, either in Vegas, NY, or managing shows with bands on tour. I'd say go ahead with the hike.

Cannon
01-10-2016, 16:55
Do the hike!

Quitting your job may seem stupid to most people, but I think its even more stupid to be saying "I wish I did that" later in life. Money is important in this world, theres no denying that. To ignore it would be stupid, but also realize that it is very far from the most important thing in this world.

mainelydave
01-10-2016, 22:19
Take the job and get rid of debt. It's an effin anchor. Another year will establish your credentials in the field and you'll likely be able to take six months to do the trail next year.

shawnlakenorman
01-13-2016, 10:09
Wish I was 22 again with job offer. I want to walk the AT. I am 50. Taking care of my mother. With no end in sight. Can't work and am miserable. Trying to find the light. If day of the job offers much potential go for job and do section hike to practice. But when you get to 50 time gets shorter and choices are fewer. Hard call. I agree follow your heart and desires. Do anything you do for you.

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DavidNH
01-13-2016, 10:28
i tend to agree. Don't take a six month vacation when you have 26K in student debt. The trail will always be there.

Tennessee Viking
01-13-2016, 10:33
Take the job. The trail will always be here.

QHShowoman
01-13-2016, 16:15
Take the job. Do whatever you can to minimize your expenses and pay that debt off as quickly as possible. Make sure you call your lenders and set your monthly repayment amount as high as you can afford. Don't just take the amount they set for you. If you get any lump sum bonuses, etc., pour it into paying off that debt.

I say this because I graduated college with about $30K in student loan debt. I have been paying that debt steadily for 15 years. I've never missed a payment and have had a good career/compensation trajectory and I've only repaid HALF that amount. The interest is a killer. If I were younger, I would've cashed out one of my 401K while in my 20s, taken the tax hit, and used it to pay back this stupid loan. Now that I am in my 40s, I feel like that's not a realistic option.

Gambit McCrae
01-13-2016, 16:47
To the OP, I was in exactly the same situation as you in 2011. I took the job, and I will regret it for the rest of my life.

No body on their death bed says "man I wish I had worked more days", If you can get that job, you can get ANOTHER job after your hike. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity in life to a working man.

marisajane
01-13-2016, 21:10
To the OP, I was in exactly the same situation as you in 2011. I took the job, and I will regret it for the rest of my life.

No body on their death bed says "man I wish I had worked more days", If you can get that job, you can get ANOTHER job after your hike. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity in life to a working man.

^ this.

And, if your job offer isn't in your field, ie your absolute dream job, is it worth putting off a dream for? It sounds like a pretty generic work situation, of which there are and will be plenty more. Plenty of folks have said "the trail will still be there"- so will your debts. A year of work at the non-dream job will lessen them how significantly?

Disclaimer: I'm a follow your heart kind of person. Make the bold move! :) while you have the opportunity. And good luck!

shelb
01-14-2016, 00:31
Take the job.... reevaluate in one year...

Dogwood
01-14-2016, 02:40
Thank you so much for all of the advice. It helps to hear from all walks of life and points of view. Further clarification for those interested. I majored in Theatre production with an emphasis in lighting. I'm a light technician on board a Royal Caribbean ship. I've saved 5000 for loans and 5000 for the trail since the start of my contract in June. The job I got offered is with an aquatic staffing company in Columbus Ohio. Regional Manager of a branch. I'd be in charge of 100 plus employees and quite a lot of money. Although this isn't in my field, I enjoy the work and I'm not sure what I want my field to be.

For those interested, Cruise ship work isn't bad for someone in entertainment like me. Some days I can get away with working 4 hours, while others I work 14. It just depends. It's an interesting field to fall into and you can travel where ever you want for free. I'm on a 6 month, 3 week contract but I extended to 8 months due to the huge need for light techs and any other Theatrical workers. That being said, if anyone needs a job on a cruise ship, or has any questions about them, feel free to message me or reply to this thread and I'd be happy to help you out!

Fresh out of college with a $26K student loan you're fretting about the job sounds juicy to pass up. It sounds like it is related to your Theatrical Production education and certainly IS in line with your educational emphasis in Lighting Design/Lighting Technician. Plus, you said: "can travel where ever you want for free", which satisfies some of that current wandering nomadic see the world spread your wings desire that seems like has a hold on you after several yrs in school, "I've saved 5000 for loans and 5000 for the trail since the start of my contract in June", which could largely be applied to knocking down a huge chunk of that $26K, while the ship life pays for your room and board, allowing to bank more, "I'd be in charge of 100 plus employees and quite a lot of money", two GREAT IN HIGH DEMAND skills to have particularly if you expect to steer your career towards Theatrical Producing but can be utilized for an infinite number of other career building paths, the MONEY MANAGEMENT aspect of the term position will carry over into your personal financial life, GREAT resume builder listing yourself as a Regional Manager of 100 plus employees on it in the event you do decide to reevaluate after the 8 months and take several months off work to hike, "I enjoy the work", YOU ENJOY THE WORK, and "I'm not sure what I want my field to be", so this gives you some valuable resume and skill building while possibly helping to decide on a more focused direction, IF that is what you want. In 8 months reevaluate. BUT, AT LEAST, you put yourself in a good place/BETTER place to hike IF you do that after 8 months.

BTW, $26K is NOT a death sentence! It's likely more of a beginning as you're likely not married, have children, pay a steep mortgage, have huge medical bills, bust a nut with a big overhead, etc.

If the $26K student loan debt is too heavy a financial burden looming over you and you want to hike DO NOT conventionally pay it off... OR YOU COULD GET LOCKED IN LONGER TERM THAN YOU REALIZE eventually saying" WHERE DID THE YRS GO, NOW I'M MARRIED, HAVE EVEN BIGGER DEBT, HAVE GREATER COMMITMENTS, NO LONGER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HIKE, ETC?" Carefully consider, after that 8 month contract, possibly options to reduce that debt or discharge it involving a short term commitment with STUDENT LOAN CANCELLATION/FORGIVENESS OPPORTUNITIES. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation I did it!

BTW, have known two Theaterical Lighting Techs, one who worked for Madison Square Garden and one touring with well known rock bands, another who was a Movie Lead Set Construction Director/Lead Carpenter, and two others involved in set construction. They often had large chunks of time off to do section hikes, travel, run side businesses, etc.

egilbe
01-14-2016, 10:32
What is with the random capitalized words, Dogwood? Makes your posts annoying to read. Your advice is usually pretty good.

Manymiles
01-14-2016, 11:22
You have the rest of your life to work and be responsible. Follow your passions and dreams and everything will work out. If you want to hike, then hike. Jobs are like cars they come and go. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Listen to the real you and never look back:)

Biggie Master
01-14-2016, 12:43
The only opinion on this thread that matters is YOURS. You have to live with the consequences of your choice, and that will be true for every decision you make for the rest of your life. Hike or work? You have the rest of your life to do both, so take in all of this feedback and make the decision that is right for you.

Starchild
01-14-2016, 18:24
Very easy decision - is the job fulfilling for you? On a cruse ship you get to visit places and meet people, so that may be they ideal job for you and perhaps what you need to do. However if it's 'work' then yes unquestionably do the AT, live the live you are meant to, that is the only to live.

If your 'work' (meaning what you get paid for) converges with the term 'play' (what you were meant to do, love to do, and don't feel it a burden) you are where you are suppose to be, everything else is a distraction from living up to your potential.

Since your job may do this they go for it, if not the trail is calling you to better things, and if you are on the right path amazing doors will open up for you.

Starchild
01-14-2016, 18:28
What is with the random capitalized words, Dogwood? Makes your posts annoying to read. Your advice is usually pretty good.

I knew someone who practiced witchcraft (for real) and would use such a method of conveying 'subliminal' messages. Not saying it is here, but there you go.

Poedog
01-14-2016, 18:28
Eat your best dinner tonight.

New England Guy
01-19-2016, 10:52
I would never advise someone on such a personal decision, do what feels right. I have figured out that basically there are two pursuits in life. The pursuit of money and wealth, or the pursuit of happiness. Do what works for you. If you end up puttting off the hike, make a plan to do it sooner rather than later. When I was your age, I desperately wanted to attempt a thru, but I never had the patience or the attention span to make a plan and stick to it. I promised myself I would give it a shot before I turned 30!!....I will be turning 40 this summer, hopefully right around Harpers Ferry at the (mental) half way point of my thru!!! My point is time has a way of getting away from you. When the time is right, you'll make it a priority, and you'll be out on the trail.

Tesla33
01-21-2016, 16:26
All,

Thanks again for all of your help. I've gone back and forth many times on this and I've decided to take the trail. Turning down the job kills me, but it's 1. Not in my field. 2. Not that much money. and 3. My heart says hike the trail. I don't want to look back when I'm fourty and wish I would have done that. A few people made me get into that mindset on this thread and like to thank them for that. My loans are not as bad as they could be and I have enough money, 5k to pay off quite a big portion in my time I hike the AT.

I wish you all well on your trips.

Casey & Gina
01-21-2016, 17:10
I faced the same temptation. Caveat: I don't have debt, or more accurately the little I do have will be gone and I'll have some savings in the bank by the time I quit my current job. But I was offered another one with a rather significant pay raise. Because of the potential salary, I entertained the idea for a while, but ultimately turned it down explaining that I wanted to take some time off. Hiking the trail, sooner than later, is more important to me.

It really depends on what matters to you most, and whether you can afford to do the hike with the resources you have now. If you do take the job, don't get attached to it, and be as frugal as you can and just use it as a tool for saving money and paying down your debts. Keep your dream alive and put whatever you are able out of each paycheck into a fund to support that dream. Be able and willing to walk away from that job a year later without any guilt.

Jobs will always be there. The trail will also always be there. Your own motivation and condition of health may or may not be. Once you get caught up in the "career" cycle of jobs, it can be hard to step away from, especially if you are lured into spending all that extra money you are making rather than saving it.

Jowy
01-22-2016, 12:57
I'm in the same position as you buddy, I graduate in May, have debt, and job opportunities.

My reasoning. A lot can happen in two years that can change your circumstances and create responsibilities that you can't walk away from, kids, jobs, mortgages etc. Which is why hiking the AT and travelling now.

All you have to ask yourself is what are your priorities, mine go like this

1) Start doing the things I dream about, while I still definitely can
2) Go into the rat race when my desire for money outweighs my desire for adventure

I'm from England, if you don't earn over 15,000 pounds/$22,000 a year you don't have to pay back you're student debt bear that in mind with my reasoning, because I don't know what the situation is in the States.

Offshore
01-22-2016, 15:10
All,

Thanks again for all of your help. I've gone back and forth many times on this and I've decided to take the trail. Turning down the job kills me, but it's 1. Not in my field. 2. Not that much money. and 3. My heart says hike the trail. I don't want to look back when I'm fourty and wish I would have done that. A few people made me get into that mindset on this thread and like to thank them for that. My loans are not as bad as they could be and I have enough money, 5k to pay off quite a big portion in my time I hike the AT.

I wish you all well on your trips.

Smart choice - but I do have to say that hitting forty isn't exactly the same as having a foot in the grave! (Well maybe from the perspective of a 22 year old, it is...)

slbirdnerd
01-22-2016, 15:36
This is ALL really great advice, on both sides of the equation. My brain would tell me to take the job, save, and pay off my debt, but keep planning a hike (and section hike for now if you can). My heart would tell me you only live once, you have the freedom, go and hike! ;)

I'm a single mom and am section hiking until my son is finished high school in four years. I have a desk job that is ok, but not what I want to be doing, so I just downsized my house, paid off debt, shrank my budget, simplified my life and am putting myself in a position to be able to do whatever I want in four years: finish the AT, hike other trails, get a job in an outdoor-related field, etc.

WILLIAM HAYES
01-22-2016, 19:35
go hike do your dream first

ryneoh1040
01-26-2016, 22:33
If it helps at all, I'm 27, have 20k in student loans and am thru-hiking this year. I tried to last year and made it 160 miles before I got tendonitis in BOTH feet and lost 3 toenails. My hiking partner also had to leave so it was just a bummer in general but still something I'm very glad I did (I feel like I 100% know what I'm getting into by trying again). I feel like I had this debate with myself at the end of last year when I had a job offer and couldn't decide to take it and save more or just go for it again. Ultimately for me it comes down to this...I can ALWAYS get a job somewhere. And I don't mean to sound entitled with that it's just truly what I believe. Whether it's in my degree field or Starbucks or whatever I will have one. I CANNOT always hike the trail. You're a little younger (early 20's vs. late 20's) but if you think you have reasons to not go now those reasons will only multiply by 1000 in the next 3-5 years. Be it a relationship, marriage, children, a BETTER job than what you're offered now, the list goes on and on. It might be more fiscally responsible to payoff your loans but the job you would be taking sounds pretty extensive in terms of management and I'm sure they would want you to grow with them.

Just really think what will bother you more in the next 5 years. Not taking the job or not hiking the trail. And really sit with that decision for a week or two before you really choose. Hope that helps.