View Full Version : when did you get the time for a thru-hike

01-01-2004, 01:02
Just wondering when all the thru-hikers got the time off to to embark on such an adventure. Loose your job, quit your job, take a leave of absence, you are rich and don't have to work? How do you pay rent or mortgage and car payment, insurance, trail food etc...?

Spirit Walker
01-01-2004, 01:46
I quit my job - three times ('88, '92 and '99), with number four coming up in three years. While working, I saved as much money as I could for three or four years, put my stuff in storage and went walkabout. This next time we'll have a mortgage and household expenses to cover, so it is taking longer to save the money, but we'll manage. It all depends on your priorities. As a secretary, it is very easy to quit (the hard part is staying as long as I have) and usually not that difficult to find work when I get back. If you have a career you care about, it can be harder to break away.

The Wicked Lobstah
01-01-2004, 03:51
My boss totally supports my thru-hike and says I always have a job. Isn't it that easy for eveyone?

01-01-2004, 09:29
I suspect that many hikers do it when they are at a change in their life.

Typically, a recent college graduate isn't saddled with mortgages, rent, etc.

Others are recently retired.

How someone does it during a mid life crisis usually has financial obligations, so I don't know how that works.

Myself, I had a lot of World Com stock (still do).

01-01-2004, 10:52

i think you hit it on the head!

most thru-hikers are the young, 20-something gang...or retiree-age (65+)folks.
us "baby-boomers" (middle-agers or whatever you wanna call us) are not usually lucky enuff to have jobs that we can cast off for 6 months @ a time OR bills that will wait that long.

Thats why most of the people you see posting on WhiteBlaze & other hiking forums are "section-hikers"...doing the A.T. one piece @ a time.

One boot in front of the other...no matter how long it takes...its the journey!

hope to see U up the trail in 2004! :p

YO Peterawk! i love BANNER ELK,NC

01-01-2004, 12:09
As for myself, my employment offers a leave of absence (defferal) plan which allows me to take 6 months off. The plan works as such, 20 percent of my salary is placed in a savings plan for a period of 2 years and on the last day of the anniversary, i will receive 80 percent of my salary per week which is directly deposited in my bank account, this will allow my spouse to pay the bills,mortgage etc... on line on the internet, very convenient.

AKA Packrat

01-01-2004, 13:24
Well perhaps my situation may be a little different from others you may have heard. Yes I'm a college aged kid (18) and I'm going to be lucky enough to make my attempt this March and have as long as I want to get to Katahdin. Here's my story on how I got my time:
I just graduated from High School this past August and just recently finished up a semester at Community College as was the plan. I started my senior year knowing exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to be a music teacher. Then as time for college recommendations came about I asked my music teacher for a recommendation, the music teacher whose multiple programs I had devoted my entire High School experience to, she denied writing me a recommendation on the basis of being "a talented arrogant little *****, who could be much better". Throughout the rest of the year she and I had our differences, I ended up dropping all my music courses as a result of my grades mysteriously dropping to just above passing. Then I was only spending half days in school and working in the afternoons, and on the eve of the start of the war in Iraq for our "Red White and Blue, Support your troops day" I wore a t-shirt sporting my anti-war sentiments only to be suspended for my political views... and so my year continued as a struggle between me and my views and the administration. My plans for college had completely changed, I no longer knew what I wanted to do and so I ended up at Community College. It was sometime around June that I finally said to my father, It'll be cheaper to let me figure out what I want to do rather than have me in school and switching my major like 12 times; and what better place to think about what I want to do than 6 months alone in the woods. And so here I am preparing for my first thru-hike, all because I have no clue what I want to do.

01-02-2004, 01:47
I work for awhile and save up the cash to go out for at least 2 months on the AT for the last 3 years. But also I have a very understanding wife that I met on on the trail in 2000, that lets me and supports me on the trail and she knows what the AT means to me and my sanity.

01-02-2004, 07:33
I just graduated from college in 2002, went overseas to teach and pay off my student loan for a year and now I'm going to do the AT in Feb. 2004. After that I plan to go to grad school....actually worked out really good with timing. I'm happy that I didn't have a "real" job that I had to quit but that I could still make enough money to be able to take 6 months off work.

Kyle & Lisa
01-02-2004, 10:02
All you lovers of backpacking should consider making money work for you instead of working for money--then you can hike and make money at the same time. I dont know why more long-distance backpackers dont get this, especially the ones who arent locked into a career they like. I recommend reading Rich Dad Poor Dad to get thinking differently about money. I personally have a small insurance business where I can hike and still have cash coming in from residual income, but insurance isnt the only way.


01-14-2004, 16:03
Just wondering when all the thru-hikers got the time off to to embark on such an adventure. Loose your job, quit your job, take a leave of absence, you are rich and don't have to work? How do you pay rent or mortgage and car payment, insurance, trail food etc...?

I graduated from High School, worked in a factory for six months, hiked for six months, and a week later, was sitting in my first college class, with trail grime under my fingernails and no fingerprints from having no gloves going up an ice-coated Katahdin. That was the trip following the trip.

Right now, I pay cash for cars (as an economist, I could never support going into debt for a depreciating asset). My house had a 10 year mortgage (paid off, too!) but I just signed a new 15 year to buy out my X's equity. (DANG!) BUT! It has rental units upstairs (needing a bit of renovation), which will almost cover the mortgage without even renting the downstairs. Now it's just the Child Support to figure.... and that'll go away in a quick ten years. But staying out of debt, living below your means, and saving EVERY FREAKIN' PENNY for that goal. Yeah man.

01-14-2004, 16:50
I spent 6 years getting an advanced degree in math and work as a professor at Indiana University. Theoretically, this gives my almost 4 months off during the summer, but I am supposed to spend it doing research. The research gets papers published, which gets me promoted, which means I have to write more papers, etc. For the last few summers, I've opted out of this and have gone hiking or climbing instead. This summer may push things to a crisis level, as I'm coming into the last year on my contract and have no real desire to do the research, to write the papers, etc. So, I may be changing jobs to a community college (in someplace a whole lot more fun than south central Indiana) where I just have to teach and the summers really are my own. The only thing I lose is a bit of my vanity, but suprisingly I wouldn't take a paycut.

01-15-2004, 18:06
I think I was pretty typical of a lot of thru-hikers, I worked for a few years after college, payed off my debt, saved my money (which seemed really hard living in Chicago on a non-profit salary) and quit my job. It was the perfect time for me because I had decided to go back to school in the fall so was planning to quit anyway. I didn't have any of the financial ties that would hold me home...but from many that I met on the trail, I know that it can be done!

Blue Jay
01-16-2004, 08:57
All you truly own is time. Time is NOT money, it is MUCH more valuable than any amount of money. Also you have no idea how much you have left. Can you truly afford to waste any of it, NOT doing what you love.