Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

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Whisky Alarm

 
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Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:19 pm

Please welcome my first post on SummitPost. I’ve been a reader of trip reports for a long time. I really need some advice from similar-minded outdoor enthusiasts:

The shorter version: I live on the east coast near a pretty big city with a family, job, house, and overall living situation that is all that I could ever ask for. I’m very happy. However, I lived in a perfect little rocky mountain town a couple years when I was in college, but I struggled to find a way to make a good living there so I spread my roots back east. But I don’t really feel like I belong here and I miss that place SO much. I think about it every day sometimes to the point where my stomach feels sick. My first few years as a teacher I would go back and spend the summers there which was the perfect combination of the best of both worlds, but now with a wife and kid I can’t do that anymore. My wife and I currently go out there 1-2 weeks each summer. She loves it as well. I need to either find a way to spend more time out there (and hopefully quench the need to be there) or accept the reality that I live where I live and stop thinking about being there all the time.

Do I stop going back and just try to move on with my life?
Do I try to rearrange my life to spend MORE time out there (I have several weeks off and 10 weeks in the summer)?

The longer version: I moved back home because I was having a tough time finding a teaching job out there in an area I liked, and the teachers in my home state have good pay and an excellent pension. I also missed my family and I was completely unsuccessful with the ladies out there! There are endless opportunities of things to do around where I live, including city things, beaches, mountains 1-2 hours away, etc. However, I’ve kind of stopped hiking and camping because I’m always comparing it to my experiences out west which are pretty spectacular. I miss the cool dry air, being able to camp almost anywhere, the freedom of so few people, little to no traffic, the incredible mountain scenery, and amazing fishing.

I’m constantly fast forwarding my life to when I’m 59 and can retire and spend a lot more time out there. Or I’m brainstorming ways to spend a lot more time out there right now…Buy a camper and drive out there and spend a month with my kids living in the national parks each year? My wife would love doing this with us but she only gets a couple weeks off in the summer. Do I rent an apartment out there for a month and live with my kids out there for a good chunk of the summer? Should I buy some land out there and own a piece of the pie and eventually build a little vacation place? Or do I stop going there altogether?

I do want my kids to be able to get to know the mountains well, which is another reason I’d love to bring my kids out there for long periods of time. But I need to resolve this issue within myself so I can be truly happy. It’s the only thing holding me back. I really need to start seeing the beauty in where I live, but it’s so different. I know few people who love the outdoors like I do, but when I was out west it was easy to find people with similar interests.
Moving there is not an option. I’m 10 years into my pension years and I’d be starting over there making me need to retire at a much older age. Also, both of our sets of parents live nearby and help out with the baby. Seeing them absolutely melt with our daughter is an amazing feeling and there’s no way we could move away right now.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What did you do? Any advice for me about how to move forward? I’m sorry this is so long! Thanks for reading

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by colinr » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:33 am

I can relate, but am fortunate that being far from the Sierra, southern Cascades, Trinities, and Death Valley area is 3-8 hours for me. The weather, redwoods, beaches, and steep coastal ranges within 10-45 minutes could be worse, too. Yes, a camper or well researched property could be a good idea depending on how your kids and wife would feel about it and how fully they would participate.

Are you sure you can't transfer/be given credit for most/all your years of service if you get a new teaching job? Do you love your job? Some rural places in CA near wilderness have good teacher pay compared to cost of living.
Last edited by colinr on Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Alpinist » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:34 am

Since moving back to the Rockies is "not an option" due to your pension plan, you need to try and strike a balance between your career, family and wilderness trips. That's pretty much what everyone does who lives in a big city but loves the wilderness.

It starts with carefully planning your vacation time. Forget the summer home idea. That's just a money pit; mortgage, taxes, insurance, upkeep. You can rent a luxury mountain home for much less than that if you only vacation 2-3 weeks per year. Better yet, sleep in a tent! Plus, you won't be locked in to visiting the same place every time.

Compliment your western trips with shorter weekend trips closer to home. There are plenty of great places to hike and camp in the eastern mountain ranges.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Puma concolor » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:43 pm

I don't do suggestions or advice but do have a few thoughts.

The Northeastern mountains are pretty fantastic if you have the right approach. You don't say where in the east you are from but it sounds like it might be the NE. If you really want to see what is possible in the Adirondacks, you might be interested in taking a look at the profile page of SP member MudRat, who has one of the most creative minds on this site. I agree that the popular trails in the summer aren't very wilderness-like but there are lots of obscure areas to be found as well as winter hiking/climbing. More often than not, I don't see another soul when I am in the Northeastern mountains just because I know what times and places to avoid.

When I go west, I go by myself. Love my family and love family vacations, but the mountains are my thing. Period. I will either meet up with other like-minded folks on my trips or hike/climb solo. Others involve their families in their travels. It's a personal preference type of thing, for sure, but you may find yourself with more possibilities if you are open to breaking away on your own.

Anyway, good look with it all. The lure of the wilderness is a powerful one.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Sunny Buns » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:52 am

What grade level and what subjects do you teach? I would find out if you can transfer your pension to another state. I think I've heard of that before, but I'm not in the teaching bidness.

Do consider this: the US and world economies are currently "shaky" at best. Some people are predicting ugly economic times in the near future (within weeks or a few years - noone knows the timing). If bad times come, would your 10 years in your job make it less likely to be on the layoff list? Also, if bad times come being in a city may not be advantageous, but noone knows what the possible bad times will look like, so who knows.......maybe some land that will grow food could be useful. In any event, maintain your skills for whatever job you have - keep up to date and make yourself better continuously - your ability to earn a living is very valuable. A Jim Rickards video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVoMSJ4sry8

I've heard of teachers selling real estate in the summer - not sure how easy it would be to break into that bidness, and you'd have to get a license in Colorado, but you might check into that if interested. At first you would not have a lot of knowledge of the local market.

You can find acreage in Colorado that is cheap - see Zillow.com and set the filters for vacant land in your price range. In the western US, always check availability of water (many folks out here haul water) and winter access (is road plowed?) before you buy - also check for nearby stock yards on Google Earth. :) Might use your new land as a basecamp for the summer. I don't think you'd need it though - just get a huge tent for car camping and travel from trailhead to trailhead or whatever you want to do...........you might get a job as a campground host at a Forest Service CG in the summer - not sure how hard those are to get, but I'll bet you can find out on Gooble.

There must be hiking clubs where you live - look for those.

Good luck.
Last edited by Sunny Buns on Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by nickmech » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:01 am

Sheesh! Call Dr. Phil.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:24 pm

SeanReedy wrote:I can relate, but am fortunate that being far from the Sierra, southern Cascades, Trinities, and Death Valley area is 3-8 hours for me. The weather, redwoods, beaches, and steep coastal ranges within 10-45 minutes could be worse, too. Yes, a camper or well researched property could be a good idea depending on how your kids and wife would feel about it and how fully they would participate.

Are you sure you can't transfer/be given credit for most/all your years of service if you get a new teaching job? Do you love your job? Some rural places in CA near wilderness have good teacher pay compared to cost of living.


Are you the one who had the info about administrative jobs for a bit? That was great advice, although I prefer to work with the kids...in admin you mainly work with the adults. I did look into transferability of teaching years to other states...it depends on the state, but each state is different since each pretty much has their own pension system. In general, you typically get some credit for previous years worked but there is a limit, usually pretty low (like a few years). Anyways, I love my job and I've looked into moving to another state, but the main reason for not moving to another part of the country is for family reasons. It also does help though that I like (maybe not love) my job and it is very secure.

We visit California every other year...you're very lucky to have all that it has to offer, even if some of it is a bit of a drive. I just love that N. Cal coast though!!!

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:31 pm

Alpinist wrote:Since moving back to the Rockies is "not an option" due to your pension plan, you need to try and strike a balance between your career, family and wilderness trips. That's pretty much what everyone does who lives in a big city but loves the wilderness.

It starts with carefully planning your vacation time. Forget the summer home idea. That's just a money pit; mortgage, taxes, insurance, upkeep. You can rent a luxury mountain home for much less than that if you only vacation 2-3 weeks per year. Better yet, sleep in a tent! Plus, you won't be locked in to visiting the same place every time.

Compliment your western trips with shorter weekend trips closer to home. There are plenty of great places to hike and camp in the eastern mountain ranges.



Yea, the summer home idea is definitely a money pit, but I was thinking more along the lines of some land and putting a tiny home/shelter there for cheap. It's cool in theory, but we prefer to sleep in the mountains and/or right on the rivers. So having a place out there would probably be a big waste of money any way you slice it unless it was an awesome piece of land right on a river. But those don't come cheap! Our trips are all spent in the tent (up to 2 weeks) but we normally get a hotel the night before flying home to rinse and refresh.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:39 pm

Puma concolor wrote:I don't do suggestions or advice but do have a few thoughts.

The Northeastern mountains are pretty fantastic if you have the right approach. You don't say where in the east you are from but it sounds like it might be the NE. If you really want to see what is possible in the Adirondacks, you might be interested in taking a look at the profile page of SP member MudRat, who has one of the most creative minds on this site. I agree that the popular trails in the summer aren't very wilderness-like but there are lots of obscure areas to be found as well as winter hiking/climbing. More often than not, I don't see another soul when I am in the Northeastern mountains just because I know what times and places to avoid.

When I go west, I go by myself. Love my family and love family vacations, but the mountains are my thing. Period. I will either meet up with other like-minded folks on my trips or hike/climb solo. Others involve their families in their travels. It's a personal preference type of thing, for sure, but you may find yourself with more possibilities if you are open to breaking away on your own.

Anyway, good look with it all. The lure of the wilderness is a powerful one.


Thanks for the recommendation to check out MudRat. I'll do that. My favorite range around here is definitely the Adirondacks for both hiking and fishing. They're a bit of a haul at about 5 hours, that's the biggest downside, but I've loved what I've explored so far. I also agree....solo trips out west are special too. Last bunch of years I've been solo for half the trip and then she joins me the second half of the trip. Both parts are great in their own ways.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:48 pm

Sunny Buns wrote:What grade level and what subjects do you teach? I would find out if you can transfer your pension to another state. I think I've heard of that before, but I'm not in the teaching bidness.

Do consider this: the US and world economies are currently "shaky" at best. Some people are predicting ugly economic times in the near future (within weeks or a few years - noone knows the timing). If bad times come, would your 10 years in your job make it less likely to be on the layoff list? Also, if bad times come being in a city may not be advantageous, but noone knows what the possible bad times will look like, so who knows.......maybe some land that will grow food could be useful. In any event, maintain your skills for whatever job you have - keep up to date and make yourself better continuously - your ability to earn a living is very valuable. A Jim Rickards video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVoMSJ4sry8

I've heard of teachers selling real estate in the summer - not sure how easy it would be to break into that bidness, and you'd have to get a license in Colorado, but you might check into that if interested. At first you would not have a lot of knowledge of the local market.

You can find acreage in Colorado that is cheap - see Zillow.com and set the filters for vacant land in your price range. In the western US, always check availability of water (many folks out here haul water) and winter access (is road plowed?) before you buy - also check for nearby stock yards on Google Earth. :) Might use your new land as a basecamp for the summer. I don't think you'd need it though - just get a huge tent for car camping and travel from trailhead to trailhead or whatever you want to do...........you might get a job as a campground host at a Forest Service CG in the summer - not sure how hard those are to get, but I'll bet you can find out on Gooble.

There must be hiking clubs where you live - look for those.

Good luck.


Yikes, that's not a very rosy picture of the future. Who knows what the future economics times will bring....I've actually taught everything in public schools from kindergarten to high school and I'm certified in bio, general science, health, phys ed, and guidance. Is that diverse enough for you? ; )

CG host might be fun for retirement years. I think they often work a full season from May-Oct. I've gotten to know one who is back season after season...their tour bus/home is nicer than my real home.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Whisky Alarm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:49 pm

nickmech wrote:Sheesh! Call Dr. Phil.


Thanks for the advice! I called Dr. Phil per your suggestion but his handlers said I was way too crazy to be on his show ; )

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Puma concolor » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:21 pm

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Bubba Suess » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:32 am

I respect a man who is willing to sacrifice his own desires for the sake of his family. That can be a miserable thing but it is wise and good and right.

While I do not have any advice or insight to offer, I can relate, at least a little bit. I spent 4 years in graduate school in Texas and for a time I was faced with the prospect of being in Dallas for the long haul. It was a very, very, discouraging prospect. Being a native of Northern California, I did not quite realize just how much mountains and wilderness meant to me and having it wrenched from me was very jarring. However, being out there forced me to adapt and to recalibrate what I considered beauty and how I would go about finding wilderness. In the end, this helped me to get by, I found my niches where I could enjoy the good things that that land had to offer. Some of these spots, especially the Wichita Mountains, ended up becoming one of my most favorite places. Even now, living in the mountains, I yearn to return to some of those old haunts.

This may sound odd, but one thing I started doing was going on urban hikes through the city. I found that I really enjoyed exploring the big city's nooks and crannies and that there were quite a few surprises and hidden gems even in the midst of a flat dumpster like Dallas. Strangely enough, I developed a real taste for industrial areas. It was almost like this was a concrete wilderness, populated by real characters and on the ragged edge of the glitzy schlock that defined most of the city.

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Re: Need life advice! Great life but I'm wilderness starved

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:57 pm

Live the life you're in
Explore the treasures near you
Expand your horizons
Change your hobbies and interests to better suit your area
Caving
Whitewater kayaking
Trail running
Etc.

If that ain't enough - MOVE BACK

In other words - If you're in Florida, don't spend your time pining for the Rockies, take up scuba diving or sailing!


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