posted 8/27/2005 05:30:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time
Today was pretty much the first time I've been back to the school since dropping out in March of 2003, so it was kind of neat to hang out and chat with some teachers I hadn't seen in a couple years. And it was fun playing the 'do you recognize me?' game since I look a bit different from how I did as a student :) Anyways, a couple different people at school today, and several others over the last couple years, have asked me how I manage to do all this crazy stuff. In a word - flexibility. I think that most of the 'how' type questions are aimed more at the financial 'how' though, so here are a few quick thoughts. Pretty simple stuff really, just takes some planning and practice.
First, it really helps to have some sort of a marketable skill so that you can get the money to work with. I happen to be a geek, and there are an awful lot of broken things out there for me to make money fixing. Sure, you can do this kind of thing with little or no income, but it's a lot harder than when you can bill at a hundred bucks an hour fixing computers or whatever (granted, when I was doing that regularly I was working for someone else and only getting a smallish percentage. Think the most I've billed solo was on the order of $60/hr.) And, you've got to keep the money you make. I don't own a car, subscribe to cable TV, eat out often, or buy anything that I don't need except occasionally outdoorsy play stuff to facilitate these adventures. This particular adventure is really nice because it pays me money!
Second, you've got to be really flexible. No kids, car payments, long leases, or pets (unless they can come along of course!) Some people manage to find flexible friends they can call on to take care of pets or house-sit, but that seems like a pain to me. Keep it simple!
Third, you need to find something fun to do. That part isn't too hard, just use your imagination! The Appalachian Trail was what got this whole thing really started for me. The AT was right in my back yard growing up, so the idea was one that had pretty much always been in the back of my head. There are plenty other long trails out there for walking or biking, all kinds of crazy job opportunities like what I'm doing or working up in Alaska. The Peace Corps is one of the more popular options out there, or there are plenty other aid groups. Or, just come up with your own crazy idea and go do it!
Finally, the big one. To do any of this stuff, you need to get ready for it and go! It's all just a mental game in the end, so there's not much anyone can do to help with this part-it's all in your head!