You’re such a bum.
Take it as a compliment: You want to ski, board, climb, kayak, mountain bike, and hike your way through life. You won’t find a judgmental face here; the Liftopia crowd understands where you’re coming from. Heck, we all want that.
Guess what? It’s possible, with some sacrifice and dedication, to do just that. I’m not just blowing smoke here. There’s a crew of us that have made it happen in different forms, and we’re ready to give you some of our secrets.
Feast your eyes upon the words that follow and make it happen.
“Make the outdoors your 9-5. It’s easier to justify staying outside all day if you’re getting paid for it.” – Billy Brown
Billy Brown, who took “his passion for the active lifestyle…and somehow made a job out of it as a journalist specializing in outdoor sports and adventure travel,” used writing as a way to make the outdoors his full-time career. Working his way from writing for a local paper to getting press time in such publications as Outside and Backpacker magazines, he combined his creative powers with his love for adventure. The payoff has been great: He’s been invited on all-expenses paid trips to ride the steeps at Whistler, explore the sights in Jordan, and go caving in Belize (among many other trips).
In addition to getting paid to write about traveling, he also gets paid to test, review (and keep) outdoor gear. Score.
Live Billy’s life:
“Do it. It’s that simple. Don’t get lost in prep work. You’re never going to feel totally ready, so prepare as much as you can, then get going and learn along the way. I spent way too long reading books on how to write before I got the balls to start pitching and stuff. Eventually, preparation becomes procrastination — You learn so much better by doing.”
The Online Entrepreneur
“[I] was willing to give up money and what I SHOULD be doing to pursue a different lifestyle and what I was passionate about.” – Amy Jurries
Amy started out in the corporate world, working in positions such as a director for Motorola and an investment pro for a venture capital firm. These types of careers aren’t generally the kind you simply walk away from, especially when that walk is leading into the unknown (or into the notoriously low-paying outdoor industry). But for a person who is willing to take chances with their life in the outdoors, the experience can translate more easily into taking chances with their career. So that’s what Amy did — and it’s paid handsomely by allowing her to live her dream.
How’d she do it? Amy started her own site, The Gearcaster, through which she forecasts trends in the outdoor industry and checks out what companies are doing with technology and new gear. This has allowed her to connect with outdoor industry professionals and become an authority in the field, even being recognized by Outside Magazine as one of the “7 Best Gear Websites.” Like Billy (above), she gets invited on adventure trips and is flooded with gear to take out and test in the field.
Is this lifestyle sounding good yet?
Live Amy’s life:
Beyond having some technical knowhow (if you plan to create the website yourself), be prepared for hard work. “Success doesn’t happen overnight — [it] can take years!” says Amy of her experience owning an online business. The key? “[You] have to stick with it…as your own boss, it’s only up to you to make it happen.”
If you’ve got the determination — go for it.
The Periodically Employed
“Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways of living the lifestyle.” –Beth Bault
Feeling truly vagabondish? Meet Beth of 3Up Adventures. She graduated from college, fell in love, and moved into a Jeep Cherokee. With a dog. Not exactly what society had planned for an accomplished grad student, but then again, the outdoor crowd isn’t necessarily concerned with peer pressure — outside of what the latest colors in plaid shirts are.
“You have to be willing for people to not ‘get’ you,” explains Beth. That’s something that’s all too common for the gypsy inclined.
She and her family of three have been roaming the country since 2010. Along the way, they’ve tried living in an uninsulated garage, working at a gym to get shower access, and several different vehicle configurations (Jeep, van, trailer) in which they spent their nights. It might not have been all roses, but what some would term “sacrifices” she sees as part of the adventure. This style of living allowed her to see the country, meet new people, and catch the attention of Stonewear Designs and Columbia Sportswear, both of which she is now an ambassador. (And yes, free gear is a perk!)
Live Beth’s Life:
To finance this dream, Beth and crew live off of savings, alternating time on the road with time in an adventure spot working seasonal jobs. Beth is proficient at using social media to connect with others — a tool you should take advantage of — using her networking skills to find work when needed.
Lesson: Living minimally means maximizing adventure; more trail time for this trio!
Have you lived a life based on your passion? How’d you make it work? Leave your tips in the comments below.