I may not be bright, but I sure aint dumb.
Not wanting to make the same mistake again, stuck in a rut in good ol’ Jersey, I flew to Portland, Oregon. New Jersey hadn't worked out thus far, and at the (nearly inevitable) risk of financial losses I decided it was time for a change. The plan was, I would stay with my extended hiker family in Portland while trying to dig up some work and a place of my own to call home. Mega huge thanks to Smiles (and her entire household!), Beef Nuggets, and the all the lovely trash at the Hiker Haus (Panorama, Zana, Morrissey, Clutch, Kristo, and everyone else who made room for me on the couch).
I spent about three weeks in Portland dishing out resumes to just about every single restaurant and coffee shop in the city. As a hiker, this was great. I was putting in miles and got to know just about every inch of the city. As a job seeker, things did not go as smoothly. Portland is a city with a lot of young people looking for work and the few restaurants I did come into that were looking for help were getting upwards of fifty resumes daily. My search for housing was equally difficult; I needed low rent, a short-term or month-to-month lease, and not having a car I wanted to be close to the action.
I began to look into bailout options. I couldn't remain in Portland without a source of income and a place to call my own. Then one day, while searching craigslist in a last-ditch effort to pull things together, I saw that Veggie (AT 2010, PCT 2012) happened to be online. I recalled that she used to work in Vail, Colorado selling t-shirts. Very suddenly, the ball was once again rolling. Veggie contacted her old employer and put in a couple of words on my behalf. I then gave him a call and sent him a resume. His response, "sounds good, Dan. We can get you started and moved in as soon as you get out here."
I booked a flight to Denver that night and arranged to spend a few days in Boulder, CO with my good friend Mouse (AT 2010, CT yo-yo 2011, PCT 2012). Following that short visit he dropped me off here in Vail, Colorado where I have been living and working since.
I've got a stress free job and a great place to live with only a ten-minute walk or a short bus ride to the gondola. I spend my days off and many mornings enjoying the mountain as I train for the 2018 Olympic Games (I've got four whole years, it's in the bag).
Life has been good out here in Colorado.
Best of all, the job also allows me to leave for half a year. In fact, it's encouraged, leaving me free to hike all summer. Job and home will be waiting patiently right here for me to return. It may not be glamorous, but I live my day-to-day life doing what other people spend thousands of dollars to do for a single week.
You sure won’t hear me complaining.
It took a little while to get things sorted out. And arguably, I could probably be doing "better", or "more". I don't care, though. I'm content -- for the time being. I like where I live and I like the lifestyle that living here allows me. One step always leads to another.
It’s hard to say where I, or anyone else for that matter, will end up next.
And oh yeah, I’ll be hiking the Continental Divide Trail this year.