How to be a Weekday Warrior

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I wrote this post in 2016 as a guest blogger; I was working a 9-5 office job and exhausted all of the time. I wanted more than anything to get outside of those four walls and see the world, explore what was just out of reach. You guys write me from that place all too often and it breaks my heart that I don't have anything to say that would be of any help. I realized that once I had (finally) launched my website I never shared this piece. This was my turning point, my first step into the ocean that is now my life. So, if I have any advice for anyone feeling the way I know too many of you are - it is to just start. Bank your vacation days to take that trip you've been dreaming of, get your butt out of bed and to work at 5am so you can explore in the afternoons, stop drinking and eating out so that you can fund your adventures, take more photos of everything and learn the ins and outs of a camera, if you can't travel now pour yourself into exploring your own back yard, trade the fancy hotels for tents... sit down and figure out where you want to be and then relentlessly cut out everything that stands in the way.

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Originally posted November 4, 2016

I have always appreciated spending time in nature. I’ve enjoyed hiking for as long as I can remember. But it was not until a few years ago that spending as much time as possible outdoors, at the tops of mountains, became my ultimate priority. It started innocently enough (the occasional lakeside lunch every once-in-a-while) but quickly( before I even knew it was happening) it turned into something so much more…

I found myself migrating to the mountains on Friday nights and reemerging in the city late on Sunday evenings (or if I was lucky, very early Monday mornings). And finally, I made the realization; my adventures could no longer be confined to weekends.

I vividly remember it, that late spring evening filled with sticky notes of summits, my living room floor smattered with topographical maps. My previous season had included 57 summits and even at that rate I would need several lifetimes’ worth of weekends and vacation days in order to complete my “must-do” list. That’s when I made the decision – I needed to become a weekday warrior!

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Step one:

Finding time!

The first step seemed to be more like a leap. I knew that my 9-5 was no longer going to cut it but I was also not willing to give up a career that I had spent years building. A very open and honest conversation with my boss along with a detailed game plan for the “restructuring” of my time, shimmied my workday to begin a few hours earlier (at 5:30 a.m. to be more specific). These extra hours in the morning turned out to be my most productive of the day and allowed for me to leave my office early which alongside a fortunate proximity to the mountains allowed for ample time in the afternoons/evenings to be spent outdoors. My first step was complete.

Step two:

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

After work hiking has it’s own added set of hurdles (low light, late nights, missing dinner…), and now that I have a full season of trial and error under my belt (along with developing a hoarders approach to packing), I believe I have my evening summits down to a science. The night before I go on any adventure I will organize my pack, this allows me to zip out of the city straight from work without need for rushed packing and the worry of forgetting things as I run out the door.

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Step three: 

Be accountable (and safe!)

I made a rule long ago not to hike alone. And although I don’t deny that rule has been broken on occasion, my preference is always to have a partner. Not only is it safer (especially when out during dusk hours when the wildlife is extra active) but also having someone counting on you really makes getting out of bed and to work before the sun wakes up an easier pill to swallow. As an added bonus, they also help a lot with the planning and preparation!

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Step four:

But is it really worth it?

Your friends will get upset when you bail on after work drinks because a pocket of perfect weather rolls in, and all too often dinner will be an afterthought and your stomach will wake you up at 3am to remind you. These sacrifices allow you more flexibility in exploring your own backyard. This lifestyle also frees up your long weekends and vacation days to head off of the grid and/or out of town guilt free. It isn’t always easy, it truly isn’t as glamorous as it seems…but for me, the life of a weekday warrior is here to stay.

And always remember that things don’t always work out just the way you want them to. Bad weather will inevitably roll in out of nowhere, the days will get too short too fast, essential pieces gear will be left on the kitchen table and work will get in the way. Sometimes you have the most perfect plan and just won't work.

All of the photos in this blog post were captured on weekday post-work adventures. Thank you Chantel, Dennis, Joel, Ryan and Simone for adventuring with me and capturing these moments.