Stay or Go? Confused with Wanderlust

25 Mar 13
Blue Ridge Outdoors Booth
A few happy Riverrockers at the BRO tent

Dear Mountain Mama,

I received an offer to work full time as a sales rep for a local outdoor company. It’s a dream come true for me — traveling, meeting  outdoorsy people, and selling a great product.

The only hitch is that my parents say they will cut me off if I accept. I’m in my mid-twenties and have two years left of college. My parents pay for school and rent, and they say it’s now or never. They’re threatening to cut me off entirely if I take this job.

Confused with Wanderlust

Dear Confused with Wanderlust,

A few times in the course of our lives the universe dishes up a life-defining opportunity. The chance presents living out our grandest dreams. When this happens, we must have the courage to go.

Wanderlust, ask yourself if this is one of those opportunities. You’re an adult now and will figure out how to pay rent. Being responsible for you own bills might seem like a drag at first. But that also means you don’t have to ask for approval for your career choices. You don’t have to follow a path that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive to be the track to success. You don’t have to measure your life by diplomas or bank account statements.

If this is truly what you want to do, go for it! Oh Wanderlust, think of the places you will go! The rivers you’ll paddle and mountains you’ll climb! And you’ll meet people along the way, some will become lifelong friends and others will be one-time adventure partners. People will open up their homes to you and lend you outdoor gear. Along the way, you’ll develop the skills and confidence to stand on your own two feet and trust your decisions.

It’s scary. There will be long days of talking to people who don’t buy what you have to sell. You’ll be tired and far away from home. But the risk of opting for security over adventure is scarier. Wanderlust, don’t end up saddled with a mortgage payment, stuck behind a computer screen, and sitting in a cubicle located in a city you hate living in just because if feels safe. You don’t want to end up with regrets about the things you could have done but were too afraid to do.

Wanderlust, nourish that adventurous spirit! Enjoy sunrises, thunderstorms, blizzards, blissfully bluebird skies, and sunsets on a constantly changing horizon.

Mountain Mama

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  • A view from the other side! I’m 54 and I sit behind a desk and stare at a screen. I don’t hate the job and I do love the city (DC). My desk / screen job has afforded me the option to take some great adventures. I’m halfway through the AT. I’m an open boat class III whitewater lover. Sales is a tough gig if you are not a salesman. Unfortunately selling outdoor gear is still sales. Stores buy what sells and you have to sell it to them. So if at this point you are willing to live out of your car and drive 10s of thousands of miles a year to make sales then go for it. I’ve done it and it did not kill me but the miles got old. I don’t want to sound like your Dad but finish school. It’s a lot tougher after you get the car payment and the mortgage. Become a gear tester first if gear is your passion. After 30 years in the workforce I know the “Great Oppurtunity” will not be the last one that comes your way.

    Mark Wray   26 Mar 13, 11:48 am

  • Seriously? It’s your life. You shouldn’t still be leaching off of your parents anyway, so why let them control you with their money. Do what you want. Listen to their counsel, of course, but you shouldn’t even be considering taking their money any longer. If you’re in you mid 20’s it’s time to make YOUR life. You’ll also do a lot better in college eventually if you pay for it. You’ll be sitting in class every session if it’s YOUR money that’s invested in the education.

    Matt Gilliam   25 Mar 13, 3:29 pm

  • Know, too, that your parents are speaking from THEIR fear. If you don’t follow their “right” path, they fear you will fail, which might reflect poorly on them. Love them, honor them, and still follow YOUR path. If your gut says to take this opportunity, do it. Explain to your folks this is your decision and you want their support, but will go ahead and do this even if it means they “cut you off.” And frankly, college is NEVER a now or never event. It might be the only opportunity for you to go on your parents’ dime, but you can always go back to school. I didn’t finish my bachelor’s until I turned 30. And it was the RIGHT decision for ME. Go, Wanderlust, and do what makes your heart sing!

    Angie Mattson   25 Mar 13, 11:11 am

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