It’s about time for some shaking up in my life. And the best way to stir up the dust is to force my hand.
It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally decided to cut back my hours at the hostel. I’ve been working a full-time, five day a week schedule for five years. I’ve worked at the hostel for twelve years, minus the year break for The Big Tour in 2011, most of it full time. It’s become a grind for the past few years, as my enthusiasm for the job dwindles. This is not a job designed for the long haul. There’s no room for advancement. I’ve stuck it out for way too long.
I’ve got other things that I want to do with my time, things for myself, both personally and professionally. Over the past five years, I’ve seen my art output dwindle to a trickle. I haven’t had enough time or energy to devote to my creative pursuits. I know others have been able to juggle a full time job with freelance work, but I haven’t been able to do that. It’s not just art. There are books I want to write or redo, like the Bike Touring Primer. I’ve got business ideas. These need time to nurture.
I have gotten sick of the schedule. For what felt like an eternity, I worked weekends. I managed to get some relief last year when I got Sundays off. But I still work Saturdays. And sometimes I have to work a Friday and/or Saturday night. Having Sunday off is nice, but a lot of things happen on Saturday. This is when people do things and go out on adventures. I grow tired of seeing everyone go off and do fun things for the weekend while I’m at work. Sure, sometimes I could convince other folks to camp on Sunday night, and thankfully Emee’s schedule is quite flexible. But after sacrificing my weekends for a decade, I’m being selfish and demanding them back.
And I really want to have something resembling a summer again, at least for the remainder of this one. The past couple years consisted of working too much during the summer while trying to squeeze things like bike tours into the crevasses that remained. Not being able to take a week off in the middle of the summer is a pain. Last year I could only take a week off in June and September. By September, the Northwest was pretty much on fire, so no bike tour.
On August 8 I cease being a full-time staff member here at the hostel. I’m going to take a little break so I can tour, then when I come back later in the month, I’m working part time with a schedule of up to three days a week, and no weekends (and that includes no Friday nights.)
Am I scared? Not really. I do have a few gigs on the way that will pay me okay, and my living expenses are pretty low for Portland 2018. I’m not going to starve or go broke by cutting out about 15 hours a week of work, though it may pinch a little. Instead, I’m thinking of the positives, like having full weekends to do what I want, either by myself or with others. I’ll have more time to devote to all the crazy ideas bashing around in my head. And eventually, hopefully, the fulfillment of my crazy ideas will mean I can leave the hostel for good…