I backpack. Camp. Hike. Wheel (as in, drive off road in a 4-wheel-drive.) And now, canoe. Point being, I like to go outside. And while outside, I like to wander off to places where there are no roads, no people, no electricity, and no showers. Preferably for days at a time.
I imagine that many of you are awestruck at the very notion. You may even be muttering something along the lines of, "OMG! That's my exact idea of hell!" And you can sure as heck imagine that's what I hear from most of my clients!
My clients patiently work with me as I try to get them all rescheduled around my backpacking plans. They politely chitchat with me about my upcoming adventure, and inevitably, several of them will ask me questions like, "So when you go backpacking, do you stay in a campground?" or "So is this like at a hotel or something?" Or maybe, "But you have a trailer or something so you can take a shower, right?"
Ummm. No. My idea of a vacation is to basically do the exact opposite of what I do at work. Which often strikes me as odd, seeing as how I often consider work-related things "vacation." But I chalk that all up to my eclectic and fascinatingly eccentric personality and just pretend it's not weird at all.
But more about backpacking! Sometimes it irritates me, but most times it amuses me (depending on my mood) that I almost always have to explain the details of backpacking and how it differs from camping. And how "camping" in my book differs from "camping" according to my clients! Essentially, backpacking requires putting everything you'll need for the trip into a sack, putting the sack on your back, and then locking the car and walking away from it. No, there are no showers. No toilets. No hairdryers ... And sometimes there are bears. And while what I do in my spare time is the exact opposite of what I do at work, it's also the exact opposite of what I want my clients to do in their spare time.
I want my clients to sit at home with their feet up and their hands in the air, eating bonbons and having all their needs attended to by fairies — or maybe small elves. I want the most stressful thing they do to be driving their car to the store or meeting their girlfriends for lunch, where they spend their time comparing nails and talking about how awesome their nail-lady is (because, naturally, I should be doing all their nails!), even if she is kinda strange.
I certainly do not want them trekking across the Sierra carrying 30 pounds of gear on their backs and trying to put together a miniature camp stove two or three times a day while fending off bears with a hiking pole! That is definitely not in my "care and feeding " instructions for their impeccable enhancements.
This is one of those instances where I am willing to live these adventures so that my clients don't have to! I wonder if that makes my gear tax-deductible?