This was a piece a wrote last spring that I forgot about. The message is still relevant however the information about our living situation is a little dated. Enjoy.
I was climbing in Moe’s Valley for most of last march, that place is so fun especially after spending a month in bishop. Moe’s has feet everywhere and the movement is quite gymnastic rather than being tenuous and delicate. I met tons of awesome people whose life experience varied as much as the vehicles they were sleeping in. Lots of people threw around the term “dirtbag” to describe themselves; whether they called themselves that, to shirts and hats, I even saw a dirtbag tattoo. So, I wondered how many of these people were living on the road and climbing full time? What I found most often is that they were down for a couple of days and then heading back to where ever they were from, some were on the road for a couple of weeks or even a few months. And I did meet some people that were in the vehicle full time making it work. This is making me wonder if dirtbagging is dead. I live out of a truck, I have a smart phone so that I can spray on Instagram; also, I’ve got a computer and I go to an overpriced coffee shop in order to write and post my blog. As a self-proclaimed dirtbag I pride myself on my thriftiness, to me every day I don’t spend money is another day that I don’t have to work. Which is the goal for me to live simply and recreate a ton. A dirtbag to me is someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to live their dream. But is that really what dirtbagging is all about? I think sometimes it can be, but not all the time perhaps not even most of the time. Don’t get me wrong when I get done running a trip and my bank account is flush in the summer time, life is good. That’s not always the case; right now, I’m not working and looking for a job and living in a parking lot in Salt Lake City. This is not glamorous and I wouldn’t hashtag my pictures blessed. Amy’s car broke down the other day and we both have to pay our taxes, I could tell that she was anxious so I asked her “how are you.” She mentioned her financial insecurity and I reminded her that this is dirtbagging. The struggle and the discomfort are what makes life so rich and wonderful and I wouldn’t change my experience for anything because without fear how do we find joy? As I write this I think that maybe dirtbagging has just changed rather than gone extinct we’ve traded in the Toyota truck for the Sprinter van, we have to pay for camping in almost all climbing area, we focus on our macro nutrients rather than what could be found in a dumpster, and lest we forget Instagram. It’s not the “golden age” of climbing anymore you can’t go to Yosemite with a trunk full of dented cat food cans and live for a summer, but you can still find some tasty treats in a dumpster.