Betting the Trifecta


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Julie enjoying her garlic bread at the Mt. Rogers Visitor Center on the AT

Being from Cincinnati, with my mom’s side of the family being from Kentucky, I made several trips as a middle-schooler to the Kentucky Derby. To me, it meant dressing up, seeing my Mammaw (translation: Grandma), seeing other Aunts, Uncles and cousins, and eating lots of carrot cake at the buffet. To my mom, it meant me getting a second use out of that new Easter dress, seeing her side of the family, and possibly winning money. I always brought a little of my savings for placing my own bets, never understanding why I couldn’t actually place my bets with the tellers at the windows. Who said 12 year-olds couldn’t pick a winning horse? The only time I won anything of significance was when I picked the Derby winner and won $120; at that age, I thought I was set for life with that kind of money.

It has been years since I have been to the Kentucky Derby, but I still remember the thrill I felt during the races, never knowing the outcome until the last second, and hoping I would win big and make my mom and Mammaw proud. These days, I don’t do much betting, but as a tip of my (very fancy) hat to the Kentucky Derby that is quickly approaching, I’d like to introduce a revised life plan for myself, which I like to call the trifecta.

In horse racing, betting the trifecta means picking the first, second, and third place horses in a race. There are a few ways to bet the trifecta, with each type consisting of different combinations of the horses, different costs of the bets, and different payouts. While my plan isn’t that detailed, dealing with math and odds, it does consist of three main focuses.

As you may know, I was recently pursuing the career of a CPA. This meant going to school this summer at the University of Washington, studying for 6 months for the 4 part exam, and taking the exam in the fall. Well, that’s not going to happen. At least not now. After studying for just two weeks, I realized that it was going to take much more time and energy than expected and that I was willing to dedicate. I originally chose this path because I had enjoyed accounting in college and previous career roles, but I underestimated the breadth and depth of CPA knowledge and how to get to that knowledge. For all the CPAs out there, hats off to you because that is not any easy accomplishment. I knew I was ready to revise my plan when I asked myself, “What do I like to do?” I answered, “I like running and long-distance hiking, and writing about it.” So that is what pointed me in a new direction. As for the trifecta, here is what I’ll now be focusing on:

Books – This part of the plan involves both the marketing of The Trail Life and the writing of a new book on the Appalachian Trail. I’m really excited about both parts of this plan, as I’ve had great feedback on the current book, and am looking to expose more readers to it. I’m also really excited to start writing about the AT hike, as lately the ideas and stories have been forming and just begging me to write them down. I won’t go into great detail of the exact actions we’ll be taking regarding the marketing, or the content of the AT book, but they will definitely be a huge priority for me. I’ve already been brainstorming and outlining the new AT book, and am excited to write it, because it will be a completely different format, content, and theme, among other things, from The Trail Life. There will be more to come on both of these books.

Work– Since I won’t be attending school full-time anymore, that leaves time to join the workforce and start earning money again. While the books take first priority, I’ll still have time for at least part-time work, preferably in the outdoor industry, in an effort to keep the passions aligned. Seattle is the perfect place to do that, so I’m equally excited about this piece of the puzzle not only because we will be in the Pacific Northwest again, but because I will hopefully be able to combine work and passion, a real rarity.

Learning – Yes, I said I won’t be going to UW anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be learning something new. Following suit of taking a complete 180 turn from CPA life, I’ll be acquiring knowledge and skills of Web development and Web design. They are fields I’ve always been interested in, but completely intimidated by (ie. I’m a PC, not a Mac). They are also fields that don’t require the likes of a degree and exam, and then, boom, you’re a web developer. These fields take tons of knowledge, skills and experience, but there are many more avenues to learn it other than just sitting in a classroom, so I will be trying the self-taught avenue, with the help of our good friends, Steve and Rocketcop, who already are web developers and designers. This avenue can also hopefully lead to another career path down the road.

So there is the new life plan for me. As with all betting, risk is inherent and parts of the plan or the whole thing could fail to amount to any success. But, I’m following my instincts with this decision and going with what I truly enjoy to do rather than what I think I should do. We’ll see how it all unfolds, and will keep you updated, especially on the book news. As with most life choices and adventures, I have Matt and my family to thank for helping me come up with these new plans, and for supporting me the whole way.

I’ve picked my horses, so now let’s watch them run.

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