Dear graduates: Start investing now. In your outdoor life.
This is no time to be practical. You’re 22, or maybe 32 (so you were on the 14-year plan, whatevs), and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Go climb hard, put down big tricks and ride miles of rocky trail while your body can still handle it — because pretty soon you’ll be old (Boulder old is 87 and bouldering V9, still skiing couloirs).
Shirk conventional responsibility for a while and make your graduation gifts maximize your outdoor life, using these five tips:
Use your graduation cash to settle into a permanent home in Boulder. And when I say home, I mean a tiny basement room in south Boulder so you have money left over to buy climbing gear and not work. Also, walk or ride your bike everywhere, live on store-brand Cap’n Crunch and say things like this to your folks: “I would’ve gone to the hospital when I broke my ankle trail running, but I can’t afford it.” They will send you money (which you’ll use for gear, not medical care), and technically, you didn’t have to ask.
If that permanent home in Boulder is still too pricey (or if your relatives were cheap and sent you a card but no check), invest in a tent. Woohoo, home is anywhere someone won’t kick you out, freeloader!
But winters up high are cold (and there’s nowhere good to camp in Boulder, except a friend’s backyard), so try a four-season tent. If you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, dog or glomming ex-roommate who can’t find a job, park a quasi-spacious, bomb-proof Hilleberg Nammatj 2 outside of Ned for a few winters.
Boulder voodoo economics for those of you who score a little more cash today: Buy a car/truck/van that will hold you and your kayaks/skis/bikes. Buy more kayaks/skis/bikes; wonder how they will fit in your car/truck/van. Buy another car/truck/fan and a scooter. Repeat until you buy a Prius.
If you’re one of the lucky grads who now has access to a trust fund (PS, fist-pumping trust-fund access in public is bad manners), some new toys to consider:
New mountain bike: Santa Cruz Blur LT Carbon with XTR components, SID fork, smug smile ($5,999).
New powder skis: DPS Lotus 138 Carbon, ($1,019).
New home in Aspen: Um, find a real estate agent yourself, trust-funder. I’m a working stiff who doesn’t have time to look up everything for you, #rollseyes.
Go see the world. Trek in Nepal, paddle a river in Africa, ride a bike to Ushuaia. Finding a job, moving back home and going to grad school because you don’t know what else to do — all of that can wait until you’ve seen the Matterhorn up close. So go. Now. Why are you still reading this?!?