From the Couch to the Mountain

Finding what moves you

It was the exposure that first captured me; the unsurpassed feeling of being completely and utterly afraid, suspended high above the ground, cold rock beneath your scraped fingers, locks of hair splayed sweatily across your face. It was the fear of falling, the fear of injury, and most of all the fear of failure. Your brain closes off when you are high up on the rock; your thought processes narrow as your synapses tingle and vibrate into an organized rhythm, your eyes become headlights searching for the road in front of you, and your whole body focuses. You think about nothing else but the rock. It is only survival, bravery, and determination that get you to the top.

Getting hooked to this feeling

I found rock climbing at a crossroads in my life. In late July of 2014, I had left my career and friends in Kentucky and returned home to the suburbs of St. Louis, MO to regroup. After a few visits and first experiences with traditional climbing in North Carolina, I was undeniably hooked. Like the majestic horses of the rolling bluegrass had once brought me to Kentucky, it was the addiction to climbing that brought me to North Carolina. I immediately found a 9-5 job in a veterinary hospital and took to the mountains every weekend to go climbing.

What climbing can teach you

Climbing can teach you more about yourself than most people want to know. It requires you to confront fear on a level that breaks down interior disguises. It does not allow you to hide behind your fears but rather forces you to manage them. It reveals your innermost emotions and tears away your predilections. You are left naked before the world and your mind. Rock climbing will humble you in the most primal way.

After a year of being a weekend warrior, my taste for the rock left me desiring more. I began to plan longer trips, camping out of my car and cooking freeze-dried meals over a JetBoil flame, traveling to remote places many people only dream of. Some of my favorite excursions included a weeklong tour of the Adirondacks in New York and repetitive visits down the gully trail to climb up out of the Amphitheater in Linville Gorge, NC. This was becoming a lifestyle. And one I could get used to.

Combining hobby and career

As a climber, you are often confronted with the term ‘dirtbag’. Now for me, a ‘dirtbag’ is a full-time climber that drives around the country, climbs full-time, and lives out of their van. There is always a means to an end if you have enough passion. Many of these ‘dirtbags’ hold temporary part-time jobs, work intensely between climbing seasons, or work remotely from wherever they are. With this in mind I began to develop a plan in which I could ‘dirtbag’ all on my own.

This brought me far into the world of telecommuting. As an avid writer and researcher, it did not take long before I had multiple ideas splashed across the foreground of my mind like a variety of brightly-lit restaurant signs boring their options into my skull. With a passion for technology and writing, I began to build a plan out of the loose blocks laid down before me.

I want to live the life I had always dreamed of. I want to work from home as a writer and be able to travel and climb across the world. Better yet, I want to be able to get paid to share these stories with you. My first step into telecommuting began earlier this very month of May. After hours of unpaid studying and a difficult three-part exam, I landed a part-time telecommute job with Leapforce as a Search Engine Evaluator. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed working for them and it has provided me with a starting point on which I am currently building my content writing platform.

Bottom line

Many people ask me if I am afraid. Career changes are scary. Walking into the unknown is terrifying. At the end of the day though, hard work and dedication conquer all fear. Climbing has taught me this. And I will live this motto through to fruition.

Eat. Sleep. Write. Climb. A simplistic life is the one most appreciated. Keep your life simple and hold your passions in the highest regard. I hope you continue to read this and join me on my journey from the couch to the mountains.


Read more on Amanda Ellis’ blog


Travel blogger, rock climber, and experienced digital nomad. I write, travel, and climb to inspire a revolution in others to get outdoors and live more passionate lives.

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