Four years I lived in Mt.Laurel, NJ. Climbing, to me, was just a hobby. I would climb three days a week if I felt like it, and would occasionally go climbing outside on the weekends. The closest bouldering was 1.5 hours away in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. We also had the Gunks three hours away, which hosted world class bouldering and trad climbing, and that was my first real taste of what a climbing area should be. After taking a few trips to the Gunks, I realized I wouldn't be calling New Jersey home for much longer.
Let's fast forward four years. I now live in Boulder, CO. Climbing is now a way of life! Everything I do revolves around climbing and figuring out how I can climb as much as possible. I've gotten excellent at that.
In an average week, I boulder three to five days a week outside, while maintaining a full-time courier position at FedEx Express for the past seven years. You might be thinking to yourself, "But I work full time, and I can only get out on the weekends. How is that even possible?!?!" Well, I'm going to explain how it's doable in a three-step process!
Step One: Become passionate about something you love to do.
For these three steps to work, you need to find something you’re passionate about. Climbing quickly went from a "once in a while hobby" to not being able to think about anything other than that. At that point in my life, I knew I had to change some things around in my life to take climbing from a hobby to a life long passion.
Step Two: Live in a place where climbing is abundant and readily available.
I realized that residing in New Jersey and having to drive 1.5 hrs to the closest crag was not what I wanted to do! So instead of just staying in NJ and driving three hours round trip to the nearest climbing day after day, I came up with a plan to move to a location that has a ton of climbing readily available.
After many months of planning I decided on Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a beautiful mountain town at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Instead of having to travel at least 3 hrs round trip for some good climbing I was now ten mins to the closest climbing areas and a short trip to some of the most recognized world-class bouldering areas.
Step Three: Get a job that works for your lifestyle.
I have been working for FedEx Express for the past seven years. When I first moved to Colorado, I was already working for FedEx for three years back in New Jersey as a part-time courier. Luckily, since FedEx is a nationwide company, it was easy to transfer out to a Colorado location with ease.
When I first moved out to Colorado, I was a part-time courier working Monday - Friday 3pm-8pm. This schedule used to work for a while, however, since Boulder is a pretty expensive town to live in, I needed to go full-time to make more money to pay my bills. I applied for a full-time swing driver position, which is a driver that covers other people's routes when they are on vacation or when there is a sick call. As a swing driver, I can switch up my work schedule during the week to be able to get out at noon any day. With this type of flexible schedule, I can climb as much as humanly possible.
Now I know not everyone's passion involves moving your whole life to another state across the country, but mine did. Maybe in the years to come, I will move on from climbing, and at that point, I'll have to start all over again at Step One.
Jeremy Fullerton is a Butora athlete residing in Boulder, CO. Follow him on Instagram @jeremy_fullerton.