Sunday, December 20, 2009

Initial Thoughts from the Lower 48

This past week, I received the incredible news of getting a job in Alaska. I have wanted to visit this beautiful place for many years now and in a few months, I will be lucky enough to call it my home. I will be a leader with the Serve Alaska Youth Corps and will live in a tent for 5 months doing conservation projects with youth. I will start in Juneau for 2 months training and then travel around wherever our projects take us.

With any new adventure and phase of life, there are lots of mixed emotions. When you look forward to something new, there comes with it many things you must say goodbye to. Here are some things on my mind as I ponder my future in Alaska.

Super Excited About:
*Not just visiting Alaska, but living there and experiencing it
*Working outside all day every day
*Making my favorite tent my home
*Working with youth and hopefully becoming a mentor and role model for them
*Training: Wilderness First Responder, Leadership, Outdoor Skills, Chainsaw operation
*Conserving the beautiful land that I have so often enjoyed for myself and helping others be able to enjoy it in sustainable ways
*Meeting new outdoor loving, hard working, passionate people
*Improving my outdoor cooking skills
*Being away from tv’s, computers, cell phones, billboards, traffic, tall buildings
*Having the chance to ride in a bush plane (Fingers crossed)
*Not just staying in one place but getting to travel around to many different places in the state
*Doing a variety of work (trail building and maintenance, invasive species removal, road safety work)
*Communicating with others primarily through letters- I LOVE snail mail!
*Wearing Carharts every single day (I’ve wanted a pair since high school but could never get myself to pay so much money for a pair of pants- now I have to! :))
*The ratio of leaders to youth: 2 co-leaders and a field educator to about 6 kids. Great opportunity for building deep relationships with everyone on the crew.
*Learning about Alaska’s history and culture
*Experiencing the 20 hours of sunlight in the summer!
*Not showering for days, maybe weeks with no one to tell me that’s gross
*Learning so so much about the environment, others, and myself
*Seeing new wildlife, plant life, mountain ranges, rivers, glaciers

Not so thrilled about:
*Being very far away from friends and family with much less contact than I’m used to
*Adding on to the time that Craig and I will be long distance
*Spending hundreds of dollars on new gear and transport to Alaska
*I’m afraid of bear attacks, and I hear the moose are even worse

*The mosquitos
*Getting blisters on my feet: it’s inevitable with my long toes. :(
*The rain (I start in Juneau for 2 months training and apparently it rains there A LOT!)
*Having much less freedom than I’m used to.
*Not being able to play fiddle or mandolin for a REALLY long time
*The danger of chainsaws
*Not really having an escape if I need some time to myself.