This week I’m celebrating my one year being in Alaska – or what I like to call, my Alaskaversary. I remember the exhilaration that swept over me last year when I stepped foot for the first time on Alaska soil in Hyder, Alaska. I remember thinking – did I really just do that? Did I really just road trip all the way from Arizona to Alaska all by myself? In that moment, I knew with absolute certainly that there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish in this world.
I left Phoenix on 4/10/14 and arrived in Alaska on 5/30/14
I knew that Alaska would change me. I also knew that I was meant to learn huge life lessons here, find the love of my life, and find a life that I was in love with. I knew those three things to be true with every fiber of my being. Sometimes, I would tap my foot because I was getting just a tad bit impatient waiting. All three happened, just not necessarily in the time frame that I thought they would.
There have been tears and struggles this past year. There has been pain and disappointment in people and in myself. The self-realization of what I viewed as my faults and how I work was eye opening to me. It has helped me to become a better version of myself. I was told recently that I know myself very well. That I do, I spend a lot of time in self-reflection and deep thought.
Something that I wasn’t expecting was the whole lotta love shown to me here.
One of the biggest gifts Alaska gave me were a few friendships that helped me really open up and be present. When I first came to Alaska I was still reeling from what happened in San Francisco. I was living inside my head instead of living out in the world. I would go and sit out in Seward for hours wondering what my purpose in life was. That was by far the biggest question I couldn’t seem to find the answers to.A few weeks with friends in San Francisco on my way to Alaska.
I was so focused on what my life was like in the Lower 48 that I was missing out on living a life in Alaska. It wasn’t until the end of summer that I started to really make friends and relax into this laid back way of life.
I also knew at the end of the summer that I wanted to experience Alaska in the winter. I wasn’t ready to leave this place. My journey here wasn’t over. I was so scared of my first winter here, but she was gentle and eased me into this place where cold and snow are a way of life.
My writing took a turn and I started writing pieces that I was afraid of. I wrote about my divorce and having an emotional affair. I wrote about what it was like to be childless at 40 and feeling that the best years of my life were behind me. I let my soul grieve and find peace and then I let it find a new normal, a new kind of happiness.
My writing touched depths of me, opened me up, showed me my vulnerability, and healed me.
I will admit I was a bit boy crazy during the Winter months here. I went on a half a dozen dates that made good content for Dating Disasters (unintentional byproduct) but left me kind of depressed. About two months ago around my birthday, I let the idea of meeting a man in Alaska go. It wasn’t going to happen here. And it didn’t. A few weeks ago I reconnected with a friend from my past and I’m curious to see where that might go.
Everyone Wants to Know – What’s Next?
Well, I am about to start traveling again. I’m headed to New York for BlogHer’15 in July, I would like to go see my friends in San Francisco and maybe pop into Phoenix to see my family. In August, I will be back in Alaska until the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September. Then back to AK to enjoy the beautiful season of Fall in this land I love so much. I’m headed to Florida in October for TBEX and then going home for the Holidays. I’m hoping to make it across the pond at some point later this year. Mexico misses me and I want to spend some there as well – I am ghostly white and need a tan! I plan on coming back to Alaska in February or March.
What I learned about myself this past year in Alaska:
- People are watching me more than I ever knew. I thought I was on this solo journey and I have people all over the world watching and cheering me on. It feels good to have a support system.
- What I view as a weakness, other’s see as a great strength. This floors me. A lot.
- If I change my perspective just a bit, I can see things quite differently. This one still catches me off guard more than I like to admit.
- I don’t need anyone else in the world to make me happy – I can do that all on my own.
- If I can’t experience nature a few times a week, I get just a tad bit bitchy. Just a tad, though!
- Friends will show up and be present when you weren’t aware that you truly need them.
- I need to feel as if I am part of a community. I’ve been actively working on becoming a better ambassador of the Alaska beers I love so much. I’ve also been working with a group of Alaska bloggers. And personally, I reach out to actively see my friends. Everyone is so dang busy that it is hard at times, but that is no reason to not ask.
- I need more downtime than I used to. Not sure if it is because I’m getting older or what. But, damn a week of traveling means I need a couple days to recuperate!
- I have very few fears anymore. I know that I will be able to roll with just about anything sent my way. I’m constantly thinking of 2-3 different scenarios in case I am presented with certain obstacles.
- I’m still not ready to drive out of Alaska. It is a big state that still has SO much to explore. A year ago I would have moved to San Francisco in a heartbeat. Now, I’m thinking about becoming a nomadic snowbird. 🙂
- I’m more of an introvert than I really ever knew. Very introspective, empathetic, and always wanting to help others.
- I would be happy with having a cabin in Alaska on a permanent basis.
- I’m addicted to Taco Bell bean burritos without onions
- Every word of this statement came true: I also knew that I was meant to learn huge life lessons here, find the love of my life, and find a life that I was in love with.
Over this last year, what have you noticed about my year in Alaska or what experience have you wanted to know more about?
I wrote this post about that epic first day in Alaska. Grizzly bears, Taco Bell, and the most beautiful land I had ever seen. I made it to Seward that day – a nice, easy 12 hour drive. 🙂