Currently living/working in: As I said, we purposely planned to have a lighter workload while at our cabin in Alaska, instead focusing on other non-paying projects and goals. And yet, we still ended up with a few paying gigs! I completed my first 2 articles for REI and Justin worked on the Valentine’s Gift Guide for Backpacker (will add links when those articles post). Another off-the-wall “job” we had this month: bunny sitting. We took care of a neighbor’s 3 bunnies & 1 cat for 7 days. Currently, we are in Denver for a week, mainly to attend Outdoor Retailer, but also for doctors appointments, vitamin D and 60-degree temps. After we finish up here in Denver, we are making a 3-day pitstop in Sausilito, CA, to give a presentation about the zero landfill work we’ve done. Then back to our beloved cabin in Alaska!
Current mood: Balanced!
Currently worried about: We’ve been doing a good job budgeting, given the fact that we are still owed so much money from freelance projects and are missing that steady paycheck from Leave No Trace since we are not currently on a contract with them. There are still a few months with more of the same, but we feel we are managing our money wisely. Funds may be low, but stoke is high!
Currently excited about: And with that being said, we are lining up future work, which has us elated and intrigued. Details TBD.
Currently amazed by: I’ve enjoyed chronicling our first winter in Alaska, but I still can’t get over how much we genuinely love it. We’ve set our limit for outdoor recreation at -10, and discovered a surprising amount of indoor recreation in small-town Healy to fill a social calendar, such as Friday trivia nights at the Totem (Justin even filled in as trivia MC one night!).
Current confession: Have I made it clear how much we are loving Alaska in the winter? And owning a cabin in Alaska in general? No regrets in buying our tiny haven at all. In fact, we hope to buy more in Alaska down the line …
Currently thankful for: After I calculated that Justin flew 35 times last year and I flew 24 in 2019, I decided I wanted to learn a little more about those carbon footprint offset programs out there. I went to a panel sponsored by The North Face at Outdoor Retailer this week, and TNF was offering a coupon code to offset everyone’s carbon, so I gave it a go. If you are wondering how they work, you use a site (https://protectourwinters.org/cost-of-carbon for example) to calculate how much carbon emissions you created by flying. Justin & I each created 1,421 lbs of carbon flying roundtrip from Fairbanks AK to Denver for Outdoor Retailer. The carbon footprint is calculated into dollars (ours was $9.33), then you make a donation for that amount (or more) to one of the different environmental programs (I chose 2 programs benefitting improved forest management – thanks to The North Face!). I think the bottom line is these kinds of programs help, but are obviously not the end-all solution.
Currently proud of: Justin makes fun of me for my neurotic menu planning and grocery shopping. I convince him it helps me mentally implode less if I have ingredients planned and options lined up, especially living in a remote area with slim grocery pickings (we tend to do our big grocery shopping in Fairbanks, 2 hours north, but do have a grocery store in Healy for supplements). And we typically buy only the ingredients we need for the menu (yes, I realize how very neurotic this is. I frame it as budget-conscious). Anyway, it works for us. We spent 30 days at our cabin, and my precise menu planning provided us with 17 unique meals—which is saying a lot given Justin’s dietary restrictions (chicken 17 different ways?!?!).
Currently not excited about: It already happened, but we were NOT excited about dental work both of us had to get done this week in Denver. It’s actually been a few years since we had to have anything done—and knock on wood, no new cavities. I had a failed filling and Justin had a failed crown that needed extracting. Now I can gladly say we survived! (Fun question from Healy’s trivia night: the adult mouth is supposed to have 34 teeth. I definitely do not have 34 teeth).
Current guilty pleasure: Rabbit ears antenna! We’ve done pretty well over the years of remote living with the old-fashioned antennas/scanners. We’re not TV people, but we do like to watch football. When we lived in New Mexico, we were able to get Fox & a choppy NBC on a good day. In Alaska, our cabin’s previous owners left a TV antenna, and miraculously, CBS & NBC came in pretty consistently for the remainder of football season. Of course, there’s always the local bar, which is actually becoming a regular hangout for us!
Currently reading: I read THREE books this month! And Justin read 1.5! I think a record for both of us. Chalk it up to darkness & early nights … More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Alaska Women was a short & easy read, and I definitely feel inadequate after reading about these badasses. Then came The Hard Way Home: Alaska Stories of Adventure, Friendship and the Hunt by Steve Kahn, who actually saved us from what could have been a dangerous kayaking trip on Lake Clark this past summer. His book broadened my scope of the Alaskan Way. And I just finished The Sharp End of Life by Diedre Wolowick, who is Alex Honnold’s mom. It was interesting to hear her perspective of his pursuits (Alex is the infamous free soloist climber from the movie Free Solo). Justin’s big read was The Great Alone, which I read last year and loved.
Currently watching on Netflix: We download Netflix movies when we have good WiFi & have had a string of good ones!! K-19: The Widowmaker, Last Breath, The Irishman, 6 Underground, Inside Man: Most Wanted and Blood Money to name a few!!