Currently living/working in: We are happily in Alaska, where winter is in full swing. Work is busy! And by work, I mean the multiple projects/jobs we are juggling. In fact, I feel like this deserves a list-type snapshot with some of the bigger, more pressing deadlines (actually helps me see the big picture too!)
Backpacker Magazine: We’re at the end of the Spring Gear Guide 2021 testing cycle, which means Justin & I collected feedback on food, poles & knives, and will be culling through all of that to write reviews on the best in each category due in November. We are also handling the online Holiday Gift Guides for Backpacker, which means we have about 100 products we (Justin mainly) picked with photos & will have to write up (Patrice mainly) within the next few weeks.
SNEWS: We have been lucky enough to be assigned The Voice 50 project again, meaning we’ve started collecting submissions for fall/winter 2021 products to tease outdoor retailers and will pick the top 50 (when we did it this spring, we had more than 300 submissions!).
Leave No Trace: This is our main bread and butter right now, but our contract ends 11/22. In the meantime, we’ve been pumping out blogs, Instagram content and webinars. I’m sharing some links so you can watch us be goofy, while passing on useful information.
Currently proud of: HAVE I MENTIONED I AUTHORED A BOOK??? We pretty much kept it a secret for months, not wanting to jinx anything and get all our ducks in row first. So it was a good kind of secret, but now that it’s out, I’m shouting loud and proud!!!! And the work behind the scenes for the book is … a lot.
Current mood: With all the above, I feel like we are officially treading water in a hurricane! Justin, who normally is unaffected by our to-do lists, is even feeling a bit stressed. But, we appreciate the plethora of work these next few months, because we know the reality of #FreelanceFeastOrFamine.
Currently not excited about: We are in the minuses! And darkness! We had forgotten what it was like to have to layer up like the kid in The Christmas Story to go to the bathroom, have your fingers stop working in the frigid temps and not see the sun (we still see it, but soon, it won’t rise above our mountains until the end of January.)
Currently excited about: On the other hand, we do love WINTER! It pretty much has been snowing for the past 2 weeks, so it constantly looks like a Jack London novel out our windows. The endless dusk and alpenglow on the mountains, the auroras, it’s all so gorgeous. And of course, XC skiing and snowshoeing right out our front door!
Currently thankful for: We have tons of talented, skilled & supportive friends and I am so grateful. Between podcasters, photographers and web designers, it’s been great to tap into friend resources instead of hiring strangers! And, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the people spreading the word about the book, plus the gear companies that jumped on board to promote pre-sales with enticing prizes.
Current confession: Now that we’ve been settled here at the cabin for a year, I WANT A CAT. And not just any cat, but an adventure cat (ex: our friend Sarah’s Kitty McMeow is a good example). My cat craving has never been so strong. I miss our adventure cat Mrs. Gibbles from our Fenton Ranch caretaking gig in New Mexico (I get reports about her, and she is doing great!). But, it’s not the right time for us to get a cat …
Currently amazed by: I have a love-hate relationship with learning new things, especially when it comes to technology. Who doesn’t??? It certainly feels good when you do the work to get the thing, and I feel like Justin & I have both challenged ourselves in the last few months to do just that (still are).
Currently regretting: Projects. This word simultaneously prompts glee and fear in me … glee for the new, but fear because there are projects within projects within projects within projects. We did a lot of cabin projects this summer. And as with anything in Alaska, everything is just a tad more difficult. Case in point, we are having well drama (I actually need to do a whole separate post about our updated well). We think the problem has something to do with the flux capacitor that keeps shorting out (it’s of course not a flux capacitor, but it’s way over my head to explain). There are no electricians in Healy, so that makes it even harder. And now that the snow and cold is upon us, we’re sort of stuck!
Current guilty pleasure: Out of medical necessity for Justin, we went dairy-free in 2016. It was hard mainly because we loved cheese. Slowly with the help of others who were dairy-free or vegan, we discovered that “fake” cheese has come a long way. Supplies ebb and flow here in Alaska, but during last month’s Fairbanks shopping trip, we found quite the variety!
Currently worried about: We have so much to figure out for 2021—health insurance, doctor appts, car, our camper van, Internet, cell phones, travel, jobs, taxes, WFR recertification. I am trying not to think too far ahead because it is a bit overwhelming. One task at a time!
Currently reading: I read 3 books this month! The best was Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail by Barney Scout Mann. Clearly, trail memoirs are my kind of book. Barney did a unique storytelling thing in this one. These are the stories of 6 different PCT hikers in 2007. Of course I want to hike the PCT even more now! My neighbor gifted me the second book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart. This book made me think about personal ethics and choices when it comes to the 3Rs, and frankly, it made me feel like we are all doomed. I’ve actually been reading the last book, Primal: Why We Long to Be Wild and Free by Nate Summers, for a few months, and finally forced myself to finish it this month. I just didn’t enjoy the writing style much.
Currently watching on Netflix: We just finished the 9-episode series,The Haunting of Bly Manor. It is set in the 1980s, and involves all sorts of ghosts and surprises when it finally ties together in the end. It really freaked us out. But more than the ghost story, there’s love stories and human suffering, so a good plot to boot!