Currently living/working: Most of you know we haven’t had “traditional” 9-5 jobs in years. Actually, a decade. We always make the claim that we sling a lot of mud at the wall to see what sticks. So even though we had no idea what our summer would entail, it turns out there’s a lot of mud sticking!! My brain works in lists, so here’s a snapshot of our current work.
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: Leave No Trace has been our bread and butter work since 2018, and while we are not working for them in the same capacity as previous summers (no travel, no in-person education), we are doing a small Zero Landfill curriculum-building project for them.
Cleaning Airbnbs: This was my idea. A few months ago, a neighbor asked if we were going to get any seasonal work in the Denali area this summer (side note, there’s a plethora of jobs this season and a shortage of workers). I blurted out, “I just want to clean toilets!” That’s right, I aspire to be a housekeeper. But to me, it’s the right kind of schedule (flexible, not too many hours per day) and I don’t need to deal with people. Justin & I are tag-teaming 4 properties right now, but it definitely is keeping us busy. And we love the family we work for!
Freelance Writing: We have our ongoing projects with Backpacker & Outside Business Journal, plus my first article should be out in Alaska Magazine this summer. The freelance bucket includes a project that has been going on all of 2021 for me, but I’ve yet to mention it. I’m editing a book about the history of Industrial Revolution/UCO (gear company) for a book release by Dec. 1, 2021, in time for the company’s 50-year anniversary. Probably a few other writing ventures I’m forgetting at the moment, but this bucket is pretty full & exciting!
Between Each Step: Remember I published a book??? Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike on New Zealand’s Te Araroa is still out there and I still market it from time to time (like right now … the paperback is on sale on Amazon and our site!). I’m also starting to do a few book club presentations and library programs, and those are really fun!
Traverse Alaska: Perhaps the biggest news is that Justin is pursuing a new career path (without me)! Traverse Alaska is a local family-owned company that acts as a do-it-all concierge for people visiting Alaska. You want to go rafting? Hiking? Backpacking? The staff will guide you on these various trips and now Justin is part of the team!! He’s done guiding in the past and loves sharing his love of Alaska with others, so it couldn’t be a more perfect fit.
Current mood: I always get a little scatterbrained when trying to keep track of multiple schedules and deadlines, so I do feel like I’ve been waking in the middle of the night in a panic because I forgot to write something on my to-do list. But it’s all good. Plus, it’s summer!! In Alaska!!
Currently proud of: I was hand-picked for the UCO/IR book-writing project, which was a huge honor. It’s sort of a different scope of work than I’ve done, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the work and definitely the team! We video chat every Tuesday, and they are just a fun bunch to work with.
Currently excited about: VISITORS! Jamie & Rachel (Justin’s sister & her wife) are coming to Alaska next week! So far, I think they will be our only guests this summer, and thank goodness we still have the van in our driveway that can act like our “guest cabin.” (Last year, we had friends stay in our shed when they were driving through.) But for those of you thinking you want to come to Alaska to visit us someday, don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere and you have time (unlike other places we’ve lived).
Currently not excited about: This already happened, but I had to get a new phone and I was so perturbed by the whole process. My iPhone 7 died April 28. We were on the road at the time, which wasn’t ideal. Apple thought it would be repairable. But 3 visits and several states later, it was not. Then I was using my old iPhone SE (generation 1) all through Canada (thank God Justin actually has his own phone these days!). And then my new iPhone SE (2nd generation) came in the mail in Alaska and I had all sorts of problems setting it up and losing contacts, but it’s all good now. I hate tech issues.
Current guilty pleasure: Endless nights on our deck. Our deck doubles the size of our cabin and we’ve already enjoyed quite a few beautiful dinners outside!
Currently worried about: We both have our Wilderness First Responder Certification, and it expires November 2021. The recertification courses are sparse around the country, partly because of Covid and the fact it has to be in person and hands-on. Well, it turns out there is ONE in all of Alaska, taking place in September. We plan to register the moment they open it, but nothing like cutting it close!
Current confession: The trailer we brought here from the lower 48 is still mostly full! We’ve sorted through many things and are poised to have a yard sale, but we still have a lot of stuff with no place to put it. So this trailer may serve as storage for longer than we hoped …
Currently amazed by: No chipped or cracked windshields and no flat tires while driving through Canada! I don’t think I mentioned in my last post that we got a flat tire in Ohio. It wasn’t really the tire, it was just that the valve to inflate came undone. And we have Good Sam, so there was no out-of-pocket cost for us. It was a tiny setback, but we’re just so grateful it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere Canada.
Currently thankful for: I’ve heard (and seen) gas prices going up and up, so I think last month’s road trip from CO to VA to NJ to AK had good timing. Although, the highest gas price we paid was $6 per gallon in Canada, so there’s that.
Currently regretting: There are only a few items that we donated in Danville and now are regretting. I think we just got on a roll with our purge, which is great. But why didn’t we bring that perfectly functioning Swifter mop and our margarita glasses? Who knows. Hopefully someone else is making good use of all the things!
Currently realizing: We recently got a reminder that life is too short when another friend lost his life doing what he loved: climbing. Bryan Kercher, one of Justin’s climbing partners from his Denali expedition in 2018, slipped while climbing on ice 1000 feet down a steep slope and sustained fatal injuries. He was 55. There have been 2 deaths on Denali this season, so that’s a little disconcerting as well. Climb safe everyone!
Currently reading: I finished Open Book by Jessica Simpson at the beginning May, and I just thought it was slow and didn’t enjoy the writing style. Then I finished a second book, A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski by Erin McKittrick, which I enjoyed much more. It is about a couple who takes the human-powered route along the coast of Alaska. Alaska is always going to give you a run for your money, and they certainly had wild adventures, all while thinking about conservation issues. It reminded me of The Sun is a Compass by Caroline Van Hermert, which I read in 2019. Additionally, Justin & I finished 2 books on CD, which distracted us for about 25 hours of our drive.
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/Apple TV/HBO Max: We tend to watch things less in the summer since it stays light out so late, but are back to watching Outlander (Netflix)—now on Season 3—and finished Mare of Eastwood (HBO Max). Also any Friends fans out there?? The Reunion on HBO Max was very enjoyable!!!
I want to get HBO/Max just for the Friends reunion and Mare!
Sounds like y’all are making it work up there in AK with jobs! I know y’all will probably want to road trip again eventually, but getting your foot in and settling into Alaska looks like it is going well! We will definitely be returning to AK at some point to visit! I didn’t get enough AK time! I also may have to subscribe to that Alaska magazine!
And if you haven’t unpacked your trailer yet you might not want the two books I’m going to send you today, one of which is one you let me borrow! LOL