Currently living/working: Definitely in a topsy-turvy phase where Justin and I are passing ships. Justin is guiding for Traverse Alaska pretty much 5 days a week, and when he has off, he’s working through ongoing gear reviews, helping clean the yurt, eyeballing our long list of summer projects or trying to fit in a game of golf. Meanwhile, I’m still cleaning 4 airbnbs for other people, managing our own yurt airbnb, writing of course, and I’ve led three trips for Traverse in June. I love guiding!!! I never realized I would, although I couldn’t do it as much as Justin does. I’ll stick with my balance of introverted cleaning/writing and extroverted guiding.
Current mood: Summer is awesome—albeit complete chaos. The sun kind of putters around the edge of the horizon, never setting. This midnight sun puts us in overdrive with relentless energy—working a lot and playing a little—on wisps of sleep. Weeks pass, blurred. This is summer in the Last Frontier, and we love it.
Current guilty pleasure: Of course I have to say it’s the eating out at all our seasonal restaurants. My family was just visiting (blog post coming!!!), and I made the executive decision that we would eat out every dinner so I wouldn’t have to plan a menu for so many different dietary restrictions.
Currently worried about: June continued the weather patterns of warm (today was 80 degrees!) and dry. Between June 20-21, there were 56 lightening strikes within a 40-mile radius (according to my personal weather station). Unfortunately, one of those triggered a wildfire nearby, which has now grown to 23,000 acres, evacuated a bunch of folks and caused a tsunami of smoke in surrounding our area. Scary stuff!!
Currently proud of: Both Justin & I have some recent bylines that have us pumped, mainly because they are with new-to-us media outlets.
For example, I successfully pitched Adventure.com for this travel essay, “The Curious Case of Harry Shick’s Backyard Cave.” I enjoy that narrative travel writing so much, and felt buoyed by the first assignment, so I pitched them a second idea and … they accepted!
Currently not excited for: We’ve been constantly wearing a line of “buzzing” clothing that you can only find in Alaska. Seriously, the mosquitoes are terrible this year, and I don’t see the end in sight. It’s especially annoying when they get inside and we hear them around our head in the night.
Currently amazed by: Wildlife & wildflowers! We see moose pretty much every day in our neighborhood during the summer, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them. Such amazing creatures.
Currently excited for: Since we’ve made Healy (Denali Borough) our home, Justin and I both have been saying we want to get more involved with the community. The borough just formed a “Trails & Outdoor Recreation Planning Committee” (TORC), so we both applied for a spot. There were 17 applicants, and 9 spots. Much to our surprise, the borough chose me over Justin! I’m stoked to be part of something big in our community, especially since it revolves around outdoor recreation.
Current confession/Currently regretting: After 3 years, we finally hired someone to put a railing on our deck. Even though the railing is beautiful, we both really didn’t want to put one on to obstruct our views. But the 9-foot drop off the deck was extremely daunting and we got tired of saying to everyone who visited, “Watch yourself! Please don’t fall off the edge.”
Currently reading: A bibliophile friend lent me The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Valliant. This is a classic case of the book cover description sounding way better than the book itself. With that being said, my friend loved it, so it’s probably just me. Though I completed it, I felt like the words on the pages were not registering with me and I couldn’t make sense of the story. I passed it onto another friend, so the verdict is still out on whether I’m an idiot or not.
I did an author swap with a fellow Atmosphere Press author (Sue Marko) because I was genuinely interested in the topic. As a B&B owner for 14 years, Sue has plenty of stories to recant in To B&B or Not To B&B: Deromanticizing the Dream. There was a time in our life when Justin & I dreamed of owning our own B&B, and I remember a friend saying, “you should really try to manage one before jumping in.” Best advice ever. As Sue alludes to in her book, humans are disgusting, irresponsible and entitled, and it takes a certain person to wait on them hand and foot 24 hours/day. I don’t mind doing the Airbnb thing, but not full-on servitude. Sue had her hands full, but was dedicated and persevered through it all, and her book is a TELL ALL THE DIRTY DETAILS!!
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: Aint no one got time for streaming in the summer!