Health and Wellbeing

Journey to Alaska: My Story

It’s been a lifelong journey to Alaska. Only in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be living here, or that I would have had the opportunities I’ve had to explore the world around me in so many different places. It’s humbling and I’m extremely grateful for the life I’ve experienced…both the good and the bad.

Because I do write about myself and my family so much, I wanted to write a post that would allow you to get to know me a little bit better and what has occurred to land us here in Alaska.

THE PAST

I love adventure and it started when I was young! I was born and raised in Utah, USA where life was all about the outdoors and playing in it. I reveled in waterskiing, snowskiing, camping, hiking, boating, and fishing.

The older I got, the bigger the adventures got. In college, I guided river trips on the Colorado and Green Rivers, planted trees in Yellowstone Park and taught skiing at Sundance Resort in Utah.

Marriage and kids came along, but didn’t slow me down too much. The only difference was the horizons were broader, and the group of adventurers got much bigger.

Together, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 23 islands in the Caribbean, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Alaska, 4 islands in Hawaii, and 19 states in the lower 48 good ol’ USA.

We’ve also moved around a bit to check out places we wanted to experience on a deeper level.  As a family, we’ve had the privilege to live near the coasts of Oregon, at the base of the Tetons in Idaho, by the beaches of Hawaii, in the amazing Utah playground, and surrounded by the desert and Grand Canyon in Arizona.

For me, I found the passion of a lifetime when I became scuba certified in 2000. Loved it, Lived it, and Breathed it! I went on to become a SSI divemaster and Jeff plus 3 1/2 of my kids are also certified.

Diving a great family activity and prompted our move to Hawaii. (Yes there’s scuba diving in Alaska and I’m really looking forward to it…It’s a whole new frontier!)

My other favorite passtime is skiing. With five kids, skiing was expensive so I also taught skiing at Grand Targhee near Jackson Hole, Wyoming for 10 years to get the free family pass.  Many good times were spent on the slopes.

It’s been a BIG LIFE and I feel blessed I’ve gotten to live it! We’ve worked in, lived in, played in and traveled to some amazing destinations.

THE PRESENT

I am a Registered Dietitian by trade. From 2012-2015 my jobs have been in a Pediatric ICU and Pediatric oncology floor. I took the jobs because I love helping kids and really making a difference in their medical treatment. It’s been the pinnacle of my career. But, my biggest professional achievement contributed to the biggest change in me-for the worse.

Because I saw such intense heartbreak, suffering, and death, a piece of me feels like it has been lost. As a mother, seeing a child’s loss of innocence and chance to live life fully brought my spirit down to despair. To survive the atmosphere my senses were dulled.

Add in some personal and family struggles with a mini mid-life crisis and joy, wonder, and beauty were difficult things to find. A life of adventure had slowed down to a crawl.

I totally buy the full on mid-life deal where you slap yourself in the face, beat yourself up for what you can’t change in the past, wonder if the best is over now, and kind of fear the future. I felt like I was chasing the years of my life, squeezing out the wonderful memories with my regrets.

Some people told me that’s exactly where I needed to be, that I’ve been too much of a dreamer and a wanderer, but I firmly believe that for people like me, it is the core of your very being. Without it, a portion of you ceases to exist. Something had to change, because this wasn’t me.

My husband Jeff wanted to make one last career move which I was agreeable to do. I needed something different. So we decided to go to the biggest, baddest place we’ve both always wanted to live:

Flying into Anchorage, my eyes started to really open for the first time in several years. I stepped off the plane and my jaw dropped even though I’ve been here before. I can’t say why, but in that instant,I felt wonder.

My first morning here, I just sat and watched a little chickadee on the back porch. I could hear a moose call in the forrest, I could smell fresh rain, and I could see a glacier set on a pink tinged slope of the mountain range. My senses clicked back on and I actually felt at peace for the first time in a long time.

Here is a brand new playground! Alaska is so massive, wild and untamed on one side, but fragile, stunning, and silent on the other..and it’s just waiting to be explored. I feel like I’ve found myself again…and what an awesome feeling that is!

THE FUTURE

I don’t know what it holds…but I do know this, I’m ready for it. I want to write and share my adventures past, present and future. I’m excited to walk out the front door and find something amazing and inspiring everyday. I’m going to cherish nature, dive the dives, ski the slopes, catch the fish, run from the bears and moose and experience life elevated to adrenaline pumping levels again.

Life is too short to waste it! And I’m plunging head-first into the second half of my life, into my Last Frontier. Mistakes, injuries, trials, sorrow? Yes, I’ll likely have some more, no one get’s out of it on planet earth. But, I’m older and wiser, and in truth, you must know the bad to appreciate the good…that I’m sure of.

I’m excited to put down roots here and share our experiences with family and friends both old and new.  It has been quite the journey to Alaska and I pinch myself everyday I’m here.

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