Sunday, July 27, 2008

Remembering Alaska

Once again, is there a better blog entry than one taken straight from the journal? Probably not. So here it is. Written on the airplane as it took me home from my month long journey through Alaska (Pictures here).

July 15th, 2008

Done. Another chapter of my life gone like the wind. It breaks my heart to leave. And yet there is nothing here that I miss outside of the very lifestyle I got to live for such a short period of time. Drifting in and out of cities, out of homes, riding by the seat of my pants and meeting loving, caring people all along the way.

“When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”

-Chris McCandless

I wish I knew what made me tick. Adventure, people, service, love…I don’t know. I was thinking that I came up here looking for something, and for a short while I thought I had found it. Something within uncertainty and community, between struggle and passion, that’s where life is. I see it in my friends Jessie and Mitch up in Homer. They live paycheck to paycheck, with hardly any possessions, struggling to find money and work, and even housing, but they have security within their friends old and young. It’s amazing to see. I want that!

In the introduction of “What Is The What” the Lost Boy author says:

“This book is a form of struggle, and it keeps my spirit alive to struggle. To struggle is to strengthen my faith, my hope and my belief in humanity. Since you and I exist, together we can make a difference!”

-Valentino Achak Deng

Life has been too easy for me. My struggle has been to keep up with the Jones’s, and to continually fall above or below the mark as I measure my personal success. I’m done with it! I don’t want to pay for things with money, but with friendship. I want to rely on the generosity and good will of my friends; that is the true test of your good will. And above all that, I want to be a giver. To spend my money on others and limit my possessions to only what is given to me from others.

I need to go back and learn to entertain with food and song and not with television. As I look back, I stayed with five CouchSurfing hosts in Alaska, four of them had no TV and the one who did have a TV had no cable. That’s how it’s done. There’s too much to live for to just sit back and watch from your couch.

So I read Leah’s blog today and she is now free from all of her possessions. She got to do this in dramatic fashion, with everything laid out on her front lawn. I suppose I will never really get to have this experience since my lawn sale wouldn’t amount to much. I moved to Carolina in a Ford Focus packed tight, whereas Leah moved down in an oversized Uhaul packed to the ceiling. But what a great day for her! Everything is behind her now, and once she sells her car she’ll be completely free. Free to move, free to travel, free to love. She finished her blog with a quote from Chris McCandless. How fitting. Cool girl, right?

When I get home tomorrow we’ll go out and celebrate Bill’s last day in the American workforce, as he has quit his job to work for Lemonade International full time. What a celebration it will be. I am jealous of Bill and of Leah, and my prayer today is not for them, but for me. That passion and opportunity will cross paths in my life as well.

And as for my lasting image of Alaska, go to the top of Flattop mountain on the outskirts of Anchorage and take your pick: the view of the city from up high, the setting sun at 11:30pm in the north, the view of Denali (Mt. McKinley), or seeing all three of these images blending together right next to each other. But my choice sits on a small rock at the top of the mountain peak; love rock...LOVE! Once man's graffiti is another man's lasting image of this great wonderful state. How perfect.

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