As I notice that it’s the very start of June, I come close to my 5th month mark, onto my 6th month in the Arctic. A lot has changed for me in the last 5 months. I’m starting to realize that my passion in life is traveling to see all these beautiful places that all my friends from all over the world tell me about. Cooking isn’t my only marketable skill that I have to take me places anymore.
But I’m also starting to realize that this life could be lonely if I let it. Meeting new people and becoming their friend just to leave a short time later can be rather disheartening, especially faced with the fact that some of them I’ll never see again. I have consistent people in my life that I’ll never lose contact with but they don’t have the luxury of abandoning their lives and jobs to go on these incredible journeys with me.
I’ve also tried to document some of my travels after realizing that these experiences aren’t just for me. With all my friends back home getting married and starting their own lives and my family going about their own lives, I feel like these adventures can help them see the world while still doing what they want to do.
This helps me justify going to all these different places and not feeling bad about it. If I can help my family and friends see beauty through my experiences, I’m willing to spend the time to document it.
It’s also interesting to think about how much change my life has had in the last 10 years. I bet my mother never thought her 13 year old nerdy, couch potato son from 10 years ago would have set foot in the Arctic or aspired to see beautiful, inspiring sights like I do now.
Or I bet my grandma never thought that this bratty kid that refused to eat his ice cream unless he got to feed himself close to 18 years ago would be trying to open the world up to others. I hope to one day be able to take my mother to the places she only dreamed of seeing with her own eyes, such as Italy, as a thank you for always supporting me. I can only keep going forward right now. 🙂
My favorite part about this trip is that I’ve had a little bit of down time to really reflect on my life and work on my health. I’ve never been able to do that because ever since I was 14 I worked as much as possible to try and get ahead in life.
Even in high school I’d work as late as 2 AM during the week and still wake up for school (mostly, haha). With the hotel being unexpectedly slower than previously believed this winter, I’ve earned enough money to keep myself satisfied that I’m not wasting my time but it’s been slow enough that I can really study how my body reacts to different things without any adverse effects on my job.
With that said, the camp I’m at right now IS pretty slow right now. I’m excited to be able to travel down the Dalton Highway on Friday to reach my camp for the summer (Pictured Left). The other camp I’ll be working at will be significantly busier, from what I’ve heard. I’ll also have some help in cooking all the food. It’ll definitely be more up my alley for cooking with so much people passing through the camp every day.
The company I’ve been working for is a really good company and the management has been good to me so far. I don’t make a lot of requests for anything but if I do want a day off to take care of something or want to go on a tour through the Arctic, they’ve been great to set it all up for me.
I recently visited a friend that I worked with during the winter here in the Arctic that got another job somewhere else in town. He’s doing great and the hotel he’s working for is above and beyond nice for what you’d expect for the slope.
It’s a consistent job that you could make a sizable career out of, with options of working 4 weeks on at the camp coupled with 2 weeks off to do whatever you want. I’d consider applying at other camps like this one if I hadn’t already set up Antarctica and had other plans. Maybe in the near future I’ll find a job like this in a place I’ve loved but for now, planning too far ahead could be detrimental.
I leave Coldfoot Camp sometime near the end of September. I’ll have been up in the Arctic for a total of 10 months minus the 7 days that I spent in Utah getting my physical qualifications done.
I’ll be in Utah another 2 weeks before I leave for New Zealand and, eventually, Antarctica. I found out where I’ll be cooking in the southern-most continent, also. It’s a landing zone for planes maintained by the US Air National Guard called Williams Field Airport (Pictured Upper Left).
It supports 2 landing strips for planes equipped with skis and a small community known as “Willy’s Field”. It’s mostly ski equipped trailers that have been stationed there for the maintenance and daily functions of the air strip.
I’ll be in the only small restaurant on the field, feeding around 120 on any given day. I would live in McMurdo and take a shuttle every day to work (The bus that shuttles people, Pictured Upper Right). It should be a great experience that’ll boost my resume even more.
This past week has been fantastic. I went on a tour of the oil fields and to the Arctic Ocean at the start of the week. I went with a really nice family from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that was traveling Alaska.
The guide that drove us around was incredibly detailed in the descriptions of the arctic oil field and ocean that we saw. I was surprised at how much I actually learned from the trip.
Just a couple days ago, I got the opportunity to take a plane into Barrow, Alaska. There was an empty seat on one of the charter planes that was taking our guests into town for the day so I got asked if I wanted to go.
Barrow, Alaska is the 2nd most populated city above the Arctic Circle and one of the northernmost cities in the world (Famous whale arches of Barrow, Pictured Left). I’ll probably do a separate blog post about these two adventures so keep an eye out. 🙂 As for now, I’ll start getting ready for my day and start packing for my next adventure into the unknown! Have a great day everyone!