How to Survive the Alaskan Winter

I’m constantly asked how I deal with the darkness and cold in Alaska. My response is always the same. I grew up in Minnesota. It actually gets colder there than in Anchorage. We have the mountains and the ocean that help control the temperature here. It rarely gets below zero. As far as darkness goes, well…you have to distract yourself. The shortest day of the year in Anchorage is around 5 and a half hours. In Minnesota it is around 8 and a half hours. Everyone handles it differently. Some go outside. Outside is a term we often time use in Alaska for the residents that head south to the lower 48. (As in the rest of the US). Some take on a second part-time job, some go tanning, most take vitamin D, some use Happy Lights. I even have one friend that selects a different room in his house each year to remodel. It’s all about distracting yourself so that it’s harder for you to notice the darkness.

I make sure I always have something to do, I make sure I get out and stay out of bed until I’m done with the day, and I make sure I get out of my apartment every day even if it’s just to take out the garbage. Here are a few of the adventures I took in this winter and spring. Our spring doesn’t look much different then our winter. Spring only lasts a few days. If you blink you miss it.

Have you ever been to a Melodrama? Better yet, have you been to an Alaskan Melodrama where you can throw popcorn at your least favorite characters. I’ve never been to such an interactive show…nor one you could throw popcorn at the cast. Honestly, I ate most of mine as I definitely would not want to be the person that has to sweep the mess afterwards. It was interesting. I love theatre. How those actors and actresses were able to stay in character with people throwing popcorn at them is beyond me. Apparently it’s a theme as there is a melodrama performance during the renaissance festival in the summer where patrons can throw tomatoes at the cast.

Most everyone has heard of Paint Nite or Paint and Sip. I’ve attended a few of these events and though I love the arts…my painting skills are not all that great. I’m better with a paint by numbers. How many have heard of Paint a Scarf? Well, in Alaska you can. I found a Groupon. (If you are unfamiliar with Groupon, I highly recommend you check it out). A friend and I went and had a blast. The great thing about painting a scarf is that we aren’t trying to paint an object. Instead we are painting a design of our own making. Which means that my design and the person next to me will be totally and completely different from everyone else’s. Check it out. In the summertime you can go out to their cabin in Chugiak and in the winter you can paint a scarf at a pub. It started in Alaska and now has a branch in Arizona. While the scarfs drying you can enjoy a drink or a meal at the pub.

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” There are many small towns and villages in Alaska. However, Hope, Alaska is a community I talk about it on every single Alaska tour I have led. It has great history dealing with the Gold Rush and the school system in Alaska. However, I had never been there. Over Easter weekend a friend asked me if I would want to go on a road trip. In Alaska you have to drive everywhere to get anywhere. So off we headed. It was a gorgeous day to head down the Seward Highway to Hope. We roamed the small town of less than 200 people, we took pictures, and went into a gift shop. I love supporting the local community. We made our purchases and headed back home. The road trip itself took about 5 hours. Four and a half of those hours were spent driving. So yes this was more about the journey then the destination. I now can paint a picture in my mind of what life was like for people in Hope back in the Gold Rush Days.

I make plans every day in the winter to do something. Even if it means putting together some furniture for my apartment. Items like end tables, a desk, a tv stand, etc… Once I bought these items I realized that I didn’t have tools to put all the furniture together. I had two options: go buy the tools at a store or go to a Home Improvement event where the first 100 women to attend got a free tool kit. So I went to the Home event. Not really something I needed to go to as I’m not making any home improvements. However, I did get the free tool kit and have used it multiple times. Sometimes it pays to go to an event that you may not typically be interested in attending.

Being a Part of Something Bigger

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The re-start is on a frozen lake in Willow, AK.

Imagine, walking into the frozen tundra, onto an ice covered lake, as the sun is rising, watching snow frost glitter, your hair freezing, and it being 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine the quiet, the stillness, and the peace that brings. And then that peace and silence is broken as over 1,000 dogs begin to bark and howl as the excitement starts setting in. 67 mushers, over 1,000 dogs, 100’s of snowmobiles, and thousands of spectators start converging onto that same lake getting ready for the worlds longest tailgate party. Fires are set, music is playing, snow mobiles are revving, and helicopters are flying overhead. Everyone is arriving to be a part of something that is bigger, something that is more important than any one single individual. Everyone is here for the same reason. To cheer on the Last Great Race in the Last Frontier. And a Great Race it is.

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Good Luck!!

Dogs are amazing creatures. When you throw your dog a ball it chases it. These dogs, the Alaskan Husky, when hooked up to a sled they pull. They are born to do this. These dogs are a huge part of Alaskan history. These dogs can pull pound for pound more than a horse. They are survival in its most primal form. When our Native Alaskan Culture was nomadic and had to follow their food for survival they used these dogs to pull their sleds. When the gold rush happened these dogs pulled sleds, when the mail was delivered before our current road system existed these dogs pulled sleds, today Denali National Park is monitored by dogs that pull sleds, today 82% of Alaskan Communities are not connected by a road system and these dogs still pull sleds (at 40 below your snow machine won’t start; however, your dogs will still pull your sled). What a better way to honor the history and importance of these dogs by watching them do what they do best. These dogs are chipped, blood and urine tested, get hooked up to EKG’s and are better taken care of on the Iditarod Trail than anywhere else in this world. Over 1700 hundred volunteers from around the world come to Alaska to be a part of this. Because this is bigger than just you or I. These dogs are amazing athletes and are the reason that Alaskans have survived as long as they have.

Words cannot accurately describe what it is like to be a part of such an event. You could feel the electric excitement amongst the dogs, mushers, and spectators. I’ve spent 5 years wanting and waiting to be a part of this event. I’ve been blown away.

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Thankfully it was sunny…even if it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I was not only a spectator, I was also a part of it all. When I made the decision to move to Alaska in the wintertime one of the first things I did was look up how to volunteer for this event. I wasn’t sure I would get selected; however, that didn’t stop me from signing up. I spent three days at the volunteer registration desk meeting people from all over the world. Peter a veterinarian from Australia, Julien a photographer from France, Douglas a Dog Handler from Montana, Libby an Iditarider/Volunteer/Sponsor from New Zealand, Jeanette who has volunteered for the past 20 years from Wyoming. We had 1700 volunteers and about half were not Alaskan. I got to meet many of them as they came in to fill out paperwork and receive their volunteer badge. I enjoyed every moment of volunteering. Everyone has a story to tell if only you are willing to listen. I was constantly amazed by the stories of the volunteers of the Iditarod.

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The official re-start in Willow. Yes, we got there before everyone else.

The Wednesday before the Iditarod started I was at work when I walked around the corner and was greeted by a dog. Not just any dog…it was 6 year old Zig who has raced in several Ididtarods as the lead dog and is the mom to several of the dogs on Jeff King’s team. Best day ever. I mean really…does work get better than this. After some good ear scratching I had to go back to work and she had to continue getting ready for her big race.

On Thursday I decided to take in the Musher’s Banquet. I am so happy that I did. It started with a Musher’s Meet & Greet. I could have stood in line to speak with Martin Buser, Jeff King, DeeDee Jonrowe, or Aliy Zirkle. However, I have met them all so I decided to find some new faces and learn about them. I met Allen Moore who just won the Yukon Quest, Jessie Royer a woman from Montana, Joar who is sponsored by Libby (the New Zealand Lavender Farmer volunteer). I didn’t get autographs instead I got photographs. The Banquet itself was Alaskan’s version of the Oscars. I was lucky enough to sit at the same table as Scott White. I just had to know how and why this man from Washington got into Dog Mushing. As I learned his story, I was once again blown away. He would probably tell you that he was never really into mushing when he was younger. He was an avid hiker when an accident caused him to blow a disc in his back. The doctors told him he could never carry a hiking pack again. So he bought a dog to carry his pack so he could continue to hike. One thing led to another and the next thing you know he has a dog sledding team. He’s been in two Iditarod’s. This will be his third. I will be cheering for him as well as Joar, Aliy, Jeff, Martin, DeeDee and Allen.

The Ceremonial Start is in Anchorage every year. The mushers were probably pretty thrilled to have snow this year and not have the restart moved to Fairbanks. A group of friends and coworkers throw what they loving call a Trailgate party. We literally were standing on the sides of the trail that the dogs and mushers would be running on. It’s themed every year, involves lots of food, music, and a megaphone. This years theme was “Out of this World.” Many mushers slowed or stopped when they got to our group as we cheered them on and wished them good luck.

I’m glad I went as it was a lot of fun and a major energy booster. It was fun watching the experienced mushers that just kind of shake their head and think “There they are, once again.” Then seeing the 16 rookies come thru with shocked looks on their faces as they wondered “What in the world is going on.” After the Ceremonial start I headed downtown to take in the Reindeer Races which was the only event of Fur Rhondy I took in this year. Maybe next year I will be able to take in more.

 

On Sunday we headed to Willow for the Re-Start. This is the official start of the race. You can see the determination in the faces of the mushers. Even the dogs know that it’s go time. Most of them are about to run 1,000 miles in less than 10 days. It’s what each dog and musher have been preparing for. It was once again amazing.

Though the race isn’t over yet, I’m ready to sign up again for next year. Who knows, maybe I’ll be on the trail as security or at a Checkpoint. Or maybe I’ll stick with the registration desk and parking the Mushers.

This has been a super exciting two weeks in Anchorage. As I look over my schedule for the next few weeks it seems that even though the Mushers and Dogs have left Anchorage that there are some exciting events on their way.

 

Adulting

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I’ve officially moved back to Alaska. I have some amazing friends and support system up here which made the move a lot easier. Many people offered a place to stay until I found a place of my own, a vehicle to drive, help moving stuff out of storage, and assisting me with finding a car to buy. Words cannot say how thankful and grateful I am to have these people in my life. The above photo is from my friends place where I stayed the first few weeks I was in Alaska.

I started my job and am enjoying it greatly. The first couple of weeks were pretty mellow since I was learning my job, trying to find a place to live, what I needed to buy, and a way to get around. However, I still managed to have a few. I did go to a Super Bowl Sunday Party at a friends place. Most of the ladies enjoyed chatting and hanging out with Little J while the guys enjoyed the game. I was happy to have somewhere to go on Super Bowl Sunday even if I’m not a huge Football fan.

I also joined Meetup. Have you heard of it? How fun is it that there are random groups filled with people (some who know each other and some who don’t) that plan activities that people can join in on. I know this may surprise everyone since I lead groups of up to 50 strangers at a time on adventures throughout Alaska; however, this is out of my comfort zone. It’s outside of my comfort zone because this time I’m not in charge of the leading. I’m following and for some reason when I’m following a group of strangers it always makes me a bit nervous. However, I’m so very glad I decided to join this group. My first Meetup was with the Women Beginner Hikers Group. About 10 of us met up at Simon & Seaford’s for Happy Hour. Though I have spent 5 summers in Anchorage, I have never been to Simon & Seaford’s. So I got to Meetup with some amazing ladies and I got to try out a new restaurant. Take a look at the view in the back. Simon & Seaford’s has an amazing view of the Sleeping Lady aka… Mt. Susitna. Come to Alaska and I will tell you about the legend surrounding this mountain.

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I have also found a place to live. I had a few requirements: It’s in a decent neighborhood, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s not too far from work, and I needed somewhere that had some space. I have moved in; however, I have not finished unpacking. These guys helped me move stuff out of the storage unit and into the apartment.

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I love to try out new restaurants. So when a good friend of mine got back from his adventure to Bali we celebrated at the Rustic Goat and ate Nachos. It’s what we do when we get together. It’s a tradition that started almost 3 years ago on a 2100 mile road trip.

I bought a car and it’s fancy. At least it’s fancy for me. Especially if you take into consideration that I haven’t owned a car in over 6 years. I’ve given my parents, sister, and one of my brothers the grand tour of my car. A friend volunteered to go with to test drive the car before I bought it. I’ve already been back to the dealership as I was having issues with the Key. I also had to check the air pressure in my tires as a warning light went on. I hadn’t bought an air pressure gauge yet…go figure. My car also has summer tires on it. It travels fine on the snow. However, once the snow gets slushy and then freezes and it creates divots in the road then it sometimes gets stuck and the tires just spinand spin. I’m 0 for 2 and both times my wheels were still on the road. I’ve had to call a a tow truck as my passenger tire got stuck in one of those divots and no one was around to help me push the car nor did I have cardboard or a shovel with me. Another time it involved a 60 or 70 year old woman pushing my car. So winter tires are a must up here. No worries though I now have a shovel and a piece of cardboard. Alaskan’s usually have winter tires and studs. They also do not salt the roads and I haven’t figured out the plowing schedule yet. I’m learning…sometimes the hard way. Now to figure out my best option for snow tires…

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On a brighter note, I had my very first visitor. Brooke and I lived next door to each other over 5 years ago in Juneau. We both made our way to the interior working seasonal jobs. Brooke is another adventurer. She was able to stop over prior to flying down to Cordova where she works with a Heli-Skiing Company. Basically people jump out of helicopters with their skies already attached. I haven’t skied since I was 12 and I wasn’t any good at it. So you won’t see me jumping out of any Helicopters anytime soon. It was great to see her. She is pretty much amazing. She just finished a solo trip in Africa. Check out her Podcasts that she recently started.

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A few days ago a friend and I went to Arctic Entries. I love storytelling and it has always been a big part of my job. It’s the second one I’ve gone too. There was live music as well. We had a great time.

It was a big decision for me to come off of the road and stay in one spot for a while. Even though I’m excited to be able to unpack and have a somewhat normal life I know I still need to have adventures. Apparently I’m getting the hang of this adulting thing and it’s kind of terrifying.

 

 

Let the Good Times Roll!!

 

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Turtle Hospital

Florida holds so many wonderful memories. My first stop was to visit Casa Frita and his two kids. Casa Frita and I worked together years ago at Disney. He was an artist and I was the person that sharpened the pencils. Lol. He is Columbian so once in a while I would say a random phrase in Spanish to him. My most common phrase was when I was trying to say “What’s up home fry?” in Spanish. My translation was “Que pasa case frita?” If you know Spanish at all then you most definitely know I was not saying “What’s up home fry?” Little did I know I was saying “What’s up fried house?” For months I’d say this to Sebastion and he would just smile or laugh. Other friends that also spoke Spanish let me continue on for months as well. Finally I had to ask why they found it so funny. After he explained we had a good laugh and then we continued to say it to each other. Eventually we shortened it down to Casa Frita…aka…we call each other fried house. We all thought it was funny. So yes, I call some of my Spanish Friends Casa Frita and they say it right back to me. He sent me this meme a while back. And this meme says so much about our friendship. Lol.

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My absolute favorite part of Florida was getting the chance to visit my cousin Andy, his wife Ashley, and their little guy Shea. Andy and I grew up less than 10 miles from each other and was one of my closest cousins growing up. It was my first visit with Andy and Ashley in 3 years and my first time meeting Shea. I’m sure glad that Shea and I became fast friends. He is an absolute cutie with his Dad’s personality. This may be my favorite picture of us. We visited the Turtle Hospital and an animal sanctuary. I was not ready to leave when it was time for me to go. I hope all of our paths cross again before to long.

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Then I was off to Symposium. This was my 7th Symposium in a row. I look forward to this event every year. The first two years I went to try and find jobs. Every year since I have gone for the reunion. As I like to tell people “These are some of my favorite Humans.” My first year I was a volunteer Human Arrow, worked my way up to a Super Volunteer, and then a few years ago I was invited to join the ITMI Team at Symposium as the Coordinator of Volunteers. This years Symposium sent us to Cozumel by Cruise Ship. It was my first ever cruise. Since I’m the Coordinator of Volunteers this involved a lot of time studying Deck plans and trying to figure out where and when I needed people to assist. I was also representing Premier Alaska Tours during Marketplace. So the added challenge of this Symposium is making sure volunteers were where they needed to be and when even though I couldn’t be in multiple places at one time. So first off I have to send a huge shout out to all the volunteers that assisted us and the people who stepped up to the plate last minute and volunteered. We couldn’t have done it without you. We were able to greet people onboard the ship wearing t-shirts and sailor caps. I saw some wonderful friends, met some amazing people, and had a lot of fun representing ITMI and Premier. I’ll be honest, I never did make it off the boat to Cozumel though I had every intention of roaming around the city. However, I did catch a lot of R & R on our free day.

 

One of my favorite parts about Symposium is our final night. I love themed parties (though I’m not a huge fan of Halloween). This years theme was Disco. As you can tell I tend to go all out for my costumes. Since I was working most of the Cruise I didn’t take many photos Our next Symposium is in November in Tuscon, AZ. I look forward to seeing you all there. I’m already wondering what our theme for the final night will be.

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Can you tell it was a Disco Party!!

My flight home was an added adventure; however, a wonderful one. Not many people would say that on a delayed by almost 24 hours flight. My flight was delayed due to a break in the Hydraulic Line. Eventually the flight was canceled due to the Hydraulic Line and blizzard conditions in Minneapolis. Myself and two other ladies seemed pretty relaxed while everyone else was in a near panic. A few things I have learned traveling as much as I do. One: you should always leave yourself some leeway when it comes to flying. As in don’t have every moment of everyday planned. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time / date then perhaps you should fly in a day sooner. Two: If you fly in the winter to Minnesota you should already be well aware that your flight may very well be delayed. Three: a plane is just like a car. Sometimes they break down even if you take good care of them. I don’t blame the ticket or gate agents for this. There is literally nothing they can do and getting angry at them due to mechanical issues or weather will serve no one.

Delta Agents at FLL Airport provided us with sandwiches from Jimmy John’s. There is a first time for everything. Thanks for feeding us Delta. My delayed flight got delayed hour after hour until it became a 5:45Am flight. I watched as many people walked up to the Gate Agent and changed their flights. However, I was watching MSP’s Twitter account and I realized that almost all flights would be canceled. I’m glad I didn’t switch flights. A mechanical issue delay involves a free night at a hotel. A weather delay involves no such compensation. So even though my flight was delayed and then canceled and rescheduled for the next day and then delayed again I was able to get 2 free meals (Jimmy Johns and a Nacho Bar at the hotel) and a free night at a hotel. While all other flights were delayed and canceled due to weather they did not receive any compensation. Yes, I had places to be and things I needed to get done; however, I knew the risks I was taking trying to fly into Minneapolis in January. So I rescheduled what I could. The best part of the delay is that my sister and her husband would be in the Cities heading home and could pick me up at the airport. Which meant no shuttle. It was wonderful spending time with the two of them. I was glad to finally get home about 24 hours after I should have been.

 

New Orleans

 

26904476_10111291846431170_8933456240915735569_nNew Orleans was a lot of fun. Though I’m sure Mardi Gras would be amazing I’m glad I got to visit New Orleans when it wasn’t unbelievably busy. Between a Cemetery Tour, Plantation Tour, and of course some Burlesque shows we took in as much as we could in a short amount of time. Julie (a great friend from Alaska) and I barely scratched the surface of this fascinating city.

Even though I’ve traveled a lot I rarely have someone at the airport to pick me up. This time I had someone waiting for me at luggage claim, was holding up a sign with my name on it, and was dressed up in a suit and tie. It’s the little things in this life that I love. Stanley is amazing. I recommend everyone book Stanley as their driver when they visit New Orleans. Besides being an amazing driver, he knows everyone at the airport, has a wonderful personality, and knows a lot about his city.

Stanley gave us a mini tour of New Orleans and lots of wonderful suggestions before dropping us off at The Banana Courtyard Bed and Breakfast. I love Bed & Breakfasts for so many reasons. They are usually run by amazing people that are inviting you into their home, the B&B’s have a fascinating history, the Innkeepers know their city inside and out, and you are oftentimes treated you more like family than a guest. I would know a good B&B as I have stayed in many and I used to manage one. Which means I can also sympathize with the challenges that come with inviting strangers into your home.

The Banana Courtyard is just as amazing as you’d think a B&B could be. It was built in the 1870’s, used to be a bordello (brothel), is a few blocks from the French Quarter, and has a courtyard with a 40 foot Banana Tree (hence the name of the B & B). I’m staying in the servant quarters…of course they have been refurbished and remodeled. Julie is staying in one of the old parlors. Take a look.

Banana Courtyard Tour

 

Everywhere in this city there is a lot of charm and lots of friendly people. Julie and I’s first stop of the day was at Lafayette’s. It had a disco ball and Bloody Mary’s…hence why we stopped in. It was our first stop on our first full day and our last stop on our final day in New Orleans. Our Bartender was eager to talk to us about the history of the bar and New Orleans.

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Below are some of my highlights.

We were able to meet up with a great friend of mine, Robin for dinner and a drink. She suggested that we meet at a wonderful restaurant called the Orleans Grapevine. We sat in the outside courtyard. If you are ever in the French Quarter check it out. I don’t know if there is such a thing as bad food in this city. Then we headed to the Black Penny for a drink. I enjoyed Bourbon Street during the daytime during the week. On the weekends and the evenings it was just to busy for me so the Orleans Grapevine and the Black Penny were more my style. We had a lot of laughter and a lot of fun.

We went on a tour to the St. Louis Cemetery where we learned all about some of the characters that are buried there, we saw Nicolas Cages future tomb and learned about his bad luck, and learned that Caterpillars can kill.

We went to the Whitney Plantation. Everyone should visit the Whitney Plantation. This plantation tour is given with a focus on slavery. It is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. However, it’s a story that needs to be told. Thanks Stanley and Robin for the Recommendation.

Cafe Du Monde for Beignets. We did try Beignets however we skipped over Cafe Du Monde due to the size of the line. We did learn about a sort of secret window. If you walk thru the cafe to the back on the left there is a to go window with no wait time. The window only takes cash. However, if you want to skip the main line and a long wait then head over to the To Go Window. We told some other guests at the B&B about our discovery. They told us later that day that they went to the To Go window and they were so happy we told them about it.

We saw two burlesque shows: Whiskey & Rhinestone’s and Sobe’s Burlesque Brunch where Bella Blue performed. If you are a Burlesque person you know that Bella Blue is in the top 50 performers in the world. She is an amazing artist, designer, and dancer. Who has ever heard of a Burlesque Brunch? It was amazing.

When our adventure came to an end, Stanley was there to pick Julie and I up and drive us back to the airport. He’s a Football fan; however, he was still willing to skip out on part of a playoff game. New Orleans Saints were playing the Minnesota Vikings in what turned out to be a very exciting game. He actually texted me a few days before and said “ Who Dat”. I said it was Haley. Apparently I don’t know Football chants all that well. So we had a good chuckle about that on the way to the airport. He was sporting his football gear and told us his whole family was home watching the game so we didnt want to take up to much of his time. We made sure he was home in time to see the last half. Sorry that we had to win Stanley. As I parted and gave him a hug I promised that I would give him a call if I ever found myself back in New Orleans.

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Change is Good

 

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January is a very busy and exciting month. I’m going to start it off by watching the Rose Day Parade at home with my family and in my pajamas. It’s a simple pleasure, yet one I have always enjoyed. In a few short days I’ll be heading out on an adventure. I know I should start packing as this week is filled with all sorts of errands and appointments; however, right now I’m just going to enjoy. Later, I can start packing.

In less than a month my life will be changing. Change is good. It challenges us, it helps us learn and it causes us to grow. As I once read “Without change there is no adventure in life.”

In the next few weeks I’ll be heading to New Orleans, FL, Cozumel, and Alaska. Why these places?

Well, all of these places are either important in my life or have people in them that are important in my life.

I’ve never been to New Orleans and I have a few friends who live there and a friend from Alaska that is going. So why not join in on the fun. I’ve got my flight and hotel booked and that is about all for the moment.

Then off to Orlando, FL to visit Casa Frita (it’s an inside joke I’ll share with you eventually). He is one of my closest friends. I can hardly believe we have been friends going on 10 years. I made him a promise the last time I was in Orlando that I would visit him and his family before his oldest went to Kindergarten. I always try to keep my word.

Then from there I’ll be on my own adventure for a day or two. I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve. If I had a bucket list most adventures would include animals. However, you’ll just have to wait and see what I have planned.

Eventually I’ll be meeting up with the ITMI Team as I venture off on my first ever cruise. It’s the ITMI’s annual Symposium. This year though it’s a “Seaposium” as we are holding the first ever Symposium at Sea. I’m excited and nervous. I tend to get motion sickness on the open Sea so we will see how well I handle this. I’m putting out some major positive vibes into the universe so hopefully that helps. I’m the Coordinator of Volunteers for this event and I love every moment of it. It is a lot of go, go, go. I cannot wait to see some of my favorite humans, reunite with some wonderful friends / Alumni, and meet some new friends and colleagues.

Then back home for a few days to recuperate from my adventure, unpack, and repack as I begin another major life move. I’ll be moving up to Alaska…in January. Many of you may already know and for those that don’t I have taken on a more permanent role with my company. I’ve been with them for over 5 years and am very excited to start a new chapter with them. So yes, I’m moving to Alaska in the middle of winter. I have quite a few friends that live there year round and a great support system which will make a move in the winter a lot easier. Though this won’t be the first winter I spent in AK.