Alaska the great north! The last Frontier!
These are the sayings that were ringing in my ears from the age of 10 when my grandfather told me of his trip to the great north. Ever since those years I have dreamed of tackling the challenge of life in one of the last great wilds of the world. My first foray into the north came in the form of a hiking guide in Denali National Park. During, this time I was blessed to make some very genuine connections some of which were completely unexpected and not looked for.
Jumping forward I now find myself in south-east Alaska on a the small island of Mitkoff. Here I have found and overcome challenges I could have never foreseen. The great challenges of the north are not the ones I would have looked for as a young man listening to tales of adventure from my grandfather. Rather the challenges have come from within. The lessons learned growing up in the high plains desert of Colorado have served me well.
Most often I find that people are friendly up here. However, there is a fairly distinctive divide to the people and cultures. There are so many different cultures and so much difference in value systems that sometimes the distance seems unmanageable. The true challenges of the last frontier is within ourselves. The challenge of holding onto what you believe is a daily goal out here. The terrain is vast and so is the solitude.
I have come to understand life as a balancing act, and the paradoxical nature of ourselves and our surroundings are the fulcrums on which we balance. In the same way that tides ebb and flow, our lives are constantly moving and shifting. To find balance in the motion is the only stability afforded us.