Shishmaref 2010

Golden tufts of grass offer a tell-tale that Shishmaref’s short summer has ended. In another two months, Main Street (shown here) will be covered in snow and snow mobiles, which are locally referred to as snow machines, will replace the few trucks as means of transportation. The ATV’s, known universally as Hondas in the Alaskan Bush, are pressed into service the year around. 

We spent this last summer traveling and moving from California to Alaska. I had promised to start a blog when we finally settled in. With this promise in mind, I contemplated… “Where do I start?”

Where did the adventure of Alaska begin for me? There was the decision to apply for jobs in the bush. No, it was before that. The beginning started during our 42 day adventure to Alaska and back in the summer of 2009. Actually, that was not really the beginning. Before our trip, Jack and I planned and dreamed about spending a summer in Alaska for three years before our trip. We poured over maps. We read everything we could get a hold of about camping and fishing and roaming around Alaska. We subscribed to magazines. We checked anything and everything on the internet that seemed relevant. I would read a book and Jack would read a different one and then we would trade.We had no boundaries. It could be a boating trip. Maybe a car camping trip. Time limits would not hold us back. We could spend a summer. A whole year was not out of the question. The rule was no rules. We had a huge map of Alaska tacked up on foam board so we could pin ideas onto the map. It was exhilarating and revitalizing to research and plan this adventure.

When we finally had outlined our timeline and itinerary of our trip, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Was that the beginning?

I thought about my personality. An Alaskan adventure was a metaphor of something true to my core. I have always wanted to be on the road and have always wanted to be outside where most people haven’t been. So the beginning has always been there in seed form. It was just a matter of nurturing the seed and bringing it fully to life.

When we flew into Shishmaref this summer and I saw Shishmaref from the co-pilot’s window from where I was sitting…tears came to me eyes. I inhaled a deep breath and thought…this is the beginning.

8 thoughts on “Shishmaref 2010

  1. Hey Barbra, amazing photos and storytelling. I clicked through all the photos and read most of the text. I’m so glad you are having a great time up there. Must be just about time for winter coats. Say hi to Jack for me.


  2. I’m so glad I just got your blog. We’re looking forward to hearing more about your adventure. I’ll pass it on to Madison. She’s enjoying Sutter but misses the two of you and speaks of you both often. Best of luck and stay warm.

    • I’m glad you got the link. Keep checking in! I’ll try to get more on here at least weekly.

      Jack and I feel very lucky to have had Madison and the rest of her gang in class for two years in a row.

  3. I am sitting in a cabin, in a misty forest, where I hope to end up in a few more years. I’m reading your blogs for the first time. No phone or TV here, but a a very weak internet signal so that I can see the photos and read your words. This is the first time I’ve seen your blog. I’ve been in one of those “what is life all about,” autumn, reflective moods so your words are just the ticket. I am so excited for you. I love your description of your planning adventure with Jack, prior to the physical one. Beautiful. I send you good energy and very much look forward to your writings. R

    • Thanks for all the good energy. I have so many photographs on my computer now. And I have so many stories in my head. I love blogging and putting the two out there together for the enjoyment of others! Too fun!

  4. Hi Barbra,
    I was thinking about you the other day and wondering how you are. Then your email popped up. Amazing coincidence.

    I am happy that you are enjoying your Alaskan adventure but sad that I won’t be seeing you for????? long. I want to know about your students. Is teaching there very different from here?

    My newest adventure is teaching adults ESL at the library one night a week. I am loving it and I have the luxury of time to connect with each of my 3 students. They are delightful–one from Burma, one from Romania, one from Mexico. I didn’t know that adult students would be so much fun, so motivated and grateful.

    So far my retirement has included new experiences that I’ve enjoyed–remodeling the kitchen, helping a friend write a 58 page history booklet of a Florin civil rights group, the Japanese American Citizens League, and helping Zonta, my women’s club. We just had our election and I helped one candidate for city council by walking a precinct, a new endeavor. I am grateful to be healthy and have the gift of time to choose projects.

    Annie is now a senior at Cal, loving every minute. How is your stepdaughter? Is she still at Cal, too?

    Hi to Jack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.