Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alaska

I just caught up with a classmate from grade school, in Park Ridge. I knew he'd been knocking around for a while, really experiencing life from a whole lot of angles. But while I knew him, I myself got along with him well. He was funny; he'd crack me up regularly.

So while I'm browsing my Facebook page, and posting nutty comments here and there, he starts chatting with me. It turns out he has been living in Alaska for the past six years. He started out as a crab fisherman, but is currently a cod fisherman. He works 6-8 months a year, travels for two months of the year, is still single. It really sounds like a fascinating life. I asked him about his crabbing days, and how much of it was what I see on the show the Deadliest Catch. He said that was his life while he was crabbing. He lives on Kodiak, which is the second largest island in the USA.

The thing that he said that really struck me, though, is that he hopes to buy his own 20-acre island in the future. That stunned me; I mean, you hear of millionaires like Richard Branson buying their own islands in the south Pacific, but not so often about someone wanting to buy their own island in the Bering Sea. He genuinely wants this. I asked him about plumbing and sewage; he says you dig a really deep hole. I asked him what about electricity or telecommunications; he is willing to say goodbye to them. That blows my mind. I mean, sure, most TV these days is crap (ever since they took My Name Is Earl off the air...), but for me, there are so many reasons to KEEP electricity. I really applaud everyone in the world who either lives without electricity by circumstance or by choice. He really wants to do this, and I could tell his conviction. God bless him; it's not the life I'd choose, but it's a very valid life choice. He told me most people from his past that he tells this dream to think he's crazy; I told him, "Right, like I'm in any position to judge ANYONE crazy. Talk about the pot and the kettle..."

I really hope he gets his island; I'd love to hear all about it when he does.

The image, by the way, is St. Matthew in Alaska. Image taken by Brad Schram.

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