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Nicknames & First Impressions

When searching for inspiration on what to name my blog I came across a group of common nicknames for the state. People call Alasaka “The Last Frontier”, “North to the Future”, “The Great Land”, “Land of the Midnight Sun” and to my confusion “Seward’s Folly” [maybe I’ll learn more about this one in July]. What struck me about each of these is the stark connotation of some beautiful, unexplored, mysterious land. Because in all honesty state nicknames are usually pretty boring – “Old Dominion” or “The Mother State” (VA) – and though “The Mother State” warrants some variation of awe it’s nothing like the feeling of awe I get from thinking about Alaska.  It’s huge, unknown, and a little terrifying but incredible in the way you feel you know someone without ever meeting them.

I might not be traveling the whole state or having some near-death deep back-woods experience, but I have no doubt that my time in Alaska will be life-changing.

I will be WWOOFing at a Wilderness Education Camp in Homer, Alaska – working in their onsite greenhouse and gardens while assisting with their camp for native Alaskan rising 9th graders and occasionally helping out nearby farms. Honestly, I’m going for the experience so whatever they ask me to do I’ll be up for.

When I first arrive, I’ll be staying in Anchorage for a few days before I can catch a ride with the camp bus as they drop off the campers from the first camp (in June) and pick up the new set for July. Time in Anchorage was not initially part of the plan but I’m really glad it worked out that way. From what I can tell through Google Earth searches there are about a million parks within a few miles of where I’m staying and I’m excited to explore as many as I can. One park in particular, called Earthquake Park, is the site of one of the largest earthquakes in North America in recent history. It occurred in the 1960s when very few people were living up in Alaska so there was very little life lost (thankfully) but the destruction – from what I’ve seen in pictures – was expansive. I remember learning about it in one of my classes this past year and thinking that the place in the pictures seemed so far away, but I’m about to be a few short miles from a park dedicated to preserving the event.

I think that is, at least so far, what this trip means to me. Right now, and for the next few days,  Alaska is just some far off place.

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