Background and Mission
Hello all! Here is some background about me that helped cultivate this journey.
I am a 26 year old senior engineering student and Air Force ROTC cadet. From past experiences growing up, I am a very independent and introverted individual. I find my pleasures not in attending parties, clubs, and such, but rather immersed in the wild, playing with my dogs, or deep in thought as I work on my many projects(cars, mountain bikes, exercise routines, “inventions”, etc.).
Just like many of us, I have dreamed of an Alaskan adventure since I was a wee little lad. My best friend and I even “ran away” to Alaska when we were really young, but we didn’t make it more than a few miles from the house before we turned back. See, we were overloaded with the “necessities”: snorkel and goggles, pots and pans, canned food, and even spray paint, because you never know. Since we were drastically over packed, ill prepared, and had just stumbled down a thorn bush filled hill, dropping supplies the whole way, we decided to cancel our plans for leather tramping to Alaska. Well, like most of my friends, he married, procreated, and settled down. That little boy still thrives inside of me, grows like a raging fire, and is evident in many aspects of my life. So, inherently the desire to venture to Alaska has been growing ever stronger over the years and thus results in my current plans.
You know how you have that friend who gets a girl/boyfriend and completely disappears? Well, I am like that, but my significant other has been school for the last half a decade. For this time, I have been completed dedicated to my collegiate career, and last Summer I completed Field Training, a major stepping stone in my Air Force ROTC career. Next Summer, after I graduate, I anticipate having to conform to society and start that dreaded thing known as a career. This Summer I initially intended to do as I have with all of my past Summers, switch my focus from school to work so I can have funds for the coming year’s semesters. Well, after some intellectual conversations with very gifted minds and refocusing of my priorities, the plans changed. I could play it safe this Summer by working profusely and setting myself up for the next academic year, OR I could let myself live a little a go on an adventure. So, to reward myself for my academic success I decided last October to plan to take an adventure out west during Summer 2013. As soon as the idea popped into my head that little ill prepared child inside burst out and screamed, ALASKA! SO I did what I always do, lots of research. After which I determined a trip of such magnitude wasn’t a logical undertaking for me to plan and execute with my pups in such a short time frame. So I turned to the Midwest (CO/UT/WY).
I initially wanted to hike the whole CO Trail, but determined it wasn’t feasible with my pups, and not bringing them isn’t an option. My roommate watched them for most of my month while attending Field Training, and didn’t like the extra burden it puts on you. I can’t blame him. Plus, I love my dogs and I want them to experience the adventure as well. So, after months of general research, and bouncing from trip idea to idea, I didn’t have a solid plan. Regardless, I knew I wanted to just spend as much time in the backcountry as possible, enjoying the beauty Nature has to offer. Then, an opportunity presented itself.
I am a skydiver, not really any good since I spend most of my time on academics, but I love it and human flight is a huge passion of mine. Well, a local jumper sent me an invitation to a temporary dropzone, where you jump from, they are opening in Fairbanks for two weeks in July. Since there aren’t any permanent dropzones in Alaska, skydivers are congregating from all over for this rare opportunity. It just seemed something was trying to tell me that my Alaskan adventure needs to happen, to overcome the fear, don’t “settle” for an easier endeavor, and the time to live is now! That kid inside, yeah, he won. So after endless hours of research, I made the decision to take on the endeavor to drive from Atlanta to Fairbanks Summer 2013. Planning, gathering supplies, and executing something of this magnitude has proven to nothing short of overwhelming, and I still have a ways to go. Also, for the last year or so I have been compiling folders on my computer with places/things to see, separated my continent. Once I decided to undergo this adventure, it struck me, this is a pristine opportunity to knock off a few places in the North America folder, but I will get into more details on that later.
I know this will be a huge challenge, but also an adventure of a lifetime, one which the opportunity will likely not present itself again. Me being me, I try to plan as much, and as preemptively, as possible. That being said, I don’t want this to be an overly planned trip. I want to take the adventure as it comes. That kind of presents some slight issues, but it’ll all work itself out in the end. Instead of making the long drive there, spending a week or so there, and driving back, I want the drive to be part of the adventure, and I am allotting the whole/majority of the Summer to the trip. I am toying with the idea of finding a job in Fairbanks to keep be from digging too far into my savings for the trip, but I refuse to let that hinder this once in a lifetime opportunity. This of courses poses great risks, but without risks one cannot achieve greatness, and must settle for mediocrity, at best. Whelp, I am not one for settling. Growing up in poverty, and being on my own for so long, I have been extremely responsible with money. So I am willing to be a little lax for the first time for this. Besides, I have a feeling the return on investment will be tremendous. That being said, being completely self sufficient and on my own for so long I am inherently really frugal and expense conscious, so expenses will be strongly considered at all times. That makes you have to be more creative, and makes life more entertaining. Everyone needs to try it out.
Ok, onto the important details.
1997 Toyota Rav4 AWD Automatic with 114K miles, just getting broke in
Job: driver and experience inducer
Job: dedicated squirrel chaser
Job: dedicated attention magnit and optional copilot