- Mike

Alaska Is...

       Alaska is…you know, I sit here each and every year trying to find words to best describe what Alaska is to me…for you and others mostly. I say this because what Alaska is to me is an experience—not words nor photographs.
       I am always the last to complete this assignment, not because deadlines are something against which I operate (although they usually are) but because I tend to write or attempt to write with the same energy I experience while here in Alaska. It is very difficult if not impossible to explain to you or others what my travels here have meant to me. Although some have come close, I imagine my “Alaska” is quite different than the next. Each year that I leave Detroit or Chicago or wherever, to visit what has become a very familiar place, I seem to be in a very new and different place in my life. Perhaps more appreciative of my surroundings one year, while completely overwhelmed the next. Certainly within the 5 years I have experienced a trip where cynicism or bitterness has won me over for the time being…somehow, though, the negatives seem to fade, and what prospers are the unbelievable opportunities to witness something bigger than you… even if I told you what Alaska is to me, you wouldn’t truly understand what it’s effects are.

Final Reflections

        How lucky these kids are to experience this opportunity. I go away hoping that they appreciate all that they encounter, the little things and the big! Perhaps even realize that there are things out there bigger than us and to be humbled by that. I feel very lucky to have been here these past five years, and certainly appreciate those things mentioned above.