Bucket Lists

Alaska aurora borealis

I have never been one to maintain, much less write in the first place, a bucket list. Maybe the closest has been, instead, to do so in retrospect. Sort of what I am doing now, I guess. Sitting here, thinking back on recent experiences, and ticking them off a list that never existed until it was well past the time to mark them off. Fail safe way to not fail at achieving your bucket list!

This past 12 months has been a whirlwind, the covid pandemic aside, and not all the changes have been the sort to  write home about; things like house projects and quitting our good paying jobs in the middle of a pandemic come to mind. That being said, if you wait for the “perfect” timing, it may, and most likely won’t, happen. So, here we are, without a home of our own, unemployed, living in my wife’s parents cabin, living off our savings…

…But… Living our best life and realizing a dream.

Some months back we decided it was time for a change. We were both over our time living in Portland Oregon. It had been good to us, but we had both called it home for well over a decade. We wanted to shake it up, find a new path forward, together. In July, we got married, after a couple years of dating and about 10 years of being friends. We sold the house in August, leasing it back till our departure in late September. We sold, donated, and gave away everything that didn’t fit in our small storage unit and packed our bags. Goodbye Portland, hello Alaska!

Side note, dragging our garage sale through the airport was not fun – backpacks on, carry on bags over shoulders, two extra large duffel bags, two large dog crates, two large totes, oh, and two unruly dogs straining their leashes to smell all the smells. I would recommend taking less or shipping a tote or two. I hope it looks a little different next time around.

We knew at the time this change was questionable, and came at a questionable moment in both our lives and in world history, but the space it made was absolutely worth it. I have to acknowledge a certain amount of privilege here, as not everyone has family with an extra little home for them to escape to. We are incredibly thankful for this. I also have to acknowledge that we both worked hard for this freedom, saving and investing year after year, to enable us to embark on such a journey; a sabbatical, as some may call it.

As this sabbatical draws near to an end (yep, it’s already over and you may just now be reading about it), I wanted to reflect back on all the good it has given us. Some of which are bucket list items for me personally, or would have been if I wrote them down.

  • ☑ I got to live in Alaska
  • ☑ I got to live in a remote cabin in Alaska, in the winter
    • People may define remote differently, the cabin was along the Glen Hwy, but was 70 miles to the grocery store… seems fairly remote.
  • ☑ We got to witness the aurora borealis (northern lights) in all it’s glory
    • Seriously, one of the most amazing things I have seen in my lifetime.
  • We got to see a ton of moose and dal sheep!
    • This past week we have seen almost one moose a day
  • We got to wake up, every day, to the most beautiful view.
    • It’s like a Bob Ross painting everywhere you look, including out our front window.
  • We got an opportunity to really test our mental fortitude, and our relationship.
    • 5 months of short Alaska winter days, when neither of you has a job, means a lot of hanging out with the only other person around.
  • We both got to spend some quality time with Paisley’s family.
    • Her Mom and Dad live down in town, as does one of her Sisters and their family.
  • We got to plan our next move, and execute on some of it, all while drinking coffee in the shadow of the mountains.
    • More on this to come!

This last 5 months, and the years that led up to it, have now set us on a path for some other life changing events. All of which I am excited to share with you, and all of which will come in later posts.  Sometimes it is easy to gloss over a year, or three, and not feel like you have achieved much, or that your efforts haven’t summed up to anything; but if you take a moment to look back, you may find a lot of amazing things have happened. For now, I just want to thank you for following along on this journey and ask what bucket list items you never wrote down but have achieved?


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