You might wonder what life is like on the outside. You know what I’m talking about; that unexplained force field that keeps you locked inside a building for 8 hours a day, begrudgingly typing away at a computer screen only to realize the most thrilling part of your day is deciding whether or not you’re going to eat those little Toastino’s pizza bites or a DiGiorno Supreme pizza you picked up from Whole Foods last night. It happens to me. I know it happens to you.
What you’re about to see is my escape, my contrasting job. This is what keeps me in balance and in perspective. The world does not operate within those walls, your business does. Ask yourself, when was the last time you risked death by a Grizzly Bear on your way to work? When was the last time a 4 foot tall, 15 pound, flying dinosaur with bone crushing claws dive bombed you while walking into a grocery store? Did the weather slow down traffic today? That’s cute. Today the wind gusts were over 200 mph and a cargo ship crane toppled before my eyes.
Here are some photos of a regular day in this world I’ve chosen as my contrast to the every day life. Enjoy!
The box is small, the earth is big.
The commute: Getting to work is an adventure in itself worthy of a Michael Bay film. You take a series of small flights; some in prop planes, some in jets and some in oversize beer cans with wings. One thing is for sure, if you die trying to get there, the view is totally worth it!
Grab a brewskie, Bro: When your work is done for the day, you might want to top off the night with a crisp brew and a few friends, so you head to your local tavern! In this case, we endure the gauntlet of the Alaska food chain, similar to how a field mouse must feel running across a football field. If you make it, you arrive to a dilapidated wooden hut with a Sony theater sound system and 12 different rum choices. This is the famous Elbow Room bar, once called the most dangerous bar in the world. Contrary to the haunted house look, this building has a huge history in the state of Alaska. Once called the Silver Fox, it was the local tavern for Russian fur traders and has always been a preferred hide out for folks on the run from the law. Try the gargle blaster!
You’re the wild life: When was the last time you were tracked by a fox? This Little Red Riding Hood scenario is common place out there. You will never have a lonesome moment outside. You will be watched, you will be tracked, you will be considered as a form of sustenance to something. A far cry from those squirrels you watch outside, in a hypnotic gaze while eating a kale and walnut salad in the corner of your break room.
Empty the trash, but watch out for flying death: See that beak? That eagle is a “nasty eagle” and will most definitely grab you by the pussy if you look at it funny. These ‘Take No Prisoners’ birds don’t mess around and they claim trash cans like the Bundy Brothers posting up in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Gotta be handy with the steel, if you know what I mean.
Seat belts optional: Does your car turn on? Does it go forward? Awesome, let’s go! In this terrain, style is the last thing you are looking for. We ridin’ whips dripping with gold. The car shows out here don’t have a very large turn out, but the after party in the valley sure is cool!
Eagle butt: Because, it’s different than boxed life.
Community Parks: Be prepared. Ain’t nothing easy in Alaska. Someone try and underdog!
Reminders: There is limited space on these Islands and the harsh, rocky terrain makes it difficult to dig much. Most burial sites are within a community of houses. A casual stroll down the board walk and you’ll take in more new experiences than a month back in the suburbs.
Community means something: When any day you could get taken out in 100,000 different ways, you begin to recognize what’s really important. Humans can be destructive, humans can be complicated, humans can also be incredibly compassionate. Community, bonding and tradition is strong. Real strong.
Monday sucks: You know that feeling you get when you wake up after 4 hours of sleep and you look at your phone and say, “fuuuuuu… I don’t want to get up.” Well, add this to your day and see how you feel. It can always be worse, right?
Want a break? lol: But Osha says I get a break every 2 hours! Go to hell. You’ll find time to take a break when no one is looking. This is a manly man’s world and everyone knows real men are dumb. Ego is far more important than physical well being. Suck it.
Da fuq: Seriously, dude has heavy freezing spray on his forehead and he doesn’t give a damn. This is NORMAL?!
Don’t feed the wild life: Sometimes you have no option. When you are back in the boxed world, you have these parameters that you generally don’t go beyond. Rules, laws, protocols, etc. Your life is full of “DANGER” signs. Will you get hurt? Maybe. You’ll never know until you try. Things like this don’t even happen in zoo’s. Stuff like this reminds me of how wild I actually am and how badly we need this for balance.
Daily tasks: Sick day? What’s that? Snow day? haha. Here is a good example of the amount of crab pots that need to be rigged before a season. That means every pot needs to be completely serviced. Grab your friends, some warm clothes and a couple beers, it’s going to be a long day.
Mud people: Believe it or not, but this is how we dress for a nice day.
At work exercises: Similar to the wrist exercises that prevent ‘injuries’ before starting a shift of hard core computer work, these 1,200 pound steel cages are moved around on deck by manly brawn. When the crane is too slow, guess who gets to move these? Believe it or not, but even a guy my size can run these down a 80 foot deck all day long when the seas are right.
Nope, it’s broken: Here is something you can do when you’re back in the boxed life, “hey, we need three more 14mm hex bolts, can you pick them up on your way to the site?” Out here, we have to rely heavily on our ingenuity and McGyver skills. If we can’t fix it with what we have with us, we are greatly punished by the world. We lose lots of money, we lose days of time and we can easily lose our lives! Saying you can’t fix it is like saying you’re a failure at life and your face is ugly.
Perspective: A quick hike up a snowy mountain will bring back any deviations of perspective. Those problems you have back in the box? Yeah. Those aren’t problems at all.
Kaboom!: I love this place, it’s not often to you get to look out your office window (if you’re lucky enough!) and see a volcano erupting… regularly?
Don’t forget to share this with your office friends. Maybe it will get them to go outside and do something dangerous. Maybe go down a hiking trail that says “closed” or maybe disobey a warning label! Crazy things can happen when you step outside that box. Try it!