I did it, I've been to all 50 states.
This trip to Alaska was too much to sum up in the amount of time I have right now to post. I feel deeply moved after this journy. I really really loved it. In 6 days, I took 9 flights. I had the opportunity to visit Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau thanks to the Alaska Design Forum. They invited me to be a part of their guest lecture series that happens every year. As it so often goes when I visit a city, I have friends who live there. I was able to reconnect with an old buddy from high school who now works at the Anchorage Art Museum (synchronously, this is where my programing was held) and see old homies from Milwaukee and their beautiful kids. I learned more than I could absorb about Alaskan culture. I saw a titch of the survival and the extremities that those who choose to live there endure for the payoff of living in one of the most breath taking and beautiful places I've ever been. I saw so much in the short time that I was there, but my list has doubled since I've been home for when I go back.
The blue of Mendenhall Glacier will always be burned in my minds eye. The mouthwash locked behind the counter at the grocery store. Knowing that fiber from an arctic musk ox called Qiviut doesn't shrink and is the softest thing I've ever felt. We "down here" are referred to as living in "the lower 48". I saw craftsmanship that boiled my creative blood. Bead and leather work that made my mouth water. Amazing handmade traditional outer wear like boots made from fish and parkas sewn from seal gut. There were piles of facts that I want to know more about. Each city was vastly different and I can't wait to go back for more. Alaska, you got your icy hooks in me.
I am almost done reading "Shadows on the Koyukuk" a book I picked up in Fairbanks & highly recommend it. As written about in this rambling review the book focuses on: outdoor survival, big game hunting, trapping, Alaskan Native Education in the 1920s, Athabaskan culture and history, the food chain biology of the Koyukuk region, economics of trapping, gold mining, and trading in Alaska.
Full Alaska photo set here. Coming up: Thailand in less than two days.