Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Woman Obsessed

I'm the type of gal who imagines herself to be a world traveler, an adventurer (so long as I'm not likely to break my back), and sort of non-commital. When is the last time I traveled the world? When is the last time I adventured outside of city limits? When is the last time I, on a whim, decided that I needed to be somewhere else?

I've been in Juneau for almost two years. I once heard someone say that they had heard that you shouldn't move to Alaska when you are young unless that's where you want to spend the rest of your life. I think those were wise words. I don't know if the rest of Alaska would have captivated me in quite the same manner as Juneau has, but I want to take this post to obsess over Juneau, just a little.

Juneau has more miles of trail to hike than roads to drive. I have my choice of a number of trailheads within walking distance of my apartment, including hiking some mountains. If I travel by motor vehicle, I can hike even more trails, some on lakes, some even put me on a glacier.

Juneau has a well known theatre plus a repertory theatre, an opera troupe and lots of bands who play live shows at bars, churches, centennial hall and the arts and humanities center. I've talked about GABB and Deering and Down a bunch before. And I must have mentioned Sean Tracey and Brooke who is performing solo since the dissolution of her band. There are tons. Tons more. Not all Bluegrass and country either, we used to claim greats such as the Filejerks who still return home to visit and perform. We also have galleries and artists' co-ops and every first Friday there is a gallery walk and local shops and restaurants and bars and galleries display local artists' works. I guess the best way to see a lot of this sort of thing compiled would be to visit the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council at their website.

Juneau is the capital of Alaska, providing lots of opportunities in the fields of Politics and non-profit organizations. There generally a lot of opportunities to get involved through volunteering, internships, or job opportunities. Going to a protest on the capital steps is a short walk from my apartment. Talking to my legislator is a piece of cake. And I have worked on a political campaign, for an environmental group, and now fundraising for public broadcasting.

Juneau has a great community. I am a member of our Rotaract Club, NOW, and Juneau Democrats. Through these groups I know a lot of members of the community who have been infinitely supportive of me and my pursuits. I personally know elected officials at the National, State, and Local levels of government. I know democratic party chairs and state presidents of national organizations. I have had people help me get memberships, help me find jobs, and offer me great opportunities. Also, these people believe in me and encourage me, which is priceless.

I have great friends. I have friends who range from high school students who have done internships or who will be studying abroad where I studied abroad to friends who are well established attorneys and elected officials. I have friends who make beautiful music and friends who paint gorgeous pictures. I have friends who work hard at fisheries and mines and friends who work in restaurants and at bars. I have friends who have advanced degrees and friends who went straight into the workplace. I have friends who have lived in small subsistence communities before they came to Juneau and friends who lived in some of the most populous urban areas. I have friends who have a canoe they carved at the Smithsonian and friends who spend months at a time in Dutch Harbor where they film Deadliest Catch. I have friends I can call at any hour, who will be there when I need them, who would do whatever they could for me.

I've worn a t-shirt hiking in snow. I've witnessed someone BASE jump off a tower. I've shook hands with a US Senator. I've been complimented on my hair by a former US Vice Presidential Candidate. I've ferried to neighboring Islands. I've been on the radio, the television, and in the weekly paper. I've had drinks with elected officials. And I think Juneau is a place where I can start a wonderful life.

But, you never know, I might become obsessed with someplace else if opportunity knocks.

A long time ago I wrote a list of things I need to do before I leave Alaska. I need to work on that some more.

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