I am going to Alaska and I am going to drive there from the east coast all by myself!
I have always wanted to go to the west of US ever since I saw pictures of red rock formations in UT and snow capped mountains in WY about twenty some years ago. During the past twenty years, I indeed have been to the west many times and I have visited all the states and most of the national parks out west. However, even though I have had so many chances to be in the western part of the country, I have always felt being rushed every time! There were only a couple of weeks each time when I visited and by the end of each time, I have always said silently, but “loudly” in my mind: “I don’t want to go back home! I just want to stay here!”
Well, my dream of staying in the west just come true — I am going to spend the whole summer in Alaska, way west than I ever wished for. 🙂 And I am going to drive there, more than 5500 miles!
Yes, it will be an experience of life time! I am very happy, excited and a little worried. After all, it is a long way to go and I will be all by myself driving through some of the most remote regions in the world. Yet, I am so determined and so grateful to have a rare opportunity for such an adventure.
Life is full of changes, as well as opportunities if you can recognize and seize them. Three years ago, like most people, I had a “normal” 9-5 job working at a university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. One day in May, 2010, a phone call from China changed my life – my dad was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. As the elder of the two children, both living in the US at the time, I decided to leave my job to take care of and to spend the last years of parents life with them. As one can see, it is not an easy and light decision which meant, not only I wouldn’t have my job, but also I would give up my life style and my friends here in the US, for as long as they needed me. Now, three years later, after both my parents passed away, I felt so fortunate to make such a tough but right decision – nothing can and will ever replace the experiences and feelings I had with my parents in their last days (http://travelinggirlinchina.wordpress.com/)
After going through such a life changing experience, I am much clearer and ever more determined to pursue what is really important in my life – being surrounded by beautiful nature, taking pictures and sharing the beauty of this wonderful natural world is what I am truly passionate about! Plus, I am not getting any younger, stronger or healthier. If I really want to do this, now is the time!
Luckily, even without realizing it clearly before, I have been preparing for such a dream and passion all throughout the years: I have been a hiker for about 10 years; I have been traveling to many places including most of the national parks in this country and more than a dozen countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica etc.; I have traveled with family, friends, tour groups or simply by myself; I have been an organizer of a large hiking group in the area and have the experiences of organizing hundreds of hiking related events; I have learned photography by taking classes and reading books; my photos have won numerous contests and have published in magazines (including a cover picture) and books; I have published a couple of fictional short stories (in English in the US) and a number of articles in magazines in China … I think I am ready, to go on the life I have dreamed of!
So, here I come – the western part of the country and even further, Alaska!
Check my blog from time to time. I am sure there will be stories and adventures, and surely lots of pictures to come! The only thing I can’t promise is when I will be able to post – sometime along the way, I won’t even have internet connection.
PS. my photo website: