Apr 11, 2017
By Tristi Hernandez
A Chance Worth Taking in Alaska
Have you ever had the feeling that something in life was missing? As if there was this unexplained void beneath your core, longing to be filled by a greater force beyond your grasp. I had been consumed by this void my entire life, which grew more fiercely as time progressed. After a while, I began to go numb. This unknowing, unquenchable longing in a way metaphorically paralyzed me. Time had molded me into one of societies corporate robots. I seemed to have went through much of my young adult life in an auto-pilot state of trance, until the one day, I had finally awoken.
“You still interested in working in Alaska?” I had just opened my eyes and involuntarily grabbed my phone and began scrolling through my emails. I had never expected to hear back from a job that I had applied to five months back. To my unimaginable surprise, they had gotten back to me. It was as if life had flipped a neurological switch and set forth a newly awakened me. I was alive and every cell in my body screamed that this was it, this was the moment I had been waiting for. I had instantly accepted the job offer. Within five days, I had quit my full-time job, bought a plane ticket, packed my bags, and left to Alaska on a one-way ticket. Some people would think that I was mad to give up a secure job with full benefits. Others couldn’t fathom how I could simply leave everything behind, and partake on a one-way ticket to Alaska on a whim. They had so many questions. Many of which I had no answers for. Truth is, I hadn’t even had the time to do research of my own. None of it mattered though. I was far too determined to make this adventure happen.
I boarded the plane with barely one hundred dollars to my name. I wasn’t too sure how I would financially make it, but my impressive faith carried my insecurities. “Don’t worry about it, it will all work out,” I told myself. A total of thirty-two hours later, including sixteen hours of flight and delay time, one uncomfortable nights stay in the airport, one eight-hour shuttle ride which left me with thirty dollars for two weeks’ worth of groceries. I had made it to my destination of Healy, Alaska. A place that I would call my home for four of Alaska’s beautiful summer months.
After my shuttle had arrived to Healy, I was greeted by my new boss who drove me to where I’d be staying. As we were driving down the road from our home, there was a man walking alone towards our direction. I took a deep breath. “This man is beautiful,” was all I could think as my eyes gazed upon him. Suddenly, the vehicle had stopped, and the man had jumped in the front seat. I froze in place. The man turned around to introduce himself, but I couldn’t comprehend a thing. Maybe I was deliriously exhausted from the lack of sleep or simply stunned by this mans near presence, but one thing was definite. I had to know him.
Fate and coincidence are just two of the words I can use to describe how travel has changed my life, but to leave my greatest life’s adventures on just those two terms makes it seems so uneventful. No, I couldn’t possibly leave it there. Travel has not only changed my life, but it has truly blessed me with a sea of infinite possibilities, challenges, and a life of adventure to fill my empty void. Travel has taught me that it’s okay to take chances, it’s okay to challenge yourself and most of all, it’s okay to not know what’s ahead of you. Traveling has taught me to just live, and live simply. Living is easy, it’s living to not live that’s unbearable.
If it wasn’t for what courage I had to leave my life behind and set forth on a blind adventure, I would have never experienced what it was like to climb my first mountain in Denali National Park. Nor would I have known what it was like to raft the icy Nenana River and jump into its’ raging rapids to experience what below freezing temperature felt like through a dry suit. I would have never experienced flying over the famous Mt. Denali. Lastly, I would have never met the love of my life who I will travel the world with. I would have never gotten to know him and the thought of that breaks my heart. Life could be far different, but I decided to take a chance. I decided that travel will change my life, and so it did.
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About the Author
Born and raised on the coast in southern Texas, Tristi Hernandez is a traveling writer, who has been traveling around the world for the last two years. She is an avid thrill seeker, adventurer, and lover of the great outdoors.