Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Movin' on up (er ... down)

Date: July 18
Mileage: 28.9
July mileage: 431.8
Temperature upon departure: 56

Well, I'm moving to Juneau. It sounds a bit rash, I know, but it's actually the culmination of several weeks of events that started the day they handed me number 111 at the 24 Hours of Kincaid Race (Elevens, my friend Ryan always told me, signify shifts in universal or personal patterns i.e. routines.) Anyway, the next day I received a cold call from The Juneau Empire. Next month, I'm going to be working there. Crazy how quickly life can shift gears.

While Juneau is technically in the same state I live in now (and who am I kidding ... it's the capitol), moving there is no small matter. It's about the distance equivalent of moving from Denver to San Francisco, if the only way to get to San Francisco was to drive to a tiny upstate town like Arcata and then hop a slow-moving ferry down the coast. Oh ... and throw in an international border crossing as well. I might as well move to Seattle. At least it stops raining sometimes there.

But that's precisely the reason I'm excited. Juneau is this mysterious community isolated by a wall of steep, vast mountains and hundreds of miles of remote coastline. With 30,000 people, it's the second largest city in Alaska and the center of its government - all squashed into this unlikely place teeming with grizzly bears and avalanche danger. As a former denizen of the wide-open Mountain West, who grew up with Interstate dependence flowing through her veins, I find this kind of lifestyle very intriguing. So I'm going to give it a try.

Also, I'm completely in love with Alaska, and I realize that I've only scratched a small surface of this bewildering state. Moving to Juneau, I know, isn't exactly going to open up opportunities to move freely through the Arctic. And yet - it's another piece of a vast puzzle. For that reason, I couldn't resist.

When I think about leaving Homer, I feel sad. I feel anxious. I feel anticipation. I feel angry at myself. I feel excited. I feel terrified. I feel like I need to stop thinking about it even if it does make the hill intervals go faster. Change is so hard, and unfortunately I'm one of those people that thrives on it, craves it, consumes it with reckless abandon. I like the fact that there's something new around the corner. It gives the present so much more meaning.


  1. You're really going to like Juneau. It's small, but has a thriving art community with lots of things going on. Plus, there's a great sushi place, and pelmeni until the wee hours of the morning. Tom and I were offered jobs at the Empire once but couldn't make the move work out for us. Best of luck!

  2. Congrats, Jill! Sounds like a real opportunity for you!

  3. All those years in AK and I never even visited Juneau. I'll be interested to hear your experiences with mountain biking there. Not much for road biking I heard, understandably so. Good luck.

  4. Great, great luck! I read the Empire every day, from 3000 miles away. Beat of luck to you!

  5. Congrats, Jill. Onward and upward! (okay I know that's New York's motto, but still).

  6. Jill -- did I mention that's a great picture. I appreciate your thoughts about moving right now.

  7. Congratulations! It sounds like it has the potential to be a great move for you--both career and community-wise. Best wishes!

  8. Congrats on the new gig - and new digs!

  9. I'm completely in love with Alaska, and I realize that I've only scratched a small surface of this bewildering state.

    Hey, I'd just like to thank you for blogging your way around the state, too. Some of dream of getting out on the frontier but realities of life and family have us resigned from exploration. Keep up the good work.


  10. Ditto what bc said... your living a dream for some of us who arn't. And I'm glad you share it with us.

  11. congrats on the job
    congrats on the nervous fun of relocation

    is the climate better for cycling?
    maybe more roads for a longer season of riding for you

    but what do I know?

    I am sweating it out in Washington DC
    where there are occassional christmas that involve shorts
    I know there are people in shorts and flip flops in Alaska all year round
    I mean shorts because it is warm
    not because shorts and flip flops are someone's thing

  12. Wow! It sounds like congratulations are in order for you!

  13. Man, that Ryan guy sounds pretty smart!


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