Detour to Alaska!

Sometimes, when you want to live a non-traditional life, you have to make some detours.  Sometimes those detours are a trip to the store.  And sometimes they are 4,000 miles.

When we left Kaiser and California last year, we had the same boat and just planned on working in FL, getting a lot of boat work done, and then heading to Mexico in a couple years.  It seems that NOTHING has gone as planned since.  And I think you have a few options when that happens, but by far the best is “Adjust the sails and go with the wind.”

First, along came our dream boat that we’ve admired from afar for many years.  One quick Facebook friend request and message, and suddenly we were under contract and booking tickets for a sea trial and survey. Literally in about 24 hours.   And then we were faced with this overwhelming urge to be on said dream boat All.  The.  Time.  Then came November, and a really unfortunate management shakeup at my (Hilary’s) job made it clear to me that my position there would be significantly shorter than I had planned. Exit strategy was in high gear.  Life is too short to waste time being miserable.  We started figuring out that the Universe probably was sending us south.

But how to make money?  We have obligations.  We can get out of some of them (sure we can sell the truck and cancel all our cell phones, etc) but some we can’t.   Like child support.  And food.  🙂  And boat repairs.  So we still have to work.  We had resigned ourselves to travel contracts.  But it was just that, settling for something we didn’t really want to do.  It “checked the boxes.”  It was income, it was fairly reliable, and would get us on the boat.  With that in mind, we had planned to head to Mexico in June.   Until a late night conversation at work with a colleague.  You’re going…where?  What?  Hmmmm….

Alaska has ALWAYS been on my bucket list.  Yes I complain a bit about cold.  But I do love water and the mountains, and whales and nature.  And I need to work.  (Helkenn’s have a long history in the state, actually) We were excited about the prospect but figured it may be too late to get in this year, as their “season” is well underway by June.  We had decided to make a go for it next year, but then they had 4 temporary positions post the same day we started to discuss this, and we went for it.  It’s been a pretty easy process so far, and we are stoked to have both accepted job offers at Peace Health in Ketchikan, AK.   Ketchikan seems like a pretty cool little town.  Average rainfall is over 170 inches, meaning it gets about 1/2 inch of rain a DAY.  🙂  Wow.


The absolute coolest thing about this is that it isn’t a travel contract and isn’t really “temporary.”  It’s more of a per diem labor pool.  So we have jobs in summer for 3 months, and we have opportunities throughout the year.  So if we want a cold rainy Christmas, or a cold rainy Thanksgiving, or a cold rainy Easter, we have that option!   The next three weeks will be spent figuring logistics and getting there (dogs and all)  Travis and pups will have ferry reservations on June 9. (only access to Ketchikan is by air or sea) and I will join him in July.  The hospital requires an initial 13 weeks commitment, so that puts us somewhere in the neighborhood of Sept/Oct to get back to the boat, perfect time frame to get a few things fixed so we can be out of the marina and on the move and hook by the time cruising season (and high-season marina fees) start in November.  Thank goodness for Marina Riviera Nayarit, La Cruz and all the goodness that little town has to offer.  Our boat is well cared for and awaiting us.  Thanks to Chris and Monica on SeaGlub for the pic!

Going from the FL Keys to Alaska is pretty extreme, but really…are you suprised?  We’ve always forged our own trail off the beaten path.

Peace and Love from the SV Brighter Days crew