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School Teacher: Teaching In A Remote Alaskan Village: One Year and Done For This Man

Updated on September 23, 2013
The Dinali Highway
The Dinali Highway | Source
Dawn on the Kuskokwim River
Dawn on the Kuskokwim River | Source
The village of Akiachak, Alaska from a small plane
The village of Akiachak, Alaska from a small plane | Source
The Kuskokwim River Delta
The Kuskokwim River Delta | Source
Bethel, Alaska
Bethel, Alaska | Source
Always time for fishing
Always time for fishing | Source
Outside the teacher's residence
Outside the teacher's residence | Source

I’m not really sure what I expected when I boarded the Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle. I knew I was headed for an adventure but nothing could have prepared me for what I found in Akiachak, Alaska in 2006.

For those of you who are not familiar with Akiachak, and I suspect that is about 99% of you, it is a small native village on the banks of the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska about twenty miles northeast of Bethel. Chances are you are not even familiar with Bethel but believe me, when it is the only town of any size nearby, you become very familiar with it very fast.

Akiachak is a village of approximately 600 residents, 92% of whom are Yupi’k Eskimo. It is a subsistence and fishing village and 21% of the citizens live below the poverty line. The largest employer is the Yupiit School District and other employment includes commercial fishing, construction and seasonal fire-fighting.

The village itself is 6.8 square miles in size and it receives, on average, fifty inches of snow. The average temperatures in the winter range between -2 and 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now you know everything I knew as I boarded that flight to the Great Unknown.

So what in the world led me to Akiachak?

A DESIRE TO GET BACK IN THE GAME

I had been out of teaching since 2002 and I was feeling the itch to return to the classroom. I was unattached, tired of my job at UHaul and in need of a kid fix. After spending a year of sending out applications to Washington schools and finding no employment I finally decided it was time to expand my horizons. I saw an online ad for teachers wanted in Alaska and I began the process of applying for those jobs.

When one applies for jobs in Alaska one needs to understand the process. They really are quite hard up for teachers up there. If you are standing upright, breathing and have a degree then chances are excellent that you meet all the requirements. Jobs are relatively hard to come by in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome, Seward and Juneau but if you are willing to work in the remote areas you will be employed faster than you can imagine.

The process goes something like this:

· Send in your application packet to the school district

· Wait a day or two

· Take part in a phone interview

· Wait a day or two for your references to be checked

· Get hired

Do you think for a second that I am exaggerating? At the time I was fifty-seven years old; I had been out of teaching for four years. I received my first offer in two days. The superintendent in Barrow, Alaska, was practically jumping out of his shoes he was so excited when he called me. Barrow, Alaska! Look it up on a map but crane your necks and look real far northward because it is the northernmost city in the United States, right at the tip of the Arctic Circle. Can you say colder than a well-diggers butt? No wonder the man was excited. He had found an idiot who appeared to actually be interested in freezing his toosh off in a city visited by polar bears. I’m surprised he didn’t drive down to Olympia to hand-deliver my contract.

I respectfully declined when the next day a job offer was waiting for me from Akiachak. All I was sure of was that Akiachak was not at the top of the world; damn close to it but at least not at the very top. I agreed to the $60,000 pay offer and was told to report on December 27, 2005 for my new assignment.

I should have questioned the fact that I was being hired in the middle of the school year but by then I was excited for the new adventure and not thinking very straight. It turns out quite a few jobs open up during Christmas vacation because after four months on the tundra teachers seem to come to their senses and just leave.

REALITY QUICKLY SETTLES OVER ME

Seattle to Anchorage, Anchorage to Bethel and arrival in Bethel on the night of December 26, 2005. It was ten below zero when I stepped off the plane and I was greeted by the principal of Akiachak High School. We shook hands and he began loading my bags into his Ford Explorer. I asked him how we were getting to Akiachak since I happened to know there were no roads. He calmly explained that we would be driving ON THE RIVER!

Welcome to Akiachak, Alaska!

I had five days to get acclimated before school began. The temperature never got above ten below and I was having a hard time finding enough layers of clothes to keep me from freezing to death. The sun rose about eleven a.m. and set about two p.m. and there was ice everywhere…..and no trees! It was like being in a desert covered with ice!

I spent those five days shaking hands with fellow teachers, smiling a lot and wondering if it was too soon to return home. I decided since I hadn’t taught a class that I might be a bit premature in making return reservations before school began.

The school was a half mile from the teacher residences so each day I would walk to school (skating was more like it but without skates) and of course that meant being stared at by the villagers who just smiled at me and nodded as I passed by. It must have been quite entertaining for them to see fresh meat slipping and sliding down the road, occasionally falling and shaking uncontrollably.

ODDS AND ENDS

I learned how to skin a beaver in Akiachak.

I learned how to gill net for salmon in Akiachak and boy are there a lot of salmon in the Kuskokwim River.

I learned that without a snowmobile or ATV you go nowhere in Akiachak.

I learned that it is forbidden to shoot a bb gun in Akiachak but you can shoot dogs with a rifle between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. if they are not on a leash.

I learned the importance of extended family from the villagers of Akiachak.

I learned that only the strong survive in a remote outpost like Akiachak.

I learned that hunting and fishing are infinitely more important than education in Akiachak.

I learned that despite being white and an outsider that love was given freely to me in Akiachak.

I learned that possessions have no meaning in Akiachak and they are given freely to those in need.

I learned that what I thought was reality was merely illusion in Akiachak.

I learned that it is still possible to step on ground that a human being has never visited in Akiachak.

I learned that school is not cancelled for weather unless it gets below -50 degrees, which it did one day.

I learned that the average snowfall of 50 inches was a myth; we had five feet in March alone.

I learned that frozen ice crystals called “snow dogs” float in the air at forty below zero, a surreal experience of shimmering, shiny flecks of white in the air all around you.

I learned that despite my soft upbringing that I am tougher than I ever believed.

I learned that there is much to be said for a small community that watches out for each other.

I learned the true meaning of isolation in Akiachak.

SIGNING UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR

In April of 2006 the administration decided that I was a keeper and they offered me a full-time position for the following school year. I agreed and signed the contract and to this day I don’t know why.

By the time I was heading home in June I could barely contain my excitement and during the summer months I dreaded leaving my family and returning to Akiachak in late August but return I did, hopeful that the feelings of aloneness were a thing of the past and determined to make it work.

It was not meant to be!

I had no sooner stepped off the plane in Akiachak than I knew I wouldn’t make it a full year. The loneliness and feeling of isolation were overwhelming and for one of the few times in my life I was truly frightened.

I hung in there until late November but while on a trip to a volleyball tournament north of Anchorage I began drinking heavily, almost lost my life to booze and finally returned home to Olympia and my family. The Great Adventure had come to an end.

REGRETS?

Not a one! I needed that adventure to find out a few things about myself. I learned that I love my family more than I ever imagined. I learned that home is where the heart is and my home was in Olympia. I learned that if I wanted happiness that alcohol could never again be a part of my existence. I learned that there is no shame in attempting something new and finding out it isn’t for you and I learned that there is great wisdom in knowing your limitations.

The difference between me now and in December of 2005 is like the difference between death and life. Prior to the trip I was unaware, really, of who I was. I was, in fact, lost in the wilderness before I ever made the trip. I am not lost now! I know who I am today and I love who I am today and for that I say….

THANK YOU, AKIACHAK!

However, there is no way in hell I’m ever going back!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

To purchase my Kindle book on Alcoholism go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Life-as-Alcoholic-ebook/dp/B007V69VXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334766719&sr=1-1

To purchase my Kindle book on Lifestyle Choices go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Lifestyle-Choices-ebook/dp/B007ZV9G2U/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336064586&sr=1-3

Satellite view of Kuskokwim River

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi....LOL...you definitely would not like the cold of the tundra.

      I have thought about a book on this subject; quite frankly I'm so swamped with work and projects I don't know when that particular book will happen. Let's just say it is in the planning stage. :)

      Thank you Bobbi; you are a good hub friend.

      bill

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida

      Bill,

      A stupendous story, and I would have enjoyed all those sweet faces of the children. I don't know if I could take the cold, because sometimes in Florida it is too cold for me.

      Are you going to do a book about your experience. I am sharing this one with friends.

      Thanks,

      Your Hub Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fahrenheit....ungodly cold! :)

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      School gets cancelled when 50 below zero. Is that Fahrenheit or Celsius?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, I'm glad I survived this particular test in life. Thank you for your kind words; you are a good man, and friend.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is one great adventure ride which I enjoyed taking Bill. Finding our limits is important and also acknowledging the fact that family comes on top of all priorities is something I admire you for apart from the fact that your honesty in all your writings stands out.

      Awesome write my friend.

      Up all the way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trinity my dear, pain has always been the greatest teacher for me. I'm hoping it has changed since 2006; I believe it has. Thank you so much for your loyalty and for being who you are.

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 5 years ago

      Wow, what an adventure, yet so much more than that. It’s funny how when we are faced with “the dark night of the soul” we finally discover ourselves and we begin to live a full and fulfilling life. Love this hub Bill, thank you for sharing it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ron, I would agree with your assessment. The natives I met had no desire to go anywhere else....no desire at all. That was home, where they were most comfortable, and their future was within about a ten mile radius. There were quite a few who had never left the village in decades. Remarkable, really! I actually became acclimated to the cold fairly quickly; it was the long hours of darkness that I found oppressive, and the isolation of course.

      Great comment; thank you!

    • Ron Hawkster profile image

      Ron Hawkster 5 years ago from United States of America

      Great story, riveting video. I have been to some of the more hospitable parts of Alaska, but nothing as far away and extreme as this (and certainly not during winter). I have also been to some hot, barren desolate places in other parts of the world where staying outside without AC for a few minutes would kill you. I often wonder, how does man end up in such harsh and isolated places, such opposite extremes of cold and unforgiving heat, low valleys and high elevations, and choose to remain there? The only answer I have come up is those are not just "places", that the locations are alive though it might not first appear that way, that people and nature interact with one another and develop an organic bond after which even when they have the choice of moving to more hospitable environments they stay with the familiar because they have bonded.

      Thanks for sharing this great story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I seem to learn lessons the hard way or don't learn at all. :) This was one of those lessons I definitely learned the hard way. Your words are true my friend. It is a pleasure getting to know you and I appreciate you greatly.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thamk from one teacher to another for sharing this experience. I too know I could never leave my family for a job and could relate to how you must have felt. You also reminded me of my first teaching job, which was in a rich affluent district that I just could not seem to fit in no matter how I tried and made that tough decision to resign ather than stay somewhere that made me extremely unhappy. I knew then and still know now that it is better to teach somewhere where you feel that you fit in versus staying in a job just for the sake of having the job and a descent income. Thanks again for sharing this part of your life. I, of course, have shared and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! My secret plan was to find all this out so nobody else would ever have to go there. It worked to perfection. LOL

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I wouldn't have gone there if they paid me one million dollars! I admire you so much for all you have done. You are a very special person!

      I voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share your adventure.

      My best, Mary

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A reality slap for sure, Annie! Thank you again....so much....for being who you are!

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Yes I think you are right, and that Alaskan village can take many forms but is ultimatley a reality slap. Suffering and endurance are right there on the pathway to inner peace and joy, methinks there are no detours!!

      Sharing your pathway is so encouraging to all your readers including me, thank you Bill, you are appreciated by so many.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, you humble me with your praise. Thank you dear! I think we all, in one way or another, spend time in an Alaskan village like the one I was in. Luckily for me, and most of us, we find our way out. I appreciate you greatly; you are a very dear friend.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      I have so much admiration for you Bill, and aside from all the deep and meaningful reasons - I don't do cold. I don't do minus anything!!! I know, I'm a whoos, but 1 year in a climate like this, when it isn't your native climate, that is true grit!!! I love your list of odds and ends - the shared community spirit and love and the lack of (perceived need of)processions, the warmth of extended family and the discovery of your inner strength. What an adventure, what an amazing story - just one part in the big picture and one that will stay with you always, thank you so much for sharing. All my good votes and best wishes to you Bill, and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Molly, it is a different world. We had a school barbecue in May, outside, 32 degrees and snow coming down sideways....and there I was out in it turning over the burgers. Yep, a different world for sure.

      Thanks my friend; nice of you to stop by.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      "It must have been quite entertaining for them to see fresh meat slipping and sliding down the road, occasionally falling and shaking uncontrollably."

      Lol!!

      Bill, I spent only a few days at a camp in Wasilla one summer and like you, I think I've got the big picture. Folks up there are super nice, but wow. Our group from Atlanta got our minds blown because we saw locals laying out at a lake in their bikinis and Speedos in 50 degree weather. They laughed at us because it was "summer" and we were bundled up to our ears.

      Some of the most beautiful views on earth, though, and some of the biggest plants (and animals).

      Thanks for the laugh!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, an excellent point that you make! Bev was asking me if I would be willing to go there with her...and of course, then it would be completely different. Thank you for resurrecting this!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, fantastic story - really enjoyed it, every word! It was a sort of adventure which was right at the right time but like most things, the next time you do the same thing it is rarely the same.

      Voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Raci, you are very kind! It was not enjoyable but it was necessary for me.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      this is an astounding story of finding who you are out of nowhere...in the Bible, you really need to go place like Abraham to find himself, and Joseph and Moses...

      But Bill Holland?uh uh, i can never imagine doing that...i even choose high school over elementary teaching because i can't stand being assigned in far flung barrio...

      great teacher story ever written...

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Haha, thanks I am trying my best! Thanks for the compliment, although I was giving you a compliment :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Josh; you are starting to get your feet on the ground at HubPages! You are like a veteran already. Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Bill this looked like an interesting experience! Something one will never forget, those are the experiences that frame you! Great hub, voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting!

      And shared!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, for most of my adult life I have had to get hit over the head to learn. Pain is my greatest motivator. Perhaps I'm past that...sure would be nice. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      What an experience! Sometimes we need a kick in the ass that sends us out of the ballpark in order to realize where home is, huh?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nak, it was definitely an experience and I'm glad I went...but never again! Thank you for your kind words.

    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      I loved this hub, it is a really interesting window into another world, and so well written. I can't wait to read more of your hubs!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joan, that is very nice of you to say. Thank you so much!

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Fantastic read! Congratulations on the experience and the Hub! Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting. Keep them coming we all want to read your work.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dee, it is a nasty three months, especially right after the bugs hatch. The best time there is September and October...after that forget about it.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      OK, I'm out.... BUGS....OMG...I hate bugs more than the 50 inches of snow.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dee, you could walk the village during the summer months...of course the bugs are the size of grizzlies. :) Thank you for the laugh and visit.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      This is an adventure and a memory that will last forever...for you and for those your taught, met and lived among. And look at all you learned, including becoming a really good skater...LOL. 50 inches of snow.....ohhhh...I like snow but 50 inches? With the village being so small, did you ever have an opportunity to just walk the entire village?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Unnamed, it was an adventure for sure. Your son has a job few people would want and for that he has my admiration. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mazio, thank you very much for your comment and you are correct; this was one of those times when I needed to make this trip.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      You're a braver man than I, billybuc. Our son lived in Bethel for a couple years and isolation was a major factor in life there-- and that's far bigger than your village. As the Alaska Fish and Game manager in the region he had the unenviable task of telling villagers when they could not fish when salmon populations were low. And as you said, these are not sport fishing people-- they are subsistence fishermen! Great hub.

    • MazioCreate profile image

      MazioCreate 5 years ago from Brisbane Queensland Australia

      One heck of a story, and a life. There are times when stepping out of your routine takes you to places you never imagine you will go. I needed to read this story today, thanks. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The video was the first one, Voronwe; we will be filming several each week and I enjoy doing them. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my works. I really do appreciate you.

    • Voronwe profile image

      Voronwe 5 years ago

      What an adventure...it seems like a journey that was most opportune but glad you returned to where your heart was. Liked the odds and ends part...and that you were tougher than you ever believed. I remember realizing the same when I moved to a new country all by myself but looking back now, it all seems even more scary. Weird.

      This video "A moment with Bill" seems to be the first one...well, greatly looking forward. Best wishes!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, I think in this case I was definitely the student but it was a great experience and one that definitely helped me to grow.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Too cold for me, but it sure sounds like you learned a lot from your adventure! I'm sure in that short time you taught a few things, too! Awesome hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Vellur! So nice to have you visit! I'm not sure how strong I am; maybe a little crazy. :) Thank you for stopping by; I really do appreciate it.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      It must have been quite an experience teaching in Alsaka. Imageine school being closed only at-50. My God you must be very strong to withstand such a climate. The snow dogs must heave been mesmerizing to watch. I keep looking up Alaska, I love the placce. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, I have no doubt about that! :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I just got goosebumps! I know you, Bev and I would get along fantastically! I do love the genuine spirit and thankful attitudes.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, Bev and I were having that conversation the other night...if I hadn't come back she and I would never have met. It all worked out great!

      Thank you young lady! You are always a joy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rolly, Bethel is for sure one of a kind! I agree with you, I met some incredibly friendly people there...all over Alaska as a matter of fact.

      Thank you my friend...as always!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I am glad you had your year of adventure and then realized the Alaska landscape was not for you. Now you have Bev and are able to share with us your journeys. Good for you for taking a chance for a year on a new job, living experience and meeting new people!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... I must be one of the 1 % that understands... I landed once in Bethel once many years ago. We had been further north on some exploration work and stopped to get some freight heading south. What a hoot that place was... great people and some real stories could be born there... just so very friendly.

      Great hub and thanks for being in the area... you left a mark like you do here...

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, it is a rather sobering realization when you ask yourself, "what have I done?" I'm glad I did it, though, and now I can say I did do it and move on. Thank you as always!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I was laughing while I read your story, because I can relate to the excitement of being offered a job and then later thinking -- what have I done? What a great story and written with great humor and interest. I am sharing this one with my fellow staff members. They need inspiration! Glad you are not still frozen in Alaska, even if it is a great place to live.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, I'm glad you liked the video; there is a new one coming today.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, it is so nice to see you back among us. I, for one, have missed you. I hope this finds you happy my young friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, you are young; if you want it then it will happen. Life is for living and we need to live it to the fullest. Best luck to you my friend and thank you so much for your loyalty.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      And A Moment With Bill is wonderful!

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      This is definitely something I've learned in the last year "there is no shame in attempting something new and finding out it isn’t for you" and I had to deal with feeling ashamed for moving somewhere I had so many hopes for and then finding out that it wasn't going to work. But it wasn't anything like as remote as your Alaskan trip - wow you're brave! I loved reading this, it is interesting, personal and well-wrtten and that is your winning combo Bill.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Great hub Sir WIlliam! being here in the hit subcontinent! I have always fantasized living in the mountains... Although nowadays I reside in the hills my self... But seeing pictures of Alaska and other parts of the world... make me want to be a traveller

      And have experiences such as yours

      Great hub

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Paula and I believe as you do, that it is all part of a plan I need only to accept. I'm much too busy to bother with regrets. Hell, the adventure is a kick so why complain?

      Yes, fifty below is way over the top. I didn't know this but they can't fly airplanes in those temps...freezes the wings and they might fall off. LOL...true story.

      Anyway, thank you muchly!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....what an experience...adventure.....journey? All three, I'd guess. It truly was a gift in disguise, wasn't it?

      I enjoy the cold weather, but what you describe sounds like way over the top!

      I don't doubt why you wonder about signing on for that 2nd year.....but obviously it was all part of the great plan to lead you to where you are today...(if you believe in this as I do)

      A very good friend of mine has a grandson in Alaska (I don't know what part) but she did visit once. From that point, she decided she would pay for his flight to come to Ohio, so I'm thinking, Alaska must not have impressed her in the least! lol

      A wonderful....interesting and "chilly" tale! Thanks bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Snowdrops! With your hub name it would be a perfect place for you. :)

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      wow, love the view! amazing hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww. Georgie, thank you! I really do appreciate your kind words and I will try to always be someone you want to read.

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      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      You always have the most interesting hubs, and the way you write is amazing! I'm sorry it didn't work out in Alaska, but you found yourself, and that's what matters. Awesome hub!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Thunder! It was a long year but I'm glad I did it.

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      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic article. I was riveted. And you've written two Kindle books. Amazing!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Duffsmom; I appreciate those kind words.

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      P. Thorpe Christiansen 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Fantastic Hub and as I was reading I was wishing it was a full length book. Well done!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kelley! It really was an incredible adventure and to regret it would be to negate all that was great about it just because of the negatives. I met some great people up there and I can say I did it and survived. :)

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Billybuc your life seems to be full of adventure! I love taking on challenges and do things out of the ordinary but sometimes I realize when I'm in the thick of it that I was really just inspire by the idea rather than the process. I like how you said you live with no regrets because what is the point? What's done is done and it was there for a reason. Thanks for sharing your fantastic experience in Alaska! Take care, Kelley

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      College, there are parts of Alaska where I wouldn't hesitate to take a family...the southeastern section has weather very much like Washington State....milder temperatures and a lot of moisture...and beautiful. But once you get into the interior it is not a place for a family to live.

      Thank you and best of luck to you.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan, summer is actually quite nice except for the mosquitoes which are the size of a small cat. :) Thank you for stopping by.

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      collegedad 5 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      This was a wonderful read. I'm working on a B.A. in secondary education right now and have often dreamed of spending a year in Alaska. If I were a younger man without attachments, I wouldn't give it a second thought. I'd be on that plane to AK. As it is, my wife and daughter wouldn't forgive me for making them move into such a desolate part of the world. Great hub. Voted UP

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      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds like quite the adventure. I've always wanted to see Alaska but during the summer months. 40 below is the coldest I've ever experienced and could never warm up. I enjoy reading about your adventures.

      Up, awesome, interesting and sharing.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I experienced that too, Made, and it was more unsettling then the darkness of winter. Amazing that people are able to acclimate so easily and quickly to different circumstances.

      Thank you Made; I'm always happy when I see that you have stopped by.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      What an interesting hub about a wonderful life adventure of yours! You're right Bill - home is where the heart is. The climate in Alaska seems to be like the climate in northern Finland. I live 450 kilometres south of the Arctic circle. The good thing is that the sun usually shine many hours during summertime. This time of the year the sun goes up around 2.30 a.m. and sets around 10.30 p.m.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      People, your observation is a good one. There is a bonding among the people up there. Everyone watches out for each other and there is a kinship based on the rugged nature of living up there. Thanks for the visit and the great comment.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Debbie! It was an adventure for sure in a world I never knew existed. I'm glad for the experience but once is enough.

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      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Great article. I loved the part about what you learned. Our son is in his 14th year in Alaska nine of which were spent in Bethel as an air taxi pilot. The last five years he has lived in Anchorage and now flys a 747 for Atlas Air Cargo. We noticed that there is a certain type of bonding with his friends that you don't find in the lower 48. There is no pretense, what you see is what you get. Voting up Beautiful and Sharing.

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      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      What an adventure.. and i don't blame you for not going back.. I am so sad they shoot dogs... I am so glad you are writing I love to read your hubs..

      Excellent hub

      voted up an sharing

      Debbie