I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

March 4, 2017
Weather Forecast | Out West Somewhere

Fairbanks Forecast

I know a few things. I have a ticket to fly to Fairbanks, Alaska on Wednesday morning. I plan to be on that flight. My friends plan to pick me up at the airport late that night. The next day, another friend will lend me a truck. At that point, I hope not to slide off the icy roads while driving to the cabin I’ve rented for a month. I know the cabin doesn’t have internet or indoor plumbing — meaning no toilet or shower. I know it’s supposed to have heat and running water in a sink.

I speak of these things somewhat tentatively because last August when I was on my way to Alaska and my father got sick and so quickly left this life, I was reminded of how plans can unravel fast and hard. Plus Donald Trump is president. I’m learning to be ready for anything.

Snow in Fairbanks | Out West Somewhere

People have been sending me photos and articles about all the snow in Fairbanks this year. Here’s my friend Teri’s greenhouse and barn. There’s a 1985 Ford Ranger pickup truck waiting for me under there somewhere.

About what I don’t know: I don’t know anything about living in subzero temperatures. I don’t know if I’m going to handle it or whine for thirty days straight, or what the mix of those two things might be. And I don’t know what I’m doing with this blog. There’s no “About” page yet. I have an idea that it will be about deliberately wandering, whether to Fairbanks or wherever the next train takes me, and what I find along the way.

I wanted to be more certain of this blog’s purpose before I began, but the thing about a blog is that it wants to be about process. It wants to figure out what it is as it unfolds, which can be awkward for someone who likes to be in control. Like my first blog. When I started that one ten years ago I hoped it would be about wandering and wondering — hence the name, Hitchhiking to Heaven — but then it ended up being a place where more than 10,000 people still visit every month to learn about making jam. I had no idea that was going to happen.

Right now, this blog has five subscribers and two of them are me. I thought I needed to have a clear goal before inviting even my friends to be here with me, but that takes all the fun out of it. So I’m grateful all three of you are here. [Update: Now there are thirteen. Thank you!]

To close today, here’s one of the articles I received this week: Expect Deep Snow and Subzero Chill for Fairbanks Start of Iditarod. This is my favorite quote: Bacon, who has a kennel out of Big Lake and ran her first Iditarod last year, said when she checked the Fairbanks forecast for Monday and saw lows of 27 below zero, “I had a little moment of panic.” 

I felt the same way and all I’m doing is driving a truck across town.

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  • Emily March 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    And then there were four. Looking forward to reading about your adventures large and small.

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:57 am

      Thank you, four! XOXO

  • Laura March 5, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Not exactly sure what I’m doing here (not here, at your blog, but here trying to post something), not being too technically saavy. But am so glad to be a recipient of your blog and occasional responder, despite spelling snafus, not having read it all – and who knows when I will. I’d had it in my mind that you’d already left. So I get to say bon voyage and remind you to think of the monks who sit virtually naked (somehow I can’t imagine them without their robes, but you get the idea) as part of their meditation practice, and their body temperatures remain warm and cozy. L

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:56 am

      I’m a long way from monkdom, I can say that for sure, but I am working on deepening my breathing and relaxing. It does seem to help — with the cold and, not surprising, everything else. You did a better job figuring out how to comment than I did of figuring out people have been commenting. I wasn’t getting any notices, but I think I’ve got things all worked out now.

  • Julia March 5, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Oh, that is very cold!! It will be such a great time for writing, though. Can’t wait to see what comes of it!

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:53 am

      Yay. Thanks for being here, Jules. I just found all these comments because the notifications were going to my spam. It’s nice to hear from friends!

  • Nancy March 6, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Safe travels …looking forward to hearing about your adventures ❄✈🙏🏻

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:52 am

      Thank you, Nancy! Believe me, I’m thinking of you in balmy Hawaii.:-)

  • Tara March 9, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I’ve missed your writing! I was so pleased to see the jam pop up in my feedly 🙂
    Who says a blog has to have a purpose and a goal. To me they are diaries…spaced held to remember what was and is at a moment in time.

    Good luck in the snow and ice! I’m fascinated by anyone living in the far north, conditions so very very unlike my own!

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:52 am

      Tara, I was hoping a few people might see the jam pop up and wander over here. I’m so glad you did! And I’m glad you see blogs in that way. I needed to give myself permission to let this one figure out what it wants to be.

  • Annie Danberg March 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Yes! Hurray for having the courage to admit you don’t know and for having the courage to embrace it. I hope this finds you safe in your new home for the month of March…and looking forward to future adventures..

    • Shae March 11, 2017 at 12:46 am

      Nice to see you here, Annie. Thank you for always being such a great support and model for venturing into the unknown!