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.
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.