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Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 41: The Road Not Taken

Through the night the ship entered the inside passage along Alaska's southeastern panhandle. I woke to calm waters and cell phone service, a sure sign of consistent civilization. Among the messages I had missed during my 24 hour trip across the service void of the gulf, was a voicemail from my father informing me that a very thick envelop and come in the mail from USC. I've been accepted to the USC Annenberg School for a masters in communication management concentrating in entertainment. For the kinds of com theory and research topics that interest me, it is one of the best schools and programs in the country. I feel honored, that all my efforts during college, studying for the GRE, and completing the application have meant something important.

Still, this trip has made me reevaluate so much in my life. The next time I choose a path as an independent adult it has to be one that is completely true to who I am and how I want to better myself. I'm starting to question whether or not I'd ever be happy working at a desk or at a capitalist job. I think I need to spend time with nature and help people directly. Maybe I should be a park ranger or Unitarian Universalist minister instead of a music manager? Or, should I just take a short break before grad school to try other ways of living for a few months? I could be an housekeeper and au pair down in North Carolina, or bartend in Colorado, or cook on a fishing boat, or be a white water raft guide in West Virginia, or even volunteer in a national park. Oh, the things I could do, the place l could see, the lives I could live! The world is my oyster.

The ferry reached Juneau around noon, and so far I like this town. It's got a lot of charm, but it's big enough to deserve its city designation. The visitor center was informative, and had free parking. I left my car there, and walked around downtown for a bit. The city is set in terraces and steep slopes along the base of a forested mountain range. Lengthy staircases and a tram take foot traffic up and down, while a few main streets go length wise. Got coffee and a scone at one of the coffee shops that's owned by the local favorite bean roasters, Heritage. Found a local health foods store. Most of the buildings are small, vintage looking affairs with intriguing architectural stylings and painted in bright hues. When you're near the cruise ship terminal the stores are rather touristy for my tastes, but the quaint buildings and many family owned business save it from being too obnoxious. Everything's set close together along a broad sidewalk, lending it the air of a frontier town's boardwalk, like some movie about a gold rush.

Twelve miles outside Juneau, carved out between two peaks above the city, is the Mendenhall Glacier, which is part of the Tongass National Forest. For now I'm camped out next to Mendenhall Lake right below the glacier. Tomorrow I'll hike the forest, and maybe even the glacier. Yay! Adventure now, choose roads later.
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