The first time I came to the Kenai Peninsula I was on a solo weekend vacation about a month after I had moved to Anchorage.
I remember when the winding backwoods highway opened up at the Tern Lake junction of the Seward and Sterling highways and led me to the quaint, quirky twin towns on the central peninsula. It was a drizzly late August weekend.
My Airbnb host and I got to chatting when I checked into the room I was renting from her. She was also a transplant from the Lower 48 and had moved to Alaska as a young adult. She ended up moving back closer to home on the West Coast, but then found her way back to the Last Frontier.
She told me something I didn’t think of much that day, but something that’s been heavy on my mind lately: “Alaska has a way of sucking you back in,” she said to me.
I didn’t believe her. I thought I’d be in Anchorage for a year, just for the adventure of it all, and then go back home. But here I find myself, having stayed in Alaska for double the amount of time I had originally planned, about to embark on my next big adventure.
Alaska has given me so much, and it came at such a formative time in my life. I have grown up, made mistakes and climbed mountains. I’ve loved and lost and loved again. I’ve made friends who are now family.
The comment my Airbnb host made on my first day on the central peninsula might have been a sign, or fate. Or maybe not — maybe it was just something someone said once. When you’re looking for signs everything seems like one. But who am I to decide?
I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t taken a chance on Alaska, and if that one year hadn’t turned into more than two.
I’ll miss all my Alaska family while I’m gone, and even though I’m not quite sure where this next journey will take me, I’ll always have the Last Frontier and it will always be here for me.