* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, * Michelle Thoughts, Videos

Looking Back at 2011: Our Year In Review

Here’s our official New Year’s update video, looking back on 2011. Although we expected to be heading out to Peace Corps in July, we found out in late spring that our placement changed and we were put on hold until the news of our new assignment arrived in August. Despite this “set-back,” we went ahead with our plans to resign from our full-time positions, travel the country, and visit family and friends. We never dreamed of all the places that our waiting period would take us; and even though the Peace Corps journey is postponed until March 2012, our adventures have already begun!

Related posts:
Ten States in Two Months
Away We Go! Our National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
Simply Intentional – 2010 Year In Review

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Other Travels

Alaska: Into the Wild….Chang Style

If you’ve never read the book “Into the Wild” you should. The movie was ok. The book did a better job of telling the story of a young man who decided to follow his wanderlust to Alaska (and without sharing too much, I will stop there).

This was my second time in Alaska for work travel. The first time, I didn’t see much- just rain and fog. This time, however, expecting terrible, cold, snowy conditions, we were surprised with sunshine and wildlife (moose, bald eagles, salmon, and a wild bear cub). Michelle joined me during the week I was in Anchorage, and we took full advantage of the time between college recruiting events to see the sights.

Exploring this rugged terrain (and mind you, just a small sample of Alaska), I can see why the young  man from the Into the Wild story was smitten and determined to live his life there. He read books, studied maps, and followed the lives of previous explorers to come to the conclusion that I came to myself on this trip: There is nothing like experiencing it for yourself. There are no words to describe the beauty and the majesty. I told Michelle that the land seemed magical.

Our friends Margie and Gary (parents of a buddy from college) were so kind to lend us their cabin, located on a private lake in the middle of the wilderness. They warned us that the cabin had no modern conveniences, but I was shocked to find it sublime and perfect. This cozy, two-story log cabin (built themselves) sat on a plot of land over looking a the most serene lake I have ever seen in my life.

You could feel the intentional love and care they had put into the place, sense the memories of family get-togethers and late night bonfires, the overwhelming sound of silence. When it was dark, you lit candles. When you were cold you put more logs in the fire. And when you needed to relax, you had a hot chocolate and marveled at the stillness. With Michelle there, unplugged from work, the world, I could have sworn it was some small glimpse of heaven. (Thank you Margie and Gary. Words cannot express how awesome the experience was!)

We do a “Jumping Jedd” picture for every place we travel to.

Alaskans must think we are pretty funny as we made loud noises and clapped our way through trails. In our defense, we did see a baby cub brown bear fishing in a stream….who knows where mama bear was….

Just walking through a park on the path, talking, minding our own business and suddenly, I grab Michelle’s hand and we both were amazed that ten feet to the side of us was a moose. We didn’t know if they would charge but he apparently felt pretty comfortable with us being there. Ps. Moose are LARGE and can be surprisingly chill.

SPOILER ALERT: I won’t tell you exactly what happens in the Into the Wild story, but I will say this, other then acknowledging how beautiful Alaska is, there is something else that the boy in the story and I have in common; we both have come to realize that there is something so beautiful and special about sharing incredible moments with someone- that we were meant and intended to be in relationship. Somehow the story- and our lives- seems so much better this way. You can say you drove to the top of the mountain, tell people of the amazing view, the way you felt breathing in the cool crisp air… Or, you can remember it with someone you love. Anyways, it’s difficult to take a picture trying to make the “A” and “K” of Alaska on your own…. 🙂