Alaska, United States

Jul 16, 2010 | Photography |

The moment I drove out of Anchorage, I knew this was going to be life changer. My sensors were very active and everything was in high-definition; it was eerie and welcoming like the German word sehnsucht. Landscape changed like origami every few hours, an armada of clouds hovered above, people greeted each other with a simple kindling gesture, and the air was crisp and smooth like fresh croissant. Every moment was precious but yet moved like a fragile whisper. When twilight arrives it is suspended in the air defying gravity and time lasting for few hours, where as back home the twilight comes and goes in matter of minutes.

Alaska Is My Jerusalem

It was my red pill, I came back to civilization as a different person-–I let go of my old self in the ocean. This experience made me realize life is not about following a template but it was about carving it out with a sculptor’s mind. The idea of of living day-by-day, just hanging out, being content, and wasting time all seemed like a fool’s errand. There are so much in live to love, interact, and be thankful for.

It is now about balance, working harder than yesterday, improving oneself, all the while slowing down to enjoy the breeze, the water you drink, the people you meet, and the meals you eat.

The moment I drove out of Anchorage, I knew this was going to be life changer. My sensors were very active and everything was in high-definition; it was eerie and welcoming like the German word sehnsucht. Landscape changed like origami every few hours, an armada of clouds hovered above, people greeted each other with a simple kindling gesture, and the air was crisp and smooth like fresh croissant. Every moment was precious but yet moved like a fragile whisper. When twilight arrives it is suspended in the air defying gravity and time lasting for few hours, where as back home the twilight comes and goes in matter of minutes.

890 Pounds (403.6 Kilograms)

It is team work that brings home the salmon. The work is laborious, tedious, and very hard. But sweat and blood is the secret sauce that makes the salmon taste amazing. Chungwon and I collectively caught about 890 pounds of sockeye salmon in about 4-5 hours. We literally and vocally apologized to each and every salmon we caught. I never said “I’m sorry” that much in one day. And yet we were very thankful.

Unplugged And Realized

Un-jacking from the grid also helped me realize what is important, what is necessary, and what really matters. My previous conception of the world and life seemed very shallow and petite. By being out-of-touch from the amenities of modern society, I realized how little resource we really need to get by. Inversely I was shocked how wasteful our modern society is.

In example, we really need just little water to wash our dishes, everything can be recycled (or re-crafted) for other purposes–going beyond its original design–and food shouldn’t be taken for granted because its quantity is limited. But most of all fresh water is something we really need to conserve, because once it’s gone, it is hard to get it back–like a bad regret.

Loss Of One But Gained A Ton

Into day 3 of our trip I took about 1,000 photos mostly in Anchorage, Homer, and Egegik. As we prepared to go fishing Chungwon and I miscommunicated and dropped the camera into the ocean–I was devastated and quite frankly purposeless for a good few days. Seiko Behr kindly lent me her camera. Or maybe she got sick of me walking around like a zombie. I started to shoot again, but this time all in manual–remembering my old photo class. It was so much fun like a I felt like a kid.

Once I got back to Baltimore, I knew I had to do something different with my life. If I don’t change then this whole experience just becomes another “trip”. After many thoughts I decided to pursue my dream of being a photographer. I invested in my first DSLR (Canon EOS 7D) and started JihoNation. 🙂 The whole losing the camera was a blessing in disguise for something beyond my vision. The loss was a gift.

Things I Would Do Differently Next Time

Plan and reserve ahead! Generally I tend to enjoy the impromptu just-go kind of trips. However some part of Alaska is not for the faint wallet. There are a lot of unique and amazing places to visit, but some of them can be only reached via bush pilot planes. Their ticket are not be cheap and the lodging is either way expensive or all booked. However the value in return is priceless. We went off-roading with our budget by $1500.00. But every last dollar was so well spent. Even as we went through our bill afterwards it was still “All good, yo”.

Special and Deepest Mahalo

I want to specially thank the Behr family for their blanket warm hospitality, lotus like open arms, and giving us the opportunity to fish. Never was there a dull moment. It was this trip that ignited my atoms into the direction of photography, reminding me how important art is in my life, and it’s better to fix things then to buy it new. I especially loved all the cookies Seiko made, my hand was always in the cookie jar. どうも ありがとうございます! (doumo arigatou gozaimasu).

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