the animal's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6239
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: the animal's journal

Post by jennypenny » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:05 am

Congratulations!!

I hope this doesn't sound patronizing, but I'm so proud of you for persevering. You've gone from bailing on your first solo trip because you were a little freaked out to official forum badass!

theanimal
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:52 am

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I’m not sure what to say other than that everyone’s support, encouragement and advice has been and always will be much appreciated.

thrifty++
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: the animal's journal

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:17 pm

Congratulations! Amazing!
The wilderness photos are spectacularly beautiful.

prognastat
Posts: 1000
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by prognastat » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:15 am

Congrats on passing the exam, nice that it's already opened new opportunities. I also assume that doing the instructor work would mean more cheap/free flight hours for you?

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4209
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:51 am

theanimal wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:08 pm
The flight school is so impressed with me as a student that they've offered me a job as a ground instructor starting ASAP. The only pre-requisite is some self study and a written test talking about human behavior and psychology. The starting pay is $25/hr and will be bumped up to $30 if they like what I'm doing. It also would likely entail an employee rate on airplane rentals which would drop costs about 25%. The decision to pursue this route seems to already be paying dividends.
New world record for finding a way to get paid to do the thing you were willing to pay for. Nice work.

theanimal
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:18 pm

Update time!

After I got my pilot's license I joined a flying club in Anchorage and went down for a few days to fly around with a friend. The club is great for anyone looking to fly as the shared economics mean lower cost for all involved. The director of the club and his father are mechanics as well so costs end up being some of the lowest in the country. We flew for 22 hours flying all around the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Copper River Valley, Prince William Sound and the Kenai Peninsula. One day we flew down to Homer and met up with a friend of mine for lunch. The next we made a stop in Valdez, met up with another friend and continued on on a loop back to Anchorage. Other highlights were flying over the Denali Highway and flying the kayaking route from my NOLS course. It was an awesome experience to say the least. And it only ended up costing us $32/hr a piece with fuel. That's almost impossible to beat.

Image
Flying in Prince William Sound on the way to Valdez

I started instrument training after getting back and dedicated myself to that for the following three weeks. It's somewhat unfathomable that the training is not required because you learn so much more that helps you in all aspects of flight. Especially when it comes to inclement weather. I had to do a long cross country flight (>250 nm) to fulfill one of the training requirements, so my instructor and I flew to Anchorage one day, grabbed lunch and went back. Flying in and among the clouds above the Alaska Range was pretty darn cool. I think I prefer VFR over IFR but it's definitely good to have the skills. I haven't taken the checkride yet as I still need a few cross country hours to fulfill all the requirements.

A couple friends and I headed back north to the Brooks Range just north of my old stomping grounds at the end of April to look for caribou. The skiing was OUTSTANDING. The best conditions I have ever skiied on. There was a firm crust so we didn't have to break trail and skied atop the 4 ft snow pack. Caribou were nowhere to be found, likely having migrated north in the previous week or 2. But the weather was great and the trip was fun nonetheless.

Image

Image

I started my forestry job in the first week of May. Training was a drag and poorly planned out by management. I tried to glean as much as I could though and we had our first hitch last week. This year we are working further to the south in the Copper River Valley in and around the mountains of Wrangell St Elias National Park, where the backpacking/mountaineering section of my NOLS course took place. It's cool to be back in the area and I'm hoping I'll get the chance to go to or fly over some of our route.

Image

Image
Mt Sanford, Wrangell and Drum within Wrangell-St Elias NP

Image

Prior to the first rotation, I went down south again and visited one of my friends from NOLS who is working and living in Port Alsworth on Lake Clark. Lake Clark is just 40 miles from Dick Proenneke's cabin and the area where he was resupplied by his friend (and founder of the town) Babe Alsworth. Im not sure if Ive mentioned it here or not but reading Dick Proenneke's journals is what started me on this path to begin with. I wanted to do what he did. After feeling so lost in college and disillusioned with the idea of a traditional path I had finally seen a light. My mom said I had zero of his skills (and she was right). A week after reading his journal I signed up for NOLS and the rest is history... I spent time exploring the town and the surrounding area via its trails. We hiked, canoed and took a boat out on the big lake one day with one of his coworkers. One of the biggest highlights was the day we rented one of the planes and flew around. We flew around the Park and went up to Twin Lakes, the site of Proenneke's cabin. The whole experience was somewhat surreal. I flew within a couple hundred feet of the ground and my friend took the controls as we did a low pass over his cabin while I took a shitty video. Twin Lakes (and the whole area) is extremely beautiful and one of the prettiest places I've seen in the state. The lakes in the region are all massive with mountains rising up on the edges.

Panoramic video of Lake Clark from a hike I did up a nearby mountain

Image
Canoeing on a lake near Pt. Alsworth

Image
Entering Twin Lakes country. Over the lower lake


I went dipnetting again recently. I had heard the numbers were high and people were hitting their limits easily so I couldn't pass it up. The fishing is on the Copper River, one of the largest and most powerful rivers in the state. There's an old railway bed along a portion of the river that allows for public access for dipnetting. Towards the end of the railway, the river narrows as it flows through a tight canyon. The best spots are found here as the salmon work their way up closer to shore so they don't have to fight the main current. The parking area is before the railway and closed to vehicle access. Most people take 4 wheelers with coolers strapped on the back and park it on the side of the trail before descending down to the river. The first year I went my friend and I were very green and wandered around to many spots before finding luck at a spot in the canyon. We hiked the 3 miles back to the truck with our packs nearly maxed at with ~16 fish apiece. Our packs were likely around 100 lbs... Unwilling to do that again, I biked in last year. I went by myself and came back with 17 fish. Faster but not much better. I wanted to take a trailer this year, but was impatient and left before getting it from a friend. Bungees made a huge difference though allowing me to strap the poles to my bike. I went to a similar spot and caught 6 fish the first 3 hours. Then I caught my net under a rock and made a massive hole in trying to free it in the process. That ended things. Maybe I'll go back later this summer.

Image

In miscellaneous news, there is a new romantic prospect that appears to be very promising. The drought may be ending here soon. Regardless, my sense of community here has really strengthened over the past few months. I've developed a really good group of friends in this area, with most of them here for the long haul. It should only get better as time goes on. With the warmer weather I've been hitting the mountain bike trails here. I didn't find out about them until late last fall, but they are my favorite spot in town. So much fun. A friend is out of town for a few months and she lent me her piano keyboard. I played for 7 years when I was younger and am enjoying getting back into it. The rest of the summer will be full of work, hiking and flying. I'm trying to build hours to a commercial license so I can start working as a full flight instructor sometime in the fall. Fun times ahead!

Image
A stretch of glorious single track

Jean
Posts: 1020
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Jean » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:05 pm

Those are great pictures.

Seppia
Posts: 1048
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Seppia » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:15 am

Still the internet's best journal

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4209
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:23 pm

+1 Incredible stuff.

Frugalchicos
Posts: 309
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:23 pm
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:53 pm

All the best, great journal. You make me miss my mountains even more... ;)

classical_Liberal
Posts: 939
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:13 am

Man, your life is amazing!

Jason
Posts: 2211
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Jason » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:06 am

theanimal wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:08 pm

The only pre-requisite is some self study and a written test talking about human behavior and psychology.
I know that whenever I fly, I'm thinking "I really don't care how many flight hours the pilot has, as long as he's a Jungian."

slowtraveler
Posts: 772
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: the animal's journal

Post by slowtraveler » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:41 am

@theanimal

I've just reread your journal from start to finish and it's been a beautiful transformation and journey from the time you finished graduating. Congratulations on all your success in each of your challenges.

I really want some easy part time freelance work like you set up with insurance underwriting. My current gig won't last forever and your insurance underwriting freelancing sounds like a perfect match for my life and skillset. Can I ask how you got into the situation of doing insurance underwriting?

A pm would be great if you're uncomfortable writing it publicly. Thank you theanimal.

theanimal
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:20 pm

There's been a gnawing emptiness I've been experiencing the past few weeks. Back when I lived in the Arctic, I experienced extreme bouts of loneliness, a result of rarely seeing other people. That affected my mental state greatly but went away over the span of a few months after moving. However, there's been a lingering sense of loneliness since then. I haven't had any success or luck in finding a girlfriend and it's disheartening. It's extremely frustrating to put in all this work on myself and see no results. I am the fittest person most of my friends/acquaintances know. I dress well and am regularly complimented on it. My house is clean, I make good money and I am responsible and resourceful. My friends think I'm funny enough in that I've been regularly encouraged to become a comedian (I'm not doing that). WHAT Am I missing?!? I seemingly check all the boxes in what you're supposed to do to make yourself better and be an attractive prospect. But nothing. No romantic relationship of any kind since I've been in Alaska (4 yrs) plus years before that. There's not much that I would change from what I do now to what I envision an ideal life would be. A girlfriend/family is part of that vision. For now I feel like a one man army. With no goal and nothing I'm working towards. Just slogging on.

Part of it is a numbers game. Sure there aren't as many women (both available and not) as would be found elsewhere. But most of my friends are able to find partners just fine. This leads half of me to believe there's constantly something wrong with me. Something I need to improve and make myself good enough for someone else. It's not a great feeling and has probably contributed to the erosion of some of my self confidence over the years. If only I become more fit, a better conversationalist, more empathetic, and so on...I've no doubt improved over the years but without any result.

I do think there is something wrong that I'm doing though. As I'm able to get very close to many attractive women but have no luck romantically. In other words, friend zoned. Off the top of my head I can count half a dozen girls that'd count me as a close friend. Idk what to do. I've read almost all the relationship books suggested here and explored other resources elsewhere. My nagging feeling is that I'm not taking enough action.

It gets really hard to stay optimistic. But so far the thought of being bitter at 26 is still distasteful enough to remain hopeful.

If anyone has any wisdom to impart it would be much appreciated.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6239
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: the animal's journal

Post by jennypenny » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:27 pm

theanimal wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:20 pm
In other words, friend zoned. Off the top of my head I can count half a dozen girls that'd count me as a close friend.
Are you close enough to any of them to ask why you always end up in the friend zone? Or ask them to fix you up or help put the word out that you're looking?

theanimal
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:42 pm

Yeah there's some I could ask. I was having a related conversation with one the other day but I rarely get actionable advice. "You're great theanimal, some girl is going to be so happy to be with you and never leave you. Etc. Etc." Those words have gotten empty to me. One other told me a while ago that I was confident but sometimes came off as cocky or arrogant. So I worked on that for a while (still am) but when I talked about it with others they thought it wasn't true. So idk where to turn.

Most people I know, know I'm looking but have no one to suggest. That's what makes me question how much is actually due to my own words and actions versus the lack of people up here. Some of my friends make jokes that the only way to find a single woman up here is to wait at the airport and grab the first one off the plane. One option is moving. Something I didn't think I'd consider before but has now crossed my mind a few times.

User avatar
unemployable
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:36 am
Location: Homeless

Re: the animal's journal

Post by unemployable » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:00 pm

Geez, you and TopHatFox.

The tables will start to turn around age 30. Meanwhile, be careful what you ask for. I'd suggest you stop investing so much mental energy on things you're not able to control, but from experience it's hard for someone in your frame of reference to listen.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 939
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:33 pm

theanimal wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:20 pm
If anyone has any wisdom to impart it would be much appreciated.
I don't doubt that your location has a lot to do with your woes. Still, here's what I have found helped get be out of my dry spells in dating/relationships.

Don't view it as something wrong with you. This has a carryover effect that bleeds into your interactions with women, subconsciously I think they know it. If you are happy with you & your lifestyle, then just be confident in it. This also applies to that feeling of quiet desperation in your writings on this subject, it bleeds into your interactions. For God's sake man, your a modern day adventurer!! This is the shit that millennial women seem to eat up! Be confident and use it.

You have a half dozen women "friends" that think you'd be a good catch? This is a gold mine. Where are all of their female friends? You should be dating them! Set-ups are a great way to meet people.

Take a look at your "standards". How high is the bar? I'm not saying you should get into a relationship with someone who is subpar, but hanging out on a date isn't marriage. Too many men looking for relationships seem to treat causal dating like it's a serious endeavor. It's not. Dating is a chance to get to know someone better, hone your dating skills, increase your social network, and maybe one of them will be better for you than you thought initially. Plus, a win is a win and helps boost confidence. Meaning, even if the date goes poorly, you still had a date, and can begin to realize its supposed to be fun.

Good luck

theanimal
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:28 pm

unemployable wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:00 pm

The tables will start to turn around age 30. Meanwhile, be careful what you ask for. I'd suggest you stop investing so much mental energy on things you're not able to control, but from experience it's hard for someone in your frame of reference to listen.
I think you're overestimating how much I'm actually thinking about this. I'm still getting shit done. I don't think I'm being that dramatic in wanting a partner after having zero romantic relationships in nearly a decade. I've asked for advice on relationships twice in the ~7 years I've been on this board so you painting me as some drama queen doesn't really add up. I'd be happy to lose myself in something and get this lingering feeling out of my mind. But so far I don't have any solution. My job is only so engaging, I can only workout for a finite amount each day and I don't have anything that completely enraptures me at the moment. If this is me not listening, so be it.


@c_L thank you! Confidence is definitely a big one for me. I don't think I come off as desperate but I definitely could be a lot more confident. All points worth considering.

ffj
Posts: 1932
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: the animal's journal

Post by ffj » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:39 pm

My first inclination is to tell you to move where there are more women. I can't imagine there are too many around your neck of the woods and the few that are have the pick of the lot I would guess.

Being confident and funny worked for me years ago when I dated; I assume it would still work as it's been awhile, haha. Seriously, don't go around asking girls what is wrong with you or advice or even if they know anyone to meet for that matter. They'll feel sad for you and nothing is worse than that.

I'm older and out of the game so take my advice as you will, but it's hard to catch a fish when there are no fish in the river.

Good luck and I don't think I have said this before but I really enjoy your journal. Great pictures and stories, you've turned into a man's man up there in the Arctic.

Post Reply