Life is about change.  Unfortunately, humans are creatures of habit, which inhibits change, causing us to put on the brakes of evolution when things don’t go according to our perfectly worked out plans.  Some deal better than others, and frankly, I’m not one of them.  Bumps in the road are all part of the journey of life, with no real destination (depending upon what you believe) and are supposedly what makes it all exciting and memorable.  Still, this pep talk never seems to work on myself and I can say with utter shamefulness and self loathing that I am no stranger to slamming my feet deep into the dirt and throwing a tantrum or emotional breakdown when the going gets rough.  Things have happened in my life to cause me to change my outlook on life, my head-in-the-sand solution to a challenge, but I daresay not enough.  I guess that’s all part of the grand adventure of life as well, isn’t it?  I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t wish for an improvement on my confidence and ability to handle the tough stuff of life though, so I guess that makes me slightly more normal…..however, most would probably disagree.

     Yes, this philosophical rant does actually have a destination.  These last few months (well, actually this year so far) have seen many changes in my family and life.  New friends, the loss of old ones, new loves, moments of elation and tragedy, triumph and success, epic failure and the like.  How else should a miller family start of the year?  The dynamics of my family are changing, but mostly for the good.  My grandmother passed away on Mother’s Day, but both myself and my sister have been fated with new arrivals in our lives.  It’s frightening, like walking along a street with your head down, focusing on your own direction, when suddenly your blindsided and forced to stop and pick your head up.  Your little bubble of solitude is not broken, but it must stretch and grow to accommodate something entirely foreign and exciting into your life.  That direction is changed, attempting to walk alongside someone else, while experiencing this new sensation of unity and change. 

     Again, there’s me, and then there’s change.  What’s even more difficult is the expansion of that life-sized bubble, and then having to hold all that extra space alone when circumstances force you apart.  There’s nothing like patriotism and the sacrifice of one’s individuality and loved ones to force yourself into adapting.  This is not to say that I don’t support our troops or that I am angry, not at all, but just that it is one of the most frightening adventures to embark upon for both the individual and those around him.  Basic and special training is almost finished, a time will come shortly where the bubble will not be so lonely, and then a new chapter of separation will begin, even more scary, but just another page in that book of life. What’s more is that somewhere along the way of completing my last semester of college (yes, graduating from college was one of those changes as well….hopefully I will be able to put some pictures of that up soon!), a trip of a lifetime began to develop with a few friends.  Alaska was mentioned, Denali National Park sprinkled in for effect, and for the last four months a plan has been evolving and growing.  Though it may look awfully different from when it was first conceived, Alaska is now my destination for the summer of 2011.    

     Tomorrow I get on a plane and arrive 12 hours later in Anchorage, Alaska.  From there, I’ll take a bus to Healy, outside Denali National Park, where I will be working for the summer as a sales clerk at the only Grocery store outside one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of these United States.  I will be working there until the start of September, spending my first summer away from family and Vermont.  I am scared beyond imagining (although I have spent the last four months that weren’t occupied with surviving my last semester of college with all the scary things my imagination could come up with for this new adventure).  I am also scared sh**less, already missing my friends and family, and feeling like an imposter for not being quite the outdoorsy type of person that everyone else will be in Alaska.  However, I am also excited, itching for a spectacular one-in-a-lifetime adventure that will last for the rest of my time on earth.    

     I don’t think my life has seen so much change all at once….I know it’s mostly good and it will be a year to remember, one I will look back on for the rest of my life and think of all the emotions and changes that took place.   

     After all, that is the point of this blog, or, at least, originally it was – to add a dash of perspective into that recipe of life.  I am a terrible cook – ask anyone that knows me.  My recipe of life looks like one hell of a messy stewpot that is overcooked, sometimes dried out, perhaps a bit salty, and always getting burned.  However, even some of my worst dishes can be salvaged and made into something else, molded into whatever taste suits the occasion or emphasizes the moment.  I make a mean breakfast, and after all, that is the most important meal of the day, right?  So, maybe things get a little messy and I make a lot of mistakes and epic fails, but wouldn’t my recipe be a bit too boring and dry if I didn’t add something new to the mix? 

     I’m going to miss everyone so much this summer, but please keep in touch and I will try to do the same.  I will have a cell phone, internet access, and a computer with me, updating FaceBook, this blog, and keeping in touch with family and friends as much as possible (I know homesickness is going to be my biggest hurdle for the next few months).  I will be uploading pictures as much as I can, as I know every portion of Alaska is going to be amazingly beautiful.  I am hoping for whale and iceberg sightseeing tours, hikes and bus rides into Denali, and a helicopter or plane tour will all be in my pretty near future, along with many other incredible adventures and experiences. 

      For now, I’m struggling to say goodbye to this home and place for a while and not freak out too much about those large bumps in the road.  I hope that everyone else’s recipe for the upcoming summer is just as full of messes and new ingredients. 

As always, no matter where I am or end up,

From Vermont with Love.