Off The Grid.

I didn’t have WiFi all weekend, I didn’t have cell service, and my phone wasn’t even turned on, yet I got a better connection than if I were connected to all three.

I just spent a glorious three days off the grid, out in the deep sea part of the ocean dubbed Prince William Sound.

Located on the southern coast and on the cuff of the Gulf of Alaska, this impressive sound is home to 17 tidewater glaciers, the Chugach National Forest (second largest in the U.S.), spectacular views, deep waters, impressive wildlife (including bears, whales, seals, and multitudes of otters), and it offers a humbling experience.

Aside from the nature, the views, the wildlife, and the simple act of getting off the grid for a few days with my family, I found connection with a place that continually draws me back home.

Without the temptation of screens, I used all my abundant free time writing voraciously, laughing at my dad as he ate all the muffin tops off our muffins, and cheering my mom on as she reeled in a quillback rockfish.

I spent time actually living. In the moment, not peering at a device at someone else’s life, not tempted to spend every available moment mindlessly browsing the internet and feeling worse about myself when I become jealous of someone’s perfectly curated Instagram grid, and not feeling the obsession to capture every moment and post if for the world to see.

It humbled me in the sense that this type of environment, Alaska, is one of the few remaining places on earth not overrun by people, big businesses, skylines, smog, trash, pollution, and urban decay, and trending hashtags. It’s a northern gem that has the power to remind you of what matters:

Family. Self-sustaining life. Nature. And freedom to write about it all without electronic devices clouding the way and enticing me towards distraction.

We saw black bears, we reeled in yellow eye rockfish, we played with curious harbor seals, I watched as salmon swam upstream to spawn before a black bear stopped them in their path. We had flat seas, picture perfect blue skies, we picked up 10,000 year old ice from Tiger Glacier in Icy Bay for our Moscow Mules, and we explored the abandoned Chenega Village that was destroyed by the ‘64 Earthquake.

It was incredible.

And I’ve missed having this connection with nature since moving to overcrowded California.

The best thing I’ve got when I return to Cali though? Perspective.

I’ll never accept the way of life in California, the wasted hours spent on commuting, the atrocities you see in downtown San Francisco, and the pretentious attitude oozing out of many of the Walnut Creek residents. But I never would’ve learned what I do and don’t appreciate about a place without having lived it. And that’s what I’m doing now.

I’m finding the parts about Alaska I took for granted since moving somewhere new, I’m finding what I do and don’t like about places, as compared to Alaska.

I’m accepting of this fact as I hop off the ocean boat and make my way back to the Bart train because I’m figuring out my life: who I am, who I want to be, and who I’m turning into. What comes with this is knowing what I do and don’t like.

So whenever I get frustrated at seeing someone inject themselves with drugs, or another obnoxious driver flips me off and storms away, I’ll just smile to myself and and know that there’s a gem out there unlike this, and that these people haven’t been lucky enough to experience the world as I’ve lived it.

If you ever have the opportunity and the inkling to go off the grid and experience life outside of your comfort zone, I encourage you do to so. You broaden your horizons on the world and your perspective is dramatically widened.

Plus, you might see a bear munching on some spawned salmon. And you don’t see that every day…

Prince William Sound 2018

   Yes, we are using old fashioned binoculars to search for bears.

Yes, we are using old fashioned binoculars to search for bears.

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Arriving into Icy Bay, collecting some nice ice baby.

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Chenega Island, overgrown and abandoned. This here creek is home to many dead and alive salmon who have either already spawned, or are fighting their way up the stream to the lake to live out their last days spawning.

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Below, I casually perch on the side of the bank next to skid marks that came from a black bear that had slipped just minutes before.

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Lunch spot ain’t so bad!

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At the end of one of our afternoons, Dad was ready to call it a day and anchor up, but I was keen on fishing. Though Prince William Sound isn’t entirely known for its fishing (on account of the deep waters, though they are known for their shrimp), we found this nice little hole in Lower Herring Bay and caught our limit of rockfish.

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This here is a Quillback Rockfish, which made a rather tasty meal…

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And our favorite and most colorful catches: Yellow Eye Rockfish.

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This kind of pole dancing? It’s got me absolutely HOOKED.

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Not bad, eh?

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Remember that 10,000 year old ice we picked up from Tiger Glacier? Made a rather delicious addition to our Moscow Mules.

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Last day of fishing!

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Of-fish-ially my last catch of the 2018 season…

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Until next time, Alaska.

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