Thoughts on my time in Alaska
When I've had enough of computers, I choose an NGO and go volunteer for them for a few months. The further from civilisation the better. Work, volunteer, repeat. It has kept me sane, let me grow and allowed me to give back a little. Very close to the idea of a perfect career for me.
I’ve been to a few places, but nothing beats the time I spent in Alaska. To describe the feeling it might be best to talk about one of my favourite images I've ever taken. It shows a group of bubble-net feeding humpback whales in Southeast Alaska, taken during the summer of 2018, on an expedition when we were away from base for six days, the six of us on a tiny three person boat. That's how you end up camping in a tent, on a boat. :)
Surely, I work on a computer as well during these months, creating maps for the NGO I work for, but the offices can be very different to what we're all used to. Like the one on an uninhabited island where four plastic equipment containers were my table, and the fifth my chair. Best office I ever had, with regular visits from whales and seals in the strait ahead of me, and a wonderful temperate rainforest just behind. After the workday was over, it was time to explore the wilderness, then head back to the tent in said forest.
During my times in Alaska (two summers so far) I have worked on multiple projects, including whale distribution maps, hydroacoustic sonar data about krill and comparing these with simultaneously collected whale sighting and behaviour data, bathymetry maps and others, while also living my dream and pretending to be a marine biologist, driving boats, taking photo IDs or collecting whale sound data with hydrophones.
It is definitely the place and kind of work I would like to return to as frequently as possible.
More from: author: Robert history NGO thoughts volunteering
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