When I think of Bethel, Alaska, I remember the constant sunlight, the flat, spongy tundra, the kind interviewees, and the amazing group I went there with. It did take some time to adjust, even to the simple things like no trees and constant sunlight.
During my two weeks in Bethel, I told myself to adjust and embrace.
Embrace the layers of long sleeves and sweatshirts you wear everyday. They’ll keep you warm enough to allow you to spend hours climbing on and filming B roll of the soft, never-ending tundra.
Embrace waking up every morning knowing your only footwear option is your rain boots. You’ll need them every time you go outside: on muddy roads, kayaking down a slough, and walking across (and almost getting stuck in) the little streams in the tundra.
Embrace the hoards of eyeball-sized mosquitos that seem to laugh whenever you attempt to keep them away with bug spray. You’d be too scared out on sitting on the tundra at sunset at 11:30 p.m.
Embrace the queen bed you share with three other women. You wouldn’t have been blessed to wake up to 30 seconds of Jesse McCartney’s “Beautiful Soul” before Mari would hit the snooze button three times.
Embrace the sunlight. It’ll never be too dark to take walks on the tundra, and it will light up the clouds in the most beautiful way you have ever seen.
Embrace the 19 other people you’ve spent the past five weeks with. They’ll help you learn, they’ll make you laugh, and they’ll take great selfies with you.
Embrace the adventure, the landscape, and the people; they will embrace you back.