What a whirlwind of a week it has been! After five days of “video boot camp,” with several journalism and theology lectures mixed in, I have already learned so much in a short span of time.
The Backpack Journalism team will be leaving for Bethel in less than 48 hours, and now the trip is starting to feel real as I bring out my luggage and start packing. Even though my to-do list is long and I don’t know how I will fit everything in my bags, I can hardly contain my anticipation for this incredible adventure.
I view my decision to go on this trip as by far my most adventurous life choice, so it is only fitting that my motto for this experience is “Adventure is out there!” which comes from the delightful Pixar movie “Up.” If you haven’t seen it, please go watch it because it is the perfect film about taking risks, learning from the people around you and pursuing your dreams (this just so happens to be the Backpack Journalism Project in a nutshell for me). Here is a short movie clip from “Up” about the spirit of adventure.
Just like young Carl in the video, I am stepping out into the unknown as I spend two weeks in a completely new place filming a documentary. I have never left the country, nor been away from Nebraska for this length of time. I’m not going to hide the fact that I am pretty nervous, but I don’t want it to keep me from learning and growing.
As someone who loves to listen and soak in everything around me, I hope to be present and appreciate every moment while I am there without feeling too overwhelmed. I know that the first few days will be a lot to take in, but it will all be a part of the process of gaining greater awareness about the Bethel community and the world.
I also want to maintain joy and enthusiasm like the character Ellie during this, at times, very intense experience. During our class discussions throughout the week, we talked about potential storylines for our film. One topic we will explore in Alaska is climate change and its effects on the Yup’ik culture and way of life. Climate change is an issue I care about very deeply, so I’m fascinated to witness this challenge firsthand and excited to potentially bring the story to light. In the midst of long days of setting up video equipment, looking for the best shots and finding the next person to interview, I don’t want to forget our purpose for being there and the passion I have for this project.
Although I’m still not completely sure what to expect when I arrive in Bethel, I am already inspired by the Backpack Journalism team. We will be guided by great teachers and will have the support of each other as we experience Alaska together.
I am ready to dive in, forget my discomfort and experience the adventure that will be Alaska.