All Aboard!

All aboard the Alaska Backpack Journalism Project Express!

This isn’t a rinky-dink cute train you would ride around an amusement park on; it’s a high-speed rail.  One where you hold on with white knuckles and hope you don’t fall off.  One where you can see your teeth from the wind blowing back your cheeks.  One — okay, it isn’t that intense.

Our first week was packed—eight hours per day in beloved Hitchcock 205. Our time was split between Tim Guthrie’s video boot camp, Carol Zuenger’s interviewing expertise, and John O’Keefe’s delves into ecclesiology and its ties to culture.

The amount of knowledge I have gained in this short week is tremendous. The skills, techniques, and facts learned will be used in our 15-day adventure in Alaska. I’m nervous all of the abundance of information has overwhelmed me, but I will get to process it and put it into practice soon.

Very soon. Two days and 25 minutes, in fact.

At the end of our last class today, we held a reflection, circling all of our chairs, to share any concerns, questions, or thoughts. Sitting there I heard everyone speak of their excitements, travel concerns, anxiousness of stepping outside of their comfort zone, and this amazing opportunity we have to witness the Yup’ik culture and broaden our own world view. I find comfort that I share these emotions with my fellow travelers.

Suitcase art in SAC
Not even these bags could fit all our anticipation.

There isn’t a bag big enough to pack all of our excitement.

Speaking of packing

This is one thing that worries the most as of now. I haven’t even grabbed my bag from the back of the closet. If you know of a trick for fitting a sleeping bag, 2 weeks of clothing, and food in a regular size suitcase, let me know!

After spending a whole week in one room with the CU Backpack students, let me tell you it is an awesome group of people.  I have so much respect for them and am looking forward to learning from them.

It’s a great group traveling to Alaska on Sunday.  Make sure to keep tabs on our work by checking back here periodically throughout the next few weeks.

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