Way back when, well not that long time ago but still 10 years ago, I had the privilege to take a field class in northern Sweden, about how climate change affect the arctic and the subarctic environment. I guess that was the beginning of the journey I am currently on (I guess I can argue that it started way before then too, but I'll go with this for now). It does make me wonder, who dealt these cards? Did it just randomly happen that I took that class or was it because I was intrigued by it and wanted to learn more, or was it because I had never been to Abisko, or what? Did I choose my own path back then or did I accidentally stumble upon it. Either way I think that class is what brought me to where I am now.
Under the midnight sun
During that class two other students and I ventured out on a night hike to get to the next destination for our class, of course we talked with the professors before and they all agreed that we could to that if we wanted to. So we did. We ventured out under the midnight sun right after dinner that evening. Up and over the mountains to get to the research station. Across fields of snow and gorgeous midnight sun that casted its rays upon the beautiful country of northern Sweden. Right then and there I must have decided that I love this place. The mountains and that midnight sun. We were also lucky enough to spot a Wolverine from afar, which is the first but not the last one that I have seen. It was to far away to get a photo of it though.
Very often I do wonder where I would have been had I not started my PhD in Alaska. Would I have done a PhD in Sweden? Actually I did apply for a PhD in Sweden, but didn't even get a reply from that application, which (in my opinion) is ridiculous. So I broaden my search and stumbled upon a PhD position in Alaska. I don't think I quite realized what I was getting myself into. I mean I realized the PhD part, but I don't think I realized what a gem Alaska really is. I don't think I had dreamt about Alaska or anything like that. Although my mom claims she used to make up bedtime stories about me exploring parts of the world, including Alaska. Since then I have wandered the mountains of Alaska, well a few, very very few of them...but still.
I've worked remotely in parts of Alaska as part of my research, but also helping other people with their research and fieldwork. But I love it. And I miss it. But there are more mountains to be discovered and I have the privilege to do that, which I am very grateful of. As you all probably know, not everyone are able to do that. One thing though, all of this doesn't come for free. And I have given up and sacrificed large parts of my life too, to be able to do what I am doing. We are given our deck of cards at the beginning of our life, and how we play them is up to us, and as with any card game you play, sometimes you loose and sometimes you win. Nothing in life comes for free, remember that.
Who dealt your cards? Or did you just stumble upon your present life?