Cal's life,  United States of America

My Get to Alaska Challenge

Hello friends !

I am starting this blog to keep everyone updated on my projects and adventures. It’s been quite a journey so far and I’m excited to share it with you. In this first post, I’ll be recapping my preparation process, some of the challenges I faced, and how the first few months of my adventure went. I plan to share photos, videos, articles about my learnings, interviews, and anything that I find interesting later on! Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

I am so excited to share that I have finally embarked on my Alaska to Argentina trip! I have been dreaming about this journey for over a decade, and leaving Europe in October was the biggest step of all. Originally, I had planned it as a gap year during my studies. However, due to the pandemic, I ended up staying in Europe for an additional three years. This turned out to be a good thing, as the project I was working on evolved to focus more on human rights facilitation. During this time, I was able to save a significant amount of money, work on exciting projects, take life-changing courses, and meet amazing people. However, it also involved a great deal of introspection and discussions with my loved ones on a wide range of topics.

When planning my trip, I was torn between starting in Alaska or Argentina. If I started in Alaska, I could visit my friends and feel more at ease in a familiar country. It would also provide me with the opportunity to work and save money for the rest of my journey. However, beginning in Argentina, I could purchase a cheaper van and drive around with South American license plates. It was also important to factor in the seasons: living in a van during the Alaskan winter would be quite uncomfortable compared to camping in the warmth of Argentina’s sun.

When faced with the decision of heading to Alaska or Argentina, I found myself pondering the idea of sailing across the Atlantic to limit my carbon footprint. Very excited about the idea and hoping to learn more about sailing, I decided to move to Denmark to work on the amazing Hawila project.

I also spent a lot of time online reaching out to experienced captains. I went on a few sailing trips, learned a lot about ships, and met great people who taught me the does and don’ts of sailing. Despite my thrill at the idea, they also insisted it would be a crazy challenge to get my own boat and set sail with only 6 months of preparation. Most of the captains I encountered were scheduled to depart by the end of 2023, whereas I was eager to depart before December 2022. Sadly, this led me to purchase flight tickets… which brought around the excitement of having a definite departure date. Ultimately, I stuck to my initial plan of starting my journey in the United States.

I arrived in New York on October 20th, 2022, and had the pleasure of reuniting with my dear friend Veronica whom I had not seen since March 2020. She welcomed me into her life, introducing me to her incredible group of friends in the city. During my three-week stay, I explored the city, making it feel like a second home, and spent quality time with Veronica and other cherished friends like Josephine, Liam and Conall, Ari and Ayla, Laura and Rodrigo, Ilana, Brooke, and many others. I had the opportunity to visit the United Nations and even celebrated Halloween on the streets of New York!

After my time in New York, I took a bus to Montréal where I met up with my friends Louise and Marin. It was my first time using Couch Surfing, and it led me to meet the host François and his two sons. Finally, on November 14th, I made my way to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, to spend time with Christa, the most amazing person I know.

I had the pleasure of spending a month and a half with Christa and her parents, Toni and Tom. Their hospitality and generosity were beyond measure, and I am truly grateful for the warm welcome they gave me. Tom taught me how to be a dedicated Eagles fan over countless meals, which I am still revendicating everywhere I go. Toni, Christa, and I went on many missions, including Christmas shopping and visiting firefighting trucks during Toni’s drills. We played pinochle with her grandpa and spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with her cousins. Her uncle John took us shooting and her aunt Diane came roaming handcraft markets with us. We also ate great food and drank quite a few drinks with our friends Helen and Justin, including a few to celebrate Helen’s success in entering two excellent nursing programs (whoop whoop).

On January 2nd, I welcomed the new year by having one last Cheesesteak and waving heartfelt goodbyes to Christa and her parents at Philadelphia Airport. Surprisingly, no buses travel to Alaska in the winter, not even from Seattle… So I flew to Anchorage, Alaska, and was surprised to find that the flight was both more costly and lengthier than my previous Paris to New York flight. The journey took 9.5 hours with an additional 12-hour layover in Chicago.

But I finally made it! Alaska, here I come!

I’ll tell you all about my Alaskan adventures in the next post 😉



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