So this is it. The final blog post. After two years of working as Public Affairs Director for KNOM, I head out the door with a lot of great memories, wonderful friends, and a mountain of experience that I plan to use as I pursue a career as a reporter.
It’s been great meeting the new volunteers and attempting to pass on some of the knowledge I’ve accrued in my time in Nome and at KNOM. I’m happy for the brief crossover I’ve been a part of; I think it’ll help the new group get off to a strong start, and also got me excited to listen to the content they’ll produce over the next year. (I’d love to see some online streaming come to KNOM some day, but until then, I will content myself with Update News, Profiles, and the like.) In this long goodbye with the new volunteers—“the kids,” I jokingly call them—I’ve sometimes felt like I’m talking more than I should, that maybe letting the new recruits discover things on their own would be better. Well, that that hasn’t stopped me (yet). But my time at KNOM, and living at the KNOM house, officially comes to a close this Friday. After that, it’s all in their hands.
I leave my role at KNOM feeling that there’s a list of things left undone: Profiles I want to do, stories I wanted to write, slices of Alaskan life I have yet to feature on KNOM in some way. But I suppose that’s just news, isn’t it? There’s always something more going on, always more stories to tell, always another interview you’d love to have done. C’est la vie, I suppose, but it’s a shame that la vie has gone by so quickly at times. (At the same time, if you had asked me back in February, I’d have said la vie was moving tortuously slowly).
Two years is hard to sum up in a pithy blog post without getting bogged down in the details. Let is suffice to say that I have experienced many things, both personally and professionally, that I feel never would have been possible without KNOM and my time in Nome. Work, life experiences, learning opportunities, volunteerism, and personal relationships: from the new and astounding, to the scary and thrilling, to the sad and painful, to the profound and insightful.
It’s been a tremendous experience, and I can only look back to the early months of 2010—when the very idea of KNOM seemed like a radical fantasy, that I could volunteer, gain experience in the news industry, and live in a unique corner of the planet—well, it was a heady proposition, one that I wasn’t sure I had the guts to take.
But take it I did, and I’m far richer for the experience. I can only hope that in writing about it in this blog, and talking about it to anyone who asks, more people will trust themselves to the KNOM adventure. It can seem daunting, but if you have an interest, you’re ready. So apply. Get on the plane. Dare to take the challenge. To—forgive the cliché, but it’s true—to live the dream. You will not be disappointed.
While it’s bittersweet to leave, I am excited to be going. Going on to something new and exciting, free in a way that I imagine few are after finishing a job for a couple of years. If only for some fresh air, I’m getting out of Nome, which essentially means I’m packing up my life into a few backpacks and duffel bags, and shipping it out of Nome. I’ll be visiting my brother is Los Angeles, my sister in Austin, my parents in Delaware, and some friends up and down the east coast. I’ve got weddings to attend and road trips to take, old friends to reconnect with and new opportunities that await.
It’s at times like this in life—during major transitions from one chapter to another, when all that is familiar falls away and you’re left facing something new and unknow—that I turn to those two great philosophers, Calvin and Hobbes (as written by Bill Watterson). My favorite comic strip as a kid, I find the final strip—printed on Sunday, December 31, 1995, and a copy of which awaits me buried somewhere within a half-dozen boxes collecting dust back east—optimistic in all the right ways. And so I end by sharing that strip with you, and with a hearty “thank you” to KNOM. I’ll see you in 9 years for the 50th.