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Final Currents.

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a dream I’m living in
Baby love me cause I’m playing on the radio
How do you like me now?

Radio – Lana Del Rey

I have already written this blog one hundred times over in my mind. Many nights have been spent crafting what it was that I wanted to say when it came time to deal out my farewells. Not unlike the student who stayed up all night to cram before the next day’s exam, though I have diligently prepared, I feel overwhelmed now that the test is in front of me.

JoshAll of my wit and stories fail me, as so far into this blog as all I have written is a summary of my current goodbye angst and some Lana Del Rey lyrics. Well that’s something at least.  If I can’t find the right words to sum up how I feel, then perhaps as Music Director it only makes sense to utilize the words of artists I have followed closely during my volunteer year. Radio by Lana, (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis,) was a song that I listened to on repeat time and time again as I prepared to leave for Nome. It tells the story of someone who is leaving a life behind to achieve a dream; someone who desires so much to use the magic of radio as a conduit for the love and passion inside of them.

I guess you could say that I relate to its content.

When I was a kid I used to have pretend DJ shifts in my room. As the other neighborhood children were outside riding their bikes, I was compiling liner notes and developing playlists for the benefit of an invisible audience. When I reached 16, I used to drive home as many friends as I could fit into my car just so I could play my newest mix cds for them.  Something about sharing music with people has always made me feel full inside.

Even I can't believe that I ever wore fire gear.

Even I can’t believe that I ever wore fire gear.

I have been told, in one way or another, that my interest in music was trivial and that without an academic background in the subject,  I would be unable to find my place in that professional niche. I have also been told that my collegiate background would likely place me in a fairly rigid career track with little professional deviation. Three years after graduating from college, I’ve worn more hats than I can count. In three years I’ve attained more dreams than I could have ever though possible. I’m a wildland firefighter, musician, construction worker, DJ, producer, videographer, environmental technician, photographer, graphic designer, blogger, social media guru, counselor, volunteer coordinator, music critic, actor, costumier, teacher – and the list goes on.

Everything I’ve done and every little dream I’ve captured in my glass mason jar of life has been thanks to service. Three years ago I was a young person who had no idea what he wanted to do with his life and felt hopeless. Three years later I’m a young person who has no idea what he wants to do with his life who couldn’t be happier.  Service isn’t about an end. It isn’t about landing a job with a non-profit or building your resume. Service is about the journey. It’s about those you help along the way: those that say thank you, those that don’t, and those that you didn’t even realize benefited from the work you’ve done. It’s about trying scary new things in which you mind screams, “This isn’t right for you!” and then finding out that it is. It’s about throwing your hands in the air and accepting the beautiful fact that you are more than one person. You are more than the sum of your fears and hopes. You are a conduit that has the capability to send your love across the community in which you live and the world around it like energy through a phone line.

It's impossible to say farewell to amazing people like these.

It’s impossible to say farewell to amazing people like these.

If my time spent in AmeriCorps and KNOM Radio Mission are the best things I ever do with my life…then I’m okay with that, though I know many more adventures await me. Service will always be a chemical component in my bones, and these last three years will always be something I behold as being more than special.

My time as a KNOM volunteer has been six years in the making. I first came across a description of the work done here when I was a freshman in college. For years I placed the dream that had sprouted in my head by simply reading a small paragraph of information on the highest shelf until I felt ready. To this day I feel amazed that it would become a dream come true. KNOM spoke to me and here I am. Words can’t do this part of my service journey enough justice. I don’t know how to say thank you to Western Alaska. I don’t know how go about counting my lucky stars for making this happen.

Soon I will play my last song and my selection will travel across Western Alaska one last time. I must have played thousands of songs in my time here, yet it never stops feeling magical. I just hope the music that I am leaving behind can speak of all the gratitude I can’t seem to shake off my lips.

Part of my heart remains.

American dreams came true somehow
I swore I’d chase them until I was dead
I heard the streets were paved with gold
That’s what my father said

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a  dream I’m living in
Baby love me cause I’m playing on the radio
How do you like me now?


  1. Jason on July 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Eloquently written Josh. I’d expect nothing less. Congratulations on reaching for your dreams and finding them. Even more importantly, congratulations on having the fortitude and the commitment to work through the tough things on these journeys and ultimately find the value in it all. Finding value in the challenges that face us makes us strong liberating us from fear and discomfort and allows us to be the people we aspire to be.

  2. Jenna on July 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Great blog, makes me sad to see (well not really see, but you know what I mean) you guys go. *tear* But I know everyone will do well, no matter where they are or what they do. It’s never goodbye, it’s always “see you later”!

  3. Linda on July 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    As usual, your blog is wonderfully written. I am so proud of you … your commiment to service …your courage! Your adventures are such an inspiration. Looking forward to your next chapter!

  4. Chris Morgan on July 20, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Thank you for coming to Nome! Thank you for being such a good friend, and a companion to Margaret! I’m honored to have spent 5 months of your year with you there.

  5. John on July 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Josh you have been the new life to the music at KNOM this past year. You will be missed for sure. But I expect your voice will grace the airwaves somewhere one of these day’s like the Wolfman. Good luck and Taikuu.