As a seasoned professional, it didn’t occur to me that the second year could be more difficult than the first. I thought I would sail through and be faced with few issues. Never say never.
The friends I had made as part of my network for survival, other professionals who made their careers in Alaska had not returned and I was left to my own devices. The house where I had stayed the previous year was no longer the home to other itinerant specialists, but instead now housed an array of pilots, mechanics and hunting guides. All men. All very sloppy men. I was the only woman and I felt so alone. I found myself staying more and more in my room and not making any effort to socialize during my down time. I became more and more reclusive as the year dragged on. But I had my work and that proved even more challenging.
I quickly learned to be cautious when opening the refrigerator. The current residents being hunting guides et cetera frequently put their assorted gleanings in the fridge. “Uhm, Bobby? What is this in the big bowl?” Without even looking up, “Bear”. You’d have thought I’d learn after a while, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me.
But most of all, I missed my family.
I missed the other itinerants. The loneliness was overwhelming sometimes. I missed the laughter, the sharing of stories and the insights they provided due to their experience. Now I was the one with the experience.