Taken from floatplane on cell phone in Homer, Alaska.

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When I was 18, some jerks flew a couple of planes flew into a couple of buildings during my second week of college. I spent the rest of that academic year wondering what the hell I was doing with my life, and eventually hopped in my car and drove west.

My trip took me nearly 11,000 miles in 27 days. I saw a dozen national parks, went to Mexico, drove the PCH, and had the time of my life. I drove west until I could drive west no more. While Anchor Point is as far west as someone can drive in North America (without flying somewhere else and driving there), Homer Spit was the end of the road.

I walked the docks until I found a job. At first, I camped out back of the Driftwood Inn. Merlin owned and ran the place at that time, and it was such a treat staying there. I worked and lived on the Lady Blackie for a couple of months (that one sunk sometime in the mid 2000s near Kodiak) doing odds and ends. Eventually, that job fell through, and I was left without a place to stay or any income. I was alone very far from home, and I wasn’t sure what would come of it.

Later that week, a person who I made friends with in town got me in touch with a captain who was taking the Debra D out for red crabbing in two weeks. It was his first time as a captain, and so he hired me, a complete greenhorn, on the spot. I flew to Bellingham later that month, and we took the ship inside of Vancouver Island, across the Gulf of Alaska, and through False Pass. That first trip was an odyssey that I will never forget.

Over the next two years, I ended up working with a great family who is now famous for that television show (if you are from Homer, you probably know them or know of them). I learned a heck of a lot from them about work and management, about owning and running a business, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I count myself as supremely fortunate to have found so many kind and open people in Homer.

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