On the front page of today's Empire, reporter Kristan "Stan" Hutchison shares her thoughts about fulfilling one of her dreams. She's taking a leave of absence from our newsroom and our community to spend about four months in a place where she will have to bundle up against the cold even though it's mid-summer.
Stan is going to Antarctica ... because it's there.
In the article in which she explains how this expedition came about, Stan asks: "Do you have a dream? A crazy, out-of-this-world, never-would-happen dream? Antarctica has been my dream since my first geography lesson as a child, when someone asked 'If you could go anywhere, where would you go?' "
Stan will miss her husband, Mark Sabbatini. She will miss Juneau and her friends and colleagues at the Empire. But her family, friends and colleagues have encouraged her. We all can think of reasons why she should not go. We depend on her. We have routines in which she plays a role. We will have to adjust. It would be easier not to have to. But we will.
Why do people do the things they do? Why do we stop short of doing the things we want to do, of trying to fulfill our dreams? Why do some of us stop dreaming or never start?
The power of suggestion is strong.
What happens to the dreams of children who are told, "You can't do that" - whatever "that" is - "because you're not good/smart/pretty/wealthy enough."
How many of us have arrived at the threshold of high school, college or post-graduate young-adulthood yearning - but equally afraid - to look over the horizon?
How many of us already have accepted the notion that somebody else from somewhere else does the important or interesting or exciting stuff? After all, we're only from fill in the name of your neighborhood, your school, your state. Fill in whatever it is that deflates a dream. Then throw the excuse away.
Several centuries ago, men stepped on ships to sail over distant horizons and advance the boundaries of the known world. Perhaps they were motivated by the prospect of riches and honor. Perhaps they were dreamers, full of a curiosity that overcame any fears.
A century ago, men and women flocked to Alaska in search of riches and adventure. Most found more hardship than wealth. Some found the Last Frontier exhilarating. They stayed or returned home grateful for the experience and grateful to have survived. Oh, the stories they could tell.
A generation ago, men and then women began to hurtle into space atop rockets. In 1969, the first men reached the moon and returned safely.
Your dream can be closer to home. Maybe you want to become the first person in your family to go to college. Maybe you want to escape poverty. Maybe you want to perform on stage.
No matter what you've been told, don't assume your dream is beyond reach.
Stan dreamed of going to Antarctica. Now she is.
Where do you want to go?