My commute to the office from my house in
Houston takes 30-45 minutes to travel five miles during rush hour
traffic. As I sat in "gridlock" recently, I recalled a very interesting
conversation with Bob (not his real name) whom I met on the North
Slope of Alaska at Kupark Field (adjacent to Prudhoe Bay).
I was fortunate to attend the North Slope field trip
held in conjunction with the Anchorage joint meeting of the AAPG/SPE
Pacific Sections last year. Bob is a safety officer who was recruited
to shuffle us around the oil field.
Bob lives in a small town, population 400, some miles
south of Fairbanks, Alaska. The town water supply is a single well.
The water is trucked to homes and stored in containers.
Heating and cooking is mostly wood obtained from
dead trees in the surrounding vast forest. He noted that they don't
cut down live trees.
Much of the food comes from hunting.
Light comes from oil lamps.
His family is very happy. His children are getting
a good education, although I'm not sure how.
Here was my surprise: This guy is well-educated,
lived in my neighborhood for years and fought the same freeway as
I do every day. He abandoned life on the "fast track" and moved
his family to the wilds of Alaska.
Mine is somewhat garbled, but certain.
It sounds really romantic with the apparent simple
life style, back to nature stuff and lack of pressure and hassle.
But would I miss modern medical facilities, theater productions,
professional sports, the golf course and all other modern conveniences?
However, there is one thing I couldn't do without.
After I finally get to the office, I can be completely immersed
in the fascinating pursuit of petroleum exploration and geoscience.
Your pursuit may be coal resources, environmental work, teaching
geology, etc. You get the idea.
A lawyer friend observed that "geologists are usually
well-adjusted people who are in harmony with life and the world
There are very few endeavors as exciting as earth
science. As Bob warms his cold feet by the wood fire, I am perfectly
content to lay in my comfortable bed in my centrally heated home,
reading my EXPLORER and the BULLETIN. We are not really nerds, as
the public often perceives (this has gotta change). Well, maybe
a few of us are.