4x4s and Freedom to Leave

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When I moved to Alaska, I let myself believe this move was temporary.  In all honesty, it still remains so in my head.  Think about it like a car — you buy it and love it but you also know that it will wear down and better cars will be out there for you — the question is when will getting a new car make sense, and what would it be like.  Truth of the matter is that I didn’t really have the option to think about moving from Alaska, but a date is coming soon that will open up that possibility.

The only way I was able to move to Alaska was to do so on the back of a significant relocation package I got from BP Exploration – Alaska (BPXA).  By significant, I mean SIIIIIGGG-NIIIFFFFF-IIIIII-CAAANNNTTT.  Part of the deal that comes with such a package is that if I was to leave the company on my own accord, I would immediately be required to repay that package in full.  And by in full, I mean INNN FFUUUULLLLLLLLLLLL.  Let’s just say, that ain’t going to happen.  That being said, once I reached my 2 year anniversary of working at BPXA I am no longer obligated to repay anything in that package.  So quite literally I go from being chained down to the position, to free to do what I want from there.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking and considering.  Some pretty special opportunities would grab me away in a second, and some location would be great to go to, but at this point I am not targeting anything.  I am far from happy with my job & job climate, but life in Alaska & Anchorage (at least over the last few months) is all I could hope for … maybe if it was easier to judge marching bands it would be better, but that would be the caramel sauce on the ice cream.

In the meantime, however, I am challenged with a number of in between decision making.  The more things I get myself into up here, the more I wonder if I could translate them to other locations if I were to move.  I find myself searching locations of curling clubs around the country, or dog friendly beaches, or places where hot women have really low expectations out of guys (ok, I search for that up here too, but not the point).

This week, though, I realized I was walking a line that could quite literally be the moment when I say — I am sticking with the 49th State for a while.

I was looking at 4×4 vehicles.

Here’s the thing.  You don’t need 4×4 trucks, cars, SUVs to live up in Alaska, but it’s like saying you don’t have to go swimming to enjoy the beach — sure you can do it, but you cut out some options, and they could be the coolest options.  I COULD move to somewhere that a 4×4 is just as in-need, but I will bet you none of those places are as great as Alaska.  Anyplace where I would want to go needs a 4×4 as much as they need a parka for cold weather.

When I first moved up here, I had a list of things in my head that said: “If ____ happens, I will stay here for a long long time.”  As I was looking for those 4x4s I started to realize that it was going to be on that list – even though my list had a lot of other things (that you would never mistake for a car) — and the fact that I was getting a little serious about it made me wonder how serious I was about staying.

So, mark your calenders and watch your roads.  Come my 2 year anniversary (August 6th for those keeping score at home), I will be free.  Question then will be – does opening the cage mean the bear will run off.

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