I’m sitting here at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and in a few short minutes, I will begin the first leg of my trip to the Iñupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska. On Tuesday of this week, they will begin hosting the Elders & Youth Conference, and Rosetta Stone will be one of the exhibitors. The purpose of this conference is to preserve and promote the Iñupiat culture, heritage, and language.
My first flight will take me to Houston, and then it’s off to Seattle, with additional stops in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Deadhorse / Prudhoe Bay (AK), and finally Barrow. With a population of just 4,500 (mostly Iñupiat natives), Barrow is the northernmost city in the United States of America, located 320 miles (500 km) north of the Arctic Circle, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean.
At this point, even though I’ve researched the native culture and Iñupiat language in Barrow as much as I possibly could in preparation for the trip, I don’t really know what to expect. Honestly, I don’t think it has really hit me yet that in about 24 hours, I will leave this cozy 75-degree Austin weather and will be in the Arctic Circle in sub-zero weather and 24-hour darkness (well, with a little twilight). I’m about as ready for the trip as I’ll ever be and I am so very much looking forward to having an amazing, unforgettable experience in a part of the world that I will probably never get to visit again. I’m looking forward to many things, including getting to see the aurora borealis and hopefully a polar bear or two (from afar, of course).
I will write more from either Seattle or Anchorage later tonight.