The Guts to Move to Some Far Off Place

A response to my first post on this blogsite gave me pause to stop and ponder where I might be if I had been more of a risk taker or willing to take a chance on some more exotic location than those areas I’ve lived in.

The response was posted by Mike Ross, formerly of New Orleans and now calling Anchorage, Alaska home.  Mike did what I wished I had the courage to do back about 20-years ago.  To move to a really interesting place to work.   I used to see advertisments in the trade magazines about doing television reporting in Guam.  I thought about it briefly but I was too much of a home body to take a chance like that.  I later worked in Ft. Myers with a guy who had taken the plunge and gone to Guam to take one of those reporting jobs.  He (Gary Grigsby, now working with a station in Columbia, MO)  told me Guam was a great place for a young married couple who enjoyed scuba and the ocean.  He said it “created an intense vacuum” (re: sucked) for a single person since the island wasn’t very big and that there wasn’t much there other than a military base.  At that same station in Ft. Myers, I briefly worked with a guy who had just come to Southwest Florida from Anchorage.  He shared stories about covering the Iditarod Dogsled race and how they had to use blow dryers to dry out the inside of their camcorders when moisture would form from the drastic change in temperature.  The cameras would shut down until they could be dried out.   Both of these folks were what I would classify as free spirits and I guess still are.  I always wished I had had the where-with-all to do what they did.  I’ve considered moving off to Montana or Idaho and working at a TV station there.  My wife has even said she’s given thought to moving to those areas when we’ve vacationed there.  But the reality is after a certain age one realizes that you have fewer years ahead of you than you have behind you.  Having lost one parent and wanting to share time with the remaining parent when possible, plus there’s the granddaughter who will turn 2 in April, it just seems like I missed my opportunity.  Perhaps I should have gone to Alaska or Guam back in 1989 instead of moving to Memphis.  But I didn’t and that’s life.

In the meantime, my lovely and talented bride and I do try to vacation in some of those places.  It’s kinda of funny that we always ask each other what would we do for employment at this place or that place and would we be able to last very long being so far away from our families here in the MidSouth.  Neither one of liked living in SW Florida.  I’m not sure about Alaska where I’m told the mosquito is the state bird.  But sometimes I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.  After all, you only get to step up to the “buffet of life” once.   It’s food for thought.

P.S. Mike Ross, watch your back.  My wife may track you down, tear your arm off and beat hell out of you with it for putting this idea in my head.  lol

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4 Comments on “The Guts to Move to Some Far Off Place”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    There are always opportunities to go places and see things… Back in 1986 I got my first TV job in the beautiful metroplex of Casper, Wyoming — hundreds of miles — and light years away from my Ohio hometown. A lovely place, wonderful people, but it’s a really hard place to make a living. And two decades later… I wound up in Memphis. That’s life.

  2. Jack Church Says:

    Hey Joe I found your new website and it looks great, even without the beard! As for moving around, well you know my lovely bride, and children have covered more of this country with me than should legally be allowed. We’ve done the great Pacific Northwest, Coastal California, Florida, New York, Texas and a few other places we will not mention. Are we finished moving, probably not. Once it gets in your blood it’s hard to shake it. And so here we are 26 years removed from our start at BBJ in Jackson and I still have not figured out what to do when I grow up. But then again that may not be all bad considering I’m still just a 21 year old kid at heart with a woman that continues loving me despite it all. Of course I think this traveling thing comes naturally because my parents have been on the road in an RV for 12 years now!

  3. Mike Ross Says:

    Hi Joe,

    I’m truly honored and touched by your blog post that mentioned my move to Alaska. I know how you feel…I did a lot of soul searching before making such a huge move.

    To tell you the truth, my wife ( who is from Memphis, BTW…the former Miss Barbie Doll, one of the ‘fabulous chyron babes’ of WREG ) thought I was f—ing crazy when I told her I thought we should move to Anchorage! But…she loves it here..our two kids, 12 year old Jonathan and 5-year Amanda, have fallen in love with the place. They were both born in Louisiana…had never seen snow or mountains…but they both know how to ski now, and love seeing moose wandering through town! Our son said the other day he never wants to live anywhere else….

    As for your feelings about not making such a bold move yourself years ago…keep in mind, there was one event in our lives that you didn’t have to face…thankfully…and that was Hurricane Katrina. While our home was spared with minor damage, the experience of living through a nightmare like Katrina nudged me toward a decision I probably would not have made otherwise. It was the ultimate example of turning something totally negative into some wonderful.

    From a professional point of view, the decision to go from WWL-TV (where I spent 20 wonderful years, and thought would be my retirement destination) to KTUU -TV was easy…my new TV home has very much the same tradition as where I was. My new boss, John Tracy, is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met in this business…he doesn’t believe in consultants…or flash-and-trash….or tabloid crap. His attitude is “all of my anchors are REPORTERS FIRST”….his attitude is so refreshing in a business that’s turned so show-biz.

    As for Anchorage, it’s a wonderful city…the scenery is spectacular…and it’s a great place to raise kids. Like any other city, it has its problems…but we love it here.

    The most important factor in our decision to come up here was our children…we didn’t want to put them through any more hurricanes….and one trip up here last summer to check-out the place convinced us it would be a great experience for them…and something they would have never experienced if we had stayed in Louisiana.

    Joe, my friend, don’t have any regrets about the choices you’ve made….if you are happy with your family, then that’s the most important thing in life…and if you can look yourself in the mirror and have self pride in what you’ve done with your life, then you have nothing to second-guess.

    Plus…now that you know we’re here, you have a cheap place to stay for your Alaska vacation! It’s a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

    HOWEVER…if you REALLY get the bug to come up here full-time, our week-end anchor spot just opened up!…and my new boss loves to take us salmon fishing!!

    (now I REALLY will be on your wife’s s–t list!!! haha!)

    Here’s a link to our family photo webpage…feel free to thumb through it to share our Arctic adventure!!

    Thanks again for mentioning me in your blog..I really do check your website daily!

    Mike Ross
    Proud Alaskan

  4. My best friend served in the Navy at Guam and from his stories you haven’t missed a lot by not living there. Humidity and heat that are truly oppressive, even by Memphis standards. High prices, because everything must be flown or shipped in. And if something breaks or runs out, you have to wait months sometimes for it to be shipped back in. And then there are the typhoons; tornadoes on steroids.

    Besides, Guam’s loss is our gain. Good to see you back to blogging.

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