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Will I make it out of here?

Lori Hanemann


Fairbanks, Alaska

I’m originally from a suburb of Seattle, Washington, and moved to Alaska 20 years ago, driving up here on an epic road trip with my best friend. My first five years I was living in a remote village in the Arctic, a life of extreme adventure, marriage, and motherhood. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had my fill of Alaska. I know it is admired around the world for the beauty and open spaces, but I’m absolutely done with it. Conditions can be brutal - the winter sometimes has worse air quality than China, the temperatures are around 0 Fahrenheit to 50 below zero Fahrenheit, and the darkness never leaves you. Summer’s long hot days bring beautiful scenery and mosquitoes at picnics.  So many love living here, but I lost my enthusiasm a long time ago. I"ve had a lot of hard times physically and emotionally here. I’m done. Plus, it’s expensive to fly out of here to visit new places, and the next town is almost 400 miles away. It often feels like being trapped on an island. I’m just ready to do something new. Oh, and did I mention there’s no college or professional soccer here?!

My work career has been in the non-profit/charity field. I enjoy my work, but two years ago I knew I needed a new direction. I wanted to work on something I was extremely passionate about, soccer. I want to combine my charitable development skills with soccer, so I created Soccer Girl. My focus on the company has had to ebb and flow with making a living, being a single mom, and supporting my teen son. He’s just graduated high school and is off to college in California, so I had a big life decision to make. Would I move back to Seattle and get a non profit job and battle traffic? I really want to have time to work strictly on Soccer Girl and make it profitable, enough to support me. I was crippled by indecision for months and it worsened as time passed and the reality of giving notice to my landlord arrived. I want to be transparent on this blog, so I’ll tell you that just four days ago I was a wreck, crying all day over the thought of my son moving away and me not being able to make a fucking decision about my future plans. I froze up in some sort of semi-panic attack and scrolled through my phone, desperate for an answer, wishing I had an iphone so I could ask Siri what the hell I should do with my life. I was on my phone for eight hours straight, attempting to force the courage out of me. Skyscanner, airbnb, and Indeed job board were my whole world, not even leaving them to eat, pausing only to cry. I’ve hyper-developed a trait as a single mom - resilience, the capacity to recover from challenges and set back. There was one hour until my son arrived home from work. I had to pull myself together and not let him see the lost dysfunction oozing out of his mother. I re-opened Air bnb for the hundreth time, searched Croatia, found something that fit my needs, and hit the damn ‘book’ button! Wait, there were three other confirmation and payment pages in between fear and a decision. Final payment page, and I panicked and shut the app! Now what? I wondered what would happen if I just did nothing. Doing nothing was not an option. Something had to happen. I went back in and booked the apartment for 15 days in Zagreb, Croatia beginning August 3rd.