Current location: Juneau, Alaska
Current status: Employed in another world, but still chillin’
Way for others to contact you: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @matthewrtynan.
Briefly explain your current situation: I am a sports and outdoors writer for the Juneau Empire, a daily newspaper in Alaska’s capital city. It’s a pretty small town — 30,000 people — so it’s mostly high school sports coverage. But with all the mountains, water and wildlife, I’ve had the pleasure of covering sports and events outdoors in a place I honestly never thought I’d live.
You are certainly the only 20something I know living in Alaska. Tell us about life in Alaska for 20somethings. It really is an interesting place, almost un-American in a sense. The only major chains of any kind we have in town are McDonald’s, Subway and Walmart, and most places close down pretty early. People like to party here, but [young people] are certainly not the only ones going out. The partying consists of young and old, homeless and not. Even at its relatively small size, Juneau is a melting pot. As far as opportunities go, government and state jobs are quite prevalent. While the lower 48 states were really struggling as far as the job market goes, Juneau was a place that offered opportunity, and still does.
Have you always known you wanted to be a sports writer? Definitely not. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted heading into college. I ended up choosing architecture as a major my freshman year, and that was a mistake. In such a demanding major and work field, I knew I wasn’t dedicated enough and changed to undecided for about a year. At that point I realized I watched way too much ESPN to justify being anything other than a sports writer, or at least some kind of position in sports media. So far, so good.
You moved from extremely different states – Texas to Alaska – in an effort to further your career. How did you find the courage to make such a change? When I initially got wind of the possibility of a job opening here it was more of a joke than anything. Like, Alaska, really? But the more I thought about the opportunity, the more open I became. This place is like a foreign country when compared to Texas, compared to anywhere in the lower 48 states really. Throughout my life my parents have always pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and go on “adventures”. That’s definitely what this is. I wouldn’t have had the courage to move 3,500 miles away in a completely isolated place — there are no roads in or out of Juneau — had it not been for the support of family, for sure.
Speaking of family, your younger sister, also a 20something, just got married. Feeling any pressure? Haha, none at all. Admittedly the topic crosses the mind during all the wedding festivities, but that’s generally the same with everybody. Still, it’s not completely real until you see your little sister walking down the aisle. But I’m just chillin’, in no rush to get hitched. *