An Unattainable Dream

For a long time now I have held on to an “unattainable dream” of frontier living in Alaska.  I say “unattainable” because, in all honesty – I am married… with children. 

Being married… with children is really not much more than an “easy” explanation excuse of why I am a slightly overweight, highly stressed out police dispatcher living on the rural outskirts of a major metropolitan area instead of forging my own way in the Alaskan wilderness as a rural frontier recluse.  

The slightly longer (and more honest / introspective) explanation involves elements of my own feelings of responsibility, some fear, a little trepidation, and healthy dose of “reality”. 

That’s ok though.  I am not afraid of having (and admitting to) “unattainable dreams”.  Heck, I’m even willing to say that unattainable dreams are “healthy” (mentally), and offer an escape (albeit a temporary escape, but an escape nonetheless).  I know I will never really achieve them, but they sure are fun to think about!

A little over a year ago now the Mother of Five and I bought a pair of Kindles.  Since then, my level of reading has skyrocketed from it’s previous non-existent levels.  If you check out my Kindle Reading List, you will see that I do have a taste for a certain genre of reading – but you will also notice that I break out of that routine from time to time.

abMy most recent departure from my typical reading pattern came while perusing through Amazon’s Kindle Book Store and stumbled upon a book that caught my eye. 

Alaska Bound:  One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Nightmare! by Tammy Jones 

One man’s dream one woman’s nightmare??  Wow, did that sound familiar!

Well, “nightmare” may be a little strong.  I have no doubts the Mother of Five would enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan wilderness for a certain amount of time, but frontier LIVING and the solitude of Alaska (the greatest draws for me) would not be a good fit for her.  

Well, I finally got around to reading this book.  Initially, I was not sure what to expect.  All appearances was that this book was written from the perspective of a woman who’s husband was fulfilling one of his “unattainable goals” and dragging his wife along for the ride.  (I could not imagine doing such a thing.

I do not want to give too much of this book away, but I’ll say from the very beginning of this book, I was unable to put it down.  The book took me through the author’s journey as the couple virtually “hops, skips, and jumps” their way from urban living all the way through establishing rural Alaskan escape. 

While reading this book, I found myself Googling places and things like Ketchikan, the Alaskan Marine Highway, and ocean tides (something that someone living smack dab in the northern central Midwest has NEVER had to consider).  Not only was I able to live vicariously through the eyes of the author, I feel as if I learned a lot from her experiences! 

I had always pictured my Alaskan “compound” landlocked (or almost landlocked) deep inland, maybe off a stream or a freshwater lake.  Tammy and Tom’s experience involves a lot of struggle (and some success) with the ocean in one of the many Alaskan inlets.  Their adventures have provided me a whole new level of “unattainable daydreaming”!! 

I initially noticed that the book has a noticeable void of viewpoint from Tom.  Tammy wrote strictly from her viewpoint, and included only small bits of interaction with Tom.  She never never really tells us (or even speculates much) on Tom’s perspective throughout their adventure.  The more the book progressed, the more I actually enjoyed this void (and this from a my opinion as a male).  I truly felt as if I was getting the author’s perspective.  Tammy has a wonderful way of telling her version of the story with a great balance between, and bled of humor and reality.  Each adventure (and subsequent solution) left me wondering “what’s next” for these two!         

I want to thank Tammy for having written about her adventures.  She has done something I will never likely do, but will always dream of doing.  The work she put into living that dream, and then writing about it gives me yet another method of vicariously living out one of my “unattainable dreams”! 

Tammy (Jones) Harding and Alaska Bound are being added to my Alaskan living favorites, and join the ranks of people such as Richard Proenneke, Carl McCunn, Christopher McCandless, and Timothy Tredwell (although, I sure hope Tammy’s story ends FAR LESS tragically than the latter three).

The book’s webpage Pennock Island Productions is now alerting me to an author’s note that says “Stay tuned for book 2”.  I can’t wait!

Final Note:  Normally, I do not use “The Life of a Father of Five” as a product review website.  In fact, I can think of one single review I have written in the past seven years of maintaining this website (despite the countless offers I get to do product reviews). 

Not to take away from what a great book Alaska Bound is, I don’t want this post to be viewed strictly as a “book review”.  This “review” has more to do with me, my thoughts, my hopes and dreams (attainable or not) – and how this wonderful book helped reinvigorate some of them!! 


  1. Very cool! Looks like an interesting read... I may have to see if my library system has that one. Did I ever tell you I spent the summer of 1993 living in Alaska? Mostly the Fairbanks area, but some of it pretty remote (2 weeks in an Athabascan Indian villiage inside the Arctic Circle... no roads in or out... bushplane access!)

    1. Wait... WHAT?!?! You lived in Alaska?? Dude, I GOTTA hear that story!!

  2. So glad for the review. Can't WAIT to read it! I've always wanted to live in Alaska, and the fam was very close a few years ago, but didn't :-( Our vacation to Alaska last summer only cemented in my mind that YES I really do want to live there while showing my hubby there are things he could do there as well. Our new first few years retirement plan? ALASKA BABY! He'll fly planes for some small operation for free just for the experience and I'll do whatever I feel like doing in the Alaska wilderness. Oh how I can't wait! Getting the book now . . .

    1. Based on what I know of you through your blog, you will certainly enjoy this book!! Check back when you are done, and let me know what you think - I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

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