Would I ever revisit Alaska? Most definitely. There is something about that place that I genuinely love. It was quiet, relaxing and away from the excitement. If you were to tell me about your trip to Miami versus your trip to Alaska, no doubt that I’d want to hear about Alaska first. I am more interested in the paths less travelled because most people go to Miami already and they can all relate to the lifestyle – clubbing, drinking, the beach and brunches. I am all about that life too but I am also about the “exploring and being adventurous” life.
NB. The figures on this post are quoted in US dollars.
WHAT JOBS DID I HAVE?
I went to Alaska to work as a housekeeper at the Hampton Inn Anchorage. I would work between 35-40 hours per week and sometimes I got overtime. As a housekeeper, after cleaning my rooms, I wrote small personalized notes for my guests so that they know we appreciated them for staying at the hotel. I also received tips from some of the guests whenever I cleaned their rooms. I remember writing a note for one of my guests and he wrote me back. To this day, I walk around with the note in my purse because I thought it was special. I cannot remember what the guest looked like or even if I saw that person but they sure made my day at the time.
Ivana helped me to get a second job at Buffalo Wild Wings where I was a server on the weekends – Thursday to Saturday. I worked on the evening shift so work started at 5 pm on days where I work both jobs and 4 pm whenever I was off from housekeeping.
Before starting the job as a server, I had to get a certificate to serve alcohol. I paid $40 for 8 hours of class where I received a Training for Alcohol Professionals (TAP) certificate. The exam wasn’t hard and I passed with 90% – it was multiple choice.
One thing I love about Alaska is the fact that they do not collect state sale tax. If an item was $100, I paid the exact amount and NO TAX.
I got $11 at the hotel plus tips and I think I got between $9 and $9.75 plus tips at the restaurant. The least amount of tips I got at the restaurant was $28 after paying food runner and bartender their cut. That night, I worked for 3 hours because it was slow. There was another night where I worked for 4 hours and went home with $189 after paying bartender and food runner. I had a military group in my section and they paiidddddd, honey.
LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK
I joined the gym while I was there and it was my little escape to freedom whenever I felt like I wanted to go home in Jamaica. The gym wasn’t the only thing I joined; I also signed up for Bumble but that is a whole different story. At the gym, I met Emma and on my days off, she took me sightseeing. I’ve also met Leslie on line and she took me on a trail an hour out of town. Mind you, I thought we were going to get food and so I got dressed in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. Again, why did I trusted these strangers? My intuition and I say this a lot. I grew up with my grandmothers and we are from the country, if you know then you know.
I went to a few restaurants, malls and clubs, even a strip club. The club are NOTHING like in Jamaica and that was a huge culture shock for me. Not that I was expecting it to be like home but I thought they could literally twerk since it’s in most of their music. I stood there looking at girls dancing and said to myself, “what are they doing?” It was also the 4th of July and it was just boring. We left and went to get drinks at a bar where one of my coworkers from the restaurant worked.
I challenge myself to get something done every summer while in college. My first summer in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I got my first tattoo in my back. It is a spinal tattoo that said: “Through Every Dark Night, There Is A Brighter Day”. In summer 2018, I went to Branson, Missouri where I pierced the top part of my left ear twice. In summer 2019, I went to a Dominican hairdresser in the mall and I did a big chop. Yes! I cut off most of my hair.
That is just a little of how I spent four months in Alaska. I have been to 16 states and this is a safe space to say that Alaska is my favourite so far. I am encouraging you to add it to your bucket list of places to go if you’re interested in paths less travelled.