Home sweet Homer

Coordinates: 59°38′35″N 151°31′33″W

Heading from Northeast to Northwest

From the most eastern part of Russia, I headed to the most western part of the United States. Crossing the international dateline, going back in time, living one day twice. Finally, my journey had begun.

I only stayed for a couple of days in Anchorage. I was meeting my “wwoof” host there and shortly after we already flew together to my new hometown. It was the shortest flight of my life. In total 30 minutes. The linear distance from Anchorage to Homer is only 200km. Since there is no straight road going there, it is a +/- 5 hours car ride. Due to many constructions in summer, it is a longer ride for sure. For me not really a reason to fly since it is also one of the most beautiful roads along the coast side. Well, next time I will take the time and drive 🙂

Every person I met in Anchorage and that I told I was on my way to Homer was all excited. They raved of it as one of the most beautiful places in Alaska and they promised me I would certainly fall in love with that place. It is a coastal town with a small hippie community and with many art galleries. Furthermore, it is the world’s capital of halibut fishing. Definitely the place to be for a vegetarian 😉

Where and what is Homer…?

Here some more information about my new home…

Homer is located in the Kenai Peninsula in the southeastern part of Alaska. It is home for about 5000 people. Well, the number varies strongly between winter and summer. Many Alaskans have a cabin in Homer where they spent their summer in. The high season for (RV) tourists is also in the summer months. In winter, the life in town must be quite different and apparently even more quiet and empty. Most of the shops and restaurants on the Spit are only open for a couple of months and closed when the tourists are gone again. Homer is located on the shore of Kachemak Bay. The famous Homer Spit is a 7.2 km long piece of land jutting out into the bay. It is the place to go if you have a boat or a yard in the harbor or if you would like to cross the bay with one of the many water taxi operators. You can book all different kind of touristic tours there, e.g. bear viewing, fishing, kayaking, and paddling. Furthermore, there are many souvenir shops, restaurants and bars. If you have ever driven on the spit, you will quickly understand why Homer’s motto is “Where the land ends and the sea begins”.

On the Spit is one of the town’s famous bars, the so called “Salty Dawg Saloon”. It is located in a former lighthouse and it keeps a very nice tradition alive: Back in time, fishermen pinned a dollar on the wall of the bar before they went out on the sea. If they return without a catch or only a small one, they still had money to buy themselves a (frustration-/ cheer-up-) beer. Today, the whole bar is covered in dollar bills with signatures and names on it. Of course, not only from fishermen, but mainly from tourists that are appealed to the former tradition.

The Spit is Homer’s trademark: If you drive up the hill, you will find several viewpoints with the most stunning overlook of Homer, its spit, and the beautiful ocean with the mountains, volcanoes and glaciers in the back. From Homer you can see four active volcanoes: Redoubt, Augustine, Iliamna and Douglas. The nature and the wildlife within and around Homer is just breathtaking. Every single day I hold on for a minute just to enjoy the spectacular view in front of me. Every day it looks different. When the sun is rising, shining, setting, when it is raining, when it is foggy and so on. No matter what kind of weather you have, the scenery is nothing but gorgeous. That is why there are plenty of trails everywhere leading to beautiful spots. You have different trails heading to the Wynn Nature Center where you can learn more about Homer’s flora and fauna, birds and Alaskan wild animals. Furthermore, there is the Islands & Ocean Visitor Center where you can get a lot of information about Alaska’s history, nature and wildlife. From there you can start with the so-called Diamond Trail, a 10 miles long trail along the shore starting from Bishops Beach. Homer is the perfect place for outdoor activities: Hiking, berry picking, gathering wild flowers and herbs, kayaking, paddling, bike riding (especially downhill and at the beach), camping, sailing, fishing, bird and bear watching, skiing and sledding during the winter months.

Atmosphere and ambience

– The feeling of home –

After my year in Russia, I was looking for a quiet place where I can rest and refill my empty energy tanks again. A place where I can focus on good food, fresh air and a lot of motion. A place where time stands still and I can process the many experiences of the last year. When I arrived in Alaska, I felt exhausted, weak and empty, but with every day that I spent in Homer, I felt a little stronger and more filled with energy. My new life in Homer is relaxing, soothing and healing.

Homer is a town that just soaks you in… When I arrived, I had no idea how long I would stay. I left everything open. That is one of the many upsides of travelling: Finally being free to decide how long you will stay at a place all depending on whether you like it or not.

For me it has been a very long time since I was living in such a small town. For a traveler it is not always easy to connect to people, especially when you are not staying in a hostel or travelling with other people. Nevertheless, people in Homer are open and very welcoming. They just talk to each other all the time. Of course, they quickly realize I am a foreigner and then they are even more interested in what I am doing here and how long I am going to stay here. It took me not even three days do decide to stay as long as possible in Homer.

The whole atmosphere and ambience of this tiny little fisher town makes you want to stay forever. It feels like time is standing still, the world is not spinning anymore, everybody lives in peace with and respect to each other, and everybody just enjoys being here. People are always relaxed, never in a hurry. The Homer people seem to live in their very own tiny little safe world. They always have some projects going on, every now and then they enjoy the pleasure of freedom on the boat and/or a floatplane, they live closely connected with nature, and they are building their very own good life. Homer has many beautiful little trails, delicious food in all kinds of tiny restaurants, some bars with life music, and for the more culturally interested many art galleries to visit. The small halibut town even has its own brewery and winery. I strongly recommend a beer and wine tasting there. It is delicious!

You have many little moments that you hope never to forget. For example driving around in the car when the sun is shining, enjoying the most beautiful view over the bay, listening to good music, seeing moose every now and then, watching the majestic eagles flying around, going for a walk on the beach… It is those little things, those little moments that make life so precious in Homer. Sometimes life can be so simple. My time in Homer equals enjoying the perfect life after a very hard and exhausting year in Russia…

Lucky me

Besides the stunning beauty of nature and the peaceful atmosphere of the town, I really enjoy my new life in the wild: Bald eagles flying above me; moose standing in front of my yurt or next to the street eating, sometimes cooling down in a garden’s sprinkler; waking up from the unique warbling of sandhill cranes; bears fishing on rivers or crossing the street; squirrels gathering their food for upcoming winter; sea otters relaxing on the beach; seals checking out your boat; jelly fish flushing on the shore during low tide; salmon jumping in the waters; dancing northern lights up in the sky… All the sudden you feel closer to nature and the world than ever before. You are a part of nature again; you are closely connected to it. A feeling that is hard to describe, but a feeling that I hope never to forget. Just wonderful!

I am very, very lucky! I had no idea what to expect from “wwoofing”. I just registered on the platform, a couple days later I got the offer to help on “Ageya – Wilderness Education Center” in Homer. Sure, why not. They needed help and I was looking for a place to stay. I had no idea to hit the mark! My hosts are the most generous and trusting people I have ever met. They took me in their family, treated me like family, shared everything they have, afforded me a valuable way of living, taught me many new things, showed me around, let me be part of their life. They allowed me to start my journey with a wonderful experience that I will never forget. We had such a good time that I might even come back next year. Home sweet Homer!

Life is good

– More beautiful Homer pics –

Kayak Trip to Glacier Spit

One time my host took me across the bay on a wonderful sailing, camping, hiking, kayaking trip. The weather was amazing, the nature was beautiful as always… Life is good!

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