Biking Alaska

1 Jun

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Two years out of college, Laura Tauke was ready for a change. The Dubuque native had been working as a graphic designer for design firms in Madison, Wis., but found that agency work was not a good fit.

“I was 23 years old; I wasn’t ready for a desk job,” she said. “I was used to being active.”

So Laura (’05 graphic design) joined AmeriCorps and went to Alaska.

It was love at first sight.

Laura worked with at-risk teenagers at an alternative high school. She also resumed her active lifestyle, taking full advantage of the mountains and other outdoor recreation opportunities. At the same time, she began a successful freelance design business. Everything just clicked.

“I had bought a round trip ticket, but I just didn’t go home,” she said.

That was in 2007. Since her AmeriCorps service ended, Laura has lived in Kodiak (where she freelanced, hiked, biked, camped on the beach, and learned to fly-fish) and Seward (where she worked at the Alaska SeaLife Center and learned about Alaskan marine wildlife).

Now she’s back in Anchorage, working as an art director for “the best agency” – Solstice Advertising. She just bought a house and is engaged to be married.

Alaska has continued to offer unlimited opportunities and adventures. Laura’s outdoor activities include mountain climbing, deep-sea fishing, caribou hunting, and back-country skiing. But that’s usually on the weekend. During the week, she bikes. Year-round.

“There’s a population that bikes year-round up here,” she says. “It’s easy to get places, easy to park. You can even put your bike on the buses here.

“Exercise every day makes me happy.”

Postscript: Laura married Rich Pribyl in October 2012.

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