The general idea for COMPASS NORTH, though, arose a very specific source. In the terrible tragedy of 9/11, scores of people died, and many of them were lost without a trace in the conflagration that occurred. Their friends and families grieved for them without having any physical evidence of their death. And yet, it’s certainly likely that some who worked in and around the World Trade Center just happened to be away from the scene at the time the planes hit. Perhaps someone had gone out for coffee, or was delayed by traffic and late for work that day. For most people, escaping such a horrible fate would be followed by a joyous reunion with their loved ones. But what if...what if the person who barely escaped was terribly unhappy? Isn’t it possible that as a sudden opportunity arose to disappear, that person might be tempted to slide away from a life of misery? And there are other calamitous accidents where escape into a new life might be possible. What about the sinking of a large ship on the open ocean? Passengers might be lost and never accounted for. My mind started to play with the idea of a terribly unhappy person suddenly presented with an unexpected opportunity for a new start.
I believe that there are monstrous moments in everyone’s life, periods of time when despair seems insurmountable. For some unfortunate people, this deep well of unhappiness may look so bottomless and hopeless that the act of walking away, turning their back on their life, may seem like the only option.
But of course that’s not an easy path to take in today’s world of global connectivity. That’s where Alaska comes in. Alaska is certainly not a wasteland or the end of the world, but there are places in Alaska where arrangements that are “off the grid” can be made. (I think these types of arrangements can be found all over the world, but they are easier to accomplish in remote locales.)
So put these pieces together--a catastrophic tragic accident, a desperately unhappy person, and a place where the opportunity for reinvention just might exist--and there is the genesis of COMPASS NORTH.