Welcome to Alaska Explored, a new blog created by two friends who have spent years working in and exploring Alaska. Like most people heading to Alaska for the first time, JJ and Paul had no idea about the adventure ahead. The thrill of traveling to new frontiers and exploring the unknown is why we travel. A series of unlikely events and encounters is the origin of Alaska Explored.
A Series of Unlikely Events
Nearly a decade ago, two strangers from dramatically different backgrounds ended up on a flight to Alaska with a layover in Juneau. Paul sitting in the back of the plane, spotted JJ, seated in the front, thinking to himself, I hope that isn’t who I’m working with for the next month. The plane landed in Juneua for an hour layover.
Paul headed to a bar across the street at a Mexican restaurant. JJ stayed in the airport and met the rest of the Nat-Geo crew flying on the plane. A few hours later, landing in Petersburg, Alaska, JJ and Paul were assigned to work together as part of a small crew living in a remote cabin on an island. They made great TV, and two strangers became friends. We now both go to the bar on the layover.
Alaska Explored is Born
Fast Forward ten years, countless television episodes were produced, dozens of king salmon caught, and nearly a million Alaska Airlines miles earned. JJ and Paul have stayed friends and have been fortunate to explore some of the most stunning places in Alaska.
We have met remarkable people in fascinating places, from ANWR to Adak, Kodiak to Nome. We know the best tents to sleep in at -50° and how to set them up, we also know the best pool table in Homer, and if you want to mail a postcard from one of the only floating post offices in the country, we can share that with you too (hint: it’s in Southeast). Alaska Explored hopes to share those experiences and knowledge with you, so you can head out on your next adventure or read about ours.
Between the two, JJ and Paul have worked on Deadliest Catch, Life Below Zero, Port Protection, Life Below Zero: Next Gen, Bering Sea Gold, Battle on the Bay, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Slednecks and Last Alaskans.
Alaska Explored is a new venture, and we are new to blogging. Bear with us as we get the kinks worked out. We are excited to keep exploring and sharing this great state with you!
JJ started his career washing dishes on the cooking competition show Top Chef. He pestered the camera crews enough to let him start working as an assistant, and soon he was working on shows like Fast N’Loud, Cupcake Wars, and Rob Dyrdeck’s Fantasy Factory. For the better part of the last decade, JJ has been operating a camera and producing shows in Alaska. He’s been a part of the Emmy award-winning series Life Below Zero and Deadliest Catch, as well as many others. JJ lives with his wife and two French bulldogs in Portland, OR. When he’s not sleeping in the snow for work, he loves to cook and hike. He also runs the recipe blog MarriedfortheMeals.com
Paul started his career as a photojournalist, working in the Middle East and Africa, shooting assignments in Congo, Pakistan, Rwanda, Chile, Cuba, Antarctica, and Iraq. His work has appeared in Newsweek, Time Magazine, US News and World Report, and The New York Times, among others. After a decade of working for newspapers, magazines, and photo agencies internationally. Paul started working in film and television for Discovery, National Geographic, History Channel, Animal Planet, A&E, and Disney+. Paul spends most of his year working in Alaska but calls Lancaster, PA home, where he lives with his wife, three children, and three dogs on three acres.