My name is Mike Knoche and I am a naturalist/guide and carpenter living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I studied migratory birds and whales for over ten years and have a Master’s degree of Wildlife Biology. I am an absolute “bird-nerd”- one who loves to see and hear birds in the wild. Learning about the natural world around me and exploring Alaska is ingrained in me and I love to share the anecdotes from working on scientific studies and exploring Alaska with my clients. I have guided for several companies including National Geographic Expeditions. I intersperse guiding trips with a creative outlet I picked up along the way, carpentry. I have built two of my own homes, continue to build for myself, and make improvements on clients’ homes.
I started working when I was fairly young by painting houses and landscaping. I wanted to save for a wrist watch with a calculator in it. When I tired of landscaping at age 14 I entered the restaurant industry which would carry me through high school, college, and beyond. As a Sous Chef, I managed a kitchen and worked in numerous different restaurants across the United States. Cooking professionally left an indelible mark on my life, which can be seen in my continuous passion for cooking and my insatiable appetite. However, more influential than cooking was the inconsistent nature of work that came with being a migratory cook and then a seasonal field biologist in Alaska. As a cook in the lower 48, the lure of hiking in national parks captured me between busy work seasons. As a seasonal scientist with little to do in the Alaskan winter, I started venturing out to see the world .
Now called a “Snowbird” by some locals, I have traveled to over 35 countries and tend to get out for a month each year. The rest of my winter is spent trying to explore the land that is opened up by snow highways or by breaking my own trail through Alaska. There is a balance I have found between living in this extreme environment and exploring the world. Travel is like a reset button and each time I come home to Alaska I am in awe of its people and beauty.
Many people have expressed their thoughts about travel but when I read
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover …”
now at 39 years old I have no regrets about what I have been doing for the last 20 years and find Mark Twain’s famous quote a fitting name for my venture, ExploreDreamDiscover Tours. Here, through ExploreDreamDiscover Talks I hope to convey my passion for life and my personal experiences with all of you (btw- never bought that watch).
UPDATE: 2-27-14 I turned 40 in May. It was brutal. How could I be so old? I’m over that now. I love being 40. I just checked off my 40th country as well. It was Egypt where I slept in front of the Great Pyramids. I can’t believe that a King or Pharaoh who died at the age of 20 is still so revered. Anyway, this life is amazing. Don’t forget all of the gifts you have inside and always see how fortunate you are. If you can’t then go to Ethiopia where most people have nothing and practice the art of kindness like I have never seen. I miss my tibs and my buna.