This post is the fourth installment in a series called Fresh Voice Friday, where we’re talking with inspiring leaders who are living meaningfully. So far we’ve heard from entrepreneur Merci Ngozi Best, activist Drea Herrera, and mover-and-shaker Brianna Buch, three awesome individual who motivate others with their takes on life.
To have a conversation with Micah is to furrow your brows a lot. Micah is probably the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, and every time we talk he teaches me something new. This is probably because he’s always learning new things and becoming passionate about fresh ideas, which makes him the perfect candidate for a Fresh Voices Friday interview. He’s an amazing poet but also majored in Chemistry, taught himself Swahili for the heck of it, and now lives in a log cabin in Alaska where he basically always has a postcard-worthy backdrop. I hope you enjoy his perspective as much as I always do!
An Interview With Micah Luedtke
Who are you, anyway?
My name is Micah. I was born in Tacoma, Washington and raised in Southwestern Virginia. I like to create and discover new things. I have a curious mind and restless heart and they both tend to get me in trouble sometimes, but they also lead me to some pretty extraordinary places and people along the way.
You’re suddenly in an elevator with your favorite author and s/he asks you your life story. What the heck do you say?!
The hardest part of this question is picking a favorite author. But —regardless of who my favorite author is the day that I run into them in an elevator— I would tell them who I am, where I am from, and that I admire their writing and hope to be writer of their caliber one day. I would keep the stuff about me short and ask them about their methods when writing and more generally about their formative experiences in life. If you’re looking for names, Gary Snyder is currently blowing my mind with his book Practice of the Wild.
Let’s get deep, speed-dating style. What’s the purpose of life?
To leave the world –the people, places, plants, animals, and everything you encounter– better than you found it.
What do you get passionate about?
The relationship of humans and nature.
How did you get interested in that?
I have always been deeply and insatiably curious. At home this took the form of me asking a lot of questions when my parents and three older brothers discussed things I didn’t understand. Once I started school I found myself drawn to mathematics and the sciences. As I got further along in school my interests became more and more varied in an attempt to get a better understanding of the world. This lead me ultimately to consider the relationship of man and nature and now much of my focus is on trying to find solutions to the problems I see there.
Anything you’re working on now?
I always have a ton of projects and ideas that are bouncing around in my head unfinished. My greenhouse is a constant learning experience and it always needs attention. As that winds down this fall, I will shift the focus to food preservation. I’ve starting making jam and hopefully I will have enough cucumbers to pickle. I always wish I was writing more. I have an ever-growing document of thoughts that I hope to assemble into some sort of finished product or products of non-fiction writing such as essays or books. I’ve taken classes in wood carving, leather working, and caribou sausage making. I’m teaching myself how to make furniture. I hope to develop my workshop further and refine my skills working with my hands. I have too many unfinished books. I have neglected writing poetry for too long and need to return to that. I started a blog last November to force myself to complete my thoughts and share them with others and I am trying to write more regularly for that.
No false modesty now. What’s your proudest achievement and why?
I don’t know that most would even consider this an achievement, but during my senior year of college I decided to leave the ROTC program and my 4-year full tuition scholarship so that I did not have to fulfill the military service requirement. I didn’t believe in what I was doing and needed to make a change. It was the hardest but most important decision I’ve ever made and it had a lot of negative consequences but ultimately I had to leave and pursue a life that I thought was meaningful and right for me personally. Now I live in a log cabin in Alaska and things are getting better every day as I work towards things that are important to me.
Everyone gets it from somewhere. Who inspires you?
So many people. It is hard to even discern patterns in the myriad reasons and ways people inspire me. There are a lot of authors who give me hope and excitement for life. My parents and my brothers and a lot of friends, too. A lot of scientists and naturalists and philosophers. I admire people that I see succeed where I fall short — not so much in milestone achievements or goals accomplished, but in the character and humanity of the person. For me the thoughtful, compassionate, humble people are the ones I want to emulate. One of my professors at William and Mary has been particularly influential and has helped me grow intellectually and personally and I’m eternally indebted to and continually inspired by him.
Top 3 things on your bucket list. Ready, go.
Hmm, I don’t have a bucket list per se (although after reading your blog, I should probably write one…), but there are lot of things that I would like to do. Three big ones are:
- Roadtrip from Deadhorse, AK to Teirra del Fuego, Argentina
- Learn how to fly planes
- Buy a one way ticket to a completely foreign country and totally immerse myself; learn the language, the land, the people, the flora and fauna, everything I could
If you could communicate one message to a large group of people, what would it be?
Explore the world tirelessly and lose your Self. Stay curious and humble. Create all the love that you can.
And now for the most important question of all. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Rice because it’s simple.
Micah, thanks so much for your insights and for taking out the time to share them with us! If you want to reach Micah or hear more about his life in Alaska, you can find him at Enter Wilderness, where he blogs about some of the things he discussed here. You can also find him on Instagram at @micahluedtke to see killer pics of the Alaskan landscape.
Let him know what stood out to you about this interview in the comments!