I’ve been in Anchorage for the last few weeks and had the honor of speaking to a group of independent travel agents at the annual National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) convention.

I have a lot in common with independent agents. We stand up for what we believe, we fight for the little guy, and we’re not corporate.

A place like Alaska is also perfect for a NACTA meeting. Alaskans are fiercely independent and self-sufficient. You have to be that way in a place they call the Last Frontier.

Being here and experiencing the vastness of the 49th state has made me consider my own independence. My affiliations with major media outlets are loose, at best. When I attend a trade show (which, I admit, is rare) I always get the designation “freelance” on my badge. I wear that with pride. No one owns me.

And don’t even get me started on my personal life. My friend Scott McMurren penned a column in today’s Anchorage Dispatch that sums it up nicely. Enough said.

The only thing I depend on is you, my readers, for guidance, support and a never-ending supply of compelling cases. I like it that way. If one of my media overlords orders me to disregard my moral compass or write the wrong stories, I can walk away — and I have done so many times before. My independence is non-negotiable.

I hope you know that. Just like the amazing independent agents I met this week, I’m here for you, and you alone. No one owns me. Full stop.

Here are this week’s columns:

Thank you for valuing — and supporting — the independent journalism I practice here every day. It means more to me than words can ever express.

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