After battling Ulcerative Colitis, a gastrointestinal condition, for 6 years, I was told that I needed to have a series of major surgeries to remove my colon and replace with a bit of the small intestine (My friends jokingly refer to this as a Semi-Colon) After being sick for so long, tied down by the medications, the doctor visits, lab tests, and flare ups, I never felt that I could do many of the adventurous things that I wanted to do. So after I got better, I worked for a year or so then decided I needed to do something adventurous.
I decided that I wanted to see the world, meet new people and do new things. I realized that circumnavigating the globe would accomplish these goals. I will be going East round the world. I intent to not use an airplane, if at all possible. This will force me to slow down and take in the places I find myself. I will be photographing what I see, taking videos to share the things I do and people I meet, and writing stories here for you to experience it all with me.
I have brought along a guitar to play with new musicians that I meet, and have each sign the face of it to have an amazing memento of my time on the road. Please check back often to see where I am, maybe I will be coming to a town near you!
I’m Ty Rettke. I am from a small island town in Alaska called Ketchikan. I graduated high school from there and have lived there for 20 of my 28 years. While I was a senior in high school, I became very ill. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an auto immune disorder where the immune system attacks the colon.
While battling the condition I worked as a photographer and printer at a local studio, honing my skills with a camera and the use of equipment associated with the trade. I worked in a studio setting, and shot events, weddings and every other manner of photograph you can imagine.
The changing times, at the transition from film to digital photography were a difficult time for many small independent shops and Schallerer’s Photo ended up closing its doors.
After that I worked as an Asst. Harbormaster for the City of Ketchikan, in charge of Port Security for our busy cruise ship dock. I worked there for 3 seasons before my condition over took me and I was hospitalized for 8 days. After this the doctors decided that medicine was no longer effective in treating my UC, and was in fact starting to harm me. They determined that surgery was the only course of action left.
Over the year of 2010, I underwent 3 surgeries to remove my colon completely and create a “Semi-Colon”, as my friends call it, out of a piece of my small intestine. The surgery was a newer development, not available when I was first diagnosed. It allowed me to return, in the end of the process, to nearly the same state as I was before I got sick.
After this, I worked as a police dispatcher/911 operator in Ketchikan for a little over a year, saving money and preparing for something new. I just didn’t know what yet.
I play guitar in a band named after me, Ty’s ; (That’s Ty’s Semi-Colon. Yes, that semi-colon. No I didn’t pick it. I just have friends that are THAT great. While I am away they are playing under the name Minus Ty’d (Like a very low ocean tide! Actually that is kind of sweet)
Now I am out living the live I had been denied for so long, doing it all at once instead of over years.