I just got back from a cruise to Alaska. We first spent a couple of days in Seattle – what a great city! I’ve been there once before, something like 20 years ago, for only a couple of days that time too. It’s definitely a place I’d like to be able to go back to again and spend more time. But the highlight of the trip was the beyond beautiful, majestically stunning, extremely wild Alaska.
I didn’t know what to expect. When Yan suggested we take the family on a cruise to Alaska my first thought was, “That sounds … cold.” And it was. But not unbearably so by any means. Certainly not like it must be in winter. And I suppose that’s a big part of why the glaciers are melting at an ever increasing rate – alarmingly so (but that’s a discussion for another time and place).
What I found was a new, amazing part of the world I had yet to experience. For those of you who know I lived on a sailboat when I first moved to LA, it won’t surprise you to learn I love, love, love being on the water. So sailing, even on a gigantic cruise ship, soothes my soul. And the scenery, oh the scenery! I could scarcely leave the deck rail while we were underway through the fjords (and with the sun up from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm, there was plenty to see). I was mesmerized by Alaska’s stunning, untamed wilderness revealing just a hint of its extensive breadth to me.
Wildlife – and I’m talking top of the food chain wildlife – was our constant companion. We saw pods of various types of whales every day. We saw dozens of bald eagles. On a day trip into the Yukon we saw several bears, close up and personal from the (relative) safety of our car. We hiked through rain forests and badlands. We beheld glaciers from both the ship and on foot. We felt the pull and promise of this remarkable land called Alaska.
I got to visit a new part of the world, which is always a treat. I got to focus on my family which, as hard as it is to travel with two little ones, is even more meaningful. And I got to experience an unexpected, intense connection to mother earth. She is at once truly beautiful, mighty, and dangerous. Through Alaska I gained a new sense of love and respect for her. I hope my kids did too.