Alaska: The Real Deal - My Family Travels

          The air as I stepped off of the airplane was cool, much cooler than the 90 degree weather I was used to back home. It was not the cool air that made this place different but rather, it was the fresh, unpolluted air and the well preserved environment of Fairbanks, Alaska that made it memorable. A trip to Alaska in the middle of August seemed arbitrary especially to a seventeen year old female whose only concern was her friends back at home. But as soon as I stepped off that plane and breathed in that first breath of fresh air, air so fresh and so clean that the best day in Maryland does not even come close, all my concerns of leaving home were gone. With my entire family there to experience this trip with me, life seemed pretty good. Literally, my entire family was there: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, were all there to learn about the culture of the Alaskan natives and witness the beautiful wildlife. While the the tour guides and Alaskan natives were educational and informative, it was when things were most silent that the beauty of it really shone through.

            How can one place administer to so much beauty, beauty not easily captured in words? I would often stop where I was, close my eyes and just breathe. Not a normal breath, but one that went deep down into my soul. I wanted to take in every opportunity that was thrown at me. I liked to take time to notice the little things, the things that rarely get recognition because there are cooler, more exciting things to see. How many people give clouds the time of day? These big, bright, pure white clouds were more to me than anything I had ever seen before. Why it is so hard to describe why these clouds were so different from the ones back home, is baffling to me. This area is so well preserved, with so much thriving wildlife, an environment that takes a step back from places like Washington DC, New York City, and Chicago, filled with busy people and a booming industry.

            Many people lived most of this trip through the lenses of their cameras. They were all waiting for the ideal opportunity to snap the perfect picture. I on the other hand, left the picture taking to my family.  I believed the best experience is one in which you experience for yourself. I did not want to let the camera take that experience for me. I can still remember every place we went to and every feeling I had while I was there. I believe that one of the reasons why I chose not to take pictures was because a camera can only capture so much. It can indeed capture some of the beauty, but it cannot capture the peacefulness and the emotions felt. It cannot be fully explained to people what exactly I experienced, but I can still feel it inside me. When I close my eyes I can still see the snow capped mountains surrounded by the beautiful white puffy clouds, as I ride past them on a glass top train. I can see the glaciers, and the wildlife, the moose and the reindeer. It is all so vivid to me, pictures do not even seem necessary.

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