It’s called the last frontier so for any nature lover Alaska is a wonderful state to travel to. But I’ve never been a lover of the great outdoors. I’d much rather be in a ritzy hotel and lounge by the pool all day. Or so I thought. I discovered a hidden part of myself when I visited Anchorage and I can never return to my ignorance.
As my older brother and I boarded the plane that would take us north to Alaska I thought to myself once again that I could go without the luxuries I was accustomed to for a month. The mantra in my head didn’t do well to reassure me though. The stiff seat that was my home for the next six hours kept reminding me of where I was on my way to. There was no avoiding the fact that I was flying to Anchorage, Alaska to spend the next month of summer.
The landing was rough which I took as an omen of my visit to this foreign land. If it wasn’t for my dad hugging me to him in the next instant I fear I would have ran back and tried to return to Phoenix where life made sense. My first impression was a deserted parking lot and being informed that there was no Starbucks nearby so I would have to go without my drink for a while. Not to mention the fact that it was a little after midnight and the sun was glaring down at me from a cloudless sky.
“Alright,” My dad said as we finished placing our luggage inside his house, “Get some sleep, we’re driving down to Seward tomorrow to go on a day cruise to a glacier.” Oh boy, how can this trip get better? We did exactly what he said we would. Early in the morning he woke me up and I struggled to dress myself, looking longingly at my shorts and T-shirts I dressed warm in expectation of the cool sea air.
Getting to Seward is an ordeal in itself. Consisting of a long drive next to the Pacific Ocean to the right and rocky cliffs on the left, the journey made me weary of the destination. I’ll admit that the view awed me but where were the shops? Or even the homes? Then the first view of Seward. My mouth dropped. Such a dreary looking town, or village maybe. I had no idea a town could be so small!
Boarding the ship put me back in my comfort zone for a bit. I was used to boats and oceans. I stood on deck at the back of the ship and watched as we drifted away from the green land and farther into the pure blue mass of water and sky. I started to connect to this alien land through the ocean that I’d swam in when my dad lived in San Diego. The beauty came of the hidden crevices in my mind that were blocked off earlier by my prejudice. Then the glacier came into sight and I gasped: a sound of shocked delight.
Even now I can hardly believe that such a trip could be so enjoyable. But the natural beauty of the land was something I couldn’t help but admire. Just as the desert I was accustomed to, the forest and water eased my mind and I realized that never before was I as comforted by niceties and luxuries as I was by the pure, unmarred, Alaskan scenery.
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