We’ve been back from our Alaskan adventure for about week, getting caught up on the house, work, and back to the soap making.
The vacation was straightforward: a few days in Seattle, then a cruise through the Alaskan Southerner’s East Inner Passages. By the end of the trip we discovered the experience would be life changing.
Seattle was nice. It was our first times there. We stayed in an AirBnB just south of Pioneer Square. Great neighborhood with great food, including several Middle Eastern restaurants and an amazing Pho shop. We wandered around the city a little, but mostly we just sat in the rented apartment with numb anticipation for the cruise.
Finally on Friday we embarked. The ship was the Celebrity Solstice. The cabin and ship overall was slightly nicer than similar ships we’d been on before. When I booked the trip I spent several hours studying the ship layout and reading reviews of the cabins. It paid off. Our veranda on a diagonal part of the balconies gave a little more room, and the room layout put the bed close to the siding balcony door. It also put the room right near the elevators, avoiding countless long walks up and down the corridors.
The food was also better than other cruise ships. The buffet, where we had most of our meals, had a wide variety, crucial since Deb and I swore off wheat and most other grains. Ever day saw a different international featured cuisine along with their standard fares.
Leaving the waters around Washington was nice, peaceful, and calm. Views of Olympic National Park passed by, while dolphins swam alongside the ship below our balcony.
Our first day on sea was pleasantly uneventful other than spotting many whales. Arriving at our first stop the next morning, Ketchikan was pretty, as were the surrounding scenery. But it was nothing compared to the scenery we’d see soon.
Still at our first Alaskan stop, the ship’s captain had announced that the next day we would be cruising through the Tracy Arm Fjord to see glaciers. We woke up very early around 5am to see chunks of deep blue ice floating past the ship in calm, peaceful water. But it was the mountains that took our breath away. Walls of snow and glacier capped rock towered alongside the ship. I mean we have mountains in New England, but nothing nearly as majestic as these.
The scale and perspective of it all was short-circuiting our brains. At one point the captain had announced we were 5 miles away from where the glacier met the water, and because of the size, it looked like it was merely a few blocks away.
Along the way we saw all sorts of wildlife that we had hoped to see, in abundance. Bald Eagles, sometimes in pairs (as we learned they mate for life), a brown bear hanging around the shoreline, salmon jumping out of the water.
Our second and third stops were in Juneau and Skagway. All three of the towns were filled with tourist shops, but we ventured a bit further beyond them and got a decent sense of the areas.
In the months leading up to the trip we binge-watched every Alaska related TV show and YouTube video we could find, plus several books here and there. By the time we hit the cruise we had a decent feel for the layout, history, and feel for the region.
Which brings us to our life changing experience. Leading up the trip the question came up, what would it be like to live in Alaska? The trip we had already planned turned into a scouting mission, to see if we would like it. Sure enough, we fell in love with the immense, raw nature immediately, and now all we can think about is moving. Since we both work from home for our full-time jobs, we’re fairly flexible as long as there’s reliable Internet, so the rough economics Alaska is experiencing shouldn’t affect us too greatly.
As soon as we got home we started a household Alaska Moving Fund, and began working on our 3-5 year plan. The short-term goal is to spend at least a few weeks there next year without a cruise, investigating various towns in the SE region, the stability and cost of their Internet service, property values, etc. Then each subsequent year spend more and more time there, until we’re at least living there during the warm seasons, but maybe longer.
So now I have an actual thing to post on the Blog: the events leading up to, and possibly including a move to Alaska. There’s a lot more to our dream goals for all the other things we want to do there, but there’s plenty of time for that.
"You know what the mantra of the universe is? 'Now what?'" - Abraham Hicks