Alaska, Day Eight

For the last week, minus one day (sorry Tuesday), we’ve stood in these fancy elevators and commemorated the day as a group with a picture of our feet near the calendar carpets within. Today, however, marks the last day of our adventure. Pre-dinner dessert inspections at 5:30, dinners at 7:30, games from 9:00 til midnight will no longer be a part of our schedules. No more beds being made for us with towels folded into various animal shapes, no more steam rooms and saunas just down the hall, no more terima kasihs and selamat malams.

No more glacier views, no more whales, no more pigeon guillemots. 

The beauty of the Alaskan wilderness will forever be etched into our minds. Our hearts will yearn to replay those feelings we first felt peering into areas unseen. Our minds conjuring up the necessities to make this last week happen again. 

I’ve written about this before, how we view the adventure itself as the transition to a higher state of knowing one’s self and one’s environment, however I believe the time returning back from learning one’s self and one’s environment is where that transition really happens. Not in the moments made, but in what’s made in those moments afterwards, essentially, our former self continuing on in the wilderness while our improved self returns home with the gift of perspective. 

Whether it was much-needed moments of relaxation, adventure, rekindling of friendships or the foundations of new ones, I’m realizing again the importance of these moments, and longing for more.   Looking at days off in my schedule that used to be available for overtime are now being relegated to scanning for empty seats across the globe. While I have the privilege of enjoying mini-vacations regularly, I yearn for more of them to be spent like this last week, sorry kids, with my best friend/wife Stefani and a good pair of binoculars. 

Space, the ocean, fight Alaska for the title of Final Frontier. Perhaps Bezos and Zuckerberg can enjoy realms beyond the Armstrong line and discount submarines, the reality is Alaska is just a little bit more accessible. And for those of us who have soared like the eagles, that access goes beyond that what a half-billion pound buoyant buffet can sail to. And much like a solid first date, our cruise has inspired us to return and to go deeper within the backcountry.

Tonight, however, we must get to bed soon. An early morning disembarkation to beat the rush of senior citizens to Vancouver International, hoping two seats to Seattle and Salt Lake find our names on them, eventually returning back to your regularly scheduled programming of, wait, that’s right. The kids started school while we were gone. Five kids, four sports, three separate schools, two different music instrument lessons, and one reason this is all possible. 

 The Hot McStuffins in the black sandals at the top of the circle. Stefani.