May your journey be your joy.
I LOVE WATCHING the serious faces of travelers as they emerge from a labyrinth of airline gates at the Anchorage International Airport, vacation-bound in the Last Frontier, determined, it seems, to have fun, or else. Sometimes I lurk around the baggage claim, watching them collect their super-charged fishing rods, extra-cool gear, and wonder, will these people laugh at least once during their trip?
The irony of being so serious about having fun on vacation does not escape me, especially in Alaska, where visitors break piggy banks and credit card limits to see as much of the 49th state they possibly can in a short amount of time. Expectations are high, almost as high as Disneyland, and I’ve seen the resulting sad faces when a bear didn’t appear, a whale didn’t breach, or a fish wasn’t caught. But, friends, joy is everywhere in Alaska!
How do you find it? Stop looking so hard, for one. Honestly, we spend so much time searching for big show-stoppers that we miss the intricate details right under our feet. Or noses and chins, as the case may be. See this photo of my husband and son?
Yeah, dorks. Both of them. But look at those faces - two happy campers for sure, and all they needed was a handful of lichen from the forest floor. Lesson learned.
We’ve also learned how to laugh when times are difficult. Flights are weathered in, cars break down (ahem), plans change. Travel in Alaska can be tough, really tough, but the ability to maintain a sense of humor regardless of the situation is a valuable attribute, indeed. Make a silly video on the smartphone and send it to a faraway relative. Make up a goofy story and write it down, encouraging the kids to draw a picture to go along with it (because you will, of course, have crayons and paper handy, right?). Tell jokes. Sing. Smile at the people sitting next to you.
Getting his WOW on
Joy is a concept many people feel should be reserved for those “WOW” moments in life. As far as we’re concerned, every moment is a “WOW” moment, and should be treated accordingly. That’s why we travel, to find it. Or, to rediscover that we never really lost it in the first place.
Where’s your “WOW”?
Erin Kirkland's family travel and outdoor recreation website AKontheGO.com has an all new look! She and her joyful family live in Anchorage.