Alaska

It’s been a good while since my last post, but I have one of the best reasons for keeping my digital absence: we went on vacation and moved in the past three weeks! I have always thought of vacation as a break from stress, and many people see it similarly as removing themselves from reality altogether. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it is better for me to look at it as an opportunity to realign myself and to try to refocus on finding peace to handle my daily life in a better way because that stress and my everyday challenges are still there when I get back home. My parents have learned to do their vacations right–they ship off (literally) to the Caribbean once a year where no once can reach them and spend six or seven days relaxing on the beach. They’ve come to love cruising so much that they decided to take all of us on a family cruise; the only catch was that the warm-weather goers were outvoted by the rest of us, so we packed up and set out to Alaska instead. This was a first cruise for me and my grandmother but the rest of the group were cruise experts.

I know many would not think of a cruise as the most minimalist of vacations, but we planned the vacation months ago and well before we became interested in minimalism. My parents would probably argue that it is a minimalist vacation because everything is done for you–you have so little to worry about–but I had to get used to it: your room is cleaned twice a day, most meals are a buffet, there are some days that are completely as sea (I had stateroom fever by the second day). Either way, my partner and I tried to keep up our minimalist and low-waste habits as best we could, which I’ll write more about in a later post. For now, before I get back into regular writing to focus on some aspects of our recent trip and talk about our lovely new, smaller apartment along with a few changes we’ve made, I want to talk about how wonderful Alaska was for us!

The scenery is breathtaking in southern Alaska. I have never visited anywhere that had true mountains, and the views along the coasts and at the ports were better than I could have imagined. We were blessed with fantastic weather; locals told us at every port that we were lucky to have temperatures in the 70s with no rain–and we were happy to take it! We were able to spot several humpback whale pods throughout the trip as well, which was the main thing I wanted to do during this trip.

Some of the landscapes were so picturesque that the pictures look to good to be true, but the scenery was truly this beautiful!

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View from above the bridge at the front of the ship.

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Sunset along the coast south of Juneau; the sun set so late that on some nights the moon rose and was in the sky for only an hour or so before it began setting, making colorful skies in the process.
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This little guy visited our balcony when we came into port at Victoria Island, B.C.

My partner and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some unique experiences while in Alaska, and one of our favorite aspects of the trip was rock climbing in Skagway. A tour company took us about fifteen minutes out of town to an area set up for crag and rock climbing as well as a few other activities. Considering that neither of us had been rock climbing recently, we did rather well! And we had so much fun doing it that we’re looking into places to introduce rock climbing into our fitness now that we’re home. Some faces were around 70 feet up and the views from up top were incredible. After we finished climbing, we hiked up and rappelled down the same faces.

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This rock face was a little tougher than I had planned, but I made it to the top!
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The view from the rappelling cliff.
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One of our instructors prepping the gear: it was more difficult to get myself to step off than I remembered it being!

Our next ports were Juneau, which was a nifty town with the best food we had on the entire trip, and Ketchikan. The food scene in Juneau had classic options with traditional seafood, but the prices were so high with only one restaurant offering fresh crab that we ventured elsewhere until we found the tiniest food truck park that took up a block the main strip. One particular truck, Papa Rod’s, offered whole Dungeness crab so freshly cooked that we had to wait thirty minutes for it to come out of the pot. In addition to my Halibut fish and chips, it was the single best meal we had the entire week! Add that to beautiful scenery and I would have agreed to move there if we hadn’t had a cat waiting for us back home.

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Skagway Brewing was my introduction to Halibut, and I am a true fan! Their prices were high, but it was kind of touristy.
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Halibut fish and chips from Skagway Brewing Company
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The Rookery Cafe was a quaint and slightly hipster cafe on the edge of Juneau. It was packed with locals and we soon found out why: the food was original and so flavorful!
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My partner’s meal: a take on eggs benedict atop fried chicken. It. Was. Delicious.
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My basic breakfast with tasty bacon, eggs, and toast (and I usually don’t care for toast). The potatoes were okay but a little under seasoned. Still totally delicious!
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Juneau, Alaska
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A whole Dungeness Crab from Papa Rod’s food truck in Juneau–totally worth the cost, and my partner ate the entire thing.
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My second round of Halibut fish and chips, this time from the food truck. Ate until I couldn’t walk.

Our vacation was amazing and eye-opening, and gave us so many experiences that we couldn’t have had anywhere else. Alaska is a beautiful area, and there were a lot of thoughts and lessons that we brought back with us. In a few future posts, I’ll be talking about some lessons we learned about minimalism and living intentionally with less waste from the locals and their ways of life. We felt more connected with nature as we explored the local nature, and I felt like many of our recent decisions were more confirmed after returning home from the trip as well. Like our goal to live more simply and to start living in a way that is conscious of our impact on our environment. More than anything, we were able to get out of our everyday ruts and experience a part of the world that gave us memories we will have for a long time–and that’s what vacations are all about! Well, that and food.

 

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