We’re really going to go.
For years, I have been dreaming about going to Alaska. For at least five years I’ve actually been planning the trip. I remember dragging Lee into an Athens book store, pouring over different Alaska travel books, and finally buying the “Compass American Guide: Alaska.” I know it was five years ago because the book was published in 1997. I distinctly remember standing in the bookstore, clutching the paperback, and asking Lee, “we’re really going to go, aren’t we?” He said, “yeah, we’ll really go.” But he kind of said it like he says, “yes, one day you’ll have a pony.” It was something he really wanted to do for me and with me, but we were ramen-eating college kids.
Last year, we tried to make it work but just couldn’t. This year, I’ve been obsessing with budgets and constantly checking travel websites for fares. I even bought another Alaska planning book. I figured something might have changed in five years and I’d need to be up to date.
I just love the idea of Alaska. What a quirky place. Mountains too numerous to have names, rivers where bears congregate to feed, and crazy people who choose to live somewhere with 24 hours of light or dark during the year. I want to see nature as nature intended it. Not a park near a city, but cities completely enveloped by nature. Land we haven’t completely ruined yet. Going to Europe would be exciting, but going to Alaska seems like such an adventure. I want to drive around with Lee and see what we can discover.
And Thursday, we bought the tickets. I sweated all day, knowing we were planning to buy plane tickets that night. I stayed up late, double checking fares on everyone’s websites, making sure I was getting the best deal. I clicked the button to purchase and didn’t know if I should laugh or scream when the confirmation page popped up. So I just ran into the bedroom where Lee was trying to sleep and laughed and screamed and woke him up.
There’s a part of me that worries with all this planning and dreaming – what if it’s nothing like I’ve imagined? What if it’s rainy and cloudy and I never see the mountains for the fog? What if instead of watching bears eat fish, I get eaten by bear-sized mosquitos? What if our rental car breaks down on the side of an Alaskan highway and we get eaten by bear-sized bears? I guess that’s just part of what an adventure is. It’s unkown. If I wanted a sure thing, I could go to the zoo or visit Stone Mountain any day, but that’s not what it’s about. I’ll take my chances. And if we get rained out, I can always start now planning to visit again in another five years. Just kidding, Lee.