Thursday, October 03, 2013


It's pretty much understood here at the casa that if I don't have a trip planned, I'm not happy. In fact, I think I might be happiest when I'm planning a trip. We've had two trips on the books for awhile now: Thanksgiving in Ohio with my sister's family, and Tofino for New Years.


Obviously I'm looking forward to both, for a variety of different reasons. We had such an amazing two weeks in Tofino last Christmas that I'm looking forward to being there again this year around the same time. Rather than staying on the beach, this time we're staying in town, on the inlet, overlooking the Clayoquot Sound.

Once we get home for Tofino though, the calendar is wide open. The problem is, our anniversary - 12 years - is right around the corner from there and we always go on a vacation. (Side note: if you're considering a destination wedding, one thing to keep in mind is that no anniversary celebration will ever be as great as your wedding in that far-off location so you'll have to go somewhere special every year to celebrate. That's just me? Oh well.)

We're trying to fit in as many west coast experiences as we can in the next few years, but having been to Hawaii several times over the past few years - and planning an August 2014 trip with my sister and her family to Hanalei, Kauai - we only briefly considered Hawaii. I looked in to staying at an all inclusive resort in Hana, but was kind of shocked by how expensive it was so we decided to skip that.

Then we talked about going to the Sundance Film Festival even thought it's in January. We looked at accommodation options, read blogs about this year's festival, read up on getting tickets, and even went so far as to sign up for the sale for tickets later this year. And then we looked at a calendar and realized that we'd be leaving only about two weeks after getting back from Tofino so we decided to scrap that plan. But someday soon we'll go.

I threw out a bunch of other options but nothing seemed to resonate with Alan. And then I hit pay dirt - Alaska!

We've been talking about doing a cruise to Alaska for years but we've never pulled the trigger. The majority of our conversations focused on taking these as our end-of-summer trip, and in fact, that's what we were planning to do the first time we found ourselves going to Tofino instead. Cruises to Alaska generally start in May and there are pretty much countless options available, leaving out of San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, and roundtrip in Alaska. I looked at all of them. We considered going the high-end all inclusive route, as well as the big ship Las Vegas on the ocean route. I also researched renting an RV and doing the trip ourselves via the highway and ferry system, but that was ultimately ruled out for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, we decided to go back to investigating the cruise options, but something still wasn't clicking. But, we did book a cruise. Just not the type you're thinking.

That's right, we're going on an expedition cruise aboard the Wilderness Discoverer from Un-Cruise Adventures. To be more specific, we're going on the 14-day Ultimate Bays and Fjords cruise from Sitka, Alaska, to Ketchikan, Alaska.

These cruises are geared toward an active viewing of Alaska, being able to see places that the big cruise ships (heck, even the small and mid-sized ships) can't get to. Rather than going in to ports overrun with thousands of tourists and jewelry stores, we'll spend our days cruising the water looking for wildlife - whales, otters, deer, bear, etc. We'll get the opportunity to ride a skiff close to a glacier, or hiking through a coastal rainforest.

At this point, people who know me (in real life) might be shaking their heads, saying to themselves, "what the heck does she think she's doing?" You see, I'm not really known for my athletic our outdoor prowess. It's true. I ruined a good number of my joints back in high school and never quite recovered so anything that is too strenuous ends up hurting for days and I try to avoid pain at all possible costs. And yet, I would argue that I do make many attempt to be active and I do love the great outdoors. In fact, I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

This might not be the best example since we only docked at this beach because a wave tried to knock me out of the kayak and I cried and said I couldn't go on because I was too afraid.

But it was all good back on the calm waters. It's those damn waves. I'm terrified of waves. And coral. And what happens when waves dump your ass on coral.

Surfing - okay, again, not the best example. See coral and waves.

Hiking in coastal rainforests

Zodiak rides in open ocean

Flying in planes that require a hand pump to get off the ground

Canoeing to islands

And then hiking on those island

Going to the top of a giant volcano (13k feet above sea level)

Going bear watching

Snorkeling with manta rays

Hiking volcanoes

So yeah. I have to lose some weight, buy some gear, book our plane tickets, and then have a fabulous time. I can do this. I *will* do this. I'm super giddy about this trip as it's exactly the type of trip that caters to people like us. We still have months to go, obviously, but I'm very, very, very excited about this.