Alaska && the Art of Slow Breathing.
Currently, I’m sitting on a train cruising through Alaska, listening to Adele, so obviously I write. Because what’s more setting appropriate than typing away while trees and snow race past you? It’s perfect I tell ya.
Why I'm in Alaska...
I can’t give you this really cool story about being flown here for anything having to do with myself honestly. Karen is here to shoot and capture Alaska for the merge between Alaska and Virgin America Airlines, I’m tagging along because this girl gets married in March (EEEP!) and this is probably our last big adventure together at least for awhile. Coming some place without having any intentions or real reason for being there, besides simply just being along for the ride really sets a new perspective.
We’ve been here for about two days now.
The very first thing that I took note of was how kind everyone has been. I’m talking, people giving us their numbers so that they can be our personal tour guide if we wanted, pile our luggage and three people in a two seater truck, get offered a ride to our next destination, tell me your story, where ya from kind of kind. We have experienced many instances where people are willing to drop what they are doing to make sure that we get where we need to go or that our experience here in this place is one that is memorable. “I love showing people around, this is my home and it’s a great place.” That was from Chris, one of the workers we met at the train station at 6am who told us who to talk to when we got off the train to Talkeetna and sure enough that was the person who left his post at the station and drove us in his truck to our hotel.
They aren’t just hospitable, they are at their core inquisitive and no-second-guessing kind of kind.
We’ve seen and traveled with the same people for the past two days. I of course made friends with a little girl who told me very excitedly how she was going to watch movies on her moms iPad on the train ride and my second time meeting her she is now knocked out across from her parents. We met a couple from Northern CA who rode on a sleigh led by Huskies this morning and a man from Chile, our conductor is known as the best state wide and has been conducting trains for fifty years. Daniel (the train host and the only voice you here because the conductor is a silent sort of powerful) throughly enjoys telling us about every time you can spot a moose on the left side of the tracks. He walks around with the most massive smile on his face and every time he speaks on the overheard, you can still hear it.
So far, every person we’ve encountered is so evidently in love with what they do.
Loading trains, checking you into their cabin hotel (which they also live in because they TRADED their house for a hotel instead —WHAT!) These people are beautifully walking in their purpose and you can tell because of the joy they have on when they’re doing their jobs, you can tell because they let you in on their joy. From handing us coffee, to talking about the playlist in their pub, to getting us from train station to hotel and back, there is an undeniable joy. It makes me think of our millennial generation and how we are so, so spoiled in terms of work these days. We can literally do ANYTHING, make money off of doing what we love and yet we are still so dissatisfied. We still want more, we still want bigger and yet in all that want we don’t realize how none of that matters—if we’re not walking in joy with what we’re doing right now. Wow.
The lady running the train diner yesterday was from Las Vegas and says that summer in Alaska has no match to winter, it’s the most beautiful in the summer, we’ve heard that a lot. A lot of the locals are very over winter (which I mean — I totally get) but as a visitor from the California's, there’s something about streets, trees, cars and houses covered in snow.
I can’t help but be refreshed by the 3 degree weather (yes, single digit), the train rides to get from one place to another, the way every place offers you a cup of coffee while you wait. The way that you can’t really run or walk too fast outside because the crisp of the air will take your breath away quick, Alaska Winter understands the art of slow living. There is absolutely nothing about this place right now that begs you to rush or hurry—there is no hustle, there is simply living. And besides being here while one of my best friends does what she does best—create, I’m here to take be reminded to take it slow. I’m here to listen, to watch, to write and to soak. There has to be a few of these moments within my year and God knows it—that’s why he’s so good with sneakily slipping it into moments I didn’t even know I needed it.
Originally, we were going to be sent to Costa Rica — I had my swimsuit and maxi dresses all piled up, ready to put into my bag and then the location changed...to Alaska. And now I kind of get why. We’re both hustlers, we both live a schedule packed life and we both needed the space to breathe slowly into this new year, the space to listen and collect stories. That’s why I love traveling the most because of the stories I come home with, the people I meet, what they taught me (intentionally and unintentionally). Coming home with a belly full of coffee and food I’m going to have to work out for a month, a suitcase filled with memorabilia and a heart full of stories. Already 2017 is whispering, “Baby girl, don’t miss these moments. The slow ones, take life by the teaspoons not the gulps and find time to just sit, to listen and to be.”