Your to-do list gets crazy, life gets in the way, but it's SO important to give yourself a break. Physically leaving your environment can be such an inspiring breathe of fresh air. Every year I make it a point to take some time off and travel somewhere. It's not always an incredibly long time, and I'm not the resort type, so my trips are usually pretty reasonable. This year I adventured with a best friend of mine in America's real last frontier, Alaska. I want to share some of my trip, convince you to go yourself, and maybe inspire by example.
A little insight into my little life first- I've been pretty underwhelmed. It happens sometimes. The day job gets repetitive, personal goals swell, social life is lacking, and I can only kick box so many days a week. I've been really excited with a lot of new opportunities, and I've really been immersed in meeting goals, but I've felt a general lack of inspiration. With the summer suddenly coming to a screeching halt, I was absolutely antsy to be anywhere but home. I decided to reorganize my priorities and make some time to take a real break. I planned a 10 day trip to visit one of my dearest friends in Valdez, Alaska.
It sounds ridiculous, but taking a break takes A LOT OF WORK. Not only is budgeting the big shadow over can-dos and no-goes, but if you (like me) have a job with a microscopic work force, where people count on you, it can be difficult to feel comfortable enough to actually relax. Before I left, I made so many lists. I contacted all of my clients and let them know that I'd be gone and I left a big detailed list of loose ends for my team so they wouldn't have to Slack me with questions all the time. I'm not great at delegating, but it was pretty therapeutic to relinquish myself of responsibilities. If you're having a power complex, take a breathe and recognize that your teammates are totally capable. I took some freelance work on the road with me and I ended up not having access to wifi! My clients were so gracious when I had to send them snapshots of logo comps from my phone.
There's really no such thing as "escape". We have to learn to balance our lives in a way that doesn't make us feel trapped. It's my goal to live a smaller life and put my resources into truly meaningful experiences. I hope you all take some time for yourselves.
Here's some moments from my trip:
Me and Lydia took a hike into Mineral Creek, a trail in Valdez. There's about a trillion waterfalls running like veins all over the mountains, but we stopped at the biggest one and had a beer.
The first Sunday I was in Valdez, I took the Columbia Glacier tour from Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises. I definitely recommend it. It's super casual, the crew is great, the landscape is unbelievable, and the wildlife is abundant. I saw Bald Eagles, Sea Otters, Mountain Goats, Blue Heron, Stellar Sea Lions, and Doll Porpoise (that look like tiny Orcas).
This is the 3rd flow of the Columbia Glacier. Look at how blue that is! It's a great glacier to study because it's the last of the glaciers to have a catastrophic retreat- that's when the glacier retreats for the first time. As soon as we pulled up to this guy, a huge face fell off, it sounds like thunder. To offer some perspective, these glacier walls are about 200 feet high, with another 600 feet under water.
This is the first flow of the Columbia Glacier. There's too much ice in the water to get close to it, but I think it's the coolest. This view is a little less than a mile away. That road looking thing is called a moraine- an accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris (I looked that up).
Left: Lydia at the top of a hike. She ran out of bear spray so we had to borrow her boyfriends gun. He's a firefighter. That .44 has no safety. Right: I got some down time to sketch Lydia's cabin.
My last couple days, I drove to Anchorage with Lydia and her boyfriend Ryan to Anchorage. We stopped at a river where runoff meets glacial water. Isn't it neat?
Everything is bigger in Alaska. The weather was incredible. This was also a pass on the way to Anchorage.
Before we went to a sweet metal show, we climbed to the summit of Flat Top mountain. Getting down was actually tougher than getting up. It was steep. And rewarding. The view was incredible.
The trip wouldn't have been complete without a visit from the magical forest fauna. He was crossing the street on my way to the airport.
Thanks for hanging out. Tell me about your vacations!