My mom and I went on a lot of cruises together, so it seemed fitting that one of my states should be visited via cruise in honour of her and in memory of our travels. So, after a few days at home, I picked up my friend Anne from the airport and we headed to Vancouver to board a ship that would take us to Alaska. After living out of the trunk of my car for 71 days, it was amazing to unpack and sleep in the same room and bed for seven days straight!
For much of the cruise you could see land. There was lush landscape, beautiful sunsets (I’m sure the sunrises were nice too but I didn’t get up for those), lots of wildlife (whales, eagles and a Mama Grizzly and her two cubs) and calving glaciers. We did three stops in Alaska and some cruising through Glacier Bay. In each stop we did something fun and got to see beautiful new areas. We even went to the Yukon and northern BC one day.
I wouldn’t go on a cruise for every trip, but I do love them for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that you get to meet a lot of wonderful people and travel with them for a period of time. This cruise did not disappoint in this area. We had a wonderful group of people at our dinner table ach night that we got to know over the course of the week. We also were part of the best trivia team (well, we only won on the final night, but we were the best because we were fun and our team kept growing with new people!).
On one of our excursions to the misty fjords, our group stayed outside the entire boat ride (it was freezing and windy at points) and I’m pretty sure we laughed the entire time. I love moments like this where you connect with people in a way that allows you to have deep joy, raucous laughter and pure fun. I’m thankful that in the midst of life, one of the things we get to experience is those overwhelmingly wonderful moments with others. Moments that bring a smile to your face when you remember them. Moments that make you chuckle as you look at pictures and videos you took that day. We all have had hard things in life and although we may not know the entirety of one another’s stories, we can celebrate life together by living and loving deeply and fully. We celebrate by fully engaging and enjoying one another and our surroundings. These moments are ones that speak deep, unshakeable hope because they point toward God, toward life and meaning.
The boat we were cruising on was the exact same boat my mom and I went on a couple cruises on. I’m continually struck by the fact that our bodies remember places we’ve been. It’s strange being on a trip where floods of memory come at each turn as you remember previous trips. A lot of these moments on cruises with my mom were also filled with laughter, love, life and celebration and so the remembering brings the mix of sadness and happiness. I’m still learning how to hold those two things together. I often swing from one end to the other and don’t know how to express or unpack it for myself. Emotions are overwhelming. And yet as I give myself time to ponder, reflect and remember, I become better at holding them together, of smiling and laughing through the tears and cherishing old memories while creating new ones.
And I have a lot of wonderful people in my life. Those who will travel with me on a whim, those I have met randomly on trips and kept in touch with. Those who have been friends for years. I’m thankful that they hold precious memories and moments along with me. Thankful for those with whom I can weep and laugh, grieve and celebrate and simply be present with. And as the writing of my trip slowly comes to an end on my blog, I also am so thankful for each reader. Thank you for your faithfulness in having journeyed with me. Thank you for cheering me on and affirming me in my journey. Thank you for taking the time to listen. It has been an incredible gift. You have been part of this journey in more ways than you even know.