In 2008, my father, grandparents, and I took the trip of a lifetime: a 10-day cruise out of Seattle, WA to Alaska! On this trip, I experienced new things, places, and people that I will remember forever.
Though I just spent a day and a night in Seattle, I know that I have a deep desire to visit again one day, or potentially live there. A city rich with music and friendly, west coast vibes, the exciting atmosphere seems like one of the few ideal places I could see myself living in the future. Upon doing some research, I also discovered that there are career opportunities for me there. In college, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in either book or magazine publishing. I found that Seattle is home to several local magazines such as Seattle Magazine and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. In addition, Seattle has University of Washington Press and Washington State University Press. From what I've read, job opportunities are extremely competitive, but I know that Seattle is a city I could see myself happily living, working, and thriving in, all because of this Alaskan cruise.
Our first stop in Alaska was in Juneau. On our long walk to the gorgeous Mendenhall Glacier, we strolled through Glacier Gardens which had the most diverse arrangement of wild flowers I had ever seen. I recall snapping numerous pictures, trying to catch a blossom's individual and unique beauty. Once coming face to face with the 12-mile long Mendenhall Glacier, I was overcome with this feeling of smallness. Seeing a large and widely admired landmark made me realize how much of the world I had been missing out on. I was 4,383 miles from home, seemingly alone with a masterpiece. Craning my head upwards to look at the enormous glacier, I came to appreciate the beauty mother nature was providing me, and it sparked a hunger in me to travel to more places and have more of these thought-provoking experiences. I'm from a small suburban town in Florida, so I was used to the flat terrain and had never experienced anything as gorgeous as the mountains and landmarks in Alaska.
Our next stop was Skagway. Here, my family and I learned the history of the Gold Rush and enjoyed a multi-hour train ride through the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. I had never ridden a train before this experience, let alone taken such a breathtaking route! I remember plugging in my headphones, standing in an outside area, and losing myself to the grand scenery all around me. Looking over at my father and grandparents, I had a newly found appreciation for all the effort and sacrifice they invested into planning this trip. Finances were always tight in my family, and knowing that they put several more hours of work a week at their jobs to set aside money for this trip changed something in me. The special experiences I had reminded me that I must always try to give back to my family. I attend university four hours away from them now in Tampa, and when I remember my Alaska trip, I remind myself of the importance of planning road trips home so I can see them.
Next, in Ketchikan, Alaska, my family and I ventured through Totem Bight State Park, an area home to 14 totem poles each with a unique story reflecting the cultures of the Tlingit and Haida tribes. We also attended the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where champion athletes competed in many exciting events, including springboard chopping, buck sawing, ax throwing, log rolling and a 50-foot tree climb! Learning the stories behind the beautiful totem poles and experiencing Alaskan culture really enriched me…I was completely out of my comfort zone and element. Placing myself in a completely different environment had helped me grow into the mature and open-minded person I am today. My father and I still have a piece of wood one of the lumberjacks gave us that day, with a picture of the two of us alongside four of the athletes.
Take Time to Travel
I can't stress this enough: go somewhere! I know that when I graduate college, I will try to get as much traveling out of the way as possible before settling down in a full-time job. Go somewhere where you could see yourself potentially thriving and living because those trips not only benefit you personally but could also open doors to new opportunities. For example, if you're interested in zoology, visit somewhere tropical. If acting is your dream, spend a few days in New York City or Los Angeles. I'm not saying you have to go there specifically with ambitions to chase your career, but getting your feet wet and learning about new areas to work in is definitely a purposeful first step. Less specifically, if you're from the countryside, try taking a trip to the city, just to see what it's like. The possibilities are endless; experience something new!
Sources: Personal experience, princess.com, wikipedia.org, Careers in Editing and Publishing