Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vacation time!

One of the best things about romance novels is their ability to let us escape. Stories written in exotic locales have been popular forever, because in reality, who doesn't want to imagine she's on a beautiful yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean with a handsome, mysterious, and slightly dangerous French soccer player who's trying to escape the press and his willowy-thin, slightly psychotic, model ex, in the process meeting this incredibly smart, sassy, funny, and voluptuous woman who steals his heart?

I'm pretty sure I could manage to stand that fantasy for a little while...

Yep, that'll do it.

My point is, vacations give us a chance to recharge and pull ourselves back together. And when you're coming from Alaska, vacations are necessary too. In fact, it's been one year since I left the Kenai Peninsula, specifically the towns of Soldotna and Kenai.

I know it sounds crazy to some people out there, but it really does make sense.

It costs a lot to get a plane fare to or from Alaska. Our local airlines offer great discounts to hop between Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, and other towns, but that's often money that could be saved for other things. Like mosquito repellent, a necessary evil right now during these humid summer days when baby mosquitoes hatch in droves.

Even during the winter, the DH and I don't travel much, because when winter hits, it really hits. The Kenai Peninsula is attached to the rest of Alaska by the Sterling and Seward Highways, a combined stretch of about 130 miles that take you from the Peninsula's valley up through the imposing mountain passes, past the Cook Inlet, and into the central hub that is Anchorage. In the winter, this road is icy and sometimes dangerous, with unexpected white-out conditions, avalanches, and other messy surprises.

I personally find the highways more dangerous in the summer because of all the tourists who are driving. Many fish from dawn until dusk (or whatever is closest to that), which leaves about 3 hours of sleep before getting up and starting the process over, or they drive RVs or campers along a winding highway where impatient, irritated people defy life and limb to pass and find themselves stuck behind the next caravan. I've seen far more accidents in the summer than the winter, and know that taking that highway into Anchorage will be the most nerve-wracking part of our trip.

Despite that, I'm excited to go down to visit family. I feel like it's the night before visiting Disneyland; I'm excited and nervous and jumping around all over the place. DH works tomorrow before we head out, so he's currently napping, but I'm sure that deep inside, he's just as excited as me.

We'll be visiting California before heading up to Ashland, Oregon for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It's a family tradition, and one of my favorite parts of the summer. I'll be sure to share pictures of the trip when there's time.

So as I head off to pack, I'm curious...is there a particular vacation you take regularly? What makes it so special for you?


  1. Every year, my husband and I plan two vacations: one to Italy to celebrate his birthday and one to the US to visit my family and friends. I've lived in Sweden for close to 20 years, so I need a dose of proper summer warmth and American loudness every year.

    When we go to Italy, we usually end up in Le Marche on the east coast. It's not as touristy as Tuscany, so the villages and cities still feel genuinely Italian. The food is amazing, and the people are friendly. The rolling hills and the mountains in the background are like a beautiful painting come to life.

    When we go to the US, we start in Philadelphia, where we visit my family. We get our fill of Dock Street Beer, cheesesteaks, water ice (or Italian ices) and then we head to Richmond, VA (where I went to grad school) and visit friends there and stock up on southern hospitality even more heat and humidity than we met in Philly.

    Our year wouldn't be the same without those trips. :)

  2. What wonderful vacations, Kim! I love to visit my family as well, and maybe someday I'll be able to go back to Italy to really explore. Now I know where to go! :) Thanks for stopping by!