by • February 6, 2017 • Highlights, Toast, UncategorizedComments (0)1141

After nearly 24 hours of travel, the small plane from Barcelona, Spain, approcahes the airport at the remote island of Menorca. Photo by Melissa DeVaughn.

After nearly 24 hours of travel, the small plane from Barcelona, Spain, approcahes the airport at the remote island of Menorca. Photo by Melissa DeVaughn.

As winter creeps by, adventurous minds dream of travel

I’m one of those people, who within a week of returning from some far-flung airport must book another trip. Even if the tickets are not for immediate travel, and even if they are not to some faraway exotic place, it’s always exciting to have plans booked and in a queue.
Occasionally I’ll log onto my Alaska Airlines account just to view “My Trips,” visually admiring them like I would a new pair of favorite running shoes or a freshly cleaned kitchen. Having a getaway from the day-to-day machinations of work and home not only help add variety to life, but also make those routine days of the same old running route, carpool duties and writing obligations much more manageable.
But above all else, traveling helps broaden not just the geographic area of which one sees, but also the expectations and mindsets that so often come with a sedentary, never-leave-home mentality. Sure, airline traffic can be infuriating – just last week, a United Airlines flight my son was booked on was canceled for exactly NO reason, with no notice and no apologies, and he had to scramble to figure out alternatives. (Another reason to always choose Alaska Airlines). A year ago, while meeting my sister for a weeklong getaway in Tucson, she had to run from gate to gate and back again, like a cat chasing a laser pointer, because the Delta information boards kept playing keep-away with her flight’s actual departure gate.
In moments like these, I go to an inner Zen – which my husband can attest is not an easy place for me to find – and my traveling mantra becomes this: If my travel itinerary goes as scheduled on paper, it is a home run. For whatever reason, the frustrations of travel don’t bother me, but an improperly loaded dishwasher makes my brain hurt. Travel complications just seem part of the adventure. This does not excuse shoddy customer service from the likes of United Airlines and Delta, but it is a healthy way to approach travel: Prepare for the worst, but anticipate the best.
This month, with winter in its frosty grip on we year-round Alaskans, we take our minds to some fun and remote corners of the world, where adventure awaits if you have the airline miles and time to plan ahead. We asked our columnists to share some of their favorite international travel memories as “Alaskans Abroad.” Sarah Zerkel’s sand boarding experience in Chile makes me want to layer on some skin-protecting spandex and go for it – despite the fact that I’m a miserable snowboarder. Rosemary Austin’s monthlong bike-packing trek in New Zealand is now on my “must-do within the next five years” short list. And don’t even get me started on Katie Pesznecker’s food descriptions. As one of our most well-traveled Coast columnists, Pesznecker has experienced food from around the globe, and she artfully conveys her experiences to we poor sods stuck here in Alaska. (For us, our columnists offer the “Alaska Alternative,” which describes the next-best option to enjoy right here at home, because really, Alaska is pretty spectacular too, and we do recognize that.)
As for me, I recently had the opportunity to see a far corner of Spain in the fall and then visit my family back in Virginia. And just last month, I saw my childhood best friend in South Carolina – thank-you very much, Alaska Airlines, for that incredible Club 49 deal that made that trip possible. And by the time this column hits the press, I will be headed to for a quick getaway to Seattle.
Then it’s time to start shopping again. I’m already scanning the international travel deals, and my list is now longer than it was before editing this month’s column. Will it be Cuba, as I had hoped? Or maybe Chile. … or New Zealand. The possibilities are endless.

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