AKontheGO and Year 10: Where we’re headed

A very small AK Kid mugging at Arctic Valley. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

In the fall of 2008 I had a crazy idea: Write a web log, or “blog,” with the intention of inspiring more people to explore Alaska with their children. 

It was crazy because I had only lived in the Last Frontier for a few years and my street cred was still being established. It was crazy because I wasn’t yet considered a credible writing force among the travel and tourism industry (and I didn’t know any of these people anyway). It was even crazier because I had no idea about how to get people to read the words spilling out from the keys of my clunky PC that froze up on a regular basis as I worked in my basement living room in between episodes of Little Einsteins and Bob the Builder. 

I found a web guy who happened to be my editor at Alaska Coast Magazine (he’s since moved on to his own business of web design and management). Would he build me a simple site that wouldn’t confuse an easily-confused mother of two with no experience? Sure he would, but what did I want? 

About the only thing I did know for certain was the name: AKontheGO. “A” because it shows up first in listings (yay for A!), and “on the go” because that was my intention for the duration of my time in Alaska. I’d never explored this place beyond Anchorage, and I was bedamned if I was going to sit back and let 670,000 square miles of real estate get in my way. 

My first post was written and rewritten and I look at it now, I both smile and cringe (but here it is anyway, mistakes and all). 

It’s 10 years later and right now I’m sitting in my office (I have an office now) staring at the eastern side of the Chugach range, reflecting upon what we’ve done. 

  • Nearly 1,000 posts about Alaska, kids, travel, and the world 
  • Lasting relationships in the travel industry, particularly within the realm of family travel
  • Two books
  • The growth of an amazing young man who – I hope – views the world differently
  • A newspaper column, television segment, radio show, and countless community volunteerism opportunities
  • A changed vision about the value of family travel to the tourism industry, with significant partnerships among companies, agencies, and organizations offering travel and outdoor recreation

Wow. 

Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

The progression of 10 years is a long time, and has led to a new perspective of where and how AKontheGO can continue to be a meaningful platform for the power of family travel in the 49th state. You may have noticed fewer blog posts these past few months as the AKontheGO team sat down with trusted advisors (and my own family) to discuss what comes next. The next thing, we discovered, is not always easy to discern. 

But I think we’ve found it. Different but no less impactful, and I think given the current state of our world you’ll agree that less can mean a whole lot more in the long run. 

The website has outwardly changed little, but we have taken away a few features that no longer hold the value they once did when AKontheGO was the only game in town. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to share events and activities, so our calendar feature has been discarded but you can always go to the AKontheGO Facebook page for up-to-date information. 

The biggest adjustment for many of you will be the reduction in content — but not in quality content. After 10 years of writing about everything and everybody affiliated with the Alaska travel industry, they know me, I know them, and you know I’ll share what’s going on. Going forward, AKontheGO will be more purposeful in the stories we publish, including my Outdoors With Kids column in the Alaska Dispatch News. 

Show them the world and they’ll change it for the better.  Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Why? I’ve long held the belief (and you’ve all heard me say it) that kids who explore Alaska today will be the stewards in charge of Alaska tomorrow. AKontheGO is going to walk that talk even more in the coming years, showcasing stories of amazing kids doing equally-amazing things for Alaska. I’ll be hosting more Family Fun Camps in conjunction with organizations like the Alaska Huts Association. And when we travel, our mission will be primarily to find meaningful experiences in magical places. Go Big — That’s us. 

I don’t think you’ll miss the day-to-day information; in fact, I’m due to create a third edition of Alaska On the Go: exploring the 49th state with children soon. On the contrary, I think you’ll agree that the experiences we’ll share with you will be even more interesting, impactful, and powerful than ever before. 

Questions? Comments? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. Or send me an email (e.kirkland0@gmail.com) with your great idea about kids, Alaska, and amazing places to discover the best of both. I want to know. 

Thank you as always for following. It matters. And it is, quite frankly, the most humbling journey of all.

Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

~EK 

 

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