A bulky cardboard mailer landed with a thud on my doorstep yesterday, bearing the return address of “University of Alaska Press” and causing no small stir in this household.
My book is done.
After two years of research, writing, and back-and-forth communication with help from the production team at University of Alaska Press, my copy of Alaska On the Go: Exploring the 49th state with children is printed, bound, and delivered.
For those anxiously awaiting the pre-order procedure, stand by. The AKontheGO distribution team is working hard to finalize details for February’s “go,” but in the meantime, here’s a little snippet, straight from the book’s hallowed pages. I hope you like it.
Our family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, three days after Christmas 2005. The day was so cold I could see frost on the mustache of a ground crew member who patiently waited near the aircraft’s door while I struggled to stuff my squirming youngest child into fleece overalls, snowsuit, boots, hat, and mittens to walk 50 feet into the terminal of Ted Stevens International Airport. We slogged our overheated selves into the airport’s depths, where a mountain of suitcases and boxes waited as a sobering reminder of our new permenant-resident status. Unlike the 1.5 million annual visitors who spend a week or two in the Last Frontier, Alaska was now our home, for better or worse. We watched wearily as the sun set, coloring the Chugach Mountains to the east a delicate shade of pink, offering promise of certain good fortune in this cold new place. That is, until our 11-year-old shouted from his perch atop a Samsonite, “Hey! It’s only three o’clock! What’s wrong with this place?” Welcome to Alaska.
In the eight years since, our entire family learned to love the 49th state, to embrace even its frigid winters and sometimes-rainy summers. We camp, hike, fish, and gaze daily upon a landscape that fits perfectly, as if Alaska was made specifically for us. It is and always will be home.
I’ve had this book in mind ever since my feet hit the frozen sidewalks of Anchorage back in 2005. As mothers often do, I created a mental list of things I wish someone had told me, vowing to make these nuggets of information available to other parents before they decide to pack up kids and caboodle and head north for the trip of a lifetime.
It took time, effort, and a whole lot of travel on our part to bring you this comprehensive, investigative, and, we hope, interesting family travel guide. It’s full of honest reviews, hot tips, and easily found facts to impress your spouse and wow your kids (maybe even the teenagers) as you drive, fly, or sail your way around the Last Frontier. It’s meant to be used. Scribble in the margins. Fold down the pages. Use it as a pillow. But above all, enjoy this unique corner of the world. We’re glad you came.
Want more? Join us on Saturday, April 5 at the Alaska Zoo between 3-5 p.m. for an opportunity to purchase your copy of Alaska On the Go, meet our family, and connect with others who belive in the concept of family travel in the 49th state. It’ll be great.