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Thursday
Aug012019

Alaskan anticipation

Anticipation matters. Gilovich also studied anticipation and found that anticipation of an experience causes excitement and enjoyment, while anticipation of obtaining a possession causes impatience. Experiences are enjoyable from the very first moments of planning, all the way through to the memories you cherish forever. "Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things," Forbes, August 9, 2016.

The Wilderness Explorer

I packed my bag yesterday although the flight does not leave until the day after tomorrow.

I must be looking forward to this trip.

My friend Heidi has given herself a retirement gift - a first class vacation to Alaska, not just for herself, but for her daughter and her daughter's partner. Oh, and me. When I told a friend that she was taking me to Alaska, he asked, "But is she bringing your back?" I hope so. 

One observation that retirement gurus make is that those of us who have spent our lives saving money for retirement, often have a great deal of difficulty then spending when we do retire. While Heidi claims this is a once in a lifetime trip, I admire her for her generosity and ability to overcome this fear of using her savings. I hope to be good enough company that she does not regret the invitation.

While I have been to Alaska twice to speak at conferences, this will be the first time I'm going truly as a tourist. The trip consists of a week of exploring the Denali/Talkeetna area (via train from Anchorage) and then a week cruising on a 74 passenger ship (Wilderness Explorer) from Ketchikan to Juneau. The ship is small enough to get close to glaciers and holds kayaks and paddle boards for even closer looks at glaciers and moose and bears and whales and orcas and sea lions and who know what else. There will be hikes.

As the article from which the opening quote is taken suggests, I have already gotten a great deal of pleasure from this trip without even having stepped on the plane. I've re-read, to great delight, Michener's tome Alaska, Nickerson's reflective Disapperance: A Map, Doig's historical fiction The Sea Runners, and Horowitz's retracing of Jame Cook's travels Blue Latitudes. I've read and re-read the suggested packing list and itinerary and searched TripAdvisor for sights, restaurants, and activities. (Anchorage has a Dairy Queen.)

And there is no doubt the recollection of the experience will still be strong even as a I lie in hospice in a few short years.

Here's to money spent on experiences, rather than things. And to brave, generous friends. 

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Reader Comments (1)

How exciting! I hope you have a great trip! Years ago, we rented a motorhome and toodled around Alaska. We started in Anchorage, went to Kenai Fjord, then headed to Denali, Fairbanks, and Wrangell-St. Elias. We ended back in Anchorage and took a shuttle to Seward where we got on a 7 day cruise ship down the Inside Passage. It was wonderful! I hope you have as good a time as we did!

August 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPat Hensley

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