Our time in Alaska started flying from Seattle to Juneau, then taking a two-hour ferry between a fresh mist, enormous mountains, and blue water. A tiny cabin on Dolphin street and Otter avenue with a simple but breathtaking view of the mountains was our home for the next 6 days in Haines, where our friends Ryan and Danina would claim their love in front of friends and family, amidst a windy day when the majestic mountains witnessed their union.
Ryan is Bert’s childhood friend. Outside of our mutual circle of friends, he is the first one I met. He’s the kind of person that with a bear hug, gives you that special energy of true friendship. He was one of many little precious pieces that made me fall in love with Bert. Ryno is that guy whom you would want with if an apocalypse ever happened; a man of a million hats, witty humor, with at twist of cleverness, and the kindest heart. He’s been coming to Alaska for more than 18 years, and finally found his love in this cold, mystical paradise on a road trip invitation [from her], that which mimicked life… and so they fell in love and started their life, now on Raven road.
We are blessed to have had the opportunity to meet Alaska, and witness in mind and soul, on 7/7/17 one of the most spectacular moments, when souls promise eternal love in the presence of their unborn child. A place where a marriage was possible with the kindness and dedication of their community. Everything meticulously planned and cared for within glimpses of vintage details, a collection of fine food cooked with loving home-made recipes, and the most mesmerizing nature ambience.
After the wedding and for the next days we went on hikes, and enjoyed the artisan stores, and exquisite food from local restaurants. My highlight was the Pilot Light, with their fantastic Salmon bisque and fish tacos served on camping plates. We visited Dijon, the fishery where Ryno and Danina work. And for the first time I had salmon jerky, a fatalistic snack! Gaia had the opportunity to go on a boat to see a colony of sea lions. This made me so happy because we believe this is the best way for a child to appreciate animals, in their natural habitat, rather than in cages or amusement parks.
During this trip I became more aware that what is unknown to us, is part of a dimension called ignorance. Overcoming this, is key in the path of traveling, which is what makes me passionate, that constant learning experience. To me, Alaska used to be a vanished state in the map of the United States of America, the country where I became a naturalized citizen in 2014. Alaska was a place that was only known to me through Ryno, he was our only link, he who was the migrant to a place where no one wants to be. That is all my ignorance embraced. There was never a need to know more, learn more, question more. Then the wedding was planned, and it made it to our super summer trip schedule. I was able to focus my sight on a map and zoom into this state, the largest in the country. The one where the capital, Juneau can only be reached by water. A state where we can fit three state of Texas (what!? was that ever possible?).
While talking to locals I also learned that the land serves to grow many plants, vegetables, and suits many animal species. A place where whales find their kingdom. I learned that the Bowhead whale is able to feed on krill because it has between 460-720 baleen, which as opposed to teeth, serve as nets. This whale can open its mouth big enough to engulf a polar bear, however, their throat opening is no more than 6 centimeters. In Alaska when you encounter a bear, you must not outrun it, you should make noises to make it aware that you are a human, and that you are not part of their biological prey [or food chain]. If, and only if, attacked, play the opossum game… play dead. Fortunately this time, we did not need to address these strategies.
Most Alaskan residents come to spend fresh summers, and then they leave during the dark winter months. I asked Danina what to do during these months, and she calmly replied, “just stay busy, do what you do daily, working helps, and because most businesses close, you have more time for crafts”. Maybe that explains the creative art we see in many shops and studios. I think its a matter of adaptation and flexibility; two main factors that we must embrace while living a nomad life. Perhaps I could live here, and adapt to the dark and calm winters, write, cook, love, dream, deepen my yoga practice, mediate, and sleep like the bears.
Being surrounded by enormous mountains covered gently in snow, pine trees, turquoise water, Alaska is a place that reminds me of the power and gentleness of Mother Earth. The smell of fresh water, the tickles of pine tree in my nose, little houses with local art, salmon, oh salmon! walking in between thin, tall trees, crossing tiny creeks over smooth rocks, and the crisp cold summer air made an imprint of pure majesticness in my nomad memories.
If we ever come back to the US, dearest Alaska, it will be to have our daughters enjoy and be part of the pureness, playfulness, and kindness of your Haines community.
And just like we arrived in a ferry, we leave in a ferry under a gentle rain with fog dancing around us; full of gratitude for this experience that surrounded us with joy, friendship, amazing food, and delicious nature, whilst wishing our newly wed friends that the light of the universe will always shine upon them here in Haines, or wherever their life road trip takes them.
We love you Ryno, Danina & Baby Raevyn!