I’m part of a faith sharing group that meets once a week to discuss, among other things, our church’s weekly readings. Although no one knew this but me, for my 25th wedding anniversary, I’d planned to go to Alaska. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last 25 years, so my trip wasn’t happening. Or so I thought. One night about a year and a half ago, the subject came up spontaneously during a meeting. “I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska,” I said. And one of my group mates, said, “So have I. I even have a special fund set aside for it. I’ve been saving for years.” Great, I said. “Let’s go.” I looked around the room. “Now what do we do?”
A third member at the meeting said, “You should contact E. She’s been to Alaska, and knows all about cruising.” So the next morning I emailed E and said, “C and I want to go to Alaska. What can you tell us?”
Next thing I knew, E was sending us “Ready to Start Dreaming?” emails and had signed on for the trip. Not only signed on, but she was happy to do the research and keep an eye out for the best deals.
A few months later, four of us got together one afternoon at E’s and discussed our options. We chose which travel package we wanted, and E put a notice out to the whole church that this was what we were doing and anyone else who wanted to come was welcome.
It was the talk of the church. Everywhere I went, I heard, “I hear you’re going to Alaska.”
Then one day another woman came up to me, hugged me, and said, “Because of you, I’m going to Alaska.”
Turned out each of us had been wanting to go for years, but thought we didn’t have anyone to go with. In the end 7 of us went. We arrived in Seattle separately and left Fairbanks separately, but in between, we shared at least a couple dozen fantastic meals and a thousand memories. I came home with 450 pictures, now whittled down to a perpetual 300 frame slide show in a digital picture frame. Others took up to 1000 shots. We met again for dinner five weeks later to exchange more Alaskan memories and DVDs of our photos.
We also decided, while still aboard ship, that this would be the first of many such trips. Why? It provided the best of both worlds. Independence and connection. During the cruise, we did not travel as a group. We each went our separate ways. I, for one, need a lot of *alone* time. I spent a great deal of the cruise standing at the back of the ship, taking pictures of where we had just been. During the day, I explored the ship on my own, taking in lectures, movies, or simply people watching. In the evenings, the group met for dinner in one of five traditional dining rooms, took turns buying a bottle of wine to go with dinner, shared a toast, and then shared what we had done that day–what excursions we went on, if/how we liked them, what we would do differently next time.
After dinner, we usually went to a show. After that, we sometimes stayed together, but more often broke up into smaller groups due to different tastes in music. Some went dancing, some went to listen to crooners or karaoke. None of us went to sleep. Land of the midnight sun. Indeed. It never got dark out, which confused us (and made us glad we had inside cabins!). We’d be sitting around, talking about what to do next, look out the window and say, “Sure, we have time. It’s still light out.”
Until one of us would notice it was past midnight and we’d remember we had to get up the next morning at 6:00 for our various excursions. Again, we went our separate ways during the day, but often we’d intersect with one or two of the others for a few hours depending on what activities we had chosen to pursue. Our paths were like those of the braided rivers created by the glaciers, intersecting and coming apart, intersecting and coming apart, but always moving in the same direction.
The bottom line is for two weeks, we were awake for 18 hours a day, moving from activity to activity to activity. Sightseeing, shopping, fine dining, dancing, tours, nature walks, lectures, sparkly evening shows featuring singers, dancers, magicians, and comedians. We didn’t want to miss a minute of our Alaskan adventure. To a woman, we came home and slept for three days straight.
Within a week of being home, we were emailing each other about the next cruise. We’ve decided it will be in the Fall of 2013, a cruise along the New England shoreline, to view the fall foliage. And once again, anyone is welcome to join us.
Anyone. That includes you. Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted. We’d love to meet you.
Or you can create your own special getaway with friends, be it for a day, a weekend, a week, or longer. All you have to do is speak up. Give voice to your desires. You never know who is listening 🙂
About the Author:
Liana Laverentz is the award-winning author of three contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press–Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret, a murder mystery romance. Liana is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, The Polka Dot Banner, and Pennwriters, Inc. She spends her free time reading, weeding, making soup, watching Law and Order, taking road trips, and staying at as many bed and breakfasts as she can. For more information, go to www.LianaLaverentz.com.
The last thing Emily Jordan needs in her life is a man, and certainly not one who uses his fists in his work. Her father hit her mother, and Emily’s already made the mistake of marrying a man who seemed to be a dream come true, but proved to be no better. An emergency room doctor and volunteer at a women’s shelter, she sees more than enough of the results of violence in the world, and has no use for anybody who contributes to it.
Eric Cameron has never met a woman who intrigued him so much. Emily Jordan has it all…brains and beauty, a home of her own, a career she excels at, a son who adores her, and loving friends and family to help her bring it all together in a way Eric has longed for ever since he was a kid living over the ramshackle bar his mom ran when his dad ran out on them. He realized early on that hockey was going to be his only way out of spending his life busting up barfights.
Will Eric be able to win her heart despite her opposition to the only life he’s ever known? Or when the season ends will he move on again–alone?