Traveling back to Alaska this time around was not as scary as I imagined it would be. Today we begin our second week of self-quarantine mandated by Alaska for those coming in from out of state. Instead of the scary, dreadful trip I was expecting- it was the easiest and least stressful trip we have ever taken since we got married.
No people, meant no line at check-in, hardly any people anywhere in the airports, and an entire plane practically empty. Everyone we encountered cheered us on, complimenting my handy ‘ninja masks’ and even asked to take a pic of our family. No flights delayed, very short lines, it was sooo nice.
We struggled for three weeks about the decision of going back to Alaska when we had scheduled our flights the year before. We prayed together as a couple and asked others to keep us in prayer. I typically take two weeks for the family strategized months’ long haul packing from Texas to Alaska. When I woke up the Friday before our flight, Lowell felt peace and clear direction to go as planned and it was decided we were leaving. I was able to get two weeks worth of packing done in two and a half days. It was a miracle from God! With the help of my mom and patient kids slaving over way more screen time than usual, we were ready by Tuesday morning.
The whole trip was three flights. First flight from Austin to Seattle, then Seattle to Anchorage, and finally Anchorage to Kenai. First flight was practically empty, with at least three rows of separation from each party/family. Second flight was normally full, but somehow it felt way more streamlined and cohesive from take- off to landing. There,were at least four other families with small kiddos, each family taking turns hushing their fussy toddler/babies, us included.
The final plane ride was probably the roughest. I realized the plane seats only 9 plus pilot and co-pilot seats. The ducklings were all in awe and at least two of them fell asleep to the loud hum of the engine. Husband was cool as a cucumber, as usual. He recalled “this is actually one of the bigger planes I’ve traveled on with this small airline for work. I once was on a plane going from a bush village to Bethel, AK and it was small enough that I had to sit on the co-pilot seat. When we were mid-air, I realized the door didn’t latch properly and I could see land as the door flapped open a little”, he chuckled and I began spiraling- mentally. As I looked out the window I thought to myself, “If we were to crash, would I prefer land or water? Which one of my children would I save first? If I died, how long would the baby inside me last before…” I had to stop myself, breathe, and bring myself to the present. Using a couple of methods including Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral therapy techniques, I began grounding myself (pun intended). I stopped and noticed the buzz of the plane, the smile I could tell the kiddos had under those ‘ninja masks’, and mostly- that view! That view is one of the main reasons I keep agreeing on returning to Alaska. IT IS AMAZING. God truly takes my breath away with the beauty of Alaska. Once you live here, it’s hard to not return.
After landing from the 20 minute flight, we checked in to a hotel to shower and complete the decontamination process, before heading home. Because of all the excitement and jet lag, everyone finally fell asleep at 2am AKST. Thank you God, we made it. ❤