Summer Camp for Grown-Ups in Alaska
“It must be like being a parent – or rather counselor, at camp for grown-ups,” I said to Expedition Leader Jeremy yesterday morning as we split off into groups for our activities. Chuckling, he agreed. Not knowing what to expect from my first cruise experience but very much wanting to visit Alaska, it occurred to me that my Un-Cruise experience has been like grown-up camp. My husband and I (and another couple with whom we are traveling) have been hiking, kayaking, running and taking in the scenery and wildlife while interacting with knowledgeable guides and an international group of guests with similar interests in nature, environmentalism and natural beauty.
What we didn’t expect was the ease with which we connected to the crew and our fellow passengers. With childhood memories of sleep away camp bubbling up to the surface, we connected to the rest of our group easily and with all of the joy to be found in experiencing Glacier Country together. Our New Yorkers’ remoteness fell away with the first calving glaciers. Traveling on a small boat with the perfect sized group of worldly, good-natured fellow passengers of all ages gave us the opportunity to spend time on the bow, at meals and on expeditions with many of them. Traveling together by boat allowed us to connect and enhanced our time together. I was reminded of the intensity with which summer camp relationships were built and enjoyed. Sharing our astonishment at the surroundings along with our common human imperfections has been the big surprise of our vacation.
The crew of the Safari Endeavour fostered and encouraged our experience with an adept, relaxed attitude, aided by the guides’ patient, thoughtful and honest answers to our queries. All of my many topical questions ranging from the duration of ursine gestation to curiosity about Sous-chef Ian’s professional kitchen tools were entertained purposefully, giving me much to ponder and to discuss with my husband, friends and fellow shipmates.
Similarly for my husband and friends, activities ranging from a tour of the engine room to an impromptu guitar sing along (really we are not as jaded as you think) gave everyone something to enjoy and think about after we retreat back to our ordinary world.