A stunning day in Ketchikan…Sunny and warm…Lots of photos to share…Juneau today with photos upccoming…

The Ketchikan sign over the boulevard.

For our readers in Minnesota: We are planning our “Meet & Greet” on Friday, June 9th, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at:

Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill at this location in Plymouth, Minnesota
Address: 220 Carlson Pkwy N, Plymouth, MN 55447

Please RSVP by email (our email addresses are on our homepage under the photo of us in Petra, Jordan) if you haven’t done so already. We are looking forward to seeing you then!

I must admit I’m a bit preoccupied about arriving in Minnesota next Friday and then in Nevada on July 7th to see our loved ones. In a way, it has impacted my embracing this Alaskan cruise as much it may have at another time.

Almost every cruise passenger was carrying stuffed shopping bags.

That’s not to say that we aren’t awe-stricken by the beauty of this magical place, nor has it prevented us from getting off the ship at each port of call. The historic towns, all are possessing a “wild west” type persona of a century ago, are only hampered by the massive numbers of cruise passengers bombarding the area.

A little bit of snow atop a mountain near the town.

Yesterday, I told Tom how much I’d enjoy “living” in Alaska during the summer months away from the crowds and commotion. It truly is breathtaking, and no doubt living in more remote locations would provide that “small town” feel we both love so much.

At times, we forgot we were on US soil once again.

But, cruise ship’s visits to ports of call are all about the shopping, restaurants, and tours offered through the ship, many of which are often overrated and overpriced.

A famous crab and seafood restaurant.

Yesterday, as we roamed through Ketchikan, struggling to maneuver through the crowds, we were easily reminded of why we always prefer more remote locations as a result of six cruise ships in port.

The streets were lined with shops offering a wide array of local and imported trinkets.

The excellent part about cruising is the opportunity to have at least seen some of these popular ports of call, which in the long run enhances our experiences as we continue to peruse the world for its wonders.

This popcorn store attracted lots of attention and purchases.

A few tours offered through the ship were somewhat appealing, especially the dog sled ride after a plane ride to a remote glacier. But at over US $600 per person, it didn’t fit into our budget at this time. 

Totem poles are popular tourist purchases.

We must remain determined and diligent in “tightening our belts” with the pricey Antarctica cruise upcoming in eight months. After that, it all becomes a matter of picking and choosing what ultimately is most important to us. 

Large totem pole outside a shop.

We’ve had no delusions about the sacrifices we’d have to make in leaving the US long ago to travel the world and the subsequent sacrifices we’d be faced with in our day-to-day lives.

This salmon shop carried a wide array of products that may be shipped.

As we share our story with cruise passengers, when often asked dozens of questions about how we can do this, we’re reminded of how much we’d had to leave behind in our old lives.

Diamonds and jewelry are some of the top purchases of tourists.

My current wardrobe is sparse and worn;  I’m stretching the use of cosmetics items until there isn’t one more application I can squeeze out of them; I’m wearing the cruise’s flimsy bathrobe with such pleasure as if it were spun with gold and cashmere. We take nothing for granted how we’ve changed.

Large handcrafted chess set.

My shoes desperately need to be replaced, as does Tom’s. But, unfortunately, he’s still wearing the pair of Adidas knock-offs he purchased in Hanoi last summer for $13. Amazingly, they’re still wearable for a little longer. 

Ornate, smaller handcrafted chess set.

It’s not so much that we’re “tightwads” but more because we don’t necessarily have access to replenish the supply of the items we find we need in our travels. 

Milano Diamond Gallery.

Indeed, time in the US will provide us with an opportunity to replace some vital items, tossing out the old and replacing them with the new and better.

A giant stuffed bear in a souvenir shop.

And yet, through it all, we never fail to keep our eyes peeled for the sighting of a whale, a playful dolphin, or an eagle soaring the skies in Alaska. Then, of course, there are the people of Alaska that we observe through the lens of a cruise passenger’s lens, hoping for that special moment that brings us together, a commonality of interests as humans, that proves essentially we all want the same things in life.

The boardwalk on the way back to the awaiting tenders returning passengers to the ship. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

It’s not always about a sense of adventure or exploration and wonder. Instead, it’s the little things that imprint upon our souls, making memories we’ll never leave behind in one vacation home after another, one cruise ship after another. 

Popular tourist “Duck” transportation.

Be well!

Photo from one year ago today, May 20, 2016:

In Bali, the young white horse and the boy return for a swim in the river. For more details, please click here.