Last Stop, Ketchikan!
My final port on my Alaskan cruise job was Ketchikan Alaska. The reason I have been able to do so many things is I work only when the boat is moving. Therefore, when we are at port I get off just as the guests do!
The very first thing I did in Ketchikan was go snorkeling. Now if you do remember I was talking about temperatures between 60F and 40F degree. Not Idea for snorkeling, however they gave us 7mm (thick) wet suits. With those wet suits, it turned that 50F ocean into bath water! I have seen so many things snorkeling before but I never actually handled anything before. The black spiny sea urchin was actually crawling around in my hand and that was really cool. Random fact I learned about those black spiny sea urchins: When I was in the Caribbean, I stepped on one by accident and my foot was numb for like 3 weeks! Down in the warm waters of the Caribbean they have the ability to sting you but up in the cold waters of Alaska that ability no longer works!
Next, I went on a tour of the Saxmen Village. Many Native American tribes still exist up North. We got to see a traditional ritual dance and actually got to participate as well. These dances are very sacred so being able to dance with them is very special. There village is also home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. As you know, each totem pole tells a story. You will see that some do not look finished; however, they all are as traditionally they are not always full of carvings all the way up.
One of my last adventures was to go crab fishing and ending the day with an all you can eat crab fest! This was amazing and full of surprises. I got to handle the crab when they pulled up the fishing pots! While the tour guide was talking about the crabs and the crab pots, I saw a bear moving around in the background. I politely interpreted the guide and said there was a bear behind her! We all immediately glued to the side of the boat closest to the bear. They were all so grateful for my observation. Bears are one of the rarest to see out here as a tourist because they mostly come out at night times. This was actually my second sighting. It was not over yet because on our way back we got to see Bald Eagles diving to the water like 10 feet away from our boat it was so amazing. Even though I only hand my phone, I actually managed to get some great action shots!
Well that was it for my Alaska tour. I hope the doctor will let me start my regular job tomorrow. I find out from the doctor today. My leg is not hurting anymore and it is healing, but it looks like I will have a scar on my leg. I am grateful I had this journey to Alaska and I am grateful I did not lose my leg. Moving forward my post will return to more positivism as I reach for my goal to be a motivational speaker for our children.
Have an amazing rest of your week and as always thank you so much for your following and support.
Next Stop Skagway
Skagway was my favorite stop. Scenically glorious, that is if you love the water and the mountains! You do not even need to get off the ship. You look forward to the boat yard and the old town of Skagway while further in the distance is a valley of mountain peaks. You look behind you and see 2 absolutely mesmerizing snow caped mountain peaks. Now I say mesmerizing because I saw these peeks 4 times in all weather conditions, but still somehow it was like a painting that never changed! To the left more mountains, and to the right we were cliff side. They only way to look left was straight up or straight down, and straight down you saw the train that took you into the Yukon Territory. I was signed up to take this train tour but then I had this incident that sent me home. Even without that, it was still the most beautiful port. It was also the hardest to just pick a handful of pictures to post.
My first visit was very exciting, I was going horseback riding. On the way to the ranch we were driving around this empty inlet where they explained that the tide came in and out 4 times a day. This was no normal occurrence for someone visiting because the water exchange was huge. They have 25 foot tides up here and that is so crazy. Random fact; I have not been a horse person but I seem to have found myself around them on many occasions, yet at the age of 34 I have never even been on one till today! It was so much fun, and the horses were so well trained, taken care of, and not over ridden. I got the lazy horse, of course I need some sort of challenge when I am doing something new! The scenery while riding the horse could not have been more amazing, and as we were heading back to the ranch I saw my first Alaskan bear as well. Maybe it was my height on the horse but that bear was adorable.
(Top right is just to show you the low tide line.)
(Then you have high tide in that same valley)
Next I just went walking through town. It was all original buildings so it was really cool to see even if they were littered with jewelry and souvenir shops! Now fast forward to the next time and I decided to go hiking on my own. This was hands down my favorite day! I grabbed my backpack, water, newly purchased hiking shoes and just went for it. As you will see in the pictures I was extremely grateful for those hiking shoes; the terrain was about as rugged as it gets. Climbing continuously over rocks and roots, there was switchbacks on the trail but the grade percentage up had to be higher than normal too. Then coming down your feet are smashed into the front of your shoes the whole time. It was all worth it! As you go up you see the ship and the town get smaller, and the natural scenery just get more spectacular. You could see mountain peaks not seen from below, mountain lakes that are always full of the clearest fresh water and stunning waterfalls the entire way up. Here is where I would like to say what everyone already knows; pictures never do there justice but I can provide you with a little sample of what I got to see today. I hiked a total of 8 miles round trip and starting at sea level I climbed an elevation of 3,100 ft.
(these are pictures of the trail)
The sunset and sunrise are a bit different up here in Alaska from what I am used to. Sunrise is at about 4:30am and sunset is after 11:00pm. Complete darkness does not come till well after 12 midnight. Below I took this picture at about 11:20pm.
Up next I will be taking you to Glacier Bay National Park. This was a park we went thru on our cruise ship. The ship I was on was designed especially for adventures like this!
Cruise Life Gratitude
Two and a half years ago I went on a cruise vacation. This vacation stacked on a lot of first in my life and started a string of many more. I am so glad I had my sister to share it with. In fact I was grateful she was there. Had she not been I may not have made it back to the ship one day, but that is a story for the memory box.
From this cruise vacation in the Southern Caribbean I fell in love with the ocean and the idea that I need to work on one of the ships. When it’s in my mind I make it happen no matter what. Through extensive research and networking I has seen this dream to be possible. A first time trip to Canada, seeing Niagara Falls in the winter time, and a 45 minute walk in a Toronto snow storm to my interview and I got the job. I was not supposed to find out I got the job for a week or more but I got the call the next day on my drive home. I think I was crying I had to pull over and make some phone calls of my good news. The embankment of this journey certainly makes for the most challenging job search I have ever had. I am grateful for the victory and everyone who was involved to help me get there.
I got my ship assignment and low and behold they put me back into the Southern Caribbean. Working on a cruise ship is an experience like no other. It would take me weeks of posts to tell you everything. I have not even told my family and friends all the stories yet. It was so amazing to meet and friend so many people from around the world. It was so amazing to visit so many places I have never been and 2 weeks later visit again. I am so grateful to have visited these places and still today I talk to several people from my cruise experience. I worked in the gift shop and shortly thereafter I became the Promotions Ambassador for the whole ship. I promoted all over the ship and on the morning show. I got employee of the month my 2nd month on the job and it was out of the entire cruise line fleet of about 20+ ships. Then I became the jewelry specialist. So grateful that is was a constant career learning experience.
This job was not easy. I knew this walking in but far more difficult then I imagined. The job was hard, the hours were hard, the language gap was hard among my coworkers. My reward during time off was a new place to visit, the beach, and the ocean. Ship life is a whole different life. This was still a very trying time in my life emotionally also. I was not homesick but I had a lot of emotions that needed out. I am grateful that this cruise job helped me release those emotions and I am even more grateful for those that endured my sometimes scary emails of venting my feelings while I worked my butt off. I am grateful that I wrote a daily journey. Whenever life gets hard I go back and read its raw emotional content. Through all the hard times sparkles so many good times as well, countless memories that are with me forever.
During my short cruise career I was networking on my ship to secure my next 6 month position but the worst allergies I have ever had in my entire life where striking me down one day at a time. Suddenly every challenge I had just tripled in difficulty. Nothing was working so the only option was to be sent home on medical leave. Through this challenge I rose again. I had many conversations with the ocean, asking what to do next. When I got back home it was the car ride from the airport that I realized I don’t belong in Illinois anymore. This realization and many more signs and hard work has put me in the great spot I am today. You will have to wait till next week to find out what was next for me.
Life will just exist, but in order to make it existing you need to face many challenges, fall, rise up, and move on! One chapter to the next I am living my life. Change to change I am full of gratitude the whole way.
Something I just realized this morning! I started this cruise journey with my sister on vacation and it ended with my sister picking me up at the airport when I had to go home. That is amazing.
31 Days of Gratitude. Check out my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UPwithmarc) participate, like my page and share it with your friends. Let the world know what you are grateful for.
Blow Your Own Mind
I visited my hometown area for Christmas and New Years in the Northwest parts of the Chicago area. Being a resident of Florida now and it being winter time I was anxious to see the snow again. Sense I booked my flight I hoped for snow for some time, and waited in controlled excitement for that day, just like I waited for my day at sea on my cruise vacation a few years ago. That day never came and as I flew back home that snow began to fall.
I felt weird on the way home and I told my mom and dad it was weird that I was flying home to what most people call a vacation spot, and where I came to visit was where I used to live. I landed in Florida only to hear my Father say the snow plow just went by and my Mother sends me pictures of the 4 inches of snow she got and it is still coming down. I missed what I really wanted to see by hours not even a whole day!
Should I be disappointed? NO! When you do something enough it becomes habit. On a journey to love everything in life you must take initiative to find the positives in the not so glamorous situations. Finding positives has become second nature to me. Yes I am from Illinois, snow is glamorous to me! Right off the bat anyone can conclude that I left just in time, without having any weather delays and I got home safely. I was sitting in my room in shorts and a t-shirt; thinking about the snow I was missing, I was sweating and it felt so hot here! I was antsy to look into my new Spanish-speaking program and my new Chakra set but my mind lays distracted by the snow I missed.
I took the time to figuring out what was going on in my head and I realized I wrote my answer to this issue of missing the snow, last Friday!
Variety Friday (purpose) “Finding your way means stepping away from something good for something better.”
I actually got a little teary eyed writing this because my life now has been full of inspiration and I have so much to be grateful for as a result. On more than one occasion I have succeeded in blowing my own mind. This was one of those times. These self discoveries are what taking your own path in life is all about. I shed no disappointment for not seeing more than a light dusting of snow when I left, but I do take pride in standing here in Florida, a resident for only about 6 months, and looking back up north with praise for what this world has given to me up to this point. There is more coming, there is always more coming if that is what you believe in. The snow is good but for my life the ocean is better.
Famous Quote Friday (Greg Scott)
“If you’re smiling so hard you think you look ridiculous, you’re doing it right.”
Greg may not be famous but I guarantee he knows people all over the world. He is a recruiter from Starboard, the company that hired me on. I do not know if this is his quote or not but I heard it come out of his mouth! It is so true, the bigger you smile the more ridiculous you feel, but the results you get in return are something you have never seen before.
Today I don’t really want to tell you a million ways why smiling is awesome, I really want you to see for yourself:
– First I want you to walk around and look at everyone else, How many people do you see smiling. Sadly not many, even if you are on vacation.
– Now walk around with a smile on your face and make eye contact with people and see how many others you can get to smile back. It is going be almost everyone!
– Go to a mirror and smile as big as possible, you look and feel ridiculous right? Challenge yourself to go out in public looking “ridiculous” with your smile! People are going to start talking to you, people are goong to start watching you and wondering why you are so happy. You are giving out so much positive with that bigger smile and it all starts coming right back to you. I can prove this every time.
-Try smiling all day. Keep it on your mind and catch yourself every time it goes away. Your going to have fun and when you are around more people you are going to get more positive feedback.
Everyone’s smile is beautiful. When you smile you are giving everyone a fast pass to your heart. Smile so big it hurts. Move past being self conscious and just do it. I have 2 big chips in my front teeth and I have had them sense 4-5 grade. When I smile big those show big time, but I don’t care anymore. When I smile really big it gets the right kind of attention anyone would look for. You would not believe how many greetings I receive just by smiling at people. I am not afraid to smile at anyone. Smile at couples, kids, elderly, others on the road, people from across the room or just anyone. It gets to a point were it is fun and you forget your smiling. I am sure there are lengthy books out there on the power of smiling but right here in a short post you have everything you need. JUST SMILE your way thru life and watch it transform.
Happy Valentines Day everyone. How many people can you get to smile, how many peoples heart will you see today? Will it be just your sweetheart or will it be everyone?
Love my blog and love my Facebook.
THIS I WILL DO (Happy New Year)
All around the world people will be celebrating the New Year. Happy New Year to everyone. We all should have New Year resolutions. Everyone should have achievable resolutions. I write to you on the first day of the New Year about mine and may you find inspiration through these words.
My life has been shifting. The feelings of positivism grow stronger within me every day. I used to think my life was hard, I used to blame my past for my present. I was wrong. Today I realize, I will fail, I will fall, I will make mistakes, I will get lazy, I will lose important people, I will get lonely, I will be challenged, But I WILL NEVER GIVE UP! I will succeed, I will rise when I fall, I will learn from my mistakes, I will take needed rest, I will meet new people, I shall cherish those in my company and I will encourage the hardest challenges to get exactly where my life is meant to be.
I Have 3 main objectives in my life right now and a list to achieving each one; find a cruise ship job, fulfill milestones with my blog and efforts toward motivational speaking. There will be a day when all of these fall together with great purpose, but for now I must choose one. The world around me is coming together and showing me how close I am to getting a shipboard cruise ship job, and this I will do. This I will not give up on. My fingers are ready to turn the page on this new chapter of my life. I am setting aside many things in my life for this but through participation of this venture I shall receive so much more in return.
My New Year’s resolution is to get a shipboard cruise ship job as soon as possible. One of many goals! I look back upon this year only with smiles. I have met so many good people, I have done so many new things and I have accomplished so much with myself. I am a very goal oriented person and over Christmas I decided to share this notion with my family. I created chalk boards that simply say “This I Will do,” with simple instructions to chalk on them with short term goals. You can easily make these for yourself out of dry erase boards or just a piece of paper if you don’t want to do a chalk board. Put it in a place where you will look at it every day and when you achieve the goal write a new one. Just this simple thing will add so much success in your life. I have 4 boards of my own of different varieties, but I will show you the ones I created for my family.
I rest and work in the shadows of my sanctuary. I can write words of failure, and thrive to wake again. My confidence lies waiting in the dark. The sun shall rise over me and grant me everything I never gave up of myself. I am original, I will remain original. I fear not, the blunders of my mistakes. I stand taller than the stars over all my challenges. I will lie upon the highest peaks and failure will be my foot holes to the top.
I leave you with a song from my favorite band that I have recently been inspired by.