August 11, 2018
Seattle, Washington: Once you’ve had an opportunity to reference “Anchored Down in Anchorage” in a blog, it feels like there’s nothing more you can add – until there is. So here’s what happened on the final day of our Alaska adventure. While checking into the airport via the handy kiosk that is always located exactly in a spot that makes you feel like you’re trying to cut in the line of savage travelers waiting for the next available agent, the screen popped up with a message asking for voluntary bumpers – people willing to take a later flight in exchange for some miles or airport cred. Since we had arrived at the airport way early in order to help Alicia and the kids get off safely, I knew we’d have a long wait ahead of us, so I selected the “What the Heck!” option. After all, it might be fun to get bumped, and maybe they’d put us in better seats on the new flight.
Before long, we were called to the counter and thanked for our willingness to be bumped, but we were told it wouldn’t be necessary on the Alaska leg of the trip. Still, they were grateful and upgraded our seats to ones with maximum leg room. The agent told us that there might be another option to bump in Seattle, which was experiencing much chaos and more delays than usual because of an incident the previous evening involving a suicidal mechanic, a stolen plane, and a spectacularly sad sunset crash in Seattle. Once we got to Seattle, we were hit by a wave of humanity in an airport that was clearly not designed for that many people. No joke – while there’s always a line for the ladies’ room in any public place, this one was forty women deep. And the lines at Starbucks and even airport McDonald’s rivaled the lines at the ladies’ rooms.
Before our second of three flights, a nice Delta representative named Ada called us to the counter with an option to bump us in exchange for $300. The flight would now go through Minneapolis and wouldn’t get us home until Sunday. Dan and I said we’d prefer something that didn’t involve staying over anywhere, so Ada went back to work and called us again shortly to let us know he was getting more desperate to bump us and wanted to offer us a through flight to Orlando from Seattle, a ‘redeye,’ but that he would up the offer to a $600 gift card.
I’m not going to lie – those wonderful massages were on my mind, and not because they were so wonderful as much as because they were expensive. I know…I’m worth it, and I get that, but it’s hard to take the Catholic out of the girl, and I figured $600 in exchange for a few hours hanging out using the airport’s free wi-fi to load photos would pretty much cover my selfish indulgence. Plus, it would mean not having to change flights again in Atlanta and getting a chance to feel like a celebrity and sleep through the flight home. We agreed.
Ada took us to a lovely lady in a red uniform who finished her sandwich and started processing all the paperwork. Ada not only arranged for the $600 gift card – he arranged for TWO $600 gift cards and two meal vouchers to eat for free at the airport that day while we waited. I was not expecting that at all, and I immediately felt totally badass and happy for living in abundance instead of scarcity. I also felt a whole lot better about those massages because – and I know this is personal justification on my part – I had experienced them while feeling expansive and abundant on the trip and here I was being reimbursed for doing something kind for myself.
On a regular basis, I tell my students and anyone I’m mentoring that they need to come from a place of abundance always because there is enough work, food, happiness, good, money, etc., for all of us if we don’t get greedy or hoard those blessings selfishly. I learned this when I first started freelancing, and my friend and fellow-writer, Denise Wolf, shared her writing sources, editors, and contacts with me because she said there was plenty of work for both of us. I have always tried to pay that forward and share those connections with others. Only twice has that belief in abundance come back to bite me when others I’ve helped became desperate or greedy, but even then, it seemed to end up only hurting them and making me feel pity for their needless desperation. Being in the airport and having someone give us back what was essentially the cost of our round-trip flights to Alaska for the trip that we’d planned and budgeted for was the most incredible, unexpected, and delightful surprise. Plus, it gave Dan and me a stretch of time to load photos, relax, and explore the Seattle airport.
I guess if we’d not been worn out from the beauty of Alaska, we might have caught a cab and taken a quick tour of Seattle, but instead we hung out at the airport, and I got five miles of walking in just running around, exploring, and playing there. We found a spot near a wall-outlet that no one seemed to have noticed, and we charged every device in our possession and loaded most of the photos from the trip, along with any blogs that hadn’t already been loaded. By the time our flight was called, we were fed, finished with all of our emails from the days of not having service, and ready to head home to see Daisy. The kind friend house-sitting for us and caring for Daisy, the cats and horses was happy to stay another night and had actually been planning to do that anyway, so all of the details came together to make this challenge into a great gift for us.
It also seems like a terrific way to end the story of a fabulous vacation that was filled with moments of magic like that and chances we took that turned out to be so much more fun than any of us had ever expected (the fishing trip stands out for me because I had been so hesitant to go). There was magic in the color of the glacial ice and the taste of drinking water right from the glacier. There was magic in the faces of the grandkids when we celebrated Talia’s seventh birthday early with all the friends we’d made on the trip, and in Moses’ face whenever he pulled off a perfect cartwheel or card trick. There was magic in the feel of hot oil and stones on my back and neck during the massages I enjoyed, and there was magic in coming back to our room each evening to find the bed turned down, fresh towels and fluffy robes, a small choclate on the pillowcase, and the knowledge that the last sip of wine tastes even better when consumed while sitting on the balcony.
Finishing off the trip with the ultimate reminder that living abundantly also helps you to live and feel totally blessed and badass was really just the icing on the cake – and after seeing Alaska, I have a new appreciation for ice and icing. Both can be magical and magnificent; it’s all in how we choose to enjoy them. If I worry about the calories or the cold, they’ll lose some of their magic, but if I just embrace and enjoy them as a gift – that’s exactly what they will be.
Speaking of gifts, thank you for sharing the trip with me right through to the badass end. It’s been such a treat having a chance to take a few friends along in my carry-on bag and know that we’re all enjoying the scenery together. Until next trip…