How to Unplug and Enjoy Alaska

Posted by in Ambassador, Deuter USA Blog Posts

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

Hiking to Tonsina Point near Seward, Alaska. Pace 28 SL and Junior packs.

Hiking to Tonsina Point near Seward, Alaska.

We, as a culture, spend our lives being busy. We equate busy-ness with productivity, productivity with success, success with happiness. If we are not doing something, we feel like we are wasting time. We go on vacation and rush around from activity to activity, trying to pack as much relaxation as we can into a small period of time. What if we could spend more time being and less time doing? What if we could spend less time connected to our devices and more time connecting with people?

Dinner with a view, Wrangell- St Elias National Park, AK.

Dinner with a view, Wrangell- St Elias National Park, Alaska.

Last winter I worked on converting a cargo van to a camper for family adventures. My wife and I had talked casually about it for years but finally decided we were ready to make it happen. Much busy-ness followed in the acquiring, planning, and building of the van.  The end goal was making it easier for us to have more adventures and more time to slow down and connect as a family.

Hiking through aspen forests near Matanuska Glacier, AK. Airlite 20 SL and Junior packs

Hiking through aspen forests near Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. Airlite 20 SL and Junior packs.

Over the course of the spring and early summer we took many weekend trips in preparation for our first big trip, to Alaska. We felt like we were getting away, even on the short trips, and looked forward to having several weeks on the road. At the beginning of the trip, there was still some checking of work emails, and projects that needed to be monitored, but as the trip went on, we replaced the time spent on devices with time spent with family and friends. We found joy in just being, waking up in the morning and wondering what we might do that day and where we might go.

This was the whole point of the trip and of building the van: to get away, to explore new places, to unplug, to reconnect, to just be in the moment.

Top image: Frosty the Snowvan at Wrangell – St Elias National Park, Alaska.


More from the archives of Jesse Cunningham:

‘Is This Pack Waterproof?’ How to Keep Your Gear Dry on the Trail

Are You Following Your Outdoor Dreams?

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About Jesse Cunningham

Jesse Cunningham

Jesse is a photographer and a father to two young explorers. He has also worked as a field biologist, outdoor educator, climbing guide, and outdoor retail buyer and manager. He loves to climb, hike, mountain bike and anything that gets him outdoors.