February 24, 2024

Comedian David Sedaris has a summer travel tip:

I always thought I would know who I got my COVID from, but in the end I have no idea. Someone in Alaska, I guess. And that’s okay. If you’ve never been, you should, if only for the wildlife.

One afternoon in Kodiak a pilot offered to take me in his coffin-sized plane and give me a tour. “What interests you?” asked.

I had already seen more eagles than I could count, so I answered, “Bears.”

“They don’t really come together this time of year,” he said. “But I could fly you over my parents’ house and you could see this.”

So I did.

In many of the cities I went there, there was nowhere to buy a tie. You go to a restaurant or the grocery store and everyone was dressed to kill … something and then bathe in its blood.

People’s yards had piles of junk: old water heaters, outboard motors. I mentioned this to someone and he explained that everything had to be shipped from the lower 48. The stuff was expensive and hard to come by, so people tended to keep it in case they or one of their neighbors needed it for parts.

One thing I never understood about Alaska was the sense of community the people there have. Oh, it’s everywhere on some level. If one of my neighbors in New York needed me to run to the grocery store, I would. If their apartment flooded, I would offer my spare room (for one night). But we are not together in the desert. We are not hundreds of miles from the nearest emergency room. Well, it’s a good thing I caught COVID there and then came back to New York, where hospitals are like eagles – you make them sick, at least in my neighborhood. Except I won’t need to. My COVID was like a mild cold.

It’s the only thing I brought home from Alaska – that and a beautiful bracelet a man gave me in Anchorage. Unnecessarily. He just did.

All it takes is a few great people to convince you of that All in a whole condition it is great. The pilot who showed me his parents’ house, this stranger at the airport, a Jewish woman in Juneau named Libby who referred to herself as one of the “Frozen Selected”.

I tell you: Alaska. You have to go!

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Story production by Amy Wall. Editor: Joseph Frandino.

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