Onward To Alaska

Over the years, visiting Alaska has increasing climbed my to-do list. One of the things I’m looking forward to most now that I’m back in the airline industry is the cheap ability to explore. Not just travel and sightseeing the usual attractions, but really veer off course and explore the other parts of what this beautiful world has to offer. Working for Alaska Airlines, I am blessed with the luxury to travel free to many cities in the U.S. and very cheaply worldwide. As you’d expect, the airline has many routes to Alaskan destinations like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, Bethel, Barrow (the northernmost city in the United States!), and many more.

My Outdoorsman Side Calls

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my brother about possibly traveling together (family gets benefits too!) to Alaska. To me, the thought of exploring the wilderness and tundra of such a beautiful land as Alaska excites me to my core. I’m a water, green trees, and snow-capped mountains type of man. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m far less inner-city-oriented than I initially thought. The peace and quiet of nature just started to settle in my heart as I grew older. Washington state’s scenery is one of a few factors that lured me here from my home state of Arizona. Even after a year of living here, having the luxury of looking at Mt. Rainier right out my window is one that never gets old.

He’s Not As Thrilled About Visiting Alaska. . .

My brother, however, wasn’t too thrilled of the idea of visiting Alaska. I strongly dislike the cold and wet. Brandon hates the cold and wet about as much as a cat does (well, he is a Clemson Tiger after all). Alaska’s weather isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of other places Alaska Airlines flies. So Brandon kindly rejected the offer of visiting Alaska.

At least for now.

I’m sitting with my family watching The Cosby Show and I pull out the airport codes I had to study during training. As I was going over them, I started talking about the other benefits we received, such as flying anywhere in the world on a heavily discounted ticket from any other airline. We started talking about visiting Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada as one of our first international trips. With Canada being so close to Alaska, I let her know I’ll be flying all over the place in Alaska to simply explore. Explore everything from the seafood and wilderness to the Northern Lights.

An Unlikely Travel Buddy While Visiting Alaska Later This Year

To my surprise, she said she was just as excited as I am. Sometimes I forget I get my urge to travel and explore from my mother. That is for sure without a doubt. I can’t even express how amazing it is to be able to be planning trips to Alaska and sight-seeing with my Mom! There was a reason I was lured back into the industry after almost a year and a half hiatus. It’s truly a privilege to be able to come to work and enjoy your job in such a positive atmosphere.

Some can’t stand the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. Me? I’m at home. I see thousands of different bodies likely en route to something new and exciting, or onto a new experience and step in life. They may be on a business trip, on their way to see family, traveling for a sporting event, or simply getting away from all of their stresses at home and on their way to vacation. Of course, there may be some negative reasons for traveling, such as a death in the family. In those cases, I just do my best to tune into passengers, making sure their trip is the absolute best it can be despite the circumstances for flying.

Thankful For Horizon Air

Even when having to work in the gloomy and soggy atmosphere Seattle is notorious for, I know that it’s a job I take pride in. I know I’m good at it. Both my seven years on the flight line in the Air Force and my year and a half of experience at Piedmont (American Airlines) gives me all the confidence I need in performing my tasks. My job is to stay safe first and foremost and ensure my passengers are safe and their luggage is taken care of. That way, I come home, travel, blog, and live life.

Pretty sweet gig, really.

But getting back to Alaska, I look forward to what awaits me. My mother booked my brother and I on a whale watching tour up here in the Canadian waters back in July 2017 and it was a spectacular thing to witness. I can only imagine the kind of wildlife I’ll see up there. And I’ve heard stories from my buddies from the Air Force who were stationed in Alaska, so I have a fair idea of what to expect. I love listening to people’s travel stories. If there’s anyone from Alaska or has lived or visited there, please feel free to share your experiences!

Top Alaska Travel Books and Guides On My Radar

Alaska by Cruise Ship: The Complete Guide to Cruising Alaska – Includes Inside Passage and Glacier Cruises

blogging

3 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting My Blog

Blogging is an Art

From the day I officially started my online blog (Feb 4, 2017) to this very moment typing, I can honestly say starting a blog is one of the best things I’ve decided to do in my life. Blogging gives me the freedom to be me, write in my own voice, and write about my own life experiences. It also gives me the freedom to demonstrate my expertise in my fields, holistic health, nutrition, fitness, writing, and veteran resources. Although there’s technically no way I can fail at this, as I can blog about whatever I want to blog about, if you’re goal-oriented, chances are you set some expectations. Here are a few expectations I set for myself, and my experience with them thus far.

1. Gaining Followers is Not as Easy as Sprinkling a Few Key Words Around

When I first began writing my first articles, I couldn’t stop raving about the benefits of learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Knowing even the basics of SEO can certainly result in an increase in organic traffic, but oftentimes than not, it takes time for a considerable increase. I was reading plenty of ebooks and different articles on the ins and outs of SEO, so naturally, I hyped it up in my head before actually waiting for the results I was envisioning. Each article I put time, heart, and soul into it (as we all do in our blogs), but I received nary a view in a single day sometimes, much less a visit. As I learned more about social media marketing, I started connecting my social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, with my blog site. Doing this I immediately started to notice a spike in my visitors. But then the graph goes back to its regular, flat state about two days after the post and shares.

Needless to say, gaining followers is no walk in the park. It takes time, patience, research, hard work, and plenty of content to get noticed and gain regular followers. There will certainly be some inconsistencies in the beginning, but as you gain your voice and combine that with some basic SEO skills, you’ll see your efforts paying off.

2. Neither is Gaining Clients/Customers if You Are An Entrepreneur

I’ll be the first to admit: I underestimated just how challenging it would be to market myself as well as my services and products through writing. I’ve always loved to write ever since I learned cursive in the third grade. English, Writing, and Literature also happened to be my strongest areas in school. This meant blogging about a few things here and there and posting them on my popular social media sites would generate followers and clients in no time, right?

Wrong.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is so much more to marketing your business than just having a website and posting a few blogs. Copious amounts of hours are poured into learning about SEO techniques, social media marketing, and business plans. Countless time is spent brainstorming different content. Sometimes those brainstorms are for taking your business in another direction, something you’ll notice will happen a few times throughout your venture if you’re an entrepreneur.

Some Categories Just Don’t Get as Much Love

Another thing you’ll quickly learn is that some categories will get more love than others, simply for what they are. For example, travel is a crowd-favorite. Nearly everybody loves to travel in some form or fashion. It’s also often a way to get away from daily struggles. With these reasons in mind, it’s no wonder travel blogs are chosen more often to read over say home tool blogs.

As a blogger, the best thing you can get out of this is just to blog about what comes to heart. I’ve gone a couple weeks at a time without blogging but then published three articles in a span of 36 hours on the same scale. I write my best work when I feel it in my very bones. It has to come from the soul. If I feel pressured to write, whether if it’s for freelance work or I feel obligated to keep up with my blog, then I won’t feel as inspired.

Just do you and write whatever you want to write about. Write however you want to write. Write when you want to. Write where you want to. Whenever you’re feeling inspired, just write. The blogs where you’re not focused on a popular category or what keywords you’re going to use, but instead on unique, original content true to yourself are the ones that generate the most interest.

I do not own the photo used for the featured image.

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