Friday Flights: Alaska
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Before starting Ginger Side of Life, my first dream was to start a travel blog. I bounced around with ideas, even landing on a name, “the Fickle Traveler.” After an evening of reflection, I realized the name was actually kinda negative, and most of my travel photos had been taken with a point and shoot, so the quality was just not there. So I tabled the idea and began working on Ginger Side of Life with Jess, which has been a dream come true. However, now that the fashion piece is off and running, I want to try exploring my travel bug through blogging, hence Friday Flights. It will be a work in progress as I figure out the format, so bear with me. As much as fashion is my love, my love for traveling is who I am at my core.

DESTINATION INSPIRATION:

I remember flipping through 1000 Places To See Before You Die and randomly landing on the Northern Lights. My brain immediately started plotting to get Ryan on board with this new travel scheme of mine. If you felt the word scheme was harsh, I purposely chose the word. No word describes me better than a schemer when it comes to traveling. We had just gotten back from Barbados that May, so I knew I had some convincing to do since we just took a vacation. When I read the Northern Lights article, it was mid-August 2012, and within the introductory paragraphs I quickly learned that the best time to see the lights were September or March, because the weather had not turned to “freezing” and the skies would still be clear. As it was already mid-August, I knew, September was out of the question, so March 2013 would have to work. Through constant name dropping of the Northern Lights (see scheming), and finding budget travel options, I won Ryan over, and we went on an adventure of a lifetime, chasing the Alaskan Northern Lights.

Day 1-3: Anchorage

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Day 4: Train from Anchorage -> Fairbanks

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Day 4-9: Fairbanks

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PACKING:

Growing up in Southern California, if it was cold, I would put on a pair of socks. Yes, that was my definition of “how to get warm, when it is cold.” Let that sink in just a little. Naive much? Anyways, I packed as light as possible. My biggest recommendation for Northern Lights chasers is to pack the correct shoes (or bring something to stand on when you are outside, the more between you and the ground the better). I bought “cute” snow boots from J Crew, and they were too difficult to get my foot in and out of. Let me explain. Easy access to your toes is important when you are standing outside in -20 degree F, because you will hit a “I am so cold, I cannot feel my toes” point, and you will want to be able to take your shoes off easily and warm your toes in the car. So I ended up wearing my Hunter Rain boots. These also were not the best shoes, but allowed for easy access to my toes. My biggest love affair was with my borrowed coat. SO warm.

Night 5: Northern Lights

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FINDING THE PERFECT SPOT:

This was a challenge. We tried Tripadvisor suggestions but they were always too crowded, which meant the spot was too bright, which made seeing the lights difficult. Our best night was driving out onto Steese Highway, finding a dark spot and camping out.

Next Friday, I will talk about flying to the Arctic Circle, dog sledding and hot springs!

-Chelsea

Photos: Ryan Balderas (he used his GoPro and his old Canon Rebel)

LocationLOCATION: Alaska


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