June 5, 2023

Humorist David Sedaris has a summer travel tip:

I always thought I’d know who I got my COVID from, but in the end I didn’t. Someone is in Alaska, I guess. It’s ok. If you’ve never been, you should, if only for wildlife.

One afternoon in Kodiak, a pilot offered to pick me up in his coffin-sized plane and show me around. “What are you interested in?” he asked.

I’ve seen more eagles than I can count, so I replied, “Bears.”

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

So I did.

In many towns I’ve been to, there’s nowhere to buy a tie. Go to a restaurant or grocery store and everyone gets dressed and kills… something and bathes in its blood.

People’s yards are littered with junk: old water heaters, outboard motors. I mentioned this to someone and she explained that everything has to be shipped from the lower 48. Stuff is expensive and hard to come by, so people tend to keep them in case they or one of their neighbors need it as a spare.

One thing I never understood about Alaska was the sense of community in the people there. Oh, it’s ubiquitous in a way. If one of my NY neighbors needs me to run to the grocery store, I will. If their apartment is flooded, I will provide my spare room (for one night). But we were not in the wilderness together. We are not far from the nearest emergency room. So, it’s a good thing that I caught Covid-19 there and went back to New York, where the hospitals are like eagles — you’re going to get sick of them, at least in my neighborhood. I just don’t need it. My COVID is like a mild cold.

It was the only thing I brought home from Alaska – and a beautiful bracelet from an Anchorage man. There is no reason. He just did it.

All it takes is a few great people to convince you everyone In a complete state is wonderful.Show me the pilot at his parents’ house, this stranger at the airport, a Jewish woman from Juneau named Libby who calls herself “Frozen Choice.”

I tell you: Alaska. you have to go!

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A story produced by Amy Wall. Editor: Joseph Flandino.

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