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Letter from the Editor

Julie Irvine

I grew up in a place many people dream of going, a place where I often felt like I was living in a postcard—Alaska. Surrounded by so much natural beauty, I spent most of my summers being a tourist in my own state.

But how do you learn to love travel when you’re already living in most people’s dream vacation spot? For me, the answer came when I left. In one sense, I left my home simply by speaking with people not from Alaska who enabled me to see my state through their eyes; in another sense, I traveled away from home and then came back. The result changed my perspective forever. I rediscovered my sense of wonder and awe for the world I lived in. I began to look more closely at my surroundings—from the towering mountains to the layers of history in each town I visited.

Digging into the history and culture of the strong Alaskan Natives gave me a greater appreciation for the values they hold. Those values shaped my upbringing. Staring up at the aurora borealis dancing in the sky thousands of feet above me, vibrant with greens, purples, and blues, helped me understand how magnificent our world truly is. Observing a cow moose guide her calves to safety filled me with appreciation for the ways nature teaches us to nurture.

Now whenever I fly home, I am awestruck by the beauty of the snowcapped mountains and the expanse of the ocean stretching out below. I am overcome with gratitude for this world, its beauty, and its challenges. Travel has become an opportunity for me to see with new eyes and learn with a new heart.

In this issue of Stowaway, authors explore timeless traditions, ingenious feats of human engineering, unity and division between countries, lessons learned from humanity’s past, the satisfaction of solo travel, and much more. These articles will encourage you to take another look at places you might already be familiar with and to find new ways to explore, learn about, and love travel. We believe that travel can both entertain and inspire, teach and surprise. When we let it, travel serves as a gateway to wonder.

In your travels, near and far, I invite you to tap into your sense of wonder and focus on what fills you with awe. What you find might just surprise you.