In 2004, the team at Alaska West had the pleasure of hosting Bryan Whiting and his sons Jason and Eric on their first fishing trip to Alaska. We were really taken by the lengths to which Bryan and his wife Kathy went to give their kids a great family experience. The Whiting clan has made 3 trips now to Alaska West, and we asked Bryan if he wouldn’t mind putting together a few posts on his family’s experience fishing in Alaska. This is the first in the series – on deciding to take the trip.
“For me, being convinced that the fishing would be great in Alaska wasn’t the problem. For too long, we not only put off the trip but basically didn’t seriously consider it beyond the fantasy stage. Why? Because of everything else.
How do I justify the cost? How do I justify the time? How do I plan such an activity when I don’t even know everything I should be planning or deciding? How can I assure that our trip will be successful when I don’t know what to ask because I have zero experience in Alaska? The entire process seemed overwhelming.
In regard to cost and time, there is always something in the household, in the family which demands both. There are always needs which seemed dominant: the kitchen needed a new refrigerator, the house needed repainting, grandma needed visiting, son needed to go to basketball camp, individual career responsibilities were awaiting. Going to Alaska to catch big fish seemed like such a selfish activity. As high school teachers, both money and time where not in surplus in our household. What got us past this to where we not only decided to go to Alaska, but found us making commitments for all the aspects associated with our trip? We developed a personal ‘need’ to go which was more important than all the other needs we had for the money and the time.
For us, it was our teenage sons. My wife and I discussed how they were both in high school, soon to be graduated and off to college. Throughout their lives we had emphasized providing our children with experiences as opposed to possessions. Even though they had fly fished all over the Rocky Mountain area, we just felt this experience would be so much more than the proverbial ‘trip of a lifetime’; it would be a father/son and brother/brother experience at such a level that it would be unattainable in any other fashion. My wife, who is a more than competent fly fisherman, didn’t go on our first trip simply because of the money issue and her willingness to sacrifice. By developing this personal need, it took the trip past the feeling of selfishness to where we could not only justify the cost and time, but felt required to do so.
For us, the net result was our first trip to Alaska and Alaska West in August of 2004.”