AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 25

YOUR STORY
agent at the office, as well as the daughter of a local artist.
When Thomas learned about Van Sickle's art workshops, she
had a brainstorm: What if they could combine one of the
most scenic vacations - an Alaskan cruise - with an
extended art class?
Turning the idea for the art-inspired cruise into a reality
involved a lot of research. It was the kind of research that most
of us only dream about. Van Sickle and Thomas traveled to
Alaska to evaluate locations, brainstorm excursions and learn
about indigenous art and culture. Soon, the two women
devised a plan and itinerary for a once-in-a-lifetime trip: Go to
Alaska to see some of the world's most stunning scenery, and
then come home with an original painting.

A Plan Comes to Life

AAA was the sole booking
agent for the trip, which
quickly filled. Sixteen artists
Travel and art are
joined, as well as eight of
their guests. Some artists
inseparable to
were true beginners. Others
Van Sickle.
were fellow professionals. Van
Sickle created an experience
that would be accessible to artists
at all levels.
" What was nice about this trip was
the land and sea combination, " Van Sickle says. " It's the best way
in a short amount of time to cover a lot of geography. This isn't a
trip you can do on your own. "
The land portion of the trip began in Anchorage, where
travelers boarded luxury dome cars of the Alaska Railroad to
head to Denali, which, as a designated wilderness, has the
highest preservation status offered by the U.S. government.
There, guests saw the wildlife and geography of Alaska's interior,
learned about the importance of sled dogs to the state's history
and watched the northern lights dance across the night sky.
During the sea portion of the ship, the group enjoyed
small-group excursions and activities. They went whale
watching, and gasped when one breached close to their boat
- an unexpected treat. They watched bald eagles soar, while
professional nature photographers coached them in capturing
the perfect picture. They invited local and native artists to talk
about indigenous culture. And, of course, they got a close-up
view of grizzlies.

From excursion to excursion, the group toted sketchbooks.
Van Sickle taught the group how to create a journal of travel
experiences through drawing and art journaling. " We were
kid-like, " Van Sickle says. " It tapped into a sense of play. For
kids, everything is new. Everything is 'Oh wow!' Travel gives
you that experience. It's priceless. "

Future Adventures

It's August, and Van Sickle is telling me about the grizzlies
and the northern lights and the whales. Her enthusiasm for the
2018 cruise is so fresh you'd think these moments happened
yesterday. But her voice quiets at one point: When she mentions
that she should be on that trip at this very moment. Like so
much else last summer, the 2020 cruise was cancelled due to
COVID-19.
To allay their disappointment over the trip's cancellation, Van
Sickle and Thomas have already planned the next cruise for
August 2021. They'll host a cocktail hour and other events this
winter to tell interested travelers about the itinerary of the next
Land+Sea Alaska cruise with Holland America. Thomas has
transformed the AAA office into an art gallery: Hung on the
walls are paintings of landscapes, wildlife and northern lights.
" A painting becomes alchemy, " Van Sickle says. " You're taking
a memory and you're reconfiguring it into something new. It's a
piece of you, and it's a piece of that place. "

Painting by Kirah Van Sickle

Channel your inner artist with an art-inspired cruise! Call your local AAA Travel Agent at 800-750-5386
for more information.

TRAVELER WINTER 2021

25



AAA Traveler - Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AAA Traveler - Winter 2021

AAA Traveler - Winter 2021
Departures
Because Someday
Travel Buzz
Costa Rica
Places We Love
AzaMazing Experiences on Sea & Land
Scandinavia
Under the Tuscan Spell
Italy
Agent Spotlight
Trip Notes
A Ship for the Senses
Art Imitates Life
Memory & Masterpiece
Ride the Rails from the Rockies to the Red Rocks
Colorado
Switzerland
Alpine Adventures
Idyllic Islands
Bermuda
The Road Less Traveled
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - AAA Traveler - Winter 2021
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Cover2
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 1
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Departures
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Because Someday
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Travel Buzz
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Costa Rica
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Places We Love
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 7
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Scandinavia
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 9
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 10
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 11
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Italy
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 13
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 14
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 15
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - NCover1
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N1
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N2
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N3
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N4
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N5
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N6
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N7
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N8
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N9
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N10
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N11
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N12
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N13
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N14
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - N15
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Agent Spotlight
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Trip Notes
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - A Ship for the Senses
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 19
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 20
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 21
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Art Imitates Life
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 23
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Memory & Masterpiece
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 25
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Colorado
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 27
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 28
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Switzerland
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Alpine Adventures
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 31
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - Bermuda
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - 33
AAA Traveler - Winter 2021 - The Road Less Traveled
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