Today’s Community Spotlight is: Chris Hawk, an App in the Air fan who’s been with us for three years. Read on to find out what travel means to him, his favorite travel memories and what his recent flight experiences to Cancun and Alaska were like!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m a Music and Special Ministries Coordinator for a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. I’m also a Music Director at a Church and I’ve been doing both for about five years now. A lot of what I do is music related, which is great because that’s what I love. I mostly travel for leisure, sometimes for work engagements but it’s really mostly to relax. When you work with folks who’ve endured trauma, sometimes you take that on and self care becomes very important. And I view travel as my #1 way to self care! Also, I love App in the Air for my travels — it’s everything I need in one place.
Tell us about your favorite destination or travel memory?
My friends and I were actually supposed to go to Europe this month but with the pandemic and unclarity of border closures we just decided to go to Mexico instead. My memorable moment was when we were in Cancun. I was sitting, staring at the stars and listening to the thunder and lightning. That may sound strange but where I’m from, we don’t get much thunder and rarely ever get lightning. Actually this time around there was a hurricane warning so the weather was crazy but to me it felt like being in a movie. Cancun is also one of my favorite destinations so that made it even better. But with that said, one day I’ll make it to Europe.
So far I’ve mostly traveled domestically. My goal for 2020 was to complete the 50 states! I’ve been to 45 now so I had five left, but of course that may or may not happen now. Domestically, Chicago is my favorite destination. I love the atmosphere, seeing musicals, the food and certain neighborhoods. If it wasn’t Chicago, it’d be the New England states, they’re just beautiful.
So then do you have a favorite airport or airline?
That’s a good question. I’d say the airport in New Orleans. You get off the plane, they’ve got this incredible statue of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet and you immediately walk into a world of music. It’s also just a beautiful airport. In terms of airlines, I feel like I have to be biased and say I love Alaska Airlines. Their customer service is always great, helpful and just a good experience. If not them, then Delta. Recently I was heading back from Portland with my baby cousin and I had an upgrade and my cousin didn’t. I asked the stewardess if maybe she could move up and they gladly made it happen. Delta is definitely awesome and I love that they’re also family oriented.
Do you have any travel hacks you live by?
Well to begin with, I never pack a bag I have to check. I’m a part of Club 49 with Alaska Airlines and you get two free checked bags but I still just prefer carry ons. My go to’s are just a suitcase and backpack. I usually travel by myself and just prefer to consolidate as much as I can. I also always pack two pairs of shoes. My motto is: You never know when you’ll meet Beyonce! (and I’m serious about this!)
Have you traveled recently?
Well, I hadn’t really traveled since March. Pre-COVID I was traveling every month for the past three years. So the past few months have truly been a test for me. When the Europe trip fell through, my brother and sister-in-law and I went to Cancun for a few days at an all inclusive resort, and we didn’t leave it once. It was honestly safe, the resort was at 30% capacity and felt like the resort was ours. The staff was wearing masks and gloves the entire time. From there, I flew into Chicago for a day, because as I mentioned I love that city. The next day I flew to Raleigh, NC to spend time with my friend, Katie and we did a road trip through North Carolina to the South Carolina border. After that I flew to Texas for a day and from there to Portland before heading back home. That was about a two week adventure.
How was the experience coming back from all that travel?
The state of Alaska requires a self quarantine for 14 days but they still want you to take a test. When I landed I had to fill out a form to get the test done at the airport, although that’s only available for residents. If you’re not a state resident you have to pay $250 to get it done at the airport!
For me another consideration is that the facility where I work has strict protocols which means I need to make sure that I’m safe and getting the proper tests done. I’m actually on day 5 in quarantine right now and waiting for my second test to come through!
Now let’s play a little game of this or that:
- Window or Aisle: Window hands down!
- Resort of Airbnb: I don’t like Airbnb’s so resort it is. Vacations are meant to be relaxing! I don’t want to worry about having to cook or clean.
- Boeing or Airbus: Definitely Boeing
- Fine dining or Street food: Fine dining for sure. I love a good Brazilian Steakhouse.
When it’s safe to do so, where would you like to travel next?
I really want to cross off the last five states: North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas and West Virginia. So hopefully I get to do that! I want one of those maps where I can mark off everywhere I’ve been across the US.
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