Some people are just born to travel.
You know the type — they’re always on the go, posting scenic photos overlooking a foreign capital. Or sailing on the deep blue sea.
Janine Amon is one of those people. With more than 1.7 million miles on Alaska Airlines, she regularly makes the top-tier frequent flyer level: “MVP Gold 100K.”
Although Amon is always at home on an airplane, her first love is the sea. “I’ve always been a sailor,” she said. “I arrived in Alaska after sailing up from Hawaii. It took three weeks on a Nordic 44 called Midnight Sun.”
Living in Anchorage, she traveled the world encouraging groups to come to Alaska.
But for the last eight years, she’s curated special trips that include the things she loves about traveling: adventures, sailing on tall ships, seeing new places, enjoying wonderful local cuisine … and yoga.
“There usually are between 25 to 36 people on my trips,” said Amon. “About half of them are from Alaska, while others are friends from other places.”
Amon’s idea of “adventure” varies, depending on the destination. “Sometimes the adventure is riding on horseback up a volcano, or visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” she said. Other adventures include snorkeling with manta rays or hiking through the jungle in Cambodia.
Last summer, Amon took a group on the Star Clipper, a four-masted tall sailing ship in the Mediterranean. Leaving Venice, they sailed down the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, past Dubrovnik to Montenegro.
On that trip, while docked in Dubrovnik, Amon took some of the group to scale the wall of the old city. “I think all of the old city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We hiked around on the wall. Then we went to the Buza Bar, which is literally built into the side of a cliff,” she said. “I wore a sundress, so I could jump off the cliff into the water!”
You don’t have to participate in the yoga sessions to go on the trip, but it’s always a component of Amon’s trip. The Star Clipper fleet has its own yoga instructor on board, but Amon brings a teacher just for the group.
“I like the Star Clipper fleet because of the casual luxury feel to the ships. They’re very clean, well-organized, with excellent food and great service,” said Amon.
Amon’s next group trip is to the Caribbean in March. The ship will call in ports like St. Bart’s and Antigua. “In the central Caribbean, the wind is blowing,” said Amon. “The ship has 18 sails and they’ll all be up!”
The Caribbean sailing trip is sold out, but Amon is working on two other special adventures: Fiji and the Nile River. Last year, Amon sailed on the Nile to check out the operator. And next month, she’s flying to Fiji to sail on the ship she’s planning to use for a week-long itinerary through some remote Fijian islands.
Carl Propes of Anchorage went on two of Amon’s trips last summer. “It’s a great way to go on a cruise without sailing on a big ship,” said Propes. “There are great meals, wine and entertainment.”
Propes sailed on the Star Clipper along the Dalmatian Coast. After returning to Venice, he joined several other travelers in a van for a trip to Rome to pick up the next cruise. In Rome’s port city of Civitavecchia, Propes, Amon and others boarded the Royal Clipper. The ship sailed south to the Amalfi Coast and Sicily.
“Each boat is different,” said Propes, “but there’s yoga in the morning before breakfast and again in the late afternoon.”
Although Propes loves the Star Clipper experience, he’s also hooked on the land-based yoga adventures offered by Anchorage Yoga, where he attends yoga classes.
“I like everything about those trips,” Propes said. “They screen the location, so you’re not on your own. You go to a beautiful resort and it’s very healthy.”
Anchorage Yoga owners Joshua Love and Katey Inman have organized many yoga retreats all over the world. There are two trips listed on the studio’s web page right now, to Mexico and Peru.
“I’m going on the trip to Mexico,” Propes said. “For six days, the cost is between $2,500-$3,000, depending on your room. The price includes your yoga, some meals and your accommodations.”
Since going on a yoga retreat to Bali in 2013, Propes has been on “six or eight” trips. “I’m a junkie,” he said.
It’s clear Alaskans love to travel in a pack. And whether you like to travel on the wave or at a fancy resort, there are lots of options.