Hello Wanda and Wayne,
I am a single 42-year-old woman who has always dreamed of living in Alaska. Most people think I’m a bit off the rocker because they say Alaska is too cold and too bad of an environment to live in. Maybe I am crazy, but I love isolation and I have always wanted to be self-sufficient. In Alaska, I imagine I could do many things I enjoy, like growing foods and herbs and crocheting just about anything, like blankets, hats, scarves, clothes, gloves, etc. I can drive a four-wheeler and handle a handgun.
I want to live out the rest of my life in Alaska. What steps or advice do you have for moving and living in Alaska? I am not necessarily looking for a mate, but if it happens, that would be a bonus. I hope you have a great day.
Well rock on, you kick-butt rock star, and make your AK dream a reality already! Better yet, come up for a few days and find out if this is really your future home or just a nice place to visit.
Apologies to my fellow Alaskans, but I’m sharing one of our big secrets: A major misconception about Alaska is that it’s this extremely remote, isolated and faraway place. The reality is, it’s super easy to get here: You can literally buckle up on an airplane in the morning in most major West Coast cities as well as Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake, or even Minneapolis and Chicago, fly direct to Anchorage, and be eating king crab and sipping Alaskan Amber (and shooting duck farts!) by dinner, if not lunch.
Yet that extreme, remote, isolated and faraway Alaska mystique is also very real. It can be dreadfully dark, cold and lonely here. And sometimes your close friends and family, your favorite fresh produce and cultural and entertainment experiences, and even your beloved warm, spectacular and bright sun can feel worlds away. Living here is tough and it’s not for everyone.
For most who live here, though, the extremely awesome pros outweigh the extremely crushing cons. Alaska is a special place and special people thrive here. Some of those folks build little communities of friends; some disappear into the wild, build a cabin and come into town for bacon, DVDs and gasoline every four months.
Is that you? Book that flight for February and find out! Why February? Because that’s the really cold, really dark and really real Alaska that you won’t read about on the tourism websites. If you can handle AK in February, or maybe even love it, you’ll be just fine.
I can vividly recall my first arrival in Anchorage for a job interview, cruising through Midtown in a hotel shuttle as strip mall storefronts slid by. Taco Bell? McDonald’s? REI?! I realized Alaska wasn’t the godforsaken outpost of individualism I’d imagined; this discovery was reinforced a few months later when I moved here via our illustrious ferry system and had old-timers dubbing my soon-to-be hometown as “Los Anchorage,” “located just 15 minutes from Alaska.” Sigh.
That said, girlfriend, a dream is a dream, and as Wayne alluded to, Alaska offers a sliding scale of dream severity, from the suburbia of Anchorage (with an occasional garbage-loving bear or yard-loitering moose, granted), to the far-flung off-the-grid Bush, where end-of-the-roaders make rough-hewn living look positively dystopian.
Figure out what you’re looking for. Do you need a dishwasher, or could you go with a dry cabin — i.e., no real plumbing and outhouses? Do you need to be able to drive to town easily, or are you OK with days or weeks or months on your own? I’d second Wayne’s wisdom: Before you commit to anything, give us a visit, try some different scenarios on for size, and figure out what it is exactly you want from this fantastic state.
And as for that mate you may or may not want to find, here’s the truth that all locals will share: Alaska is full of men, to be sure, the ratios more imbalanced the farther you stray from urban hubs. But there’s a much-loved and often-proven saying here when it comes to women’s chances of finding a mate: The odds are good, but the goods are odd. Just remember, odd isn’t always bad. It’s just different. And if there’s one universal trait Alaskans appear to embrace, it’s the oddities and quirks that make us all coexisting individuals on the Last Frontier. Good luck!