It is obvious that living in Arizona, it does not prepare one for living in Alaska. It is colder, there is ice, usually snow but not yet and it is darker. Even though people like to think Alaska is this cold place that is so unbearable to live in, it really is not. Right now in the United States my hometown in Pennsylvania is colder than Alaska, as well as Chicago and Minnesota. Those areas right now are getting hit with more snow than Alaska will get in a whole year.
One thing that does take some adjusting to, is the sun does not rise here until after 9 am. Even when the light starts to take it's first peek, the actual sun is never seen until it sets around 4:30pm. It does take some getting use to, but a little cold and darkness shouldn't stop someone from keeping to their routine. Getting kids to school, working out, getting to work, etc. still need to be done whether there is a lot of sunlight or not. Where we came from there were sunny days at least 300 days of the year. It makes us appreciate the sun we do have. In contrary to whatever one thinks, we do not live in complete darkness during the winter. We will have shorter days, but never complete darkness. One would have to travel to the northern most part of Barrow, Alaska to experience darkness 24/7.
The one thing that is similar but a little different than Arizona, is the wildlife. In Arizona we had to watch out for the coyotes so they wouldn't eat our small pets in the backyard, and for bobcats and javelinas. In the summertime, one could never stray too far from the hiking trail or would come across a diamondback rattle snake. It was a must to spray your house for insects or one might find scorpions. In Alaska we have to watch out for the aggressive Moose, which we see every week, bears which want to eat our trash and wolves who want to eat our pets. It is no joke around here. A person has to be smart, safe and prepared before leaving the house for the day. At any given point there could be a road closure or accident that could put one in a disposition to bear the cold weather until the road cleared up or help arrives. We now have to pack emergency survival packs in our cars in case of such emergencies. There are times I see the occasional pedestrian wearing flip-flops and shorts and t-shirts and think what are they thinking!
Everyday I am here I notice more and more about Alaska. There are less distractions here. There is no one flipping the billboard signs here. In fact when driving, you will not see one billboard. Alaska takes pride so much in the beauty of their land, billboards are banned from being put up on roadways. There is a different way of thinking here. It is definitely function over fashion. If one does chose fashion, it may be costly in the long run, wearing high heels on the ice just doesn't work unless you want a broken ankle. If one travels deeper into Alaska, one might have to bring an ounce or two of gold. Sometimes things like gas may be inflated, when there isn't a gas station for 100 miles. Bartering for something they need may be the only way to get it.
Alaska is definitely a different way of life, but not so different as everyone thinks. There are so many Alaska shows where people are living off the land, killing their food and panning for gold. Not everyone in Alaska lives that way, there are towns that have restaurants, there are communities and there is an American life, maybe not exactly how the lower 48 lives, but it is the Alaskan way of life; taking pride in what this beautiful land has to offer. Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.
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