What It’s Like To Live In Alaska… Sort Of

I began applying to jobs a few months ago with hopes of finding a “real job” where my college degree would be useful. I felt more and more insecure with each job description and each list of qualifications that I read. I can’t do any of this. It was hard not to feel completely useless.

I sent out my resume anyway to the real jobs and some fun jobs in between. The first call I got was an Alaska number which I was to nervous to even answer – a girl I worked with had to hit the answer button on my phone knowing how badly I wanted to leave.

I went home that night and booked a one way ticket to Fairbanks, Alaska leaving in six days.

What am I doing? I don’t even like the cold. What if they don’t like me and I have to go back home?

Well here I am with almost four months of adventure, friends, and experiences to tell you what it’s like to live in Alaska… sort of.

So yes, technically I live in Alaska.  But I live at a hot springs resort located at the very end of a road that was gravel until about ten years ago. The closest big town is 60 miles away and the bulk of our guests are on vacation from the lower 48. I don’t live in the Alaska you see in pictures or on TV – no year round snow capped mountains here.

That being said, I love the diversity. I work in the restaurant so I am constantly talking to new people and hearing about their adventures.

Alaska is wild and lawless and what are those plugs hanging out of people’s cars?!

Fairbanks is also one of the best places to see the northern lights, and being in the middle of nowhere gives me prime viewing. The first time I saw them real good I was camping and I went over to a rock ledge that felt like sitting in a recliner. I laid back and watched my own personal show. Green and purple lights dancing above me stretching over the whole sky, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

My biggest investment so far has been my $170 walmart fridge which is super handy for a fruit lover like myself. Now when I take my weekly trips into town, I get to choose between deformed moldy berries or less moldy berries imported from the lower 48. Keep in mind this is before the hour plus ride they have to survive in order to make it to my fridge.

Honestly, I just throw the fruit in a smoothie everyday so I forget about how old they are.

I have been to Denali National Park three times. The first time was with a hitchhiker (sorry mom and dad). It was incredible every single time but I have yet to ride the tour bus all the way in. I have done the Into the Wild hike, or attempted it at least. I spent a day in Talkeetna, a tiny town who’s mayor is a cat. No, that’s not a typo. I hung up my hammock and gazed at Denali all day in appreciation of being one of the 30%ers who get to view Denali in its entirety. I drove Denali highway- a 124 mile highway that is still gravel. I drove through Wasilla, slept on the side of highways and spent a day in Anchorage.

And I’ve done a lot of hiking. Obviously. It’s my life.

Soil Beneath My Feet

The purpose of my most recent trip to REI was to simply check out the latest gear and chat with employees. I came across the book section and remembered that I just finished a book and needed a new one. Adventure books are my favorite but the result of reading one can be dangerous.

I narrowed my choices down to the journal of a man who walked from Florida to Quebec and a book about ultrarunning. I knew I wouldn’t be inspired to do another long distance hike overlapping the same hike I already did and I hate running so there would be no inspiration there.

I put down the long distance hiker for the same reason I picked it up – I basically already did that. I left with “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. This is how it changed my life.

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