Things I Wish I Had Known Before Moving to Alaska

Updated December 2016: This post has been updated and revised from this original version. Most of the content is the same, but I have added more details about each talking point. Read the updated version HERE.

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When my husband (boyfriend at the time) suggested moving to Alaska. I was thinking, “okay, no big deal.” I was ready to get out of the Midwest anyway and we didn’t plan on staying beyond a year. Plus it wouldn’t be that different, right?

Well, 5 1/2 years later, we are still here. It has been quite the adjustment for me, so I wanted to give a rundown ofΒ  the things that I have learned while living in Alaska. There is a disclaimer: I do live in Anchorage, which some people claim is 5 minutes from Alaska. So while Anchorage is a decent-sized city with all the amenities of other mid-sized cities, there are still things that make this state and city unique and one-of-a-kind.

1. High cost of living.

We are talking housing, groceries, gas, and everything inbetween. I come from the Midwest where things are cheap! Now it is normal to pay $5-6 for a gallon of milk, $3-4 for a dozen of eggs, $3 for a pound of apples, and $4 a gallon for gas. It is ridiculous! We spend at least $400-500 per month on groceries—and that is buying things on sale, clipping coupons, budgeting, and meal planning. And don’t even get me started on rent—easily $1500/month for a decent two bedroom apartment.

2. Not a walking-friendly city.

Anchorage is a poorly laid out city. Things are spread out, stores are not always easily accessible by foot, and the routes needed to take to get places might require you to walk along a busy street. There are several trails throughout the city that people use for biking, walking, and running, but all-in-all things are too spread out to walk from one place to the next.

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3. Dog-friendly city.

People here love their dogs. Dogs by far out-rule cats—everyone has a dog. There are several dog parks throughout the city, and these canine family members go everywhere with their owners.

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4. Function over Fashion.

There was a reason Anchorage was identified as the least trendy city. You will not find the trendiest people here. It is all about function over fashion. Why would you own a pair of heels since there is snow on the ground six months out of the year? Plus, isn’t like you can wear your heels hiking or fishing in the summer. Commonly recognized brands: Dansko, Carhartt, Bogs, XtraTuf, and Skhoop.

 

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5. Fitness.

I find there is an odd dichotomy between levels of fitness with Alaskans. I find people are either very active year-round or very sedentary year-round. I don’t doubt this dichotomy applies to other areas of the country as well, but the difference seems more stark here.

(Alaska 10K Classic)

6. Dark summer nights.

Don’t even think about enjoying the ambiance of a camp fire on a dark, summer night—it doesn’t exist. Instead you will be sitting around the camp fire with the sun shining bright at 10 p.m. Sorry, but that just does not have the same feel as a campfire under a dark, starry night. Yes, the sun does eventually set, but you won’t need a flash light to find the bathroom in the middle of the night because the sky is still dusky.

7. People are either very helpful or ignore you.

There are a lot of friendly people who live here, but there are also a lot people who would say, “give me my gun, my land, and stay away.”

(As a disclaimer, my husband is the nicest, sweetest person who would give the shirt off his back for his neighbor despite what this picture may reflect.)

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(From this post)

8. Alaska feels like its own country.

In many aspects, when I first moved to Alaska, I felt like I had moved to a new country. Seriously, you are thousands of miles away from the rest of the United States and people have their own way of life here.

9. Definition of “The South.”

When people say “The South,” they are not referring to southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana, etc. “The South” is any of the 48 contiguous states.

10. Airline tickets are expensive.

It never occurred to me how expensive it would be to fly out of state. Even though Seattle is a “quick” 3 hour flight, you’ll be lucky to find a ticket under $500. And that just get’s you to Seattle, then you have to transfer to a second–and sometimes a third plane—to get to your final destination 10+ hours later. And red-eye flights are the norm to travel out of Alaska.

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11. You get paid to live here.

Yes, it is true the state government gives each person (who has lived here for one complete calendar year—January – December) receives a PFD—no, not a personal flotation device, but a permanent fund dividend. This last year it was about $900. And that is per person, so if you have a family of 5, 6, 7 that really adds up. (Click here to read more about the PFD.)

Also check out these posts:Β  Things I Wish I Had Known Before Moving to Alaska, Part II and Should I Move to Alaska?

What else am I missing? (I know a lot; I’m sure I could write a book on this topic.)

  1. Okay, my computer malfunctioned! I meant to type more than just “wow” for my comment! πŸ˜› I had no idea living in Alaska was so different! That’s a lot to adjust to!

        • How is the place to raise a family ? I have 3 kids and we are a family of 5. How much dividend will we get? does the dividend really help? How about the jobs? Please reply

          • Most people love raising their kids here. Each person (parents, children, babies) gets a dividend. The amount varies each year, but you can look up to see what it has been in the past. It can definitely help pay for those extra things you can’t normally afford. I think the job market is a little tighter now because of the oil companies laying off people. . .it trickles down and affects state jobs as well and other businesses because people aren’t buying as much.

          • Caution on the Dividend – you may not see it for over two years – everyone has to be here for a full calendar year before qualifying and the dividend for any given year is paid out the following October. So if you moved here in June of 2015 your 2015 time is irrelevant – you have to be here January thru December 2016 before you can apply in March of 2017 to get a check in October of 2017. Also – oil prices are in the tank so our state budget is in serious trouble and part of the solution will most likely be tied to changing the way the PFD works. PFD payouts are also driven by stock market investments so if the market moves down, over time so do the PFDs. PFDs are definitely NOT a reason to move to Alaska.

    • I don’t think I was thinking too clearly when I said I would move to Alaska. I don’t want to stay here any longer, but unfortunately, we will probably be here for a while. :/

      • I know you live in Alaska, but I just moved to Quebec from STL. Its the middle of Winter and I feel that I live in Alaska. I found your page because I wanted to find info on living in cold weather (orig from MS). So far there’s more than 6ft of snow just behind my house, and at least 4ft around the other 3 sides of my house… I love my house and came during the summer. I hope I can learn to love this place because its so beautiful. I know how you feel.

      • No offence but its hard to being a spouse because they become to involved in wanting the same lifestyle. Guys, be single when you come. They want the same 4 bedroom bs that you are trying to get away from in most cases. These idiots that watch alaska shows on tvs are why we are slowly getting more liberals and dimwits up here. Mostly the ditry hippys and technolagy lovers

  2. Nice post! I live in California and its costly to live here too but our grocery prices are definitely lower. I’ve never been to Alaska but some day would like to – if I had a week to spend there, what part would you recommend visiting? Would a cruise be more practical for a first time visitor?

    • It really depends upon what you want to do. If you take a cruise, it would be a lot of sight-seeing. If you fly up here, then you could go on more adventures–hiking, camping, fishing, etc. Both have their pros and cons. PM me if you ever want more information.

  3. Michelle- I totally agree that Alaska feels like a whole other country! I definitely felt that way even during my short summer spent there. And P.S- I would totally miss your blog if you decided to call it quits with blogging! I meant to comment on that post- but never got around to it πŸ™‚

      • Hi me and my husband are thinking of moving to alaska from the United Kingdom .please could you give me information about life out there we have 4 children 15, 6, 4, 1 . Do you have schools ? And is it easy to find jobs. ?

        • Hi, What part of Alaska are you thinking of moving too? Yes, there are schools in every town and city and village. Alaska is a part of the United States so the schools are just as good as anywhere else. Check out this website. http://www.visitanchorage.net

        • There are schools here. I can really only speak on what the schools in Anchorage are like. The school system here in Anchorage is decent. There are schools that are more rigorous than others and ones that also offer different types of learning programs. As far as jobs in Anchorage, there are ones to be found. It kind of depends upon what field you are looking to get into. If you are persistent and a qualified employee you shouldn’t have too many problems finding a job.

        • I lived in Anchorage Alaska for 30 years and recently moved state. First off let me say that the belief that most Alaskans hold in terms of salaries being higher than the rest of the US is simply not accurate. It was true in the 90s, but has since changed. SOME salaries may be a little higher depending on the trade, but many are comparable to the rest of the 48. The cost of living is so outrageously high- the average wages can no longer compensate. So unless you have a family of 10 that can pool their permanent dividend funds together, that check will run through your fingers before you know it. Property taxes are enormous and there is talk of Alaska either cutting the PFDs or adding a sales tax. Based off of the fact that you asked if “we have schools there”- I would definitely recommend some lengthy visits if considering a move from the UK. Quite an intense change. I don’t mean to be down on Alaska, but it’s a very extreme place to live and once you’re there it is both difficult and expensive to move back out if you find it wasn’t the place for you. Just my two cents and just trying to help. I will always love it as my home state, but it’s a challenging grind through the day to day. I will never move back.

  4. Two things I remember from growing up in Los Anchorage (a gal from our church calls it that, she grew up in Fairbanks and still harasses me that I didn’t live in “real” Alaska): 1. It was very hard to get decent produce or good variety- I thought there were only two kinds of apples, green & red, and we ate tons more canned veggies than fresh since the fresh weren’t any good by the time they were transported north, now I’ve been enlightened! πŸ™‚ 2. We could stop basically anywhere on the side of the highway and explore the woods/hills/river/inlet without worrying about who owned it, now, we have to wait for a rest stop or a designated public place to check out the land if we’re traveling somewhere.

    • Oh too funny. I’ve never heard anyone call Anchorage, Los Anchorage. I’m thinking decent produce is easier to find now compared to 20 years ago. Although it still doesn’t compare to elsewhere in the country! #2 – that is something that was crazy to me when I first moved up here–there is tons of land not really owned by anyone that you can just explore as you please.

      • We grow our own produce in Alaska. Everyone should have a garden up here. The farmers markets or community supported agriculture have great organic produce. Nothing beats your own home grown food. I guess Anchorage is just like any other city though.

  5. Had to chuckle at the high cost of living–we live very close to San Francisco and I’d say most of our costs are at least as high as what you listed. Gas is $4.15/gal right now. I’d say we spend $600+ per month on groceries, BUT we do mostly buy organic/local stuff (and are spoiled with the variety available here year round, can’t complain about that part…). Anyway–I can relate!

      • Thats interesting because Ive lived in Alaska for 20+ years, and in anchorage for the past year. My milk is 3.49/gallon if I buy it from fred meyers.

      • Goo time to learn how to make your own nut milk and cream (e.g. cashew and almond mild) in your vitamin. Much healthier anyhow and it seems it would be easy to ship in organic nuts at a fair price if nothing existents locally. Sound like there is an excellent business opportunity for some organic greenhouse growers.

    • I lived in Dutch Harbor for about 5 years, and once paid $17 for a honeydew melon. :-/

      I’m in Nome now and gas is over $6 a gallon here.

      • I am thinking of taking a contract job out there. They are offering company housing. I was wondering though. Is driving absolutely necessary? If so are the roads scary to drive on out there in the winter?

        • The city is not very walkable and I’ve heard the public transportation is not very good. Obviously you can make it work if you really needed to. Some people bike to work year round. The roads are definitely not the best in the winter, but that’s not to say you couldn’t learn to drive on them.

      • Wow that expensive for a melon” I live in Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί And after Cyclone Yasi damaged all the sugar cane and banana crops in 2011 Australia was so low on bananas that one banana was going for between $25.00 and in some places in Sydney $40.00 per banana and people still bought them madness! I own my house here in Queensland it’s a 5 bedroom 2 story house and it’s on 1.1 acre but i could never afford to buy a house in Sydney now unless it was in the lower economy area. Although I’ve lived in Sydney most of my life until four years ago I moved north but just in general a basic old house here in Sydney Australia outer suburbs in a lower income area your pretty lucky if you can find one for about $650.000.00 + and middle class house is around the $850.000.00 to $1.5 million+ and a nice place on the beach or harbour you pay anything from $2.5 million to $6 million and some water front houses can average $10 million and places like point piper they are a lot higher there a few going for $20m !! and a House owned by James Packers got sold in 2013 for $70 million dollars it’s crazy !!!

    • Exactly overpriced underpaid in AK Have 5 kids live like a king Alaska is entitlement state Cheaper by the dozen. I pay others play.

  6. those are some major adjustments! i had no idea. my town isn’t very walkable either, and i hope when i get a job and we move (this summer–fingers crossed!) that we move somewhere much more walkable.

  7. Wow… I have to say, I don’t think I could ever live in Alaska! But, I have always wanted to visit- Greg and I want to take a cruise there (which I know it TOTALLY different from living there!). I didn’t realize half of those things existed that are on your list. I hope you get to move down South soon. πŸ˜‰

      • I am considering a 13 week contract in Fairbanks, I am a home health travel nurse. what would be your advice???

        • Sure, why not?! What do you have to lose? Bring a lot of warm clothes and enjoy the adventure. . .it is only for a short period of time.

        • I’m taking a 13 week assignment too and I’m excited! Plus bonus if I resign for another 13 weeks! Did u do it? If so what advice do u have for moving??

  8. Love the list! I feel like where I live in Northern California is isolated in the same way ($800-1000 plane ticket and it always seems to be overnight, many connections, expensive everything). I’m pretty sure I could handle Los Anchorage if it weren’t so darn big! πŸ™‚

    It was kind of a culture shock when I moved here, there are so many rules! I like that Alaska’s laws are more lax and when stupid people do stupid stuff it is just thinning the herd. But with more people here in Cali, every rule covers at least 100 idiots that bizarre laws were made for.

      • All over: Oklahoma, Michigan (U.P and L.P.), and Green Bay WI. Originally I’m from the U.P. I find that Alaska is most similar to the U.P…..maybe that’s why I feel so attached to it still.

      • i want to get out of illinios andmove to the wild and learn to live off the land i have no money of family but want so bad to just go live like the mountain folks hunt for gold and be a self made millionair any suggestions on how to get there and survive

        • .1 dont just pick up and move. come visit first
          2. bring money for your entire trial period and a ticket out just in case.
          3. Everyone cant live here, the dark winters plays games with their heads.
          4. Winters are long, and cold.
          5. Living off the land is mostly a joke unless you can eat salmon 5 days a week πŸ™‚
          6. Anchorage is a s*** hole compared to real alaska.
          7. Do NOT feed the bears, or for tht matter leave garbage on your porch, or bird seed in bird feeders……see dont feed the bears.

          • So the summers give out mostly daylight for the 24hrs and the winter gives out darkness for the whole 24 hrs continuesiousy?

  9. I’m from Texas and my husband always jokes that we’ll need our passports to go back and forth since he feels like it’s a different country. Some states are super polarizing and then others are very run of the mill- at least that’s the way it seems to me.

    • oooo. . . Alaskans have a strong dislike for Texas. (I think it is because Texas thinks they are the biggest state and Alaskans do not like that!)

      • I think you were talking to the wrong Alaskans … we don’t dislike Texans LOL We just LOVE to tease TX about their tiny state (have to poke my relatives who live in TX).

      • I find that statement so odd . . Especially since a huge portion of people working in oil are from Texas and I swear half the people I know have family there. Us included. Tons of oil workers have lived and worked both places. There are running jokes about Texas as KIMM but it is generally good spirited.

      • It’s so true!! I moved from Alaska to New Mexico and you would think I’m this exotic creature who has never seen the lower 48 ha ha…they always ask did I live in an igloo …and that Texas being the biggest state kills me, really kills me!! And here in Nm they love Red Lobster ICK! I told them that fish is not dipped in butter but seal oil!!! I grew up in anchorage however when you stepped foot into my two story 5 bedroom 3 bathroom home it was all native!!!!

  10. I had no idea! We moved to Flagstaff a year and a half ago (from the Detroit area) and that felt like a move to a different planet just because of the distance… the cost of living is high but not nearly as high as what you’re talking about!

    • Only permanent residents get paid that dividend! You sign a waiver saying you will stay in Alaska & if you move the government will hunt you down & garnish hour wages. Happens to military people all the time

  11. Wow! This was a really interesting post to read.
    I’m originally from the Midwest too (Wisconsin) but I moved to NC about two years ago.

    Do you LIKE Alaska? Are you planning on staying?

    • I do not like Alaska at all, but unfortunately, I think we will be staying for a while. :/ I would get out yesterday if I could but my husband loves it here.

      Do you like NC? My sister did a year-long internship in Raleigh last year. I thought it was beautiful!

        • Yes, more warmth, less darkness, closer to family, within (reasonable) driving distance of other states, nicer more down-to-earth people, cheaper cost of living, more job opportunities.

          • Hello Michelle, I have been thinking about moving to Alaska for years. I am an American who has been living and working in Germany for the past 20 years. It doesn’t seem so simple to apply for work if you’re not already an Alaskan resident. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks

  12. I’ve never heard anyone call the Lower 48 “the South” (many people claim we/they call it “Outside” but I have DEFINITELY never heard that one), but I agree with everything else. Especially the fitness dichotomy. I think it makes perfect sense, though, because there are people who live here specifically because of the outdoor opportunities (so they obviously spend a lot of time taking advantage of them), and there are those who just sort of ended up here so are just as likely as other Americans to be sedentary. I’m sure the weather also discourages some would-be exercisers (I’d count some of my family members in this category, actually).

    After living in New York City, I don’t think I’ll ever consider any other place expensive! But you’re right, costs are generally much higher here. Could be worse, though – you could live in Barrow!

    Texas rivalry: so true, and also completely in our heads. No Texan I’ve ever met is remotely aware we “dislike” them.

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  14. I was so happy to find a recent post about living in Alaska. My only son and family were recently transferred to the Anchorage area. I am looking for a job and considering following them so I can be near my grandchildren ( and help lessen the blow). We are from Oklahoma and are fed up with the wind and the heat of the past 2 summers. Is it really any worse up there than when you are bored with where you are? They say the hardest thing is being away from family, not necessarily the weather etc. I traveled with work a lot and many US states are like a different country, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. Your list really didn’t seem to get to the nitty gritty about why you don’t like it there. Are the earthquakes a big issue? Thanks.

    • I don’t doubt being far away from family and friends has made it hard for me to live here, so if you loved ones were close, that would probably help. And if you can deal with the isolation (expensive tickets to fly out, lack of places to drive, don’t mind not having some of your favorite stores at your fingertips, and just being far away from the rest of the country); the long, dark winters; and some of the other things I listed, you will probably be fine. I am always cold and hate being cooped up for 7 months, so the winters gets to be long. But if you can afford to get out 2-3 times a year, that helps a lot of people. Earthquakes really aren’t that big of an issue. The building codes are really strict, so we rarely (never) have property damage.

      • we are thinking of moving to Alaska-fresh start. I hate summer, I love being in the middle of nowhere, I love nature and I like the dark. We live in Windsor Mo now and the price of milk is almost 5 dollars. Do you think are family would like it there?

        • The things you listed are things about Alaska that one should like in order to enjoy living there year-round. How important is it to you to have other family members around? I think that makes a big difference. What type of work do you currently do, and would you be able to find something in your field there?

  15. Such great tips! I moved here with my fiancΓ©e in Febraury from California. Every single one of your points is completely true, great article!!!

  16. My husband and I are talking about moving to Alaska in a couple of years when his daughter is done with school. He lived there as a kid and I would be interested in the adventure just up and moving. Thank you for the post!

  17. Hey Michelle. Great article! My girlfriend was offered a job up there in Los Anchorage and really thinking of moving up there in the next few months. I’m born and raises in NJ where the price of living is very similar to AK. I blame NYC and Philly, but I had questions about the Art scene/ jobs. I studied Digital Media (Film & Photography) and wanted to know if Anchorage has a decent community of artists. Thank you for this post.

    • Hmm. . .I’m not sure I really know the answer to that. I know there ARE some very good artists here, but then again since you’d be coming from the East Coast and close to NYC, I don’t think it would compare at all! Generally it seems as though the job market isn’t nearly as competitive as the rest of the country. Not sure if that helps. :/

  18. I just returned from Alaska and loved it. It’s sooo beautiful there. I thought I was the only one that felt I was in another country. I am from Texas and I saw all the t-shirts & heard the comments too. After seeing the size of their fruits and veggies, everything in Alaska is bigger. Texas no longer can claim it…seriously. I saw a 94 lb cabbage!

    I work for UPS and am considering making a transfer, if they have an opening for me. However, after reading your comments, I wonder if I will be making a mistake. I HATE Texas summers and although I have never been crazy about winters, I always felt it was better than the humid summers Texas has to offer.

    I’m wondering if I will feel the same way about moving there in a few months. I would love to however, maybe I should make that my vacation spots for the years to come. Spending two to three weeks a year there may fill the void.

    Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.

    • Everyone who comes to visit in the summer, loves it. Living here year-round and visiting in the summer are two *completely* different things. I can’t stress that enough. I don’t say those things to discourage you from moving here, I just want people to be informed–unlike I was. I think you pretty much have to love winter to live here. I also think you have to hate sweating and won’t miss temperatures above 70 degrees. (This summer was not normal.)

      • I love winter and hate sweating. Not a fan of bright sunlight either. Yes, my family and I are preparing to move to Anchorage. I am a nurse working on getting licensure up there. How you have come to feel about Alaska is exactly how I feel about WA state. Sick of living here….it’s been 20 years now.

        I need a real winter like most people need bright sunlight and hot/warm temperatures. Have gone up to Alaska several times now…always in the winter….and I love being outside in the snow! Walking, sledding, snowshoeing….love the ice sculpture park downtown!!

        I get tired of listening to people complain about cold because I love the cold so much. It is my impression from the visits to AK that most Alaskans are very hardy and don’t hate the cold. It’s perfect for me!

  19. I just moved from Alaska to St Louis for graduate school, after living in AK for 30 years. I miss it so much! I miss the chilly foggy autumn mornings, the Northern Lights, round the clock light in the summer, bears, moose, giant trout, salmon, berry picking, and wearing my Skoop! I’m counting down the days to when I graduate and can move back to my home. I find myself watching those Alaska shows on History Channel and National Geographic, just to get my Alaska fix!

  20. I’m moving to Dillingham in two weeks from Rochester NY! I knew most of these things with my research and discussions with people who currently live there but they’ll still be a surprise until I get used to them I’m sure. However, in Dillingham milk is $14/gallon! So crazy. I’m nervous about healthy eating but hopefully I’ll find my groove. Thanks for the blog!

  21. I want to move to Anchorage. Spent two months there this past spring/summer. I’m going through a divorce but hate leaving my kids here on the east coast. They are both almost finished with college though. I felt so free and inspired there. Just the beauty. I’m going back this winter for two and a half months to try out winter. I’m afraid of making a mistake. Might be costly but I guess I can always leave and be a little poorer. I don’t want to wonder what if…… for the rest of my life.

    • I don’t want to wonder “what if” in life too, so I’d say take the plunge. What do you have to lose? If money is all, then I think it is worth it. Money can always be replenished.

  22. I would love to pick your brain! lol
    My boyfriend and I along with my two daughters and grandson and uncle are planning to move to Alaska. No date is set just trying to figure out the best route. We live in Texas and will be driving two trucks pulling campers with dogs and guns. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • Best advice you can be given is don’t try to drive up with guns. Canadian customs only allows very certain types of firearms, and it’s a HUGE hassle to try and get them through. You’re much better off mailing them.

      • I also believe that Canada makes you have all animals up on their records and a certain amount of cash per person. Pack food before you enter and as much extra gas as you can before entering. Hope that helps? It has been a while since I traveled the Alcan road. Another way is to take the boat from Seattle through to Seward, I’m not sure how much campers?

    • Have a passport for everyone to cross the Canadian border. If you ever had a DUI or felony you wont get in. DO NOT bring hand guns into Canada you will wind up in jail.

  23. Hi, I am thinking about doing a 1 year teaching program in Alaska and I really have no clue what to expect or look for. I am from Florida, the polar opposite of Alaska, and had a some questions. How do you work out (run, jog, walk) in the winter, I also run and thats a huge concern for me. How hard is it to find and appartment, the prices really are no higher then the ones in the city in Florida were I live, and I would only need a one bedroom? Is it safe? I am talking animals and weather, people I can deal with its amazing how many creeps tourism brings in. I am just unsure about making the huge jump, both my parents think is a good idea and will completely back up my decision as long as a stay below the arctic circle, and I am truly more intrested in populated areas.

    • So it sounds as though you don’t know where (which city/village) you will be in?? I don’t know I could speak on much other than life in Anchorage because village life is a whole different ball game. As far as find a safe apartment in Anchorage, definitely stay on the west or south sides of the city–they are the safest areas of town. I know housing was kind of tight this summer. When I run in the winter, I wear studded shoes and dress in layers. If you need any more information, let me know.

    • I’ve lived in Fairbanks and Tampa. In Tampa you have to drive so far to get anywhere you can run or bike. In Alaska there are trails absolutely everywhere. People run & bike all year round. In the summer they use road bikes and mountain bikes, in winter fat bikes. But in winter there is even more to do – cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. Tampa apartments are $600-$1000/month for 1 bedroom. In Fairbanks, more like $800-1200. But cabins are a cheaper option and more plentiful, more like $400-600. Very safe. You’ll be lucky if you ever see a bear or a wolf. You will see moose, give them space, wonderful to watch. Weather is no big deal, just get decent winter clothing and embrace the outdoors. Fairbanks is very friendly.

      • So happy to see your post. I live in Ocala and have been here all of my life. My daughter married Army and they are stationed in Fairbanks. Kids are telling me I need to see something different…. so she is wanting me to move there and experience it. Now I think I’m convinced the change would be awesome. Divorce and empty nest leaves me with no excuses. Thank you 😊

  24. What are the jobs like there?? And the salary? I have always wanted to travel there, I hate the heat! Lol

    • Honestly if you want a job in the Anchorage area, you can find one. (I don’t know what the jobs are like outside of Anchorage, but I’d guess they aren’t too hard to come by either.) There are a lot of different jobs, but if your occupation is very specialized, you might have a hard time finding something. The pay is decent but that’s because the cost of living is more.

  25. Interesting post! My fiance and I have been interested in leaving the lower 48 for quite some time now for the last frontier. These are some good tips; and reading on has only increased my urge to move up there. We run a local landscaping company in SE Michigan (the UP is tolerable, but we need to escape immediately! haha). We’re experienced in gardening and greenhouse construction, and cannot wait to build our own in Alaska. I suffer from unpredictable (yet not terribly frequent) grand-mal seizures, but have a strong belief that if we are to leave this hectic environment we now live in I will have greater chances of improved health. We’re very self-sufficient and would jump at any opportunity to move up there. I have 10+ years experience in Restaurant management and customer service (and have never been afraid of getting my hands dirty), and my fiance is a manual labor guy/natural problem-solver. We have 3 kids (2 daughters which live with their mother, and a 4 yr old son who lives with us). An ideal situation would be for me to homeschool our son while staying home, tending to the garden, cooking, etc. while my fiance works (or we work together while our son is in school). I’d be willing to do just about anything to make it up there. I’d really like to raise my son in an Alaskan environment, and am very prepared to do whatever it takes to make it up there. I enjoy reading about everyone’s experiences. Any further tips or thoughts would be appreciated! πŸ™‚

    • Interesting, my brother has seizures. I’ve heard the homeschooling system is very good up here. They give each child who is homeschooled a certain dollar amount to use towards curriculum, extra-curricular activities, and things that would enhance their education. A lot of people say this is a very good environment to raise kids. (I agree, but I think there are other great places as well.) Not sure if that helps. Have you every visited Alaska before?

  26. Man, I live near Anchorage in Wasilla. But I lived in Nome and a year or two ago gas was up to $6.19 per gallon. And living was alot more than in anchorage/wasilla. I think you would like Wasilla/Palmer more.

  27. Pingback: Should I Move to Alaska? | The Runner's Plate

  28. wow, I lived in Utah, Arizona, Mexico and Guatemala before moving back to Los Angeles area but alaska is just to extreme to think of !

  29. I came across your blog as I searched for information on moving to Alaska and like others found it very helpful πŸ™‚ My husband is retiring from the military soon and is set on retiring in Wasilla, Alaska. However, the more I read the less excited and more cautious I become. Being that we would be moving with our two boys who are 18 & 13; the numerous articles and attention given to high crime and drug rates ( some of the highest in the nation) is what’s really worrisome to me. Was wondering if you could offer your perspective on the topic?

    • I have heard about the high crime and drug rates you are referring to. There are definitely areas of Anchorage I avoid because of these things–and we were very strategic as to where we chose to live. In some ways I’ve heard “The Valley” (Palmer, Wasilla) can be just as bad (possibly worse?) than Anchorage. I haven’t spent a lot of time out there, but there are some negative stereotypes about the type of people who live out there. Yet, with all that said, of course there are things you can do to avoid these things: being selective about where you live, choosing a school that would have less crime and drugs, and generally avoiding these areas when out-and-about. There are people who think Alaska is the best place to raise kids. I’m not thrilled about raising kids here, but I’m sure there could be worse places.

  30. Thanks for your good information. I’m in the process of looking at relocating. Washington State is now rated the most liberal state in the nation therefore I no longer fit. I’m more of a Tea Party/ Libertarian.
    I had been think about Anchorage, but have been shying away from it for some of the reasons you’ve stated above. So my list is now: Idaho, Montana or Wyoming.
    When you do relocate do you have any idea where you’ll be going? I too am from the Midwest. Thanks.. Randy :o)

    • I’d love to go back to Minnesota–it is home and where all my family and good friends are. I don’t care for the winters, but there are too many other good things about it.

      • :o) I spent a weekend in Duluth…intriguing. I’m from Bowling Green, OH… A little further east. When I was lil guy I always wanted to live on the upper peninsula of Michigan. What will you miss after leaving AK? “Smiles” Randy

        • Duluth is a fun town. I’ve thought about living in the UP of Michigan as well. Honestly at this point in time I can’t think of anything that I would miss. Sad but true.

          • Sorry to hear that… I hope you’re able to depart the state soon… I kind of feel that way about my present local. Orcas Isl. WA.
            Just getting really tired of the place. Everything is very expensive. If you happen to be one of the wealthy- meaning those that have several homes in various regions of the US/ world then life is great. However, for the working class $32K a year is the average. It costs about $70 to get back on the island using a ferry system that is running deep in the red. Routes are cut back on an annual basis.

      • I, too, am from Minnesota. Lived there almost all of my life, except for a few years in Utah. I love Minnesota. It is home. Last month I moved to Las Vegas. Not the best decision. Can’t wait to move back home. But I have always wanted to live in Alaska too. I have met many people in Minnesota who are from Alaska and they all say it’s like the best place in the world. I love winter so I think it would be good for me. And I love adventure. Thanks for the information!

  31. So fun! I am a wildlife biologist (what’s a cubicle?) who lives in So Cal and I am organizing our family of 7 to move up there, we have acreage here in CA and livestock so we are looking at something smaller-scale to what we have now, and we grow/milk/slaughter our own, so we are looking at some rural places. Will prob not have any horses there however. Here in So Cal you can’t even have a fire going most days, you will get fined, and in some areas its illegal to hang your clothes to dry (wtf?) We are definitely “Give me my gun, my land, etc” types, I love men with beards, and I LOVE the fact that AK is relatively sparsely populated. I paid $6.75 for organic milk this week at the local chain grocery, its about $10 if you want raw milk here, for a qt. Good thing we usual milk our own goats!But…acreage in AK is $$ but I guess that is the price you pay, I can’t wait!

    • Farm land in the Delta Junction area is less expensive there are a lot of farms in that area but may require some cleaning. I recently got a section in that area.

  32. I graduated from college with an early childhood teaching degree this past summer. I haven’t had any luck getting a job yet here in Arkansas. My husband heard that Alaska would help pay back student loans and were in need of teachers. He is really gun-ho about moving up there. He’s more adventurous than I am. I think I am more reluctant because of the weather and the distance. I’m torn about the move because I think it would be fun to do something that is so different than what I am used to and I don’t want to think ‘what if’. On the other hand, I would be so far away from family and friends. I would definitely want to live in a city, like anchorage, if we did move up there. We were talking about only staying for 5 years at the most. Do you have any advice? Thanks for posting!

    • The teaching jobs that help pay back your student loans are the jobs in the bush–rural Alaska, so *much* more remote than Anchorage. I think you might get assistance with paying back student loans if you work at a Title I school here in Anchorage (??), but I would check into that for sure. They are cutting a lot of teaching positions this year, so I think it is going to be a lot more competitive to try and get a job! Just realize *a lot* of people say they are only going to stay for a short period of time (myself included) and more often than not they end up staying. That’s my two cents.

  33. Pingback: Things I’d Wish I Had Known Before Moving to Alaska, Part II | The Runner's Plate

  34. Oh the things we don’t know before we move here, huh? I wrote a similar post about some things I wish I knew when exploring the state and the awesome questions I get about living here (http://akgirlruns.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/winter-living-in-alaska-can-i-really-see-russia/). I live in Fairbanks and enjoy when I get to go to Anchorage for some shopping, eating, hiking and mountains! Fairbanks is also more expensive than Anchorage – I couldn’t believe it when I went to the grocery store in Anchorage and went “how is this half the price?” and then thought … “wow, did I really just say that? Considering how cheap stuff is back home in the Lower 48?” I’ve also worked in Barrow, Alaska. Groceries there are just out of control.

    I hope you are enjoying Alaska – and I’m glad to see someone else living in this great state and enjoying it so much!

  35. Hi. my boyfriend and I want to move and are talking about moving to Alaska. .where would be a Good place for people with disabilities that might keep us interested… he has been all over the world… Alaska is our Dream. we are in Texas.

  36. i am 42 was in Alaska last year. me and my wife fell in love. looking to move to your town.. can you send me any info by e-mail looking for a house are apartment to rent.have a dog disable wife

  37. Hi,
    I will be visiting some relatives up in Alaska very soon and I am wondering what items they maybe have a harder time getting there that I could bring for them as a gift? Honey, spices, chocolate… anything come to mind as “I wish I could find…”? Thanks much!

    • Anything from Trader Joe’s since we don’t have that store up here! Ha! We do have most things up here though, but if there is anything local from your area, that might be a good idea.

  38. Thanks Michelle! They are exactly the type of people who would appreciate Trader Joes stuff, too.

  39. I’ve lived here 23 years. I’ve never seen milk in Anchorage for $5-$6. It’s always been $3-$4. Gas prices have been ridiculous forever, and that’s wrong because we pump out a lot of oil. We just can’t refine it ourselves or it’d be a lot cheaper. Rent prices are crazy, but ya just gotta shop around for the right one. The cheap ones are usually really small. My friend just found a nice, decent sized 2 bedroom for $1100. I remember when it used to be $900. Everyone I’ve met is really nice and helpful. You don’t find the my gun, my land, stay away people until you get out of town, but that works for the lower 48 also. On that note, we refer to it as the lower 48. =P It is pretty spread out, but good thing for a trail system that has good ratings. The problem with Anchorage is it can’t expand out. The inlet, mountains, and JBER prevent us from expanding, so it’s kinda good we’re spread out. Honestly, I think Alaska is what the rest of America used to be. We don’t have the same problems as the lower 48. I don’t know of a lot of people that were terribly hurt when the economy crashed either. Our “gangs” would get owned if they ever went to any big city. Yes, for the most part, we aren’t trendy… we like to be comfortable. =) We are definitely unique, but it wasn’t a drastic change moving up here. This coming from someone who has lived in CA, TX, MT, and GA. You forgot to mention no Sonic or Red Lobster, plus a few others. We’re also missing some big box stores too. You did nail a few things right on the head though

    • You do indeed drill and pump a lot of oil up in Alaska; but Alaska has no refineries and processing facilities. That’s why your gas is so expensive.

    • I approved your comment on the second part of this post: “Things I Wish I Had Known Before Moving to Alaska, Part II.” Is that the comment you are referring to?

      • Hello. Moving to Alaska for living it’s a good choice? I have work here, ( at minimum 7.25 p/h a missery. A normal jobs offers 8.50 between 10 p/h) pay rent, car & groceries. I don’t have time even for check out others things because my job is overnight and spend the day sleeping because my mind is deteriorating. I’ve been working like this at least 1and half of year. I’m the kind of person who can live under any circumstances, (eat or sleep anywhere). Alaska is a good choice, or any other recommendations of the 48?

        Thanks.

  40. Lol Alaska is ok I’m from P.R. and I’m stationed in Fort Richardson (JBER) yes from the Caribbean to cold. Lol but everything adds up cuz of the APFD and the high salary. If your not picking when buying groceries and clothing brands you’ll be alright. Fuel, snacks, and alcohol it’s ok like I said it all adds up. Rent yes it could be a little expensive but you get what you pay for and most of the house from the outside are not good looking compared to the inside that are great. I have two years in Anchorage and have been to the north and south of this state and it’s like living in the beautiful picture frame. Lol FYI Anchorage is the biggest city in AK and with no taxes. Anchorage is becoming an example city for other states and it is growing pretty fast. About the flights you just need to get a flight mile credit card. Alaska the last Frontier.

  41. How do I or wld I find more info on moving to alaska?! It wld be me and my 2 kids and maybe more in time!!
    That’s an amazing story you have shared with us and thanks travis

    • Honestly I’m not sure what kind of resources are out there on moving to Alaska.

      • I have been thinking about the move to Anchorage for a while now, I have sezuire’s, however! They are controled. I have sect-8, and disability. Any advise?

    • You can try to get the mile post I think that’s thr book for traveling up here and you csn always visit anchorage website too.

  42. Oh nooo…I’m scurred now. After reading all that, I won’t make it past a week!!! I’m from the southern most point in the U.S. :/

  43. I love Alaska, moved from west Texas in 06 , left in 2012 for job promotion but going back as soon as posable.

  44. I WAS BORN IN FAIRBANKS AND LIVED IN ANCHORAGE FOR SIX YEARS WE BUILT A HOUSE IN ANCHORAGE AND MY FAMY LOVED ALASKA WE WERE AIR FORCE FAMILY BUT MY DAD RETIRED THERE AND WORKED FOR THE INVIREMENTAL DEPT AND LOVED IT MY MOM MISSED HER FAMILY IN NJ,NY AREA SO WE .OVED BACK BUT I REMEMBER THE STATE FAIR WITH THE BIGEST VEGGIES I’VE EVER SEEN .WE WERE ALWAYS ACTIVE ALWAYS GOING NEW PLACES ,FISHING RUSSIAN RIVER CAMPING ECT WE ALL WENT TO SCHOOL CREEKSIDE ELEMENTARY, BARTLEY HIGH REALLY GOOD SCHOOLS B ACK THEN W E ALL H AD ARE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON ALASKA ITS ALL ABOUT .HOW YOU FEEL IF YOUR WITH YOUR FAMILY OR NOT THAT COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE .I NOW WOULD BE LEAVING MY SONS AND GRAND DAUGHTER SO I DONT THINK I COULD MOVE THAT FAR JUST ME AND MY HUBBY TO RETIRE UNLESS MY KIDS CAME TOO!!LOL

  45. I feel crazy, nervous, and excited about possibly moving the Palmer AK. I’m from the Northeast in the contiguous 48 and have been offered a healthcare job in Palmer. I’m currently in the Midwest and loving the mountains. I have mixed emotions about leaving family behind on the east coast, but feel that AK may provide a great adventure and opportunity for my girlfriend and I to spread our wings in our nations “Final Frontier.” What were your thoughts about leaving family behind? Have they come to visit and do you still feel connected? My parents are getting older and time is the most precious commodity that we have, and i’m not quite sure i’m making the right decision or if i’m just being selfish.

    • I was definitely bummed to leave family behind, but at the time when I moved here, I wasn’t planning on staying, which made it a little easier (at the time), but now any time I go back home (to MN), it is very hard to leave! I am close to my family, but we do a very good job of staying in touch: regular phone calls, Facetime/Skype, and e-mails. I usually see my family twice a year, but it still isn’t the same as living much closer to them! I think it depends upon how supportive your family is of your move and how well you think they would do staying in contact.

  46. hey
    I know you cant help me but I live in Puerto rico for almost 10yrs.
    I’m getting married soon and I would love to be in a new place new culture new ambiance.
    born in SXM,I’ve always been in the Caribbean never experience snow. saw a documentary of Alaska fell in love.
    so here are my questions to you, what to expect in Alaska ? like neighborhoods ,jobs ,
    im really scared to make this leap due to the fact I don’t know anyone there.
    i just want info about Alaska because some google facts may not be true. and since you live there can you please inform me?

    • Oh, wow! That would be a huge change for you. How are you with winter? I could comment on your questions in regards to Anchorage, but I am not too familiar with other areas of the state. There are good and not-so-great neighborhoods in Anchorage: downtown is relatively safe as well as west and south Anchorage. Jobs are usually pretty good–unless your area of expertise is really specialized, then it might be a little harder to find a job.

  47. I live in the bush teaching high school to Inupiat kids. I wish I could get to the lower 48 for 500 bucks! It costs me over 2000 this year to go home for Christmas.

    • Oh, I can’t even imagine the prices in the bush for everything you guys have to pay for! I’ve heard some of the prices, and they just blow my mind. It is all relative, isn’t it?

  48. My husband and I moved to Ketchikan (Southeast Alaska) 5 weeks ago. It’s beautiful but I agree it’s EXPENSIVE! And the people really are either VERY friendly or aloof and cranky. There seems to be no in between. My biggest gripe so far is this seemingly Alaskan mentality of “that’s not how we do it here” where they do things that clearly aren’t working but they’re so stuck in the “how we do it” mode that they don’t welcome change very well. Also, sending anything or ordering anything is EXPENSIVE and often lost or mis delivered/returned. Also, they do call the lower 48 “down south.”

  49. We have been in Alaska for 5 yrs from Las Vegas I don’t know where your shipping but your food cost are way high the only thing we pay more for is fruit we live in the valley and you can get a great house on 1 acre for under 300k we love it here the people are great and the winters aren’t bad my wife grew up in Detroit were the weather stinks

  50. FYI if you were born here in Alaska, you are an Native Alaskan and if you are like me who blood, you are Alaska Native, but not all Alaska Natives are Eskimos so if you are visiting here, are come here to live, please know the difference. I am part Aleut and Aleuts and Eskimos do not get along much like Cherokee Indians and Pawnee Indians and it is offensive to call all every Native you see and Eskimo. Also, if you are going to consider moving up here, please understand that it is ALASKA and that means LOTS of wildlife. Moose, Bears, Wolves, that can and will most likely come through your yard, can possibly attack your pets and/or your children. As someone who was born and raised here, it is disheartening to see people come up here and get angry because they let their pets out and their pets get attacked or eaten. Small dogs, like chihuahuas, small terriers, or anything that is tea cup size can and often has been picked up and carried off by Eagles or Owls so if you are going to move here, know the dangers and be prepared. Don’t go out jogging on the trails without bear spray, know that you may run into a moose, expect the unexpected, even in Anchorage, it’s still Alaska and there is still wildlife all around, especially in the summer. Minimum wage is currently $7.75 an hour. Apartments really are around $1000 a month for a 1 bedroom unfurnished, plus utilities right now as of about May 1, 2015 and it is a competitive market. Houses are expensive, a 3 Bedroom, 1 ba in a crap part of town that is run down and needs work will start at around $250,000 a month and a lot of the houses are older and part of the house will be built under ground so the bottom half of the house has windows that are at ground level. The houses with views of Anchorage on the hillside are in the $750,000 and up range, no lie. Do you homework, look at the job market and the rental and house market before you make the move. Alaska is a harsh environment and for about 8 months, it doesn’t get about 45 degrees in Anchorage. In the summer, most of the days can be dark and cloudy with steel gray skies and drizzly rain. The sun is not something you see a lot of in the summer, nor is temperatures over 65 most days. Ocassionally we get lucky and get a couple of really nice sunny days in June and July were it can get close to 70, but it never really last longer than a day or two, so if you use to a place like Texas or Nevada where almost every day is a sunny day, Alaska may not be the place for you. Spring and Fall are very short and last 3-4 weeks, we do not live by the calendar like the lower 48. It is almost May now and the grass is still dead, there are no leaves on trees, and no sight of green grass will even be present for another 3-4 weeks. As places like Florida, Tennessee and Missouri are already mowing grass and planting flowers, we are still unthawing and waiting for things to even STARTING blooming. Milk isn’t REALLY $5-6 a gallon in Anchorage, right now at our store, it is about $3.99 a gallon and gas today is almost $3.00 a gallon. The average meal at McDonald’s today for 1 person is about $8.50 for a full meal like a chicken sandwich, fries and drink. Any meal you see in the lower 48 at a restaurant, such as Burger King, KFC, Taco bell, add about $4 to whatever the cost of that meal is per person and that is about what the same meal would cost you up here. For my family of 3 to each at KFC for an 8 piece meal with 2 sides, 4 biscuits is $29.99. 2 large pizzas at Papa John’s here if we pick them up is about $34.99, if we go to Olive Garden or Outback for dinner, we can be asured that it will be at least $100 for the 3 of us, tip and all and that is WITHOUT any booze. It is not cheap to live here, that is for sure, it takes strong willed people who can handle 20 hours of darkness in the winter for 3 months or longer around the Anchorage area, 5-6 months of darkness, in the Fairbanks area almost 24 hours a day, and sometimes tons and tons of snow, bitter cold, and only 2 directions to drive, south toward Homer and North to North Pole and Tok, then you are out of road… Living here, can sometimes be like living on a big giant island and if you are tight on money, it can be too expensive to fly out or even move out if you find out you made a mistake. If you can come to visit before you decide to move here to live, don’t do it in the summer, do it in the winter so you know what you will be in for if you decide to come up here to live. Don’t fool yourself with what you see on t.v. And yes, Alaska is like a whole other country, so you will be thousands of miles away from the rest of the U.S. I can make it tough if you have family down south that you can’t see. My dad is back in the south and I haven’t seen him since 2006 because it’s just too expensive to fly back home anymore and too hard on him at his age. Also, when family has passed, I have not been able to get there because getting out on short notice is often impossible and can be in the thousands….. Good luck to anyone who thinks they can make it here, living here really is survival of the fittest.

    • Thank you Lauren, for your honest post. I have been trying to get a job with the VA for quite some time now and AK seems to always have some open positions. My wife and I are currently in Houston and are not really enjoying the perpetual heat. We want to be outside with our dogs but when it is 95 degrees for weeks on end…you get the picture. We are used to being away from our family, but it is hard to know what you’re getting into just by watching TV. The only upside to would be that both of us would have good paying jobs from the start. I am a little afraid of the cost for housing but as I would only have to stay there a year before I could transfer to another VA…I am not too afraid. Again, thank you Lauren for enlightening us.

      • Life in Alaska isn’t so hard – and definitely better than living in Houston, Phoenix, Miami or Tampa. You just have to be adventurous. Embrace outdoor life. I’ve spent 10 winters in Fairbanks, a lot colder and darker than Anchorage. Some winters I didn’t have the money – or vacation time – to get out of state. That’s hard. But if you can get out for a couple of weeks somewhere warm like Mexico in December-February, it really helps the break up the winter. Seeing family is definitely the hardest part. My folks are in the UK, 9 time zones ahead. Before Skype it sucked. Often travelling to the UK was 36 hours door-to-door and $1500 for a return. But then just getting to Seattle is often $700 return from Fairbanks (New York about the same). Alaska Airlines is the best mileage program there is – so getting a credit card from them really helps. One time I went to the Caribbean return for about 35,000 miles + $30 in taxes.

        • That is exactly what im beginning to believe. Your disposition is important. If your a hiker walker, like privacy, open spaces. Woods nature. I think you do fine in ak.

  51. It seems like u could also be describing Ontario without the getting paid to live here part. More money less immigrants I’m sold Alaska here I come

  52. Its only expensive because you live in the city,if you moved a little further out you would have experienced the true Alaska experience,its not that bad living there as long as your not afraid of a little hard work.

  53. My husband wants to move there….
    I’m sure it’s beautiful in the summer months and I would probably love it but after that uh no. It makes sense that it feels like another country since it only became a state in 1959.

  54. I moved away from Alaska after 3 years in Anchorage working at a hospital there. I really thought I wanted to leave and took a job in AZ, a state I was familiar with and missed. Guess what? I’m moving back to Anchorage for my old job! I missed Alaska! Yes winters are long, yes it’s expensive to live here, yes the produce sucks…but I don’t care! Alaska isn’t for everyone but I guess it’s for me. I miss the clean air and the friendly people, I miss the wildlife in my back yard, I miss the good beer and the good times, I miss the endless summer days and endless opportunities for adventure. To each their own I guess

    • I think Alaska is one of those parts of the world that just has such a draw, because it is quite different from most of the lower 48. Most people I know that left Alaska after living there for at least a couple of years end up moving back. I moved from Alaska to Florida for a job. I was surprised to find the produce here is no better. Prices aren’t significantly different, except for housing. Florida is a place you mark time: fight the traffic to work, sit in an office, fight traffic home, very hard to make friends. Alaska is a place you really live. A winter wonderland/playground.

  55. I would love to know if you still live there and any tips. My husband just got a job offer there.

  56. Interesting read. I’ve lived in Alaska for 31 years. I moved to Cordova in 1984, but live in Anchorage now. Just a couple comments … when I first moved here, we said Anchorage was a half hour away from Alaska, now it’s 45 minutes away. Also, I’ve never heard anyone refer to the Lower 48 as the South. Most people say Outside, but a few who’ve been here since before Statehood, just say America, as in “I’m going to America next week.”

  57. I moved to Fairbanks Alaska from the UK in 1998. Fairbanks is a wonderful community. Really easy to make friends, especially if you are part of UAF. Gatherings are potluck parties, frequency involving bonfires under aurora-lit skies. Trips to cabins and hot springs in the winter. Incredible running, hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiiing. Yes, it does get brutally cold and dark. So invest in good clothing because being able to get outside in the winter and enjoy it is key. Buy a fat bike – whizzing along an endless network of snow-packed trails in birch/spruce forests is amazing. Fairbanks winters are arguably better than British ones – much colder, but much drier too. I’ve never lived in Anchorage – but it has a good bike/ski trail network through the city, and is much closer to big mountains than Fairbanks – but it does have warmer, wetter winters, being on the south coast.

    • Hi Michelle I am very pleased I have come across your page or thread on here.I am very interested in considering relocating to Alaska.It is indeed The Last Frontier for many to re-locate to.That is half of the appeal but it is so very different and alien to so many of us from our own countries,climates and social cultures! I have climbed,mountaineered and been into survival for half my life but I am still hesitant to go that little bit further and relocate or buy land for the reasons mentioned by so many here.It is such a diverse,isolated and expensive location to move to.Expect the extremes and you will not be too surprised! lol. Thank you again and I hope you do get the chance to move near your family again in the very near future. John

  58. Here what I think if you are 20 to 35. And aren’t 40 to 50 like me…. Are not mechanically inclined construction fishing Forrester, Hunter, or scalding fish, or?? …rugged.

    You should avoid ak. And come here to miami, where you can drink wine taisting the light services, club hop, and surf and swim. Etc…
    I
    But when you move to ak. You have to accept or develop a rugged mind set. That Ak is its own country. Mostly cuase it can be.

    It has no need, this is where you fail to understand.

    Ak has no need??.. to be like??…the lower 48. Cuase they . The lower 48 have no bargaining power. That’s where you dont understand….

    Meaning, usually the 48 practices a superior relationship.

    But the 48, needs ak exactly as much, ak needs it. ..

    .so there is no economic leverage. Which leads to zero socially and cultural leverage. Plain and simple. If someone started messing with there way of life??….They would just up and find other international willing customers for there wood fish and oil. Plus who is going to get these resources??only Alaskans can.

    … You can forget about the lower 48 telling ak anything. Cuase oil wood fish is at stake. And soon, water. Or ask cali..??…

    Ak Will have cultural and social licensure and exclusivity for 100 s of years to come.

    ..So long as they have resources.and no one down here can get them. Which they cant can’t cuase of sub zero temps.

    ..So so just try to adapt…

    Give it a chance.

    • Except AK is heavily dependent on the revenue and the employment generated from the military bases there as well as numerous other subsidies from the federal government that AK benefits heavily from. Your opinion that AK seemingly can stand alone from the rest of the nation is an illusion. Hypothetically, if AK was truly an independent sovereign nation it would be a desperate place to live with such a small population. You think AK prices are bad now? AK would be a poor and very expensive(much more than it currently is)place to be a resident.

  59. Oh my gosh. I would love to get to talk to you more! I am a 16 year old junior in high school and since I was 12, I have wanted to move and live to Alaska. Its been my dream! I am an outdoorsy person an I love nature, and I have been researching and looking up information on Alaska and I have even looked up land that I want. And I know most people that that I am crazy because I am so young, An they think I can’t do it (my parents) however I love Alaska. I love everything about it. And I cannot wait for the day I make it up there and live off of the land.
    Any other information or suggestions that you or anyone else could give me would be awesome!
    Thank you for your time!!(:

  60. I’m 46. And ran alot during my 20 s. I can tell you first hand the running I had from 19 to 24. Has been almost like the Alaska dividend…..lloll….I have reaped life long rewards from it, even??….when I didn’t do a single exercise, from, 30 to 40. Because of the recession, and always looking for and trying to keep work.

    Still I was never truely out of shape cuase of that intense running. Now that the recession is over and work does not have to be worried about as much. I’ve been going to the gym regularly from 2014 to today…. And I’m running and back down to 175.

    .. From a peak, of 210 at about 2006 through 2008. So running is truly important. Also what’s really important when you run is sprints. More hormones are realised when sprinting. It’s an anti ageing trick.

  61. Great post! I’m moving to Alaska in the middle of the next year, or at least I planning to, and your article is quite helpful for me. It’s good to read form someone who’s experienced this already and have a good idea what’s to live in Alaska. Thank you for sharing!

  62. I’ve lived here ten years. My experience is when people talk about “the South” they mean Texas, (which I do not believe to be the South, but an entity on its own). Houston holds a pretty heavy influence over Anchorage. When people refer to the Lower 48, they say, “Outside.”

  63. The layout of the city wasn’t a problem until the greenies wanted and tried but failed to force everyone into the tiny *Obama* cars killing anything else and not allowing the proper balance between oil and alternate energy sources instead of *nothing* to save the planet which is just brownie points for them.

    You won’t believe them until you see them for yourself what they want you and any family you have to ONLY drive.

  64. It would be nice if more cities were like Reno Nevada with a circle blvd around the outside that allows alternate traffic to not clog up the freeways and it made for VERY smooth sailing even during rush hour which the two freeways would be jammed so we would go on Mccarran blvd which there is many options to cut thru town.

    If that was a model for Anchorage it would improve traffic over there. I have seen Anchorage on street view and it looks like little to no planning was done.

    Reno Nevada thought ahead and a lot of traffic congestion is relived and it could be a whole lot worse.

  65. Great, now I’m going to be unproductive for the rest of the day dreaming of moving to Alaska!

    My wife and I spent some time renting an RV and working our way through Alaska when we had one kid. Now we have 4 and it’s hard to fathom even visiting at the moment. I’ve been working with a Moving Company that specializes with moves to Alaska and hope to at least make a business trip at some point.

  66. Just came upon your blog today, I love it!! I do have a question for you though.. What would be your list of things to stock up on (from the lower 48) before making the move up north?! What are must haves or needs that we should either keep or look into purchasing?!

    • Hi, I live in Anchorage and just came upon your comment from a few months ago, Alaska is huge, that is the first thing to remember. So living in Anchorage with a population of around 300,000 is far different than living in Barrow, (Waaaaaay up North) or Sitka, (small town in Southeast where it rains mostly) Anchorage has several Costcos, Sam’s Clubs, Walmarts, Targets, Barnes & Noble, lots of thrift stores, used book stores, natural food stores, you can get anything you want in Anchorage at reasonable prices & there is no sales tax. Even if you want to live in a tiny little village for some reason, (for which you’d want to do a looooot of research) you can use the big box stores “Bush Shipping” services. So you really can get anything you need here.

  67. Michele,hey!

    $900 per person a month or year for the PFD? whats the lowest temp its been in your area? is it really,or very,worth staying in Alaska? the gold digging aspect of it all,where in your areas are they at? how much for renting property to dig gold? the price for living there scares me,and i dont get scared easily.i have questions to ask ive yet to come up with.my questions have questions.

    i bet the heating bill is very high up there too huh? is pip available up there? what are the most common jobs up there?

  68. There is nothing special about Alaska Alaska is the same as any other place you like it you love it or you leave it there is nothing special about the people there people are all the same in general nice people good people evil people bad people.

  69. Thank you for sharing this. My wife and I are considering being adventurous and moving to Alaska to teach. We currently teach in Las Vegas and I think this is by far the absolute worst place to live. We have been here for 6 years and I want out so bad. I’m hoping things will work out and we can both get jobs in anchorage or not too far from there. I’m ready for a cold, dark, sunny crazy adventure of moving over there πŸ™‚

  70. My dream is to live in Alaska. However, I want to live in Sitka. Have you ever been there? Is it different than Anchorage?

    • I have never been there. I know it is beautiful though, and I don’t believe they get much snow; I think it rains a lot during the winter.

  71. Okay I’m from Anchorage and I’m 14, people make Alaska seem way worse than it is. Sure we are like own country and you never hear people say like ” oh I think I wanna live in Alaska.” But we are seriously not that bad. I don’t understand why people always drag on us about ohhh that place is so cold but in reality we’re not. Sure I’m from Anchorage and it’s never cold here. But Global warming is really effecting us, I can’t remember the last time it was below 0 here, we haven’t been having barely any snow which is disappointing. Alaska isn’t that bad, and in Anchorage i’m within walking distance of everything, maybe because iv’e lived here my whole life, I think it is. People here are nice (if you’re a neighborhood kid) everybody knows everyone, I go to Carrs (jewel lake one) and I know everyone that works there. I think you would have to live in Alaska a long time and get to know everyone well for you to really enjoy this place. Plus we are a very diverse place you wouldn’t believe it, I often wonder how people find their way up here, like we are definitely not the most interesting place to be, unless you love the outdoors. Overall Alaska is nice, living here definitely has its perks (dividend) but I wouldn’t recommend living here unless you know people or you were actually born here.

    P.S I have never heard anyone call Anchorage, Los Anchorage, and I have lived here my whole life.

    • I definitely agree that there are a lot of nice people here. And you’re right, a lot of other places get colder than Anchorage, but it is the duration of winter that makes it difficult if you’re not used to it. I also agree Anchorage is a very diverse place. I don’t think a lot of people refer to Anchorage as Los Anchorage; I’ve only heard it a few times. I’d encourage you to travel (if you haven’t done much already) to other states. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own little world here that we forget what other states have to offer too.

  72. My flight was $139 to move here. My one bedroom apt. is $891 including gas, elec, water, trash and wifi.
    I chose to live in Palmer Ak., which is 37 miles north of Los Anchorage. My food prices are comparable to
    Southern, Ca. (if not cheaper) which is where I moved from. My gas price per gal is $2.30 compared to the
    special reaming rate of $3.50 for every over burden, over taxed, poor, pathetic Californian.

    As far as driving conditions, let me see, Moose and snow—compared to drive by shootings, car-jackings, hourly
    Sig Alerts and the occasional Brit who thinks he can drive the freeways, just after landing. I’ll take the Moose
    and snow every time and so will every other sane person.

    Alaska is beautiful and definitely worth any discomfort incurred (which I still haven’t found any yet) to move here.
    I personally think that people who weren’t born here and then move here and find out how absolutely fantastic
    it is to live here, are the ones who talk bad about the weather or what ever, just so people won’t move here.

    So, I’ll just bring up my final few points and then you make up your own minds or you can email me at:
    mlf7777@protonmail.ch and I’ll help you make-up your mind for you. There’s no state or sales tax here (generally no sales tax, none in Los Anchorage but each city can inflict one, Palmer has one—it’s 3% but most don’t) and
    yes, they pay you to live here. This year they paid approximately $2000 for people to live here.

    Lastly, the state is twice the size of Texas with only 700,000 people in it and is more breath-takingly beautiful
    then probably any place on the planet and if you love hunting and fishing, you’ll LOVE, LOVE, LOVE ALASKA!

    • I agree when I lived in anchorage in 2001, I remember prices being around Northern California prices. There were a few items you paid more for but nothing overwhelming. Now in Sacramento California you pay 1800 for 3 bed house about 1300sq ft. And it’s not a nice neighborhood. That is horrible to me. I’m really looking forward to moving back to AK one day. I feel you can’t compare Alaska to any of the lower 48. Overall I think it was a great quality of life compare to parts of California.

      • Hey you

        I am from Kansas and we are going to move soon to Borrow. I am going to coach football up there. Any advise for us?

          • I’ve been to Barrow several times and I have always enjoyed my trips. The people there are very friendly. I even saw six polar bears the first time I was there (about five miles out of town where they drag the whale bones). There’s no question that living there isn’t for everyone, but if you can get past the remoteness, you may love it. Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

  73. I enjoyed your comments. I’m single so unless I was married I don’t think I could
    fo by myself. I watching a show. It looks beautiful.Good luck with your family. God BlessπŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ™‹

  74. Hi, great site, I have lived in Anchorage since 1993 when I came up with my younger sister, (her idea) with only our backpacks for the summer to work & I ended up staying. I just got off the plane & thought “This feels like home”. We had a lot of adventures that first summer and she returned to grad school and then to live in Spain with her guy, (she’s still there) & I’m still here. I have lived in 7 states, starting with Northern Minnesota, so the weather felt good to me. Anchorage is the largest town I’ve ever lived in and I was surprised at how much “culture” there is here. We have a really good symphony, an Opera company, a ballet company, a Concert Chorus, a great performing arts center for all these things, and we also get some traveling shows. We also have smaller play companies and a really great “folk festival” the end of January which is free. I actually attended my very first Opera, Ballet, & live Plays here in Anchorage.
    Now unfortunately I’m retired early on disability due to what was originally a work injury, but I do volunteer a couple of times weekly at “Visit Anchorage”, our visitor center on 4th & F Street right downtown Anchorage. Anyone interested in seeing a great web site all about Anchorage and other parts of Alaska should check out http://www.visitanchorage.net You can also call the visitor center directly at (907) – 276 – 2363 and an employee or volunteer will answer questions and also will send you out a package of booklets & information related to your interests. You can also request booklets related to whatever you’re interested in at the website. There is also a form for people interested in moving here, with information from the Chamber of Commerce and you can get lots of information about places to live, cost of living, job situations, etc. Actually I’d go to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce web site for that, just google it. But you can get lots of visitor information for free by filling out the online form or calling the above number.
    There are a lot of people who live in Anchorage who have never been to the downtown visitor center. The original one is a little log cabin which is just gorgeous and very cute, and the newer one is next door and is in the old city hall bldg.
    Regarding the public transportation system, well, I had to sell my car due to medications I take that preclude driving so I do depend on our city bus’s. It really depends on what part of town you live in as to how well the bus system works. I live near downtown near 4 bus lines so it works out ok for me but for a lot of people it is difficult to get around on the bus.
    When I first came in 93 there wasn’t any Costco or Walmart etc so things did cost more. Now we have 2 Costco’s & Sams Club, 3 Walmarts, a new Target which is really nice, several nice movie theatres, Barnes & Noble, a great, very large used bookstore called Title Wave, & lots of chains that weren’t here when I first arrived. For some reason people living in Anchorage like the chains! But they have driven prices down, and I was just reading an article about how Amazon Prime has changed how people in “bush” Alaska order necessities. Costco & Walmart both have “bush” ordering which people in bush areas use to keep their costs down, and Amazon is great, I use it a lot. You don’t get the 2 day Prime shipping, it’s more like 4 days but is still a great way to get things at good costs.
    Again, great thread. Hope this helps someone……

  75. Mosquitos…. Granted I am from fairbanks, but mosquitoes aren’t jokingly called “the state bird” for nothing!

  76. So, you are saying that if you have little to no money. . You shouldn’t move there?

  77. Hello everyone, my boyfriend and I live in Georgia, I was born in Georgia him in Miami, I’ve been talking about moving to Alaska for almost 2 years now and at the end of this year my boyfriend has agreed to move, just trying to see what’s it’s like there before we move and see if someone could help with some information as far a housing, jobs etc. Thank you!!

  78. We were thinking of moving to Alaska considering the fact we are from Guam and I’ve never left my island. But if it that bad there then I don’t think I want to move!πŸ™ˆ

  79. I was born and raised in Alaska and lived there almost my whole life. I think it’s absolutely beautiful, but I don’t recommend living there unless you want that lifestyle at any cost. It has gotten even more expensive over the last few years. The cost of living has really jumped. Another thing about Alaska is that most of the housing is very tiny and outdated! You are paying a fortune for a small apartment. I have lived in 9 different apartments in Anchorage and they were all expensive and small. Unless you have a lot of money you are probably going to have to be crammed in a 750 ft apartment. Also the schools really aren’t that great unless you are in the south side of town. Another thing that really bothered me was being indoors 9 months out of the year. (It’s a pain in the butt getting 3 kids in their snow gear every day. It’s easier staying indoors) I also really hate being cold. I don’t think you ever get used to it, even if you were born there like me. I also really hate the trapped feeling you get there.
    I think that Alaska is a wonderful place to visit if you aren’t willing to sacrifice so much to live there.

  80. Thanks for sharing this!

    My mother is in the process of relocating to MN. We visited MN back in February and it was BURR, cold! It’s a different kind of cold, too. And, we’re from the Midwest, so we know cold.The transportation system is state of the art, so that a plus. I hope she likes it there.
    On another note, my husband and I visited AK last year during the summer and it was AMAZING. Come on it’s Alaska!
    The extended hours of days light, the twilight hours, the views speak for themselves. The traffic wasn’t congested so it made driving to places so much easier. We discovered Alaska offers a different type of living, than living in the lower 48. A more peaceful way of life. What more could you as for?! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    We had the opportunity to explore Seward, Anchorage, Wasilla, and Palmer. If visiting you will not be bored! I was a little disappointed with the food options, not to much to chose from. I was expecting more fish and the Halibut we did have wasn’t the best… We ended up preparing many of our own meals.
    We shopped at the local Wal-Mart and the cost of groceries were about $1.25 to $2.00 more than here in the Midwest. Not to bad. I suffered jet lag while there and it was one of the worst feelings ever. I had no clue what was happening to me. I recovered after a day or so. But overall it was a great experience. Not to many people can say they’ve been to Alaska. But I can! πŸ™‚

    Our plan is to visit during the winter to get a taste of an Alaskan winter and the darkness! I have read many comments on this thread and they mention the cold and the darkness. How cold is it? Is the cold the main concern or the amount of snow? How dark is ? Can resident’s/visitors leave their homes/rentals, or is it to dark and cold? Is there really 30 days of night?

    Also, how beneficial is the yearly dividend if the cost of living and property taxes is high?

    Are there programs to assist with the high cost of living?

    What is the current minimum wage rate?

    How relaxed are the laws?

    Thank you for any feedback!

  81. Thank you for the detailed information MICHELLE. Considering all the challenges, if one still decides to live in Alaska, which specific locations are somewhat better in regards to climate and schools for kids? Plus, do you know if green card holders are entitled for dividend fund?

    • I don’t know if green card holders are eligible for the dividend or not. The climate of Southeast Alaska is a little more mild than the northern part of Alaska. I would stick to the larger communities for better schools.

  82. Due to my husband’s job transfer, I’m moving to Wasilla in a few days. We have 4 kids. I have a job too, but I’m just worried because I suffer from depression and don’t know what Wasilla’s weather will do to it. I already face problems when it’s dark out in the winter and the snow doesn’t help much either. I’m used to some snow here and there. Not a lot. I had not choice in the decision to move. Anyway I’m wondering what the medical system is like in Alaska. Are there many doctors? Can I find a doctor without worrying I will be left stranded? I don’t have a referral for my condition so I’m clueless how I’m going to do it now. Do you think I can survive up there?

    • There are several doctors in the Anchorage area, which is less than an hour away. I would highly suggest seeking medical help (maybe a counselor) to help you cope with your depression. The biggest thing people will tell you is that you have to get out–don’t stay coped inside all day.

        • The comment went to my spam account for some reason (maybe because of the link??), but it is up there now. πŸ™‚

          • Hi Michelle thanks for your reply I thought it may have been an issue sending a link’ just to to mention in relation to my story and research my girlfriend lived with and suffered with Depression at the most extreme level it was a daily practice for her to keep her existence I spent countless hours looking for anything out there that could help her and to tell you the truth there isn’t a lot out there that can quick fix mental health issues with great results overnight . We talk about drugs and other coping methods but Alcohol is the absolute devil when dealing with depression . I found a place called (Fountain Head also known as Paladium Private) in Australia and sent her there for 1 month and it saved her lifeπŸ™ To break it down Fountain Head have a farm and practice a holistic approach with there treatment and after the first week she was on her way to recovery’ you are free to leave if you like but 95% of people stay because they can see themselves improving . I could spend hours talking about the treatment angle that they use there but if you look on YouTube under one of those names I mentioned there are videos from the people whom have been there and although I was reluctant at first to believe what the patients were saying about there recovery there was just too many people’ between the ages of 16 and 70 ish that testified that the place saved there lives. Unfortunately the cost is $1000.00 Australian dollars PER DAY so paying the equivalent to $34.000.00 for the month sadly is a gamble’ and most people won’t go there. But I look at it like this how much is a life worth!! The strange thing is that in the Whole scope of things the coaching they receive there is repetitive and really makes sense to the individual . The downside with Depression is that nearly all practitioners and people focus on is the word Depession and don’t realise or recognise that Anxiety comes FIRST and by addressing that you then see fast results and in dealing with depression πŸ€ I have some literature that she was taught there which is priceless if I can send in another message all about self worth which repetitively saved her life by changing her way of thinking and it can be practiced in all our daily lives’ it has even made me look at life from a different angle in the way I see myself. Thanks for your reply I love your feed here on Anchorage Alaska 😊By the way I,m following you on Instagram mine is matt08sydney2 take care πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

    • Hello Bonnie ‘ people whom suffer from anxiety and depression will find that a lack of sunshine and also working in a job at night will be bad for your depression but you can purchase a special intensely bright light machine that you sit in front of for about 20 to 30 minutes per day every day and it has had amazing benefits in reducing depression they are used a lot in places with long winters and reduced sunlight. Just to add a couple of other things that dramatically reduce depression firstly is Vitamin B12 ! Next time you see your doctor ask especially to have your points tested for B12 as stress affects the brain/body from making adequate amounts. Your points should be around 100 . Depression lowers your B12 points dramatically and through personal experience from a close friend of mine her points count was 23 .you need to buy 1000 milligram B12 tablets and take 2 minimum per . My friend was on 2000 in morning 2000 at night . After a month her points count was 100 again. You can ask your doctor to get a B12 injection as well it gets into the body quickly. Also there is a particular Omega Tripple fish oil tablets but nearly all of them are usually weak in potentcy which ever one you buy try and buy pharmaceutical grade but the most important ingredient it must contain is at least ( 500 mg EPA ) and ( 250 mg DHA ) so one tablet needs to contain at less around those amounts to benefit you and you would take 2 to 4 tablets a day . My friend was on 2 tab in morning 2 tab at night . EPA is anti inflamitory – and DHA the opposite its inflamitory + you need that balance of the two .it’s all to do with the fire flight response . Out of the thousands of videos you see on depression and I spent many years researching everything out on YouTube and books this particular video explains anxiety and depression with a new perspective. He is a proffessor from KU University in Kansas He lectures and teaches on Depression His name is Stephen Ilardi I will try and add the video link on here for you. He is the one that covers everything I’ve mentioned in here if for some reason the link doesn’t work properly go on YouTube and search ( Stephen Ilardi therapeutic lifestyle change for depression ) is the video goes for one hour and 44 minutes It’s really worth watching I wish you well kind regards Matthew Hordern https://youtu.be/7HDFEbsGRlA

    • Hi, this is for Bonnie, just saw your post about your depression, I also have major depression, along with fibromyalgia & chronic pain, anyway, there are plenty of clinics & Dr’s & MSW’s who treat mental health issues. I don’t know about Wasilla as I live in Anchorage but there is good medical care, it’s just more expensive than the lower 48…..Also for winter a lot of people here use SAD lights, they cost a lot less than they used to, I use one for 20-30 minutes first thing in the am in the winter & it’s hard to quantify but they seem to help, can’t hurt anyway. You can look them up on Amazon.com. Also most medical providers here will recommend Vitamin D3. It’s good for lack of sunlight. It can be an issue, definitely but if you try those things along with perhaps an antidepressent at least in the winter along with trying to get out, those things may help….

      • The housing market is what kills me about Alaska.

        Paying $300,000 to $500,000 for a 2-bedroom that was built in the 1960’s where elsewhere it would only run you $85,000; and that is not including the exorbitant utility fees that can run exceptionally high if you use fuel as a source.

        I guess it’s one good thing about Indiana, our gas is only $1.95 a gallon, you can buy a modern 4+ bedroom home for $200,000 or less, none of your utilities will be above $90… The only downside is there is nothing to look at, just flat plains.

    • Hi, Anchorage is one of the most diverse places there is, I have heard that there are over 100 languages spoken in the public school system……

  83. Thankyou for your story ” I live in Australia and I’ve always wanted to move over and live in Anchorage Alaska. I’m over the age of being able to work there though which is a shame but I wonder if I could volunteer somewhere over there for a year? Anyway thanks for a great story kind regards Matthew Hordern πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

    • This is for Matt Hordern about your desire to volunteer while being retired? There a LOT of places that need volunteers, both full & part time. You can volunteer as much or as little as you want. I volunteer a couple of half day shifts a week at our city visitor center, http://www.visit anchorage.net and it’s very interesting as we get visitors from all over the world. Another place I’ve been thinking about volunteering at is the Anchorage Literacy Program, again, as we have many people arriving from other countries they need English literacy volunteers very badly & provide training. I have a friend who is in her 60’s and retired and last year she volunteered nearly full days in her grandsons elementary school, there are “title 1” schools which have a lot of lower income students & she even received a very small stipend for doing so, it was for being a senior volunteer in the schools. You can get a packet intended for new residents from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce or phone there & talk to someone. And as to volunteering, there are many, many places that need volunteers, yes.

      • This is for akbj Thankyou for your reply re volunteer work in Alaska your information is greatly appreciated😊 I’m still here working in Australia but I think that a trip over there for a month would define my thoughts on living over there permanently . When I make that decision to visit I’ll be sure to bring my Suntan lotion with me lol don’t want to get sunburntπŸŒžβ›±πŸŒ΄ 😊

  84. I ran across this looking up a photographer and decided to read, and wow. Nobody is paid to live in Alaska! The PFD was meant for alaskans who lived here their whole life and was meant for a “rainy day” (when oil production stops). It is also in a way, giving back to the alaskans in which their land and culture were stolen. All of this information in taught to freshmen in high school, as a mandatory high school course in alaska (AK studies).

  85. This article is a bit outdated. If you came from a HOT, overpopulated city like I did and lived there for 28 years, long and dark winter nights, and long and bright summer nights are going to be a breeze. Not that I wholly enjoy hibernating in my overpriced 365 sq.ft studio in downtown ($1089/mo) during the cold winter months – although I do find that making my own hot sauce and jams, working out and snowboarding during those months keeps me busy and kills time. But it is not an impossible situation and is definitely doable if one finds the time to be productive. The same applies for the summer. I’m either in Europe or I’m in Alaska enjoying the summer days outdoors, fishing and camping, on a kayak near whales in Seward or hiking the backcountry.

    Walking-friendly city: Yes and No. This definitely depends on where you’re at in Anchorage. I’ve been in Anchorage going on 3 years now and the city is growing rapidly, with new businesses popping up and buildings being built. If you’re in downtown, there are shops, cafes and stores everywhere (considering the small scale layout and population of 310,000). If you’re in midtown, forget it. Maybe one or two stores for every 2 stop lights. But in comparison to the “big city life”, I’d much rather prefer the small scale city like Anchorage where I won’t fry like a strip of pecan-smoked bacon after walking 30 feet on a sizzling sidewalk breathing 80% humid air in 100+ temperatures.

    There are people I know who grew up in Alaska that can say the exact opposite; my buddy moved to Portland from Fairbanks at the age of 25 because he was sick of the mountainous life here. He’s loving Portland and says it was the best decision he ever made. My college buddy from Texas moved to Anchorage and says it was the best decision of his life. He moved to Alaska after an oil internship at the age of 24.

    Alaska life can be told in many different ways. It depends on one’s background, tolerance for weather, like/dislike for the outdoors, purpose for relocation, etc… One needs to live here at least 2 years to really find it either enjoyable or exhausting.

  86. I did a road trip to Alaska in May 2015. The best road trip by far compare to others. Love, love, love Alaska as a tourist in the summer. I still remember the exhilarating feeling after crossing the Canadian border into Alaska; i kept thinking to myself ‘I can’t believe I made it. I’m in Alaska!’. One of these days I would like to come back to Alaska again in the winter to see if I can handle it. If I cannot handle the winter there then I would just have to come back again and again in the summer.

  87. My husband, I, and our three boys are considering moving to Alaska. We are very adventurous and love fishing, hiking, gardening, hunting, and all outdoor activities. I want my kids to be healthy and happy and most of all understand the value of a hard days work…and living in the lower 48 just isn’t giving my kids what they need. Overcrowded schools, and over stimulated television is becoming too much. I’m ready for a brand new start and I want my kids to have a healthier understanding and respect for mother nature that they just can’t get here.

  88. Our family just moved to WA state (south-central) last year from growing up in Alaska. I grew up in Eagle River then moved to Wasilla after marriage. It’s totally another world moving to the Lower 48. Prices here for other things are more expensive! To get a drivers license was $89 and for my kids I needed to enroll them into drivers ed if I wanted them to get a license before they turned 18, ouch! The DMV fees are outrageous! You must pay taxes on your car, even if you ship it down from AK! So 8% tax on a car that you bring into this state not to mention the license fees on top of that. Definitely more than Alaska. I have not seen much of a savings in groceries, I can go across and buy in Oregon too. I see about one dollar less in milk and in eggs on average, but much of the other things are still the same as I paid. I could buy apples at Fred Meyer in Wasilla for $1.29 per pound for the school boy little ones and I just paid the same in Fred Meyer in The Dalles, Oregon yesterday… I would have hoped for better fruit prices in the state that grows them…what gives? Gas prices seem to be about the same here as up there too. But we had to say bye bye to the PFD. The no-tax in Alaska (to me) made up for the extreme tax of Washington. Even if I shopped in Wasilla I’d pay a whopping 2% sales tax on purchases up to $500 to help pay for the police. But here it’s 6.5% state tax then another 2% or more county tax on top of that with NO cap. Sometimes you can buy in Oregon and get away from the tax but not on cars. Thank goodness for Jet Blue airlines making serious competition in summer months. I just flew to AK with my kids for $100 each way from Portland, it’s the same from Seattle. The people in front of me paid $59 per one way ticket. I really liked Jet Blue too. We are missing the PFD this year with our family of 9 living in WA. I’m getting used to it, but there are definitely financial trade offs.

  89. My name is Archiford Matarino with five children living in Harare, Zimbabwe. I am very much interested in relocating to Alaska. I need your help and assistance because my family love Alaska so much.

  90. I want to move from North Carolina to Barrow Alaska because it’s small in population and has lots of cold weather and that’s what I’m looking for, but my husband owns an Electrical contracting business and is hesident. I’m almost to the point of going on my own I can’t take this heat and humity any more. Does anyone have any information that can help me?

    • Can you visit the area before you make the move? There are other places in Alaska that aren’t so remote, and where he could start up his business better.

  91. Is it difficult to find a fishing job via internet? I’m planning going to alaska for work as soon as my holidays at uni starts (December 1st) and coming back to my country last week of january. It woild be awesome

  92. Nice read! I was station at elmendort afb when I was 19 ( 15 years ago lol) I hated it as a young person. But now I have 5 kids and thinking back, anchorage is a great city. I live in Sacramento ca. And even tho I love weather here. I hate the quality of life here. We are seriously thinking about moving to anchorage. How is the safety? Back in 2001, i remember crime being fairly low. We use to leave r cars running while going to the store lol.

    • I feel like the crime has gotten really bad these last few years. This year will probably result in the most homicides ever.

  93. Hi. I am planning to find a job in Alaska. Been unemployed for about 1 year 8 months now. Chemical Engineering Graduate from McMaster Universty, Canada. Currently I live in Africa and hasnt been friendly with jobs. Care to help? Contact me with details at lekgwerehoodlum@yahoo.com

  94. I have a question
    I lived in Alaska in 2011 till 2015 and had my son there what I want to know is can I still get the PDF for my son that was born there .. but we no longer live there due to the fact we had to move because we got deploy out to another we are in the army ? And can I still get back the pasted PDF from 2014-2015

  95. I grew up in a very remote part of California, having left for the US Marines 20 years ago and never returned. The remote area was lonely and there aren’t jobs, so I stayed in Southern California after discharge and currently own an electrical business. The stress of it, coupled with the tight laws, high taxes and just being burned out have made me desire Alaska for it’s beauty, fishing, hunting, no sales tax, and a full change of scenery from the desert. I’ve been considering a move to Alaska with my wife and our tribe of children (lol) and would appreciate any advice in it’s regard. It’s not something I could do right away, as I have many variables of preparation to move out of this state to any, but I would like to prepare regardless. I do appreciate all of the tid bits of info, advice to others, etc and have been taking it all into consideration.
    Thank you!

  96. I really wish i wasnt born in alaska. been trying my entire life to leave state with enough to move and live anywhere else.

    Everything is so expensive and every place pays $8 wage even after years working there. At least 70% of people in anchorage struggle to find an affordable studio. Let lone get into the studio. Most cheap 800/month studio’s which you wont find any cheaper are listed as 685-700 but when you call in they tell you 800 or more then you also pay utilities a down or double down deposit which is as it sounds. rent or double first months rent + rent e.g. 800+800+800 for first month. and most still wont let you move in unless you make 5+times the amount rent cost. The instance the castle requires $4000+month income to move into 300sqft studio’s that are 700-800/month and you pay utilities.

    Absolute nightmare to live in alaska and so bad that it cost about 10x the amount to leave alaska then to get in.

  97. I miss Alaska SO much. My dad was army, so the army covered our move and it was still hard. Seven years later, we’re in Georgia, I have my own family, and I still want to go back more than anything. I’ve convinced my husband that Alaska is a magical wonderland and that moving there is the best idea ever. Now I’ve been researching moving companies via google (which is how I came across this) and we may as well scrap everything, move up with just our clothes and sentimental, and then start over because the cheapest moving estimate I’ve come across is $13,000… </3
    From what I remember, you nailed everything. We lived at Ft. Richardson for a while and then moved out to Wasilla. So I want to move back up to the Wasilla/Palmer area.

    Gosh I miss it.

        • Yes, there are Hispanics that live here. I’m not sure about the ratio of miles for schools. I know many elementary schools are within walking distance for the kids that attend that school.

  98. So how do you make it there? I checked on my profession and while in demand the pay for it sucks there. Here I own my own business, but I can get a job teaching air conditioning and heating, or working for someone making 28-35+ an hour. I made calls there and was offering 15-18 an hour for someone with 28 years in the field.

    • Usually the pay is more here since the cost of living is more, but maybe that’s not the case for all professions. I’m not really sure. . . .

  99. Is maintenance on vehicles and homes more so in Alaska than the southern US!! Love your article, I read it to my husband today because about once a month he will bring up moving to Alaska.

    • I’m in Texas now btw… I’ve lived in the Middle East for years,,, but that is very comparable to living in Texas! I would have 4 children with me… I’m thinking of how it would work with getting to appointments and school functions…

      • I’m not quite sure what you think would be difficult about it?? Distance to travel between places?

    • It might depend upon if you live in a more rural part of the South versus a larger city, but I think it is a litter higher here than other places.

  100. Hi Michelle, Thanks for writing your blog. I just recently received a job offer in Fairbanks and am definitely going to be considering it. One thing about Alaska that concerns me is reports of it being a dangerous state with lots of crime. How do you feel about that? Do you feel unsafe in Alaska (because of the people, not things like crazy weather and accident running into moose?) I’m from Minnesota so I am also a Midwestern native as well. I am currently living in New Mexico though and so I have definitely experienced the sketchiness of this state (which is ranked 2nd most dangerous) which I am not a big fan of (who would be). I would love to get your thoughts. I love all things outdoors, but I also want to feel safe. Thanks!

    • I really think Fairbanks is safer than Anchorage. There are definitely areas of Anchorage I avoid when running–especially in the dark and early parts of the morning. I usually feel pretty safe in my neighborhood, but we live in a relatively safe part of town.

      • That is good information to know. Thank you so much for that info. I am glad to hear that there are safe parts of town to be found and that Fairbanks seems pretty good too. Thank you very much for responding! I appreciate it.