"Why did you move to Alaska?"
This is a question I've been asked numerous times, and the answer isn't an easy one. I'm tempted to answer with the classical response of many mountaineers when asked why they climb Mt. Everest: "because it's there."
I cannot begin to answer this question without first addressing the story of Karl and I. Wayyyy back in 2004, Karl moved to Pittsburgh from Alaska. His older brother was moving to Pittsburgh as well, and Karl was at a point in his life when he wanted to see what life was like in the Lower 48.
Fast forward a few years, and Karl and I are happily together, yet he is not happy in Pittsburgh. I put off visiting Alaska for the longest time because I was terrified I would hate it and have to tell Karl that his home stunk.
We made our first trip to Alaska together over New Years in 2009/2010. Some may question the rationale of visiting the Last Frontier in the winter for the first time, but I absolutely loved it. I can ramble on and on about 'it's a dry cold' but it really comes down to the fact that it's absolutely gorgeous in the winter and there are so many things to do in the snow. I may not like the cold, but I do love snow and there just isn't usually all that much of it in Pittsburgh.
It turned out that I loved Alaska so much the first time around, I couldn't wait to see it in the summer. We made our second trip to Alaska in June 2010. I was more surprised by the cool temperatures in summer than I was by the frigid temperatures in the winter.
We didn't have the option of actually moving to Alaska at this time because I was finishing my masters degree, and would then owe a year of time to my employer afterward. That put moving to Alaska in a nice, safe place: sometime/inthefuture/downtheroad/maybe (which, not coincidentally, is Karl's response to whether we'll ever get married).
Then, came Spring of 2011. In some bizarre perfect storm of events, I was the one that actually suggested that we move in June. I was burned out at work, I was tired of having to work a second job, and just generally frustrated. As one friend put it, the only time to make a big change is when keeping the status quo is worse than the unknown. We began our planning and our saving, which is a massive amount of work when moving so far away.
Finally, on July 6, 2011, we loaded up our cars and hit the road for what ended up being 4565 miles of driving to our new home. It took nine days and $3000, and was the most incredible experience of my life. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to drive through so many awesome places that many people get to see. I am so lucky to have been able to bring my lovable pup all the way to Alaska with me, as a quick snuggle always makes the blues go away. And of course, I am so lucky to have Karl here to help navigate Alaska and stop me from feeling like I've gone to another planet.
Have you ever wanted a do over in your life? This is mine. What better time to change the things you don't like than when you've quit your job, sold almost all of your belongings, and moved across the country? I refuse to work two jobs - instead I will manage money and live simply. I refuse Karl working nights and weekends - we are going to be normal people that get to spend more than one night a week together. I refuse to buy into the excessive consumerism that plagues our society - I will live in a small house and only keep what I actually need. Karl and I are both committed to living sustainably, and will work to establish our own modern day homestead.
This blog started as the story of my Big Move to Alaska. It is now the story of my day to day life thousands of miles from home and in one of the most incredibly beautiful and impressive places America has to offer. I am so grateful to have friend and family that read this blog and can share in my adventures, since I wasn't able to convince all of you to come along with me. But don't worry, I will never stop harassing you to come visit - I'm already working on my list of places to bring you!