Things I Learned in Alaska.

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  1. If you don’t live in Alaska, then you’re in a non-Native. I learned this because when I talked to “natives,” they would say “Non-natives, I mean, tourists…” They realized that outsiders would think that they were talking about indigenous folks and that’s not necessarily what they meant.
  2. Everyone is obsessed with bears. Even people in the middle of Anchorage, because apparently bears like to hang out in the streets of Anchorage even with cars and bikes and people going by them. Everyone has a story about them. They all say be aware of them and stand your ground, but some have a reverence for them and will tell stories of nice bears, others will tell stories of that time the bear almost decided to kill them. They’re just a part of the territory up there.
  3. Seeing a whale or a moose is super cool, even if you’ve lived up there for a long time.
  4. A lot of people who work in Alaska are transient workers. They come up in April/May when the summer season is about to start and work their jobs until the tourist season closes their jobs down in September, then they fly back to where they came from. And they come from all over. Kentucky, Utah, Washington State. They all want to be a part of the Last Frontier.
  5. Sled dog people have a mind of their own and do their own thing.
  6. Even Alaskans dislike the cold and want it to be summer, even if their summer means 70 degrees.
  7. Alaskans are super nice. They are genuinely happy to see you and appreciate you being there.
  8. I hope you like fish. And sea food in general, because there’s a ton of it at the restaurants.
  9. I know the sun stays out most of the night in the spring and summer, but it was still super weird to witness it in person.
  10. This isn’t always the case, but some of the people we met had lived in their respective cities all their lives. They never wanted to live anywhere else in Alaska, or anywhere else for that matter. One lady moved from Juneau to Anchorage and moved back 3 months later. That’s hardcore.
  11. Alaskans are protective of their indigenous tribes. There are no native reservations, the indigenous people are fully integrated into the rest of Alaskan society. Some tribes even own the whole towns they live in and rarely let white people move in.
  12. Speaking of the indigenous tribes, I rarely heard the term “Eskimo” while I was up there. Apparently they don’t like that term anymore. You either call them “indigenous” or refer to their tribal name.
  13. There are a lot of ravens in Alaska. The indigenous tribes have a lot of stories about them, and one tribe even tells the story of how the raven was part of the origin story of Man.
  14. River otters are super cute and look like dogs hopping along the sandbar of the river.
  15. Alaska is super expensive. We went to fast food restaurant in Anchorage and one meal was $15. Wow! Even the houses are expensive. Don’t look if you don’t want to get major sticker shock. But if you do, look up houses for sale in Juneau. It’s crazy how much they’re asking for even a 3 bedroom house.
  16. Everybody has pet dogs and there’s all kinds of breeds up there, not just huskies and malamutes. There’s Australian cattle dogs, little terriers and chihuahuas. I didn’t think they’d be able to survive the cold up there, but they do, apparently.
  17. There’s only one major highway in Alaska. Plus there’s a ton of dirt roads.
  18. A lot of places require a boat or plane to come in and out and that includes people and food importing. Even though places like Juneau is connected to the mainland, Juneau is blocked by a valley of glaciers so people can only come in by boat or plane. Weird, huh?
  19. Alaska is home to the only deciduous rainforest in North America.
  20. Some towns look like the Wild West. I’m looking at you, Skagway. It was super weird.

I’m sure I’m missing stuff that I’ll think of later, but that’s all for now. I’m sorry I’m still talking about Alaska, but I’m still thinking about the place and I just love it so much.


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