For some odd reason, I searched for Alaska on Pinterest to see what would pop up, and along with the standard amazing scenery pictures, there were so many blogs and pictures about how to “do” Alaska, from the cruising wardrobe to the best eats and how to actually see a bear, and they all crack me up. Alaska is such a weird place and I’m totally on the bandwagon of telling you people in the lower 48 the real deets.
And before you start saying, wait, I thought you were a washingtonian through and through, let me give you a little back story. Being the youngest of three and the product of a true Alaskan marriage, (the law in this state is everyone can marry one person legally, cause you know, gold rush and no women and no pastors to marry people back in the day,) has given me some Alaskan perspective. After my family moving around a little bit, I was born at Fort Wainwright, right outside of North Pole Alaska. Which sounds super cool unless you’ve actually been to North Pole, then you just feel kinda sad about it.
After graduating from high school, I headed back to Alaska to get my associates from University of Alaska, Anchorage and actually having some run in with moose. And if you follow me at all, you know that right now I’m located in Juneau, working my fourth season at the best place ever, Alaska Zipline Adventures. So though I might not be a TRUE Alaskan, I think I’m close enough to add my two cents. So get ready for a list that will blow your mind about this great state.
1. We do not ride polar bears to work.
However, I’m sure everyone has at least thought about training a moose for a quicker commute. Also, the bears are more like huge raccoons, eagles are everywhere and ravens are super smart and scary. Also huge.
2. Free shipping is AMAZING!!!
Especially in Southeast Alaska, everything has to be brought in by boat or plane, which makes waiting for packages super freaking long and really expensive. So if you don’t want to buy everything at Fred’s, you find those free shipping deals. It is so worth it.
3. Alaskans are worse coffee snobs than washingtonians.
We don’t really have starbucks, but darn it if there isn’t a coffee hut on every corner. In every city. Because that stuff is the elixir of life, especially if you’re only getting three hours of sunlight a day
4. The shopping here can be so cool.
Again, if you follow me at all you know that I’m spending my summer hanging in Downtown Juneau at Treetop Tees. (Find the website here) Because of the rain, snow, sunshine and literally everything in between, including the unofficial state bird (Mosquitos are no joke here,) you definitely need to be prepared for the worst of the worst weather wise. Why not do it in a cute sweatshirt or tee?
5. The scenery here never gets old.
Just yesterday while driving back into town, I had a small freak out about the clouds overhead. I’m telling you, they didn’t even look real. They looked like those painted ones in Mulan, and they were so pretty with the sunshine filtering through. And oh yeah, there are mountains everywhere. Not just one (I’m looking at you Mt. Ranier) but hundreds. With snow, without snow, green, rocky, you name it.
6. The tourist season in Southeast is no joke.
With boats in every day and literally thousands of people walking along, locals will tell you straight up they avoid downtown at all costs during the summer. It’s like a completely different world and can be so much fun and also so crazy (find more summer shenaningans at the zipline blog, here) Just do me a favor, and when you go completely in shock by the mountains and loose all sense of self, just use the crosswalks so we don’t worry about running you over. Please and thank you.
7. The eats here will actually blow your mind.
It is completely normal here to have a fisherman friend who catches fish and sends it your way. It is also super normal to have moose on the menu, or my personal favorite, reindeer sausage (which you can buy at Costco.) We also have amazing pizza in each city, surprisingly delicious mexican food and at least one spicy Indian restaurant. If you need food recommendations, do not hesitate asking someone wearing xtra-tuffs, they’ll take care of you.
8. The fashion here will probably kill you.
Speaking of XtraTuffs, I know the fashion kills me sometimes, especially while running this little platform. But I’m telling you, as ridiculous as some people might think XtraTuffs are, they will save your feet while walking through the muskeg or on a boat. Also, all the floral is always available. And shipping can be expensive so sometimes you have to take what you can get, suck it up and get yourself to Fred Meyers.
9. It’s a small world out here.
All of the cities and towns in Alaska are different mind you. Southeast Alaska is a rain forest, Fairbanks is super cold and also a desert. But, if you’ve ever lived anywhere in Alaska, chances are you while find them somewhere else later on. Whether that be somewhere on the east coast or one town over, someone will probably recognize you, be surprised at how old you’ve gotten and will inevitably ask about all your family members.
10. You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it.
I could tell you stories till I’m blue in the face and show you all my pictures, but unless you get your butt up here and see it for yourself, you’ll never truly know!
Alright, that’s my list! As this summer comes to a close and we start looking forward to snow and shorter days, I hope this inspires at least one person to love Alaska a little bit more. Let me know if you agree or have things to add! Find me on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr for more fun stuff and let me know when you’re headed my way here in Juneau! I’d love to see you 😉