The title is not a typo, it is the order in which we took the highways of Alaska. I mentioned in my last post that I was extremely sad to leave Alaska. I am not ashamed to admit I got a little teary eyed as we crossed into Canada. As stated in the last post part of me was sad because it felt like our #vanlife journey was ending (it isn’t as of yet) because we had accomplished this huge goal, the one and only one the Old Man I really agreed on must happen no matter what.
I don’t know 100% why, but I fell in love with Alaska, the land, the people, the culture, the attitude. Everyone thing about Alaska was awesome to me and if they could get rid of that whole winter thing it would be great. I am beach girl through and through and I have documented how much I hate winter, but I would love to be rich/smart enough to afford a summer home in Alaska and winter home in Florida.
One of the Old Man followers from Sam From The Van asked how Alaska changed me, and I have a hard time putting into words. The Old Man compares it to the Redwoods where you feel like a kid sitting at the grown up table and you are just quiet a listening in awe that you are there and they are so wise. Alaska is so huge so vast and so untouched by humans that it just begs to be respected. The people of Alaska are some of the nicest people I have met. Tourism is the #1 economic income and they relish in it. Service workers seemed to actually be enjoying their jobs I am sure everyone has a shitty day but since everyone makes all or almost all of their money in the summer they hustle and hustle with a smile on their face.
Alaska also seems to offer you the experience to do whatever makes you happy with no judgement and no one really watching. The Old Man and I summed up Alaska with a really bad dad joke.
US: Hey Alaska can we park here (or insert anything you want to do)?
Alaska: I don’t know “CAN” you?
It is a bad joke and I am guessing only we find it funny or that it makes sense, but the crux of the joke is that if you want to do something in Alaska just do it. It felt like truly the only place I have been where you are setting you own limits, not laws, not people, not society, you. It is terrifying and awesome all at the same time. I mean if you can live with bears and moose hanging around you all the time what else could you find scary or terrifying? Take for instance that Alaska has more pilots than all of the Lower 48, but only a few actually have a pilot's license. When planes are you best mode of transportation there is no other choice. All those planes flying around you would think air traffic control would be brutal, but the reality only the major federal airports have air traffic control the rest is just everyone talking to everyone and keeping an out for other planes.
Also the sheer number of people was a relief, as in there weren’t many. You could drive on the road and while the lines had long faded it didn’t really matter if you drove in the middle you wouldn’t see a car for miles. Both cities were bustle of activity, but not so much that it drove you insane. It was like being part of a small special group of people. Alaska is the one place I truly felt like I could get away from life and just enjoy my surroundings. It helps that internet and cell service is hard to come by and you can truly get away. The Old Man I spent time in Chena Hot Springs which is a self sufficient hot springs no cell service and no wifi or very slow slow wifi. It was great to just enjoy where we were and not have to look at our phones. The Old Man had to stop working and it was truly a great way to unwind and our minds finally felt like they had real quiet time.
Alaska also reassured me that while the world might seem to be going to hell in handbasket , but people in Alaska would just keep on keepin on. Being isolated from the rest of the US by Canada and harsh weather the people of Alaska are independent and don’t rely on anyone or anything else to make sure they are going to make it. Our pilot for the glacier flight seeing tour had gone to college in California and his comment was he went to Alaska as soon as he could after one visit with college friend the year before graduation. Alaska does that to you. Alaska is that the state you visit and say “Ok I can check that off the list” or you say “maybe I could do the winters”. I know I can’t because every single local we met we asked them what they do in the winter and their answer was always: “the bars are open”. Even the woman I met in an airport on the way back to Fairbanks said the same thing and explained you just had to find a hobby that made you get out of your house if only one day a week. Alaska either gets in your soul or it doesn’t, I know I sound like a crazy person, but being there made me a different person a more relaxed person, just do it and see what happens person.
All of this gibberish is a really bad way of me trying to explain and inexplicable feeling. Alaska is in me now and while I may never live there, I will visit it again and Alaska will have a little piece of my soul.