Moving To Alaska: The Cautionary Guide

10 December 2015 by

With a population of just 736,732 for an entire state with a land area of  663,300 square miles (to put that into perspective, New York state is just 54,556 square miles but has a population of 19.75 million), you wouldn’t think that Alaska would be a good place to move to if you need to blend into the crowd. But considering that it is 2,290 miles from the closest American state (Washington), it’s actually the ideal location for going on the lam. I mean, who’s going to follow you?

I know I say this for a lot of these “Moving To…” posts, but seriously, if you’re thinking of moving to Alaska, this is what you need to know:

Midnight Sun

Not to be confused with the 1989 Robert DeNiro film Midnight Run, some parts of Alaska experience a crazy (but natural) phenomenon called “midnight sun,” which is when the sun stays up until midnight during the summer months. What this means is that Anchorage gets a whopping 6 minutes of light per day and Juneau about 5 minutes. And on the summer solstice, the sun is visible for the entire 24 hours. And, of course, the opposite happens during the winter and it’s called “polar night.” This marvel is especially inconvenient if you belong to any religion wherein you must fast during daylight hours or your prayers adhere to the position of the sun. 

Say Goodbye To All Your Friends

Friends and family whom you haven’t spoken to in ten years will suddenly forget the riff in your relationship when you move to California, Hawaii or New York. But no one is going show up on your doorstep when you live in Alaska, which is basically a North Pole annex. Unless, perhaps, they need you to follow up with your neighbor Santa Claus to make sure he got their Christmas list.

Sarah Palin

Though she is no longer Governor of Alaska (2006 until her resignation in 2009), you should keep in mind that the people of Alaska not only voluntarily voted her in, but they were happy with her for most of her term. These voters will be your neighbors. It was speculated that she stepped down as governor in order to run for president in 2012, but I’m pretty sure it was so that she could make more time for her NRA meetings, where she was quoted as saying that “creating gun-free-zone schools and other public buildings is ‘stupid on steroids’.”

Visit Russia

Nope, scratch that. According to Google Maps, “Sorry, we could not calculate directions from Diomede, AK to Lavrentiya, Russia.” 

Highest Peak

North America’s highest peak, Denali (aka Mt. McKinley), is here. If you enjoy high peaks, moving to Alaska would be ideal.

Aurora Borealis

If you’re in to electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere ‘n’ stuff, Alaska (plus northwestern Canada) is the best place to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. These red, green, and blue lights illuminate the night sky with an eerie glow. It’s almost worth moving to Alaska just for this Nature-made Pink Floyd Laser Light Show Spectacular.

moving to alaska aurora borealis

Wildlife

I’ve got just two words for you. Bear. Moose. Here’s a “need to know” fact: the Alaska moose is also called giant moose. And apparently, during mating season, these giant moose get aggressively horny and will attack anyone. But honestly, who doesn’t?

Iditarod

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a 540-mile dog sled race that happens every year in Alaska. The race is from Anchorage to Nome which, by the way, once again Google Maps can’t calculate, and usually takes 9-15 days. This will be your main source of entertainment, so if you can get on board without getting bored, by all means move here.

Volcanoes

Remember when I said at the beginning of this post that if you’re thinking about moving to Alaska this is what you need to know? So, there are over 130 volcanoes in this state, of which at least 50 have been active since 1760, and make up 75% of the volcanoes that have erupted in the US. And if that’s not enough, “Alaska’s volcanoes are potentially hazardous to passenger and freight aircraft as jet engines sometimes fail after ingesting volcanic ash.”

Cost of Living

When it comes to housing, health, and groceries, Alaska is way higher than average. Overall, the cost of living in Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city, is 143.30 on a scale where 100 is average.

moving to alaska cost of living