1.) The lifestyle. I miss having thousands of miles of hiking trails at my fingertips. Cody, Specks, and I hiked at least 2 times per week. Plus, there was a breathtaking glacier in the middle of town that I walked to at least once a month. Every weekend was new adventure when we lived in Alaska. We rarely ever spent a weekend inside, even in crummy weather. We hiked, fished, camped, and climbed mountains. Exercise in the form of outdoor activities drove our lifestyle. Dull moments were few and far between. We were healthy, happy, and whole living this lifestyle.
2.) The community and culture. Alaska has an incredibly rich culture. I miss living somewhere so identifiable by this. There are no Tlingit dance groups or storytellers in the Midwest. There aren't monthly artist walks through downtown Beaver Island. Canoes don't carry tribes from all over the state to a yearly Celebration. Poetry slams, theatre performances, and symphonies are all missing from our life. Juneau was a tiny city with a HUGE cultural impact. Not many towns of 30,000 people can boast such a rich repertoire of events. It's just not the same living without these cultural elements.
3.) Winter. Winter in the Midwest isn't like winter in Alaska. Sure, there are places to ski (kind of) and hike in the winter here. It's not the same though. Alaska lives in near-constant darkness in the winter, which I never minded. If anything, it made me more ambitious because I had a much shorter amount of time to accomplish tasks like shoveling or exercising. We were constantly taking trips to the ski resort( five minutes from our house) or hiking out to NFS cabins to spend snowy weekends. I also really like cozy, dark evenings snuggling at home with my family.
4.) The weather. Now, the Midwest tends to have far better summers than SE Alaska. Midwestern summers are long, hot, and gorgeous. SE Alaska has the better weather overall though. Juneau is in a rainforest and the weather is incredibly temperate. We typically didn't see winter temps below 30°F and we didn't see summer temps higher than 60°F. There were exceptions to this obviously, but the average is between 30°-60°F for the whole year. Midwestern weather on the other hand is a fickle thing. Take last week for example, we had five days of temperatures in the -15°F range. The summers might get above 100°F for weeks at a time. It's a big change and I've found that I prefer my temperate climate. I like that in Juneau I could wear the same outfits all year and I could hike all winter with only a fleece and a raincoat. It made life easy.
5.) The mentality. There is just something about the people in Alaska. Juneau is a blue city in the midst of a red state. But, the state as a whole is very libertarian. People tend to be very "stay out of my business." I like this. I knew people, people were incredibly friendly, but people generally stay out of each others business. Everyone takes care of each other without needing to discuss it. It's a beautiful thing.
Your turn…What are your favorite things about where you live?
Currently listening to…The Lumineers- Dead Sea