Showing posts from July, 2016

Moving to Alaska: Part Two

Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario to Steinbach, Manitoba to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Lodging: Days Inn Mileage: 840 miles Weather: 80-90°F, humid, thunderstorms
The second part of our trip will be forever known as the "endless flatland experience." We traveled through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which both happen to be situated directly above the Great Plains states, which tells you a bit about their geography and weather. Now, I'm sure many people appreciate the beauty of rolling farmland, but as a girl who grew up in the middle of farm country I was pretty bored.  

We stayed at a Days Inn on both nights, which was bit of a change from our itinerary.  We were actually supposed to camp at Pine Tree Campground in Manitoba the first night, but tornado warnings with extreme wind and rain drove us into the nearest town pretty quickly.  The weather stayed pretty crummy both days of travel.  Aside from rainstorms, the temperature was scorching hot and humid. The "real feel" …

Moving to Alaska: Part One

Location: Holland, Michigan to Wawa, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lodging: Agawa Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Prince Arthur Hotel
Mileage: 764 miles
Weather: 40-70°F, sunny

The first part of our Alaskan relocation adventure began in southwest Michigan and took us through the Canadian province of Ontario.  It took us two days to reach Thunder Bay, a mid-sized city in western Ontario.  This portion of the drive was a bit of a bucket list item for me because I've always wanted to visit the northern shore of Lake Superior. It definitely lived up to my expectations.

The first day, we drove north through the very hilly and scenic part of northern Michigan, and then we crossed into Canada shortly after entering the UP. The opportunity to cruise the shore of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior both in one day was pretty special.  When we finally hit Superior it was absolutely stunning, and a big change from our views of Lake Michigan earlier in the day.

The northern shore o…

ALCAN Road Trip Itinerary

We are officially one week away from heading out on our next big adventure. Cody, Specks, Luna, and I will be driving off at sunrise on Monday, July 18th.  This will  be our third time driving to or from Alaska, and I anticipate that it won't be our last.  The more times we do it though, the better and more well prepared we are for the trek.

The first time we drove to Alaska we took I-70 across the Midwest and into Colorado, and then jumped on a few more highways (heading through Utah and Oregon) that would eventually deposit us in Bellingham, Washington. In Bellingham, we jumped on the ferry and spent three days touring the Gulf of Alaska and eventually ended up in Juneau.  This trip was our shortest in terms of road time, but it was also the most stressful because we'd both never done a trip of this caliber on our own before.  The ferry was my favorite part of this particular trip.  We slept outside, watched the northern lights, and toured a bunch of tiny towns in SE Alaska…

Moving Your Stuff to Bush Alaska

Moving to the Alaskan bush is a little different than moving anywhere else.  Things can't be easily transported on a U-Haul (because there are no roads) or packed into a boat (because it would have to be a barge and that's expensive).  Everything, for the most part, has to be delivered by mail on a tiny bush plane. The easiest way to do this is by packing all of your belongings into 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes.  Each tote can weigh up to 70lbs, but you have to keep in mind that you pay per pound and it can get pricey.  I think we paid $500+ to ship 10 totes and a few priority boxes last time, and I expect we paid roughly the same amount this time.

When you are considering what to bring with you in your little totes, you have to keep in mind what your "must haves" are, as well as what you need to survive.  For us, entertainment items are "must haves" to help keep us occupied during the long months without TV or home internet access.   While books and movies m…

Getting a Job in Alaska

Making the decision to go teach in Alaska can be a difficult one. There are so many things to consider before taking the plunge into the unknown.  Do you want to live urban or rural? Do you need access to amenities like restaurants or health care services? Are you a natural adventure seeker? Do you enjoy extreme climates and places? Are you committed to learning about a new culture? Can you live with an incinerator toilet?These are all important questions to ask yourself. 

For me, the decision was an easy one because I fell in love with Alaska while living in King Salmon seasonally back in 2010.  I knew that I wanted to live and teach in the bush. Somehow, I ended up teaching in Juneau instead though, and was able fall madly in love with one of the urban areas of the state too. There are pros and cons to both, and it is important to make the right decision for you.  Know your comfort levels and your "must-haves" before interviewing and job searching so that you can narrow d…