Yet another newbie here, wanting to move to AK...any advice welcome.

  1. Well, I can see that a lot of the questions on this board seem to be more or less along the lines of what I'm about to ask.

    Basically, to make a long story short, I am 28 years old, and I currently live (and have lived for most of my life) in Alabama. Which, I imagine is more or less probably the exact opposite of Alaska in terms of climate conditions. I have always hated it here - the heat, the humidity, the rednecks, the heat, the summertime, the heat...etc. In fact, not only do I not like the heat, but I actually enjoy the cold. I don't know why, but I just always have. It makes me feel invigorated and alive. During the summer, on the other hand, if anything I feel sluggishly depressed and drained. Every year, for example, now that it's September, the local temperatures are just barely starting to dip down into the 60s at night. Most people are starting to complain about how freezing it is. Me, I'm thinking..."freezing? Heck, if you call this freezing, give me permafrost!" I did live in Minnesota for 2 years, several years ago - a place where it really does freeze, and for a good portion of the year too. And I loved it.

    On top of that, I love hiking and camping, which I've heard you can do a lot of in Alaska.

    But the problem that I had in Minnesota - and that I'm afraid of experiencing all over again if I moved to AK - is that in many ways I did not adjust well being entirely on my own in a place hundreds of miles away from home where I knew absolutely no one. I think when I lived in Minnesota, part of the problem at that time was that I was simply very young (19) and very naive and inexperienced in navigating the waters of the so-called real world. (To give you an idea of what happened, loneliness and poor decisions led to me acquiring a drug addiction and eventually making a suicide attempt. Thankfully that is all many years in the past, and I have learned a lot since then; but naturally the last thing I want to do is put myself in a situation where excessive loneliness & old demons start crawling out of the closet again.)

    I am currently living with my parents while I finish school. While most of my family lives in this area, and while I love my family a lot, the reality is that even if I don't move as far away as AK, I definitely want to move away from here, someplace where there is snow, and, for God's sake, a little bit of intelligence and culture. (Call me crazy, but I have goals in life that go beyond chewing tobacco and getting drunk on my front porch every night.)

    What I will probably end up doing is working somewhere relatively closeby for my first year out of school. After I've worked for a year, if I still want to do it, I will probably want to take a short term assignment in AK with a traveling company, and see how goes it from there. As I don't actually graduate until spring of 2009, this is all still a long ways off.

    However, my question in the meantime is, are there any nurses out there who moved to AK never having lived there before? If so, did you know anybody there before you moved? How did you adjust in terms of your social life? Are you still there now, and would you still do it all over again if you could?

    Thanks very much for your time,

    the Jedi.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Snugglibumkins
    Hi Jedi,

    I didn't know anyone (other than my husband and child) at the time we moved here. It was a military transfer.

    I say pack it up and come to Alaska. You may want to consider getting a position at Providence Anchorage - it is a large hospital - which you will want as a new nurse. And it is close enough to civilization - there is an actual mall and rumors of a Target opening up and things like Outback and Applebees etc. But yet, you are a short drive to small towns that have little to no commercialism. We live on an island and we have a very small hospital. Keep the questions coming.
  4. by   Jedi of Zen
    Quote from Snugglibumkins
    Hi Jedi,

    I didn't know anyone (other than my husband and child) at the time we moved here. It was a military transfer.

    I say pack it up and come to Alaska. You may want to consider getting a position at Providence Anchorage - it is a large hospital - which you will want as a new nurse. And it is close enough to civilization - there is an actual mall and rumors of a Target opening up and things like Outback and Applebees etc. But yet, you are a short drive to small towns that have little to no commercialism. We live on an island and we have a very small hospital. Keep the questions coming.

    If you had to do it all over again, would you come to Alaska on your own? (ie, without your husband and child?) Kind of a personal question, I realize, but I'm just curious.
  5. by   Snugglibumkins
    you know, i had to kind of chew on that question for a bit before i could fully answer it. if i were a single person and still didn't know another sole here, yes, i think i would. i'm one of those 'got nothing to lose' type persons. however, i would be wary about entering into a year or two contract with a hospital because what happens if you don't like it? it's definitely not for everyone. but, yes, absolutely, my honest, well-thought out answer would be yes...i'd do it all over again, even if i knew that i wasn't going to know anyone here.
  6. by   Jedi of Zen
    Quote from snugglibumkins
    you know, i had to kind of chew on that question for a bit before i could fully answer it. if i were a single person and still didn't know another sole here, yes, i think i would. i'm one of those 'got nothing to lose' type persons. however, i would be wary about entering into a year or two contract with a hospital because what happens if you don't like it? it's definitely not for everyone. but, yes, absolutely, my honest, well-thought out answer would be yes...i'd do it all over again, even if i knew that i wasn't going to know anyone here.
    cool.

    thank you very much for stopping to really think about it, btw. i appreciate your honest answer.

    from what i have heard and read about it, it seems like an amazing place to live. however, like you said, it would be a huge step, especially considering the distance involved.

    sounds like things have worked out really well for you though.

    what, if anything, do you not like about living in the "final frontier" of the 50 states? also, you mentioned a military transfer...do you work at a military facility?
  7. by   Snugglibumkins
    Quote from jedi of zen
    cool.

    thank you very much for stopping to really think about it, btw. i appreciate your honest answer.

    from what i have heard and read about it, it seems like an amazing place to live. however, like you said, it would be a huge step, especially considering the distance involved.

    sounds like things have worked out really well for you though.

    what, if anything, do you not like about living in the "final frontier" of the 50 states? also, you mentioned a military transfer...do you work at a military facility?
    my husband is in the coast guard and that is what brought us here.

    what don't i like about living in remote alaska (and i am very remote)

    - when my father died (down in the lower 48), the weather was so bad, nothing flew in or out for a few days and i missed the funeral

    - when i was pregnant i really, really, really wanted some eggplant parmsigiana (sp?) and i went to both of the grocery stores here only to find narey an eggplant that day. however, i've seen plenty since - they are $7 a piece.

    - if the barge doesn't make it because of weather, etc - no milk, eggs, bananas or other fresh items. this happens quite frequently - i now keep a steady supply of shelf stable milk and i've learned to make my own breads (and wine!)

    - gas prices...i read about them going down in the lower 48, but not for us. the good news is that i only fill up once every 3 weeks - no traffic, the bad news is that it is almost $100 and i drive a dodge caravan.

    - medical care for anything serious can get expensive if you are not properly insured. fortunately, we are military and our insurance is great. my daughter needs to see the pediatric eye doc and he is unable to come to our town this year, so we have to fly to anchorage to go see him. that could be pricey if we did not have such a good insurance.

    - it's the end of september and my days of running my 3 miles to decompress at 8pm are now over - it is dark. soon it will be dark by 3pm and stay dark until 10am.

    - 90 mile an hour wind is not a hurricane, it's just a every couple of week happening, not many people in my area have lawn furniture.

    - the housing market has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. we would not be able to buy our house now if we wanted to. my next door neighbor just profited $100,000. on the price of their home, just by pricing it at what all the other houses are priced at, actually they went $20,000. lower!

    - lack of educational opportunities for me. the local community college has fun things like belly dancing, yoga, basket weaving, but nothing brick and mortar for me to sit in a class, so on-line classes it is, but even then finding the clinical experiences are tough. it's hard to interview two hospital ceos and compare them when i only have one.

    - the school system for my kids. the local school has the library sharing a room with the cafeteria. however, the homeschooling support is excellent. i never thought i would be a homeschooling mom.

    - we are so far away from everyone that by the time the family spends money and travels for 24 hours to get here, they stay for a really long time!

    - there is no anonymity. everyone knows your name. when my son is having a meltdown in the local grocery store, i know it is now circling town that i bought him off with cookie from the bakery just to make it through one more isle.

    - we have no local new station.

    - we get no grocery coupons and groceries are high.

    *************************************************
    now to counter with what i love -
    - on any given day there is at least one other mother i know at any one of the public parks or walking trails. this comes in handy when i need to run evil kneivil to the er yet again.

    - i always know who the er doc is, so i don't feel bad when they know us by first name.

    - there isn't anyplace that i need to be that is more than 9 miles from my house.

    - i can sit on the beach and not see another person for miles.

    - our town has one stoplight and it just blinks at the 4 way stop.

    - i don't even own a set of keys to my house. we all just keep them unlocked.

    - my kids don't ask for fast food because we don't have it.

    - everyone knows everyone else, so when an emergency happens everyone pitches in.

    - the entire town goes to the airport whenever the men and women from the national guard arrive or leave.

    - i very rarely have to wear sun screen.

    - i've grown to love local festivals and local talent - artists, musicians, storytellers, etc.

    - i've seen a moose about 3 feet from my car, looking in the window at my daughter. i've seen a herd of buffalo crossing the road right in front of my car (literally, i had to put the truck in reverse we have it on video). i've had bears swimming the the pond behind our house. there is a bald eagle that has a nest in a tree in our yard.

    ************************************************** **

    good luck in your adventure. i'd still do it all over again. we had our chance to leave a few years ago, and we asked to stay. now we are ready to leave since the kids are getting older and we miss grandparents.

  8. by   kjack87
    Jeni,

    I am from Alabama and I spent a summer in Denali ( 4 hours from Anchorage and 2 hours from Fairbanks) when I was 21. I had a hard time adjusting, but I had no car and I cried half of the summer. the good thing is that I had 5 more people from my school that were there so they shared the experience with me also. I should be finishing up my program in April of 2009 and I've considered moving there because it is so serine (sp) and I want to live a simple life. I think I'd like to be closer to a city though. It sounds like the traveling assignment in Alaska would be a good idea before you decide to pack it up and move there.

    Snuggli,
    What part of Alaska do you live in?
  9. by   akspudus
    I grew up in Alaska...now transplanted in Miami. Yeah, I still scratch my head about that move. All of my children miss Alaska dearly. We are planning on moving from Miami back to America as soon as I am done with nursing school. Maybe even back to Alaska.

    I will forever call Juneau my "hometown".

    akspudus
  10. by   Jedi of Zen
    Quote from kjack87
    Jeni,

    I am from Alabama and I spent a summer in Denali ( 4 hours from Anchorage and 2 hours from Fairbanks) when I was 21. I had a hard time adjusting, but I had no car and I cried half of the summer. the good thing is that I had 5 more people from my school that were there so they shared the experience with me also. I should be finishing up my program in April of 2009 and I've considered moving there because it is so serine (sp) and I want to live a simple life. I think I'd like to be closer to a city though. It sounds like the traveling assignment in Alaska would be a good idea before you decide to pack it up and move there.

    Snuggli,
    What part of Alaska do you live in?
    What part of Alabama are you from? What brought you to AK during that summer? You can pm me if you want.
  11. by   traumaRUs
    We lived in Delta Junction, AK for two years and loved it. We have pics of our sons in son waaayyy over their heads. We became pretty self-reliant. Yes, it was dark for 18 to 23 hours per day during the winter and yes it was -70 degrees (no typo!) but it was gorgeous.
  12. by   Mbshil
    I lived there ( in Juneau)for 15 years and it can be a pretty lonely place. Summers are short and there is plenty of rain. Rain comes in so many varieties that you have never seen before, like sideways rain, upside down rain, slushy rain, ice rain - you get my drift.Alcoho and drug use is rampant.
    Also in case you hate it , it is so expensive to get anywhere by plane. Alaska Airlines has a monopoly and they have no competition, and are charging a fortune.
    If I was you , I would think this one over.

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