I Came to Alaska to Hide From the World

For my soul, it was a matter of survival: Living in society was death-by-a-thousand-cuts. I needed to find another way to live, outside of the over-stimulation of modern life, and the soul-crushing requirements of capitalism. To escape the pressures of the Model Minority Myth.

Discovering Alaska allowed for a first-person relationship with nature: fishing and hunting, hiking and camping, building a cabin in the woods, picking berries and making jam, growing veggies and preserving the harvest, splitting and stacking firewood....the simple life. The slow life.

We live without magazines, television (got rid of it last century), highway billboards (they are banned here in Alaska)....so the only interface that I have with people is with real people. It was only 2016 when I begrudgingly got a cell phone.

My husband got a cell phone around 2012. Every day, before he’d leave town to come home, he'd call the home landline, to see if I needed anything. Of course, I rarely needed anything, but the sweetness of being thought of was reinforced at the same time, every day.

There were a few seasons where my husband and I had neither cell phone nor landline. We would use the pay phone at the gas station down the hill, on our way into or back from town.

There were also a few seasons where my husband did remote location work. Back then, satellite phone calls were expensive, and I didn't have a landline anyway, so we'd write letters that would take about a month to get to each other. Slow love.

People randomly drop by, whether we were at home or not, and we'd do the same. I couldn't imagine living somewhere where you locked your doors. Sometimes it would take us months to figure out how berries magically appeared in our freezer, or muffins on our kitchen counter!

And if we saw you at the store, we'd take that opportunity to catch up on your news, and the news of others in our community of friends, as well as share news to be passed around. Such as a gathering at so-and-so's place this weekend.

It's also joyous to live amongst other hippie-rednecks. It would delight my heart that Karen and Markus have a television that they keep in the cupboard, to be pulled out for special occasions, like the Olympics. Before they got their television, we'd all go to the pub to watch the presidential debates because none of our friends had TVs.

I remember in graduate school (an online program out of Boston, where my classmates were from all over the Lower 48), people being shocked as well as making fun of me because I have no idea about famous people, or popular television shows, or what HBO is.

I struggle to communicate the freedom that exists when you live in the woods, operate on tundra timelessness, and all that matters is firewood for warmth and melted snow for water.

Our little cabin in the black spruce forest on the sub-arctic tundra of interior Alaska. (Look towards the bottom right hand side of the photo for the snow-covered roof).


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